Sunday, June 18, 2017

Success Using Family Finder Match Alerts


Family Tree DNA Alerts
I manage over ninety family kits, most of whom tested with Family Tree DNA. So I get many scores of these notices every week. Not only each person, but since, for instance,  Dan is a member of all five of my projects, I get all of his notices five times. Others are members of multiple projects and for them too I get multiple notices.

These notices of "Close Matches" means matches that FTDNA considers to be suggested second-third cousins. Readers may recall that several months ago I challenged FTDNA to explain why the more recent kits are getting far and away more close matches than earlier kits from the same families. We are four months and counting and FTDNA has not yet addressed this issue. (Janine, if you are reading this, see my help request 565856  which was opened 17 February.)

I cannot just limit myself to those matches which FTDNA calls "close." I also want the 2-4 cousins and the 3-5 cousins. After all, if one person has is a suggested 2-3 cousin, it is relevant to consider siblings or other close relatives who are 2-4 or 3-5 with that same person.

So between the huge numbers of alerts and the inconsistency in reporting them, I have yet to find a way to make use of them properly. After all, if I get a close match with Joe Schmoe, I cannot look at his matches with my other kits. It all becomes unwieldy and my worry that I will miss important matches competes for my time with more immediate demands.

An Attempt to Manage the Alerts
A few weeks ago, I decided to try something new. I decided to download in an Excel file all the matches during the month of May for each of my project members. then I arrange them in separate Excel files by group: my mother's side, my grandmother's side, the Rozdol-Pikholz side, etc. That's a lot of work by itself but after that I have to sort by the names of the new matches to see who may have interesting matches with several people within each of my groups. There is no macro that will do that for me.

I then sent out over two hundred emails like this.

Some replied, most did not. Some gave me their GEDmatch numbers, others did not care to share this secret information with me. Others needed help even creating GEDmatch numbers. Oh, and a few would send me a list of all the GEDmatch kits in their families.

I looked at each one against all my kits - after sorting on the "Name" column of their match lists so all mine would come up together near the top  - and created 2-D Chromosome Browsers. For most I would do two or three Chromosome Browsers for different parts of my families.

In one case after another - particularly within the Skalat Pikholz families - I would get results that I couldn't do anything with. The only segments over 10 cM were individuals, not groups. And when they were groups, they were vague and appeared weak and distant. I mean, if I have a segment shared only by a third cousin here and a fourth cousin there and a double fourth cousin another way, how serious can this be. It almost has to be long ago and in most of my directions I have only two or three ancestral surnames to work with, even when I can go back two hundred years or more.

I was also hampered by the total inadequacy of the Tag Groups that GEDmatch inaugurated a few months ago. I have been meaning to write about that and will try to do so soon.

I really began wondering what was the point of all this work. After all, if I were serious, I'd have to do this every month! I would send the results to the matches and began concluding with "Thank you for humoring me."

First Partial Success
Last week I saw some progress. Kind of.

I heard from Ellen, the wife of one of my new matches of interest, a man named Robert. She gave me his GEDmatch number and I went to work. My Chromosome Browser gave me this:


Identical segments with two of my sisters and my brother, a similar segment with my half-second cousin Fred, and a smaller segment in the same place with my second cousin Susan. This is not large but it is unambiguous. My father's mother had a half sister (same father, different mothers) named Ella. Aunt Ella's husband was not Jewish, nor was the wife of their son. So my half second cousin Fred has all his Jewish DNA from one grandparent, Aunt Ella. Susan is a full second cousin on that side. There is no way that our common ancestor with Robert is not an ancestor of my great-grandfather - either a Rosenzweig or a Zelinka. Both families lived in the area of Trencin County Slovakia back into the 1700s.

It reminded me of the match with Cousin Debbie last year, on a segment that looked like this:









True, Debbie's segment with us is larger than Robert's and she has more matches, but nonetheless this is the same logic and I can accept Robert as a family member with the same authority.

And Robert has another match, this one with Fred and my double second cousin Lee. It is possible, though unlikely, that this comes from  different common ancestor that the match on chromosome 7, but even if so, it does not challenge the conclusion.

However, whereas Debbie is definitely Zelinka, not Rosenzweig and she knows of Trencin County ancestors, Robert's position is less well-defined. He could be either Rosenzweig or Zelinka and in any case, he knows his family to be from Horodenka in southeastern Galicia. So we have work to do here, but we know there is at least a small pot of gold to be claimed.

The Duncans
When it rains, sometimes it pours. Or at least rains a little more. The next GEDmatch I looked at after Robert was a brother and sister pair, Evelyn and Adam. Their father is Scottish, a Duncan, so my families' matches with them are on their mother's side.

I started off with this excellent set of matches for Evelyn on Chromosome 12. Regular readers will recognize them easily enough.
Evelyn's matches with my mother's mother's Rosenblooms, from Borisov in Belarus.

















  • The first two, Inna and Lydia are granddaughters of my grandmother's sister Alta. They are first cousins.
  • The next two, Beverly and Sam are grandchildren of my grandmother's brother Hymen. They are siblings.
  • My sisters Amy and Sarajoy and I are on lines 5, 6 and 9.
  • My first cousins Kay and Leonard round out the group.
Evelyn has another match with Inna and Lydia on Chromosome 20, of about 11 cM.

Evelyn's brother Adam has much the same segment on Chromosome 12.













It's a bit different from Evelyn's matches, but with the same clear message. We share a common ancestor upstream of one of our great-grandparents Israel David Rosenbloom or his wife Etta Bryna. And speaking of Etta Bryna, my maternal haplogroup, as seen in my MtDNA test is U1b1. Evelyn's is U1b. These are very close and may refer to the same common ancestor as these matching segments, though the matching segments appear more recent.

Adam has another segment that Evelyn does not.











This points in a slightly different direction. It does not have the Rosenbloom cousins, but it has five of my mother's children plus our first cousin Kay - and our second cousin on our mother's father's side, the Gordons. I am not quite sure what to make of this because Judy's Jaffe grandfather also came from Borisov. What is certain is that Evelyn and Adam are our cousins - probably fourth, maybe fifth or even third. Galit has added them to our Rosenbloom Borisov project.

