Sunday, February 18, 2018

Some Day I'll Find It, The Mitchneck Connection: Using Lazarus to Predict Relationships

I've mentioned before that various family members have stated that we were related to Simon Mitchneck, a famous Hollywood voice coach.  I've written about finding letters from Simon's sister enclosed in Simon's passport applications that spoke about the family's desperate situation in the aftermath of World War I.  Records of Simon and his three brothers (who emigrated to America) consistently named their father as Shia and their mother as Leah/Lea Goldberg/Goldenberg.  I do know that they do have some sort of connection to the Halper family (which also may be my great-great grandmother's maiden name).

And back in December, I wrote about how Simon Mitcheck's great nephew contacted me after seeing his family discussed on the blog--and how the DNA that the great nephew shared with known descendants of Hillel and Hinda Diamond demonstrated that the family stories of a relationship were correct.

After seeing this post, Simon's nephew "M" (the father of the gentleman who contacted me) agreed to test.  His results came in, and again, there are multiple large segments shared with varying descendants of Hillel and Hinda Diamond.  Descendants of Hillel and Hinda Diamond share anywhere from 7.3cM to 119.6cM with him, so predicting the true relationship is difficult--particularly because we are dealing with Ashkenazic Jewish DNA, which is intrinsically endogamous.  (In the chart below, D, L, Berly, Paul & Stephan are 100% Ashkenazi; Beth and David are 50% Ashkenazi; Liz, Patty and Debra are 25% Ashkenazi; M is 100% Ashkenazi.)
DNA Shared by Tested Descendants of Hillel & Hinda Diamond with M.  (Orange boxes represent tested individuals)

I'm confident that M is related to either Hillel or Hinda--but I didn't know to which or how.  So I built a Lazarus kit.

Lazarus is one of the Tier 1 utilites available on Gedmatch.  It allows you to reconstruct a partial genome of a deceased individual, provided that descendants of that individual have tested as well as non-descendant relatives of that person.

I named my kit "Hillel or Hinda Diamond," since I wasn't sure which was related to the Mitchnecks.  I was able to use the individuals noted as tested in the above image as "Group 1"--those who are descendants of the individual being constructed.  M was the only candidate for Group 2 (unless/until his brother tests).  The new kit should include those segments shared by M and any of the Group 1 individuals.

The resulting kit, which will only be a partial genome, consisted of 347cM of DNA--so only about 10% of the DNA that M inherited from his father, one of Simon's brothers.  I ran a comparison between this Lazarus kit and M and got the following shared segments:
Shared DNA between M and the Lazarus kit
Even with this Hillel/Hinda kit being very incomplete, M still shares over 300cM with that kit--meaning the amount he would have shared with Hillel/Hinda would have been significantly more.  And those multiple large segments show that the overwhelming majority of the shared DNA is due to a true relatively close relationship, not endogamy.

So what does this mean in terms of how M would be connected to Hillel/Hinda?

The children of Hillel and Hinda for which we have documented birthdates were born between 1879-1891.  The Mitchneck brothers were born between 1884-1893.  So likely (but not definitely), Hillel/Hinda Diamond and Shia/Leah Mitchneck were of the same generation.  M is therefore likely 2 generations younger than Hillel/Hinda.

The only relationships that are two generations apart that would be expected to share at least 300cM of DNA and are possible based on what I know of the family are if M were a great-nephew to Hillel/Hinda or if they are first cousins twice removed.  Since none of Hillel/Hinda/Shia/Leah share a surname, it's unlikely that Simon and his brothers were nephews to Hillel/Hinda.  So it is most likely that either Hillel or Hinda was first cousins to either Shia or Leah.  (And since Hinda's surname is likely Alpern and we know that Simon Mitchneck was cousins to Alpern/Halpers, she may well be the connection.)

I'd love to look at shared X DNA as a hint, but that won't work in this case.  Since we are connected via M's father, any shared X wouldn't be due to the Mitchneck connection.

Now I just need to figure out which--and see if I can find documentation which backs up this use of Lazarus.

This technique should be able to be used not just when trying to connect to one individual--but when one individual is trying to figure out how he or she fits into a family in which at least several people have tested.  So get thee to GedMatch!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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