Sunday, August 26, 2012


Part three of three

When I left off last week, I had determined that my great-great-grandfather Isak Fischel Pikholz and Dalia's great-great-grandfather Mordecai Pikholz are beyond a doubt brothers, making us fourth cousins.

I have much to cover here, so I do not want to speculate on the name of their father - our next generation up - though I think I know what it is. Another time, perhaps. In any case, he seems to have been born about 1780, based on the ages of his two known sons.
I expect to be able to add Vladimir's great-grandfather as another son of Mordecai, after we get his test results in another month or two. We also have a family of cousins in Kansas City, whose late fathers ought to be second cousins of Vladimir. One of them has done an autosomal test and we await results.

So to all these, I add the other six Y-chrosome candidates that I listed last week:
3. Lloyd, whose great-grandfather married Aryeh Leib ben Mordecai's daughter.
4. One of the sons of Mordecai Allon, whose Pikholz grandfather lived further east into Ukraine.
5. M, the elusive great-grandson of Simon Pikholz, whose family went to New Jersey in the 1890s and who seems to be closely related to Dalia and me.
6. Moshe, who survived the War with his family in the forest around Skalat and whom we know nothing about past his grandparents' names.
7. Aharon, who has not been at all cooperative, but who is the only Y-chromosome candidate for his family.
And of course Jacob and Bronislaw, the descendants of Nachman, a contemporary of the father of Mordecai and Isak Fischel.
I am hoping to get these six to take tests, though in some cases, we may have to find a way to finance them ourselves.

The seven broken black lines represent those families whom we are trying to connect to an earlier generation.

Red lines represent connections that I assume to be true, but have not yet proven.

Red circles are those who have tested for DNA (Y-chromosome, autosomal or both). Green circles are those who said they would test but haven't yet. Blue are people we need to convince.

Then there are the seven families of four or more generations, for whom we have living descendants but none in an all male line. For those, we can talk about autosomal testing. So let's do so. (Two additional families of four generations do not appear to have anyone who survived the Holocaust and we can only guess exactly where they belong in the family structure.)

In describing these seven families, I will use the names that I have given these families on the Pikholz Project website.
1. RITA. This family is almost certainly descended from Nachman Pikholz and we can test that hypothesis once we have something from Jacob and/or Bronislaw. The oldest person we have here is Moshe Hersch, who was born about 1820.

2. TONKA. This family is also almost certainly descended from Nachman. The oldest person we have is Moshe Pikholz, who was probably born 1851. Moshe's father may have been Gabriel, who was born about 1822.

3. IRENE. This family goes back to Peretz Pikholz who was born about 1820. We have someone born 1916 who doing an autosomal test and we hope that gives a meaningful result. We also have a clue in the names. In addition to the three pre-1800 Pikholz who appear at the top of the chart, we know of a Berl who was born about 1789 and died 1877. We have a few children and grandchildren, one of whom was born soon after Irene's Peretz died and bore the middle name Peretz. So IRENE's Peretz may well be descended the son of this Berl.

4. STEVE. Another family descended from a Moshe Hersch Pikholz who was probably born about 1815.

5. RISS. A family descended from a Ryfke Pikholz, who was born about 1820.

6. MIGDEN. A smallish family descended from Josef Pikholz who was born about 1860.

7. WELWELE. A very small family descended from a Welwele Pikholz who was probably born about 1870.
As we sort out whatever we can with the families in the chart above, we can begin to approach some of these other families and see where that takes us.

This probably comes better as a lecture than as a written blog and I hope to turn it into a Power Point presentation, which can include ongoing developments. Of course, I plan to revisit the chart above as we get results from the pending and planned DNA tests. I'll report them here, so those of you who are interested, should pay attention for announcements of subsequent posts.

The other critical issue - which I addressed briefly and in a more limited context last week - is to what extent are these DNA results proof. If Vladimir and the Kansas City cousins show up as "suggested second or third cousins," can I record them accordingly? Or do I have to stick with notes that begin with "appears to be..." Can I put them unambiguously on a chart or do I have to used broken or colored lines that indicate "maybe." And who decides?

Please leave your comments.


  1. Does this have any bearing on the Cleveland Pickholtzes, i.e., will they be DNA-tested? Or have you ruled them out as being related, based on other factors?

    1. This is an excellent question, Eric, and I was hoping someone else (not me) would bring it up.

      It deserves a more detailed reply than I can give you here on the fly, so I'll probably blog on that next week.