The problem is, we do not know how to go from there. We do not have additional known ancestral surnames from our side and though they have a few, we cannot put it together. And their geography is Pinsk rather than Borisov - that's a distance of nearly 400 km.

I also had a look at the matches on Chromosome 12 on the GEDmatch Matching Segment tool to see if there is anyone else who matches both the Duncans and the Rosenblooms on that segment. I see none.

Now I have to decide if I want to do this again for the June matches.

Housekeeping Notes
I'll be speaking on the Hebrew version of
Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey
this week, 19 June at 6:30, for IGS Rishon Lezion, Museum of Rishon Lezion, Ahad Ha’am 2.

Also, my son in Chicago is making his next bar mitzvah the first Sunday in May. If any program directors are looking for something around then, please drop me a note.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Lydia Conundrum

Lydia
Lydia and Inna are second cousins of mine on my mother's mother's side. They are first cousins to one another. Their grandmother, Alta Rosenbloom Kaplan, is the older sister of my grandmother Sarah Rosenbloom Gordon, who remained in Russia when her sisters and brother went to the US before the First World War.

Lydia's DNA results came in two months ago and Inna's this week.

We now have autosomal DNA from thirteen Rosenbloom second cousins: Lydia and Inna from Aunt Alta, Beverly, Beth and Sam from Uncle Hymen and my first cousins Kay and Leonard, my four sisters,  my brother and me from my grandmother Sarah.

I hope to take DNA from two more of Alta's granddaughters when I visit Moscow next month.

Two of Lydia's matches with the second cousins are over 420 cM. Eight more are between 342 and 387 cM. One is 286 cM. Compare these to the ISOGG definition of second cousins - 212.5 cM - and Blaine Bettinger's Shared cM Project's average of 238 cM and we see that Lydia's matches are much higher than expected. If it were just the vagaries of DNA, some would be higher and some would be lower, but that is clearly not the case here.

So the answer must be Jewish endogamy. All Jews, being related multiple ways, have much larger matches than the general population.

Inna with her daughter, granddaughter and a visiting Israeli cousin
Inna's results are less striking. She has over 300 cM with only three of the eleven second cousins, the highest being Leonard with 386 cM. She has six more between 258 and 296 cM. Then me at 224 cM and my brother Dan at 215 cM.

This appears to be a much more normal distribution, with less influence from Jewish endogamy.

With that, Inna has between three and six matches of over 20 cM, on eight segments with the second cousin group, including matching segments of over 50 cM.

It follows that one of Lydia and Inna, daughters of brothers, has a much greater influence from endogamy than the other. And if I were to tell you that one of them has a non-Jewish mother, hence much less endogamy, you would say that it must be Inna.

You would be wrong. As I was.

Inna's mother is from a normative Ashkenazi Jewish family. FTDNA's MyOrigins calls her 93% Ashkenazi Jewish, typical of our family. There should be lots of endogamy here.

Lydia's MyOrigins shows her to be 45% Ashkenazi Jewish and 46% East Europe non-Jewish, plus some fragments. The normal sort of background endogamy is missing, so I fully expected that Lydia's large matches with us were a result of a close cousin relationship between her Rosenbloom grandmother and her Kaplan grandfather.

If that were indeed the case, Inna's matches would be even larger because she has both the supposed cousin grandparents and the standard, garden-variety Jewish endogamy. But she doesn't. So she doesn't.

Why? Beats me! More important, why does Lydia have these big numbers? What else is going on here? It looks much too large and much too skewed to be "the strange ways of DNA." (Lydia's best match with the cousins is with Kay, whose faher also has no Jewish DNA.)

I cannot wait to see what the Moscow cousins have. One of them is Inna's sister, the other a first cousin to Inna and Lydia. So unless anyone has some suggestions, I expect to revisit this at the end of August.

Housekeeping notes
I'll be speaking on the Hebrew version of
Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey
on 19 June at 6:30, for IGS Rishon Lezion, Museum of Rishon Lezion, Ahad Ha’am 2.

Also, my son in Chicago is making his next bar mitzvah the first Sunday in May. If any program directors are looking for something around then, please drop me a note.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Nephew Avi

My nephew Avi's Family Finder results just came in. Avi's mother - my sister Carol/Devorah - was killed in an auto accident thirty years ago. But she and Judith are identical twins so we have her DNA. Except for the astigmatism and later the glasses, you could not tell them apart.

But Judith wanted to know what the DNA would say so we ordered Family Finder tests for Avi and for one of Judith's sons Eliezer. Eliezer's was delayed in the mail - or in FTDNA's mail room - but should be along in two or three weeks.

These are Avi's matches with his mother's six siblings.
FTDNA accepts him as Judith's son, as expected.

When I looked at the six of us against one another a few months ago, I saw that Amy is not as close to Judith as the rest of us. This shows up in Avi's match with Amy as well, both in the longest segment and in the total.

Avi's match with Judith is 3382 cM.

We have five other Pikholz parent-child comparisons: Aunt Betty and her son, Uncle Bob and his daughter, my fourth cousin Nan and her son and daughter and Maxine from the Nachman Pikholz line and her daughter. Aunt Betty's son, Uncle Bob's daughter and Nan's daughter share 3384 cM with their parent. Maxine and her daughter share 3383 cM and Nan and her son share 3382 cM. All five and Avi have a longest segment of 276 cM.

On Avi's chromosome browser, I see tiny breaks in chromosomes 3 and 8, so I assume that is what is missing from the 3384. In any case, this layman doesn't see anything that implies anything special about the twins.

After I get Avi on GEDmatch and see Eliezer's results, I'll have another look.


Housekeeping notes
I'll be speaking on the Hebrew version of
Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey
on 19 June at 6:30, for IGS Rishon Lezion, Museum of Rishon Lezion, Ahad Ha’am 2.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Are My Parents Related

Related or not, my parents are married
The indispensible DNA-analysis website GEDmatch has a tool called "Are Your Parents Related." It's pretty straight-forward. You enter your GEDmatch kit number and it gives you a result. No options for threshholds or anything else. Just press the "submit" button.














They explain it like this:
Since you inherit half of your DNA from each of your parents, it stands to reason that large blocks of SNPs where both alleles are the same would be an indication that your parents each inherited that block from the same ancestor. These are called 'Runs of Homozygosity' (ROH). There are other utilities available that look for ROH for other purposes, but this analysis is specifically aimed at determining how closely related your parents might be.
They don't say so, but it is obvious if you think about it that the results are nothing more than an indication. After all, what they work with is your own personal DNA and since your siblings' DNA is different from yours, they will produce different results.

The GEDmatch kits of my brother and my sister Jean show that there is no indication that our parents are related. They both received the results - such as they are - on the right.

Mine was different and my sister Amy's was different from mine. Amy's kit shows that my parents share 7.1 cM on Chromosome 1. Mine shows that they share 7.6 cM on Chromosome 9.

Sarajoy's kit (below) has a third segment, with 8.3 cM on Chromosome 3.

That's 23 cM altogether.

Judith's kit (below) has two segments, Amy's from Chromosome 1 and mine from Chromosome 9.

There are six of us, so you might think that we encompass all of our parents' DNA. We probably do, but we don't necessarily have their matching segments together.

GEDmatch offers another option - one that I have written about before in other contexts, as recently as last week. It's an idea I had during the Shavuot holiday, Tuesday night.

I created a simple Lazarus kit for my father. His six children are in Group 1 and his sister and brother are in Group 2. I could have added other family members, but any of those would have introduced DNA from other sources. My father's cousin Herb, for instance, would have brought DNA from his father who in theory could be related to my mother.

This Lazarus kit is 3490.2 cM.

For my mother, I used the same Group 1, her six children, but she has no living siblings for Group 2. So here I had to use my mother's sister's daughter and her brother's son. Not quite as good and with a chance of some contamination - at least from the nephew. The niece's father converted to Judaism and would have had no DNA in common with my father.

My mother's Lazarus kit is 2823.2 cM.

I ran a "One-to-one" between my parents Lazarus kits. THAT should give me a minimum for how closely they are related. Spoiler alert, it's more than the 23 cM than we saw in our "Are Your Parents Related" runs.


Nine matching segments for a total of 95.7 cM. That's four times 23 cM. Blaine Bettinger's Shared cM Project would define that as third cousins or second cousins twice removed. My parents are certainly not related that closely. Two of those segments - on Chromosome 10 - are adjacent and they alone are nearly 23 cM.

My parents' Lazarus kits show no match on the X.

But the biggest surprise is that there is nothing on Chromosome 3 or Chromosome 9 that Sarajoy and I show. And there are two segments on Chromosome 1 but neither is the segment that Amy and Judith show. I am guessing that the Lazarus algorithm is not designed to recognize those Runs of Homozygosity and that my cousins do not have those matches with my mother.

I don't have much practical use for "Are Your Parents Related," so the discrepancy really doesn't matter to me. But it certainly is one of those things that make you go "Hmmm."

Housekeeping notes
I am posting this Sunday morning my time. This evening, I'll be speking for “Shorashim BaGalil” in Kiryat Tivon at the Library and Memorial Center Migdal Street 2. It will be the Hebrew version of
Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey

I'll be speaking on the same topic on 19 June at 6:30, for IGS Rishon Lezion, Museum of Rishon Lezion, Ahad Ha’am 2.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Lazarus and Half-Siblings


Most of  my readers know by now that the Lazarus tool on GEDmatch (a Tier 1 tool which requires a small donation) enables you to recreate a partial genome of a person based on DNA of his descendants and other relatives.

If your Lazarus kit has 1500 cM or more, it will be batched by GEDmatch and you can use it in one-to-many searches. With that, you can see who else that kit matches and how.

Lazarus works with two groups of relatives. Group 1 is descendants of the target, children, grandchildren even great-grandchildren - though the further away you get, the less useful. Group 2 is non-descendant relatives of the target - siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins etc. The idea is that in a non-endogamous population, any segment that appears in both Group 1 and Group 2, must be shared by the target.

In endogamous populations, that's a bit more complicated as it is easy to mistakenly introduce segments that do not belong, as I discussed about six weeks ago regarding the Lazarus kit of my great-grandmother Jutte Leah Kwoczka.

The Facebook group "GEDmatch Lazarus Tool" gives users a place to discuss their experiences and problems and to get advice from others. That groups was founded by the indispensible Blaine Bettinger and he also provides a link to his blog with a detailed explaination on how to use Lazarus. Blaine's blog includes the following:


Later he repeats for emphasis:
The most important rule is to
NEVER EVER PUT A DESCENDANT IN GROUP 2!!

Why is that? Because if you are doing a Lazarus for your grandmother, her descendants will likely also be descendants of your grandfather as well and if you have descendants of both of them in both Group 1 and Group 2, the Lazarus kit - which accepts all the matching segments without differentiation - will give your grandmother's kit segments that are not hers, but her husband's.

Nearly two years ago, I challenged that blanket statement in this space. I wrote:
There is, however, an exception. When the target has children from multiple spouses who are not related to one another.
I explained this using a fictional discussion within a well-known historical family, which is worth a reread.

The subject keeps coming up, so I thought it worth a review.

The idea is that since the target's multiple unrelated spouses are, well, unrelated, if you put the descandants of one spouse in Group 1 and descendants of another in Group 2, you do not run into the problem of misattribution that I described above.

This subject comes up from time to time in the Facebook group because despite the fact that GEDmatch adjusted its instructions to permit half-siblings in Group 2, Blaine's linked blog still has the old instructions which warns sternly against doing so.

This is not a trivial matter. In my Jutte Leah Kwoczka blog cited above, I described how I struggled to reach the 1500 cM minimum, even though I had fifteen descendants in Group 1.

David matches Anna. Click to enlarge.
But let's look what happens when we use two half siblings - one each in Group 1 and Group 2. For this I return to my favorite fourth cousins, David and Anna, great-great-grandchildren of Uncle Selig. They have the same father but their mothers are not related to one another. Both mothers are Polish so there is no issue of Jewish endogamy in play.

Using a one-to-one, we get 1619.7 cM right off the bat, more than the 1500 cM we need for batching. (This does not include the X, but we don't need it because obviously David has no X from his father. If we were talking about two sisters, we would add the results of the separate "X 'One-to-one' " tool.)

Blaine's very important Shared CcM Project shows the average half-sibling match to be 1731.05 cM, but the diffrence between that  and David and Anna's shared 1617.7 cM probably includes the X which they don't have at all. In any case, 1617.7 cM is a reasonable result.

But we can do better.

The 1617.7 cM is based on a threshhold of 7 cM. That is, it excludes anything below 7 cM. In fact, if two half-siblings have smaller matches, they surely come from the shared parent. Their father also has those small segments, even if they came to him as IBS (Identical By State).

I ran the "One-to-one" again using a threshhold of 4 cM (the lowest permitted by Lazarus) and added these six segments. That brings the total match between David and Anna to 1649.8 cM.

This is what they share from their father.


I created a Lazarus kit (shown on the left), using the 4 cM threshhold, with only David in Group 1 and only Anna in Group 2. I fully expected to get a kit with that same 1649.8 cM. The result is 1642 cM - close but not perfect. I'll let GEDmatch figure out what the difference is and why.

The results are good enough for batching.

Of course, if David's full brothers would test, we could add them to Group 1 which would improve the results. Probably significantly.

If Anna also had full siblings, even better.

And if we could add their one known second cousin (whom I hope to meet at my presentation in Rishon Lezion in three weeks) to Group 2, we could also improve the results. I'm not sure by how much.

But the point is, this works.


Housekeeping Notes

Skalat memorial
The annual Skalat memorial at the Holon Cemetery outside Tel-Aviv is the day after Shavuot - this year Thursday the first of June at five thirty, next to the Skalat monument along the eastern wall of the cemetery. Those of you saying Yizkor that day may wish to keep us in mind.

Coming presentations in Israel
I am giving two presentations here in Israel in the coming weeks.

4 June 2017, 7:00 PM – IGS “Shorashim BaGalil” Kiryat Tivon, Library and Memorial Center, Migdal 2
and
19 June 2017, 6:30 PM – IGS Rishon Lezion, Museum of Rishon Lezion, Ahad Ha’am 2.
Both are the Hebrew version of
Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey
   
Moscow
I have my ticket in hand for my trip to the US for the Orlando conference, with a stop in Moscow for a day and a half. I'll be meeting there with two more of my newfound Kaplan-Rosenbloom second cousins. I am very excited about this. (I introduced you to this family here, here and here.)

Presentations in Orlando
I have now signed up introducers for all four of my presentations at the IAJGS Conference in Orlando 23-28 July. Two of them are people I have never met - but they are Pikholz descendants, one from Skalat and one from Rozdol.
   
Unveiling
On my way back from Orlando, I'll be in Chicago for a couple of days.  I understand that my sisters there plan to have my brother's unveiling then.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nonetheless, "Next Year in Jerusalem"

Two weeks ago, I went to the Jewish cemetery in Vienna. Several of the tombstones I visited had important new information. The most important of the bunch is the stone of Meier Pickholz, whose parents had been unknown to me since I first heard of him in 1999. I knew that he had died in Vienna in 1916 and that his wife, Laura Spiegelglas, died in 1919.

They had a daughter Gusta about whom I wrote on Holocaust Memorial Day. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Gusta is a second cousin of my grandfather.

Meier Pickholz' grave in Vienna
Meir has a tombstone, but the photograph I received nearly twenty years ago made it look as though the inscription was worn away. (Laura has no stone.) On this visit, I was able to read most of the stone. As I wrote in my blog that evening,

A pure and honest man

R' Meir Pickholz

ben R' Asher Selig

from Tarnopol

Died [something about a hospital?] in Vienna

17th Kislev 5677 

So I finally had his father's name and his place in the family - a first cousin of my great-grandfather. But it was raining, we were rushed and I had trouble wth the bit in the brackets. A few days later I received an email from a reader named Itzik Popper, an accountant here in Israel. He read the missing line correctly:

נפטר בתוך הגולה פה וויען
 Died in the midst of the Exile here (in) Vienna

The phrase "in the midst of the Exile" is from the first verse of the prophet Ezekiel, which we will read next week on the Shavuot holiday. That is only one of several possible translations from the original Hebrew.

I found this very exciting. I had never seen anything of this sort on a Pikholz family grave. I wrote to David and Anna, great-grandchildren of Meir's brother. David did not understand - not the inscription and not my excitement. He wrote:
In 1916 both Vienna, Austria and Tarnopol, Galicia Region are part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.So was Meier an internal exile ? If so, in exile from what, or whom?
David was not raised with the Jewish traditions and the quotes which are second nature to many of us. Perhaps he also thought it odd that I had capitalized "Exile." When I wrote "Exile from the Land of Israel," he responded:
It is no excuse that I may too readily consider the ancestors, in certain respects of their lives, as ‘citizens’ of their respective nations of residence.
I replied:
We have been in exile for two thousand years and those of us brought up in the traditions sense that automatically..

The fact that this is stated on Meier's grave is to me a wonderful thing. Something has always pulled my attention to him. 
And he asked:
I am now wondering why you did use the present tense rather than the past tense thus: “... we HAD been in exile for two thousand years ...”
How does the existence of the State of Israel and the policy of Aliyot affect the historical fact of exile, objectively and, dare I ask for personal view, in the subjective sense ?
And I replied:
1. Half of us still are.
2. The fact that we have our own place does not mean the process is complete. We still say "Next year in Jerusalem" even if some of us are here now. This is a thing that happens in stages and we are still in process.
Indeed, we say - sing - "Next Year in Jerusalem" - "LeShanah HaBaa Birushalayim" - at the close of Yom Kippur; near the end of the Passover seder; and as we dance with the Torah scrolls on Simhat Torah. Even if we are in Israel and even if we are in Jerusalem.

I write this Tuesday the twenty-seventh of the month of Iyyar. This evening we celebrate the city of Jerusalem on the fiftieth anniversary of its miraculous liberation and reunification.
The wall of the Old City - from the Times of Israel
We celebrate in the synagogue and we celebrate in the public square. We celebrate with song and prayer and thanksgiving.

It is our destiny to be here and we are both fortunate and challenged, living as we are at a time when this is not some distant hope but a matter of personal choice. Many have taken to singing "Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem," which is more of a prayer because although Jerusalem is in our hands, rebuilt Jerusalem is decidedly not.

The translation of Ezekiel's line "in the midst of the Exile" is from the Koren Bible. Soncino prefers "among the captives," which is less literal. "In the midst" can mean time, the two thousand years that we have been living through, many of us accepting it as normal. "In the midst" can mean geography - being in one place rather than another. "In the midst" can speak to the mixed populations, as we are scattered among the nations. "Exile" indeed has all those dimensions - and it is a state of mind to boot.


But in any case, I don't believe that it means lower case, generic "exile" as David understood it. Like Napoleon in Elba or the Romanian King Michael. "Exile" (upper case) is the disaster that has overwhelmed and distorted Jewish life for two thousand years. In our day, it is slowly and suddenly coming to an end. As Isaiah says (chapter 60), hastened in its time.

I have always been drawn to this indeterminate cousin Meir and his wife Laura and I am very proud of them for that glorious bit of epitaph. They understood. They understood that Exile is an abnormal condition that must eventually come to an end. They understood that in quoting the prophet Ezekiel, they were locked into ancient hopes.

Had they lived into the 1920s, they might have been buried here.

Happy Jerusalem Day.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Where Are All The Sterns From Kalocsa?

Eleonora Stern, wife of Ahron Schiffer
Bluma
After visiting the old cemetery in Kalocsa Hungary the week before last and finding several Stern graves, including my third-great-grandparents, I decided to see what Jewish vital records are available for the town.

I was particularly interested in the death record for my third-great-grandmother Barbola (Bluma) Grunwald, the wife of Salamon (Zelig) Stern. At least I thought she was my 3-g-gm. Fani (Feige) Stern Bauer's mother could have been someone else and this woman a second wife. There are, after all, no records before 1850 and Feige was born in 1841. For that I needed additional information.

It turns out that Family Search has birth, death and marriage records for Kalocsa for the period 1850-1895, on line and at no charge. The film number is 624855.

I found the death record for Bluma Grunwald easily enough because the tombstone itself gave me the date of death.
The record is on the second line. She is listed as Grunwald with no mention of her husband's surname Stern











She died of "exhaustion" at age eighty, a widow originally from Perkat. Her death was 27 January 1887 and she was buried the next day. Her parents are Jakob Grunwald and Fani Hercz. My fourth-great-grandparents? I think so. My 2-g-gm is Fani like Bluma's mother.

Salamon's children
I spent several days downloading the whole set of records from Family Search and reviewing them. We knew that Salomon Stern (assuming there is only one!) had a daughter Fani (~1841), a daughter Sali (1851) and a son Wilhelm (1853) but nothing else. The first breakthrough came with the marriage records, which all have age and father's name. Here are Salamon's children as they appear in the marriage records.
  • Fani Stern, age 21, married Simon Bauer in February 1862 - my second g-gm.
  • Sophie Stern, age 20, married Avroham (Adolf) Schein in June 1863.
  • Michael Stern, age 24, married Leni Braun in December 1868.
  • Ignatz Stern, age 31, married Beti Schneider in April 1871.
  • Rosalia Stern, age 20, married Joseph Spitzer in May 1871.
The age for Roslia fits Sali.

I had now identified two children between Fani and Sali and became much more comfortable claiming Bluma as the mother of all of them. Still, there is a break of seven years between Michael and Sali/Rosalia.

There are eight other Stern marriages, including Fani, the daughter of Michael, in 1892. Four others are children of Ahron Stern who is about fifteen years younger than Salamon and could be his brother or nephew. The others are children of "M. Hersch" and David.

So based on a family of six children, I went through the birth and death records. Wilhelm had died at age three.

Salamon Stern [Zelig] b. Abt 1805, Paks, m. Barbala (Beti) Grunwald, [Bluma] b. Abt 1806,
Perkata, (daughter of Jakob Grunwald and Fani Hercz) d. 27 Jan 1887, 2 Shevat 5647, buried
Kalocsa.  Salomon died 6 May 1862, 6 Iyyar 5622, buried Kalocsa.
I.   Ignatz Stern [Izak Leib] b. Abt 1840, Kalocsa, m. 20 Apr 1871, in Kalocsa, Beti
     Schneider, [Bluma] b. Abt 1842.
     A.   Hermina Stern b. 15 Mar 1872, Kalocsa.
     B.   Salomon Stern [Zelig] b. 3 Nov 1873, Kalocsa.
     C.   Rosi Stern [Rivka] b. 11 Sep 1875, Kalocsa, d. note.
     D.   Josefina Stern [Frumat] b. 26 Dec 1876, Kalocsa.
     E.   Izidor Stern [??????] b. 9 Jan 1880, Kalocsa.
     F.   Matias Stern [Menahem Mendel] b. 31 Mar 1882, Kalocsa.
     G.   Jolan Stern [Chana] b. 20 Dec 1884, Kalocsa.
II.  Fani Stern [Feige] b. 1842, Kalocsa HUNGARY, m. 20 Jan 1862, in Kalocsa HUNGARY,
     Simon Bauer, [Shemaya] b. 1833, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, (son of Lasar Bauer and WOMAN
     xXxXx) d. 20 Jul 1902, 15-16 Tammuz 5662, buried Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY.  Fani died
     16 Mar 1911, 16-17 Adar 5671, buried Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY.
     A.   Ilona Bauer [Dobrisch] b. 1 Jan 1863, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, m. Lipot Wiesel.
           Ilona died 21 Aug 1893.
     B.   Sigmund Bauer [Yehoshua] b. 28 Feb 1865, m. Rozsi Stern, [Sherl] b. Abt 1873, d.
          29 Jul 1928, 13 Av 5688, buried Neolog Cemetery Budapest.  Sigmund died 29 Apr
          1938, 28-29 Nisan 5698, buried Budapest HUNGARY.
     C.   Regina Bauer [Rivka] b. 1 Jul 1870, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, m. 8 May 1890, in
          Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, Moritz Rosenzweig, [Moshe] b. 26 Nov 1858, Domanis
          SLOVAKIA, (son of Isaak Leib (Ignacz) Rosenzweig and Mari Zelinka) d. 1/2 Nov
          1928, 19 Heshvan 5689, buried (photo), Pittsburgh PA (Poale Zedeck-Sheraden).
          Regina died 5 Sep 1950, 23 Elul 5710, buried (photo), Pittsburgh PA (Poale
          Zedeck-Sheraden).
     D.   Louisa Bauer [Leah] b. 1 May 1873, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, m. (1) Mano Steiner,
          [Menasche] d. YES, m. (2) Christopher Andrea, d. YES.  Louisa died 8 Dec 1951, 9
          Kislev 5712, buried Troy Hill, Reserve Twp, Pittsburgh.
     E.   Lajos Bauer [Eliezer?] b. 3 Mar 1875, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, d. 17 Jul 1917,
          17-18 Tammuz 5677, buried Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY.
     F.   Hermina Bauer b. 31 Mar 1877, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, killed in the Shoah
     G.   Zsuzsanna Bauer b. 28 May 1884, Kunszentmiklos HUNGARY, killed in the Shoah.
III. Sophie Stern [Scheindel] b. Abt 1843, Kalocsa, m. 17 Jun 1863, in Kalocsa, Adolph
     Schein, [Avroham] b. Abt 1840, Rigiza Hungary?.  Sophie died note.
     A.   Stillborn b. 10 Jun 1870, Kalocsa.
     B.   Isidor Schein [Israel] b. 21 Aug 1871, Kalocsa.
     C.   Dezso Schein [David] b. 9 Sep 1874, Kalocsa.
     D.   Szilard Schein [?????] b. 10 May 1878, Kalocsa, d. 24 Apr 1886, 19 Nisan 5646,
           buried Kalocsa.
     E.   Salomon Schein [Yehoshua Zelig] b. 23 Feb 1880, Kalocsa.
IV.  Michael Stern b. Abt 1844, Kalocsa, m. 2 Dec 1868, in Kalocsa, Leni Braun, b. Abt 1848
     A.   Fani Stern b. 9 Sep 1869, Kalocsa, m. 15 May 1892, in Kalocsa, Ignacz
           Sonnenschein, b. Abt 1866.
     B.   Scharlota Stern [Scheindel] b. 24 Sep 1870, Kalocsa.
     C.   Salomon Stern [Zelig] b. 9 Oct 1871, Kalocsa, d. note?.
     D.   Rosa Stern [Rivka] b. 9 Jun 1875, Kalocsa.
V.   Rosalia (Sali) Stern [Sharl] b. 20 Feb 1851, Kalocsa, m. 29 May 1871, in Kalocsa,
     Joseph Spitzer, [Yosef] b. Abt 1844.
     A.   Neti Spitzer [Esther] b. 4 Mar 1872, Kalocsa, m. 16 Dec 1888, in Kalocsa, Nachem
           Friedman, [Nahum]
     B.   Siga Stern [Yehoshua Zelig] b. 19 Jun 1876, Kalocsa.
     C.   Mari Stern [Miriam] b. 15 Apr 1878, Kalocsa.
     D.   Rozsa Stern [Rivka] b. 10 Oct 1880, Kalocsa.
     E.   Ilona Stern [Leah] b. 10 Aug 1882, Kalocsa, d. 11 Aug 1887, 21 Av 5647, buried Kalocsa
     F.   Zsofie Stern [Scheindel] b. 22 Mar 1885, Kalocsa.
     G.   Mihaly Stern [YomTov Yehiel] b. 25 Jun 1889, Kalocsa.
VI.  Wilhelm Stern b. 2 Feb 1853, Kalocsa, d. 30 Jun 1856, 27 Sivan 5616, buried Kalocsa.

Regina in red is my great-grandmother and Sigmund in blue is Cousin Shabtai's grandfather.

Salamon as Zelig
As I wrote last week, Salamon's tombstone gives his Jewish name as Zelig, and Bluma's identifies her as "the wife of Zelig Stern." Ignatz and Michael named their first sons Salomon with the Jewish name Zelig. Sali Spitzer named her first son Siga (a form of Sigmund) with the Jewish name Yehoshua (=Joshua) Zelig and Fani's first son Sigmund was Yehoshua. Sofie Schein's youngest is Salomon and Yehoshua Zelig.

And my great-grandmother Regina Stern Bauer named her first son Sigmund and Zelig.

As I mentioned last week in a different context, Zelig is the Yiddish kinui (=nickname) for Asher. But it's not so simple. My friend Rabbi Dovid Shapiro tells me that the book on names, the Beis Shmuel, gives Zelig as an official kinui for Yitzhak, Yaakov, Reuven, Yehudah, Asher, Pinchas, Yehoshua, Yekutiel, Gershon, Chaim, Azriel, Nathan and a few more. Truly a multi-purpose nickname.

So it appears that my 3-g-gf was Zelig based on Yehoshua and his grandsons were given one or both of these Jewish names, with secular names Salomon or Sigmund.

I would like to see Shabtai's grandfather's tombstone in Budapest. Perhaps he too has both names.

Some of the other Sterns used these names at the same time and they too may be grandchildren of our Salomon/Zelig. Or nephews.

The other Sterns in Kalocsa
What about the scores or other Sterns in those Kalocsa records? Some are clearly identified families. Ahron and his wife Fani Kramer had nine children and I have identified fourteen grandchildren. But perhaps Anton Stern, with nine children, is also a son of Ahron. And others - Beti Weisz, for instance, may be from our Salomon.

Birth record with three given names
The incomplete information, the repeated given names and the various nicknames makes it hard to know. Answers may lie in the post-1895 records, particularly the deaths.(I actually have sixty pages of those, but very poor quality.)

Here is what I have recorded.

I.   M. Hersch Stern m. WOMAN.
     A.   Jakob Stern m. Rosi Straser.
          1.   Wilhelm Stern b. 12 Apr 1855, Kalocsa.
          2.   Joachim Leopold Stern b. 15 Mar 1857, Kalocsa, d. 1912.
          3.   Emanuel Stern b. 1 Nov 1860, Kalocsa.
          4.   Maximilian Stern [Meir ???] b. 1863, d. 1 Nov 1863, 19 Heshvan 5624, buried Kalocsa
     B.   Leopold Stern m. 2 Dec 1868, in Kalocsa, Mari Schiffer, (daughter of Aharon
          Schifer and Eleonora (Leni) Stern).
          1.   Mikal Stern [Yehiel Michel] b. 4 Jul 1870, Kalocsa.
          2.   Gisela Stern [Gittel] b. 27 Dec 1871, Kalocsa, d. 9 Sep 1873, Elul, buried Kalocsa
          3.   Rosa Stern b. 31 Dec 1873, Kalocsa.
II.  Aharon Stern b. Abt 1821, m. Fani Kramer, b. Abt 1829, d. 2 Jan 1892, buried Kalocsa.
      Aharon died 16 Aug 1873, buried Kalocsa.
     A.   Rosalia Stern [Sharl] b. Abt 1853, m. 19 Feb 1877, in Kalocsa, Samuel Salomon [Shelomo]
          1.   Adolf Salomon [Aharon] b. 22 Nov 1877, Kalocsa.
          2.   Sandor Zsiga Salomon [Yehoshua] b. 11 Sep 1879, Kalocsa.
          3.   Bercsi Salomon [Issachar] b. 25 Apr 1882, Kalocsa.
          4.   Rozsa Salomon [Rachel] b. 25 Mar 1885, Kalocsa.
          5.   stillborn son b. 26 Apr 1888, Kalocsa.
          6.   Mariska Salomon [Yenta] b. 29 Apr 1889, Kalocsa.
     B.   Hani (Johanna) Stern [Chana] b. 15 Dec 1856, Kalocsa, m. 12 Mar 1884, in
          Kalocsaa, Jakob Gamsz, [Yaakov]
          1.   Armin Gamsz [Aharon] b. 5 Dec 1884, Kalocsa.
          2.   Rozsa Gamsz [Rachel] b. 10 May 1886, Kalocsa.
          3.   Orzse Gamsz [Esther] b. 24 Mar 1889, Kalocsa.
          4.   Berta Gamsz [Deicha??] b. 4 Mar 1890, Kalocsa.
          5.   Ferencz Gamsz [UriShraga (Feiv] b. 21 Jun 1894, Kalocsa, d. 16 Jul 1894,
               buried Kalocsa.
     C.   Pepi Stern m. 4 Aug 1890, in Kalocsa, Fulop Schwarcz.
          1.   Vilmos Schwarcz [Binyamin Zeev] b. 20 Jun 1891, Kalocsa.
          2.   Nandor Schwarcz b. 28 Mar 1893, Kalocsa.
     D.   Julie Stern m. 25 Jun 1870, in Kalocsa, Joseph Friedman.
     E.   Leni Stern b. 19 Jan 1859, Kalocsa, d. 16 Feb 1859, 12 Adar 5619, buried Kalocsa
     F.   Bernad Stern b. 25 Mar 1860, Kalocsa, m. Regina Ullman.
         1.  Berta Stern [Beila] b. 3 Jun 1885, Kalocsa.
     G.   Rosi Stern b. 4 Dec 1862, Kalocsa.
     H.   Simon Stern [Shimshon] b. 14 Jan 1865, Kalocsa, d. 0114 1865, buried Kalocsa.
     I.   Kati Stern b. 21 Mar 1866, Kalocsa, d. 2 Mar 1868, buried Kalocsa.
III. Simon Stern m. WOMAN.
     A.   Mari Stern [Mindel] b. Abt 1814, m. Jakob Engel, b. Abt 1816, d. 23 Nov 1882.
          Mari died 8 Dec 1872, 6 Kislev 5633, buried Kalocsa.
          1.   Szali Engel b. Abt 1847, m. Fulop Klein.  Szali died 17 Nov 1892, buried Kalocsa
IV.  David Stern m. Fani Breuer.
     A.   Vilmos Stern [Binyamin Zeev] b. Abt 1870, m. Hani Roth, [Hindel]
          1.   Regina Stern [Rivka] b. 4 Aug 1891, Kalocsa.
          2.   Helen Stern b. 1 Jun 1893, Kalocsa.
V.   Eleonora (Leni) Stern [Leah] m. Aharon Schifer, b. Abt 1821, d. 9 Oct 1887, buried Kalocsa
     A.   Mari Schiffer m. 2 Dec 1868, in Kalocsa, Leopold Stern, (son of M. Hersch Stern
          and WOMAN).
          1.   (see children above in purple).
     B.   Jacob Schifer b. 21 Apr 1851, Kalocsa.
     C.   Josef Schifer b. 26 Apr 1855, Kalocsa.
     D.   Ignatz Leopold Schifer b. 6 Aug 1857, Kalocsa.
     E.   Emanuel Schifer b. 12 Mar 1861, Kalocsa.
     F.   Rosi Schiffer b. 16 Sep 1862, Kalocsa.
     G.   Salomon Schiffer b. 17 Mar 1865, Kalocsa.
     H.   Abroham Schoffer b. 17 Mar 1865, Kalocsa.
VI.  Beti Stern m. Leopold Weisz.
     A.   Fani Weisz b. 1 Oct 1851, Kalocsa.
     B.   Bernhad Weisz b. 24 Dec 1856, Kalocsa.
     C.   Abraham Weisz b. 18 May 1859, Kalocsa.
     D.   Salomon Zsiga Weisz [Zelig] b. 6 Nov 1862, Kalocsa.
     E.   Ida Weisz b. 2 Apr 1868, Kalocsa.
     F.   Ignatz Gustav Weisz [Yehudah] b. 7081871, Kalocsa, d. 1896?.
     G.   Isidor Weisz [Israel] b. 26 Jan 1874, Kalocsa.
VII. Joseph Stern m. Cilli Grunspan.
     A.   Philip Stern [Lipa?] b. 11 Aug 1864, Kalocsa.
VIII Juli Stern m. Lowy Braun.
     A.   Gesa Braun [Eliezer?] b. 20 Oct 1865, Kalocsa, d. Maybe 188?.
     B.   Ilka Braun b. 31 Aug 1868, Kalocsa.
     C.   Arpad Braun b. 30 Nov 1870, Kalocsa.
IX.  Anton Stern [Naftali] m. Neti Reh, [Esther]
     A.   Rosi Stern [Shifra] b. 16 Mar 1876, Kalocsa.
     B.   Adolf Stern [Aharon] b. 3 Oct 1877, Kalocsa.
     C.   Bela Stern [Issachar Dov] b. 31 May 1879, Kalocsa, d. 3 Aug 1879, buried Kalocsa
     D.   Margit Stern [Miriam] b. 3 Jun 1880, Kalocsa.
     E.   Markus Stern [Meir] b. 30 Nov 1881, Kalocsa.
     F.   Lajos (Lazar) Stern [Eliezer] b. 26 Apr 1883, Kalocsa.
     G.   Imre Stern [Meir?] b. 21 Sep 1884, Kalocsa, d. 13 Sep 1885, buried Kalocsa
     H.   Jolan Stern [Yentel] b. 20 May 1886, Kalocsa.
     I.     Malvin Stern [Miriam] b. 24 May 1889, Kalocsa.
X.   Helene Stern [Leah] m. Joseph Strasser, [Yosef Zvi]
     A.   Emil Strasser [Yehiel Michel] b. 9 Sep 1876, Kalocsa.
     B.   Scharlota Strasser [Charna] b. 9 Sep 1876, Kalocsa.
XI.  Sigmund Stern [?????] m. Nina Czabel.
     A.   Rozalia Stern [Sarah] b. 29 Nov 1878, Kalocsa.
XII. Mathilda Stern [Miriam] m. Salomon Schwartz, [Shalom?]
     A.   Scharlota Schwartz [Charna] b. 1 Jan 1888, Kalocsa.
XIII Wilmos Stern m. Emilia Steiner.
     A.   Wilma Stern [Feige??] b. 4 May 1881, Kalocsa.
XIV. Mari Stern [Miriam] m. Ignatz Klein, [Yitzhak]
     A.   Bela Klein [Binyamin] b. 27 Dec 1881, Kalocsa.
     B.   Riza Klein [Reizel Leah] b. 18 Feb 1884, Kalocsa.
     C.   Moritz Klein [Meir] b. 16 Dec 1884, Kalocsa.
     D.   Salamon Sandor Klein b. 23 Jan 1877, Kalocsa.
XV.  Salamon Stern [Shelomo Zvi] m. Johanna Silberberger, [Chana]
     A.   Ilonka Stern [Gittel] b. 27 Feb 1888, Kalocsa.
XVI Johanna Stern m. Salamon Zilberberg.
     A.   Riza Zilberberg [Rivka] b. 20 Feb 1891, Kalocsa.
XVII Eugenia Stern m. MAN.
     A.   Margit Stern b. 24 Aug 1895, Kalocsa.
XVIII. Mozes Stern m. Rozalia Braun.
     A.   Hani Stern b. Abt 1880, d. 18 Jul 1886, buried Kalocsa.
XIX.  Rosa Stern b. Abt 1860, d. 23 Feb 1877, buried Kalocsa.
XX. Hanni Stern b. Abt 1842, d. 6 Sep 1884.

