Sunday, September 2, 2012


I wasn't planning on getting into this so soon after my three-part blog on DNA and the Skalat families, but a commentor last week brought up the subject so I figured I may as well deal with it.

What do we want to know?
Actually, there are two questions. One has to do with the internal structure of the Rozdol families - those we understand to be descended from Pinkas and Sara Rivka. We have death records with ages for two of their sons, so we know that Israel Joel was born about 1807 and Aron was born about 1818. There appear to be at least two other sons - Izak and Samuel or David or more likely David Samuel.

There are, however, some complications, particularly with the descendants of the son Isak, and there is a possibility that DNA testing can shed some light here. Unfortunately, the best candidates for autosomal testing are second- and third-great-grandchildren of Pinkas and Sara Rivka, which is pretty distant for that kind of testing. And there are enough cousin marriages in those families to make those tests even less reliable than usual.

My best estimation of the Rozdol Pikholz families. (Click to enlarge.)
The red bars indicate relationships for which we have no direct evidