Monday, May 25, 2020

Some Fine DNA

Back in 2013, I wrote about a potential new branch of the Fine family.  My grandmother had told me how her uncle Mordechai had come to America but had been sent back to Russia, where he was drafted into the Russian Army and killed in WWI.  On his ship manifest, he said he was going to an uncle, "Meyer Fein," in Toledo, Ohio, a totally new name to me (although I did know of Toledo Fine cousins).  I traced this Meyer back to England, where he'd lived and married after emigrating from Russia.  And his father lived with him--could this be my great-great-great grandfather?

As background, I wrote up tracking down this Fein/Fine family in a series of posts:
I found out a lot about this family, including via an 1891 British census, where Meyer (there Myer Fein) is enumerated along with his father.  Hmmmm.....
1901 England Census, Hebel and Myer Fein, London
But I recently got in touch with someone who I thought could help answer that question.

I had a new Twitter follower, and I happened to notice that his surname was "Fine."  Now, I know Fine is a common name, but this Fine lived in Toledo, which is where Meyer lived in America.  So I messaged this follower.  (You, too, can follow me on Twitter; my profile is here.)  And it seems that he had found some of my old posts about Meyer, and he is Meyer's grandson!

I sent him some of the documents I'd found about his family, and I also asked if he'd take a DNA test.  He agreed to--and the results are in.

Initially I was puzzled.  If Meyer truly was Mordechai's uncle, this Fine Follower (I'll call him FF from this point), should be my grandmother's second cousin.  But FF and my grandmother share only 56cM (counting segments 7cM and over), with a largest segment of 19cM.  That doesn't scream second cousin to me, especially not with Ashkenazic DNA.

There aren't many other Fine relatives on my line to test, because many were killed in the Holocaust.  But I've tested two others, so I went to compare with their results.  The first was Randy, who would be second cousins once removed to FF.  But still, nothing.  They share only one segment over 7cM of 15cM.  That wasn't looking good.

But then I looked at the third Fine relative I tested.  This is Marion, who is a first cousin to Randy's mother, and a second cousin to my grandmother, and who would be a second cousin to FF as well.  And that was interesting.
DNA Segments Shared Between Marion & FF
Marion and FF share some large segments--the three largest are 64cM, 36cM and 29cM, and a total of 173cM for segments over 7cM.  Now that's showing a true, close connection.

So here's what I have:
Shared DNA.  Each entry is total cM shared (7cM+ segments)/largest segment/relationship

Without Marion, I'd have written off this match and assumed that someone on one of our lines was adopted or had traveled under someone else's identity, for whatever reason.  But Marion matches FF quite strongly.  I no longer think that FF is second cousins with my grandmother, but third cousin is possible.  He is definitely closely related.

FF also had his y DNA tested.  But unfortunately there are no living male Fines on my known-connection branches that it could be compared to.  For now.

Keep in mind that he is genetically 50% Jewish, while my grandmother, Randy & Marion are 100% Jewish.  So keep in mind endogamy would be expected here.  Thoughts?  How do you think that FF is connected?  Could it be that our mutual male Fine ancestor had more than one wife, so we're dealing with half relationships?

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