So what happened to all these people?  Where are their descendants? WHO are their descendats?

The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names at Yad Vashem has almost no Sterns from Kalocsa. Most of their Kalocsa victims are from "lists of murdered Jews" not the more anecdotal Pages of Testimony.  So if they were killed in the Shoah, they should be represented there.

Steve Morse's gold page shows no Stern at Ellis Island among sixty-three Kalocsa entries.

The JewishGen Family Finder has ninety researchers for Stern from Hungary, but only one besides me has registered Kalocsa. He has also registered Paks, where our Salamon was born. And he has logged in recently. Looks promising. I'll contact him with a link to this post.

There is also one person who recently listed Sterns from Paks and Kalocsa at the Family Tree of the Jewish People. That is another good place to start.

There are some records cited in the H-SIG database but some of them are not clear and I have not recorded them.

There is obviously a lot of work to be done but putting it online with some social media magic may get the ball rolling.


Housekeeping notes

Skalat memorial
The annual Skalat memorial at the Holon Cemetery outside Tel-Aviv is generally the day after Shavuot - this year Thursday the first of June. I have not yet been notified of the time, but it is usually five o'clock or five-thirty. Watch this space for the time.

Coming presentations in Israel
I am giving two presentations here in Israel in the coming weeks.

4 June 2017, 7:00 PM – IGS “Shorashim BaGalil” Kiryat Tivon, Library and Memorial Center, Migdal 2
and
19 June 2017, 6:30 PM – IGS Rishon Lezion, Museum of Rishon Lezion, Ahad Ha’am 2.
Both are the Hebrew version of
Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey

Presentations in Orlando
I have now signed up introducers for all four of my presentations at the IAJGS Conference in Orlando 23-17 July. Two of them are people I have never met - but they are Pikholz descendants, one from Skalat and one from Rozdol.