Thursday, April 28, 2016

Happy 145th Anniversary--Sort Of!

Happy 145th anniversary to my great-great-great grandparents, Yehoshua Zev and Mira Lefand!  Kind of.
Marriage Record for Yehoshua Zev Lefand to Mira Halperin; 1871

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

When You Can't Find a Ship Manifest

You know those relatives that you just can't find on a ship manifest?  That you search for using wildcards and alternate spellings and every trick in the book--and they're just nowhere to be found?

Well, those were my Joshowitzes.  I knew that my great grandmother Esther Rutner Joshowitz came to America with my grandmother's oldest brother Izzy.  They came at some point after WWI and at least nine months before my grandmother's birth in February 1922.  I tried with just first names (lots and lots of Esthers and Esters came to the US in that time period).  I tried with as many wildcards as Ancestry would allow.  And nothing.

I cursed transcribers who obviously couldn't read my great grandmother's name.  I grumbled at the Ancestry programmers who put too many restrictions on wildcards in searches.  And then I tried searching on Steve Morse's site.
Output on Steve Morse's site

Monday, April 25, 2016

New Eizikovics Link--Or Maybe Not!

Samuel Hers Eizikowitz kept popping up in my research.  Since I had a great-great-great grandfather with this name, I suspected he was relatively closely related to me, but even with a pretty comprehensive Eisikovics tree, I couldn't fit him in.

I knew he had gone to America--his daughter's birth record has his place of residence as "New York, America."
Berta Eizikovics Birth; Kolodne; 1911

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Award for Greatest Distance and Time-Lapse for a Birth Registration

And the award for going through the most difficulty to get a birth registered goes to....Eizik Fuchs, the brother of my great-great grandmother Rochel Fuchs Rutner!  Eizik's journey to get his birth registered spanned an ocean and more than seven decades.  When I started writing this post, I wasn't sure why he would have done such a thing, but in the course of writing this post, I figured it out!
From Josef Joshowitz's Ship Manifest; 1913
In 1913, Josef Joshowitz (my great grandfather) came to America, and he said he was joining his cousin "Eizig Fuchs" in New York.  I knew of my family's Fuchs connection but was never sure how Eizig was related.
Isaak Fux; Petition for Naturalization; 1909

Sunday, April 17, 2016

My Pedigree Has Collapsed!

Well, it's happened. My first instance of pedigree collapse. While I've seen examples in my family of cousins related in multiple ways, I had no examples of any of my direct ancestors appearing on my tree more than once.

And then along came Avraham Vizel.

Avraham Vizel was the father of Rechel Vizel Rutner, who was the mother of my great-great-great grandfather Mendel Rutner. Avraham lived in what is now Bilovartzi, Ukraine (and what was called Bilvaritz in Yiddish). There's an entire section with his story in the Yizkor Book Sefer Maramaros which deserves (and will get) its own post.

Recently, as I was doing research, I found another branch of Vizels to whom I was related. I had traced them back to the dual villages of Kis-Kirva and Nagy-Kirva. But “coincidentally,” the furthest back I traced them was to a man also named Avraham Vizel.

So it looked like I had two 5th great grandfathers with the same name! Perhaps they were related? I checked to see how far apart they lived.

I'd looked up Nagy-Kirva in JewishGen's Communities Database (an incredible tool to find Eastern European towns by both their prior and present names). There was one result:
JewishGen's Page on Kryva, Ukraine (Formerly Nagy-Kirva, Hungary)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Surname-Morphing Census Entries (Plus a New 5th Great Grandfather)

Some wonderful volunteers at JewishGen's Hungarian Special Interest Group (H-SIG) have transcribed and indexed Jewish entries from multiple different Hungarian censuses.  And more are being added regularly.  I recently learned some lessons about dealing with this data set that can help others with their research as well.

I've regularly searched for entries relating to my Rutner family from Darva (today's Kolodne).
Results on JewishGen for Hungarian Censuses for Rutners in Darva

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference Jewish Stream

In under two months is the Ontario Genealogical Society's conference which--for the first time--has a Jewish Stream in cooperation with the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto.  I'll be speaking along with Israel Pickholtz and Daniel Horowitz--plus there's access to all of the other OGS talks!
And they have quite the jam-packed program. Take a look:

How Endogamy Looks in Practice

(Note that there is a more updated version of this post here with the benefit of another year's worth of known relatives testing.)

In response to recent posts about how I'm related to people in multiple ways, and why this expression of Ashkenazi Jewish endogamy makes using DNA to find relationships among those with Jewish ancestry much more difficult, an adoptee asked how far off from how much shared DNA would be expected my known relatives were in order to help her understand her own matches better.

We always hear about how much harder it is to use genetic genealogy to find relatives when you are from an endogamous background, and Ashkenazi Jews (AJs) are a typical example.  AJs married within the small pool of AJs for centuries, so we are all related to one another in multiple ways.  I've had enough relatives test to see how endogamy is reflected in practice.
Some of my known relatives who have tested, displayed in FamilyTreeDNA

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Other Shmuel Moshe Rutner

Around 1991, I found the book Sefer Maramaros, a Yizkor book commemorating the various Jewish towns of the Maramaros megye (province) of Austria-Hungary.  There were articles about specific cities and towns, ranging from one to several pages each.  I immediately looked up what was written about Kolodne.
Kolodne Entry from Sefer Maramaros

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Endogamous Diamonds, Continued

A Joint Post with Israel Pickholtz of All My Foreparents

Israel Pickholtz begins this story here, examining how I seem to be related to a woman named Evelyne in multiple ways, per DNA.  He has shown that both my paternal grandmother and grandfather were related to her, as is my mother.  Now I'm going to pick up where he left off to look at various branches of my family and their relationship to Evelyne.

Neither my mother's maternal aunt nor her maternal first cousin match Evelyne at all, so I initially concentrated on my mother's father's side.

The Halperin/Lefand/Marienhoff Branch
First I looked at descendants of my great-great-great grandmother, Mira Halperin Lefand Marienhoff.  Tested descendants include my mother and uncle as well as cousins Ken, Myron and Sue-- descendants of three of Mira's other children.  My family is descended from Pesha-Riva, Ken from Nechemia/Hamay, Myron from Meyer, and Sue from Nechama/Emma; Sue is also the only testee who descends from Mira's second husband.  Ken, Myron and Sue are all one generation closer to Mira (great grandchildren) than are my mother and uncle.

(In all the charts, people who have tested have a yellow background.)
My uncle doesn't share any DNA with Evelyne.  But looking at the other individuals shows matches--some relatively close.
  • Ken and Evelyne share 114cM over 22 segments and are predicted 2nd-4th cousins
  • Myron and Evelyne share 90cM over 18 segments and are also predicted 2nd-4th cousins
  • Sue and Evelyne share 71cM over 21 segments but are predicted 5th-remote cousins
  • My mother and Evelyne also share 71cM over 21 segments and are predicted 5th-remote cousins.
Chromosome 10 is very interesting.  Both Myron and Ken share a (triangulating) relatively large 12cM segment with Evelyne.
Evelyn's Chromosome 10 Overlap with Ken & Myron

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Tracing Hirsch Tolchinsky--With Beautiful Enumerator Handwriting (Russian Empire)

Hirsch Tolchinsky was the half brother of my great-great grandfather Hillel.  He was born about 1869 to Shimon and Risha-Frayda (nee Melanitsky or Mechansky) Tolchinsky in what is now Nizhyn, Ukraine (and was then Nezhin, Russian Empire).

The earliest mention I have of Hirsch is in an 1882 Russian Empire Households list.
1882 Households List; Nezhin, Russian Empire; Tolchinsky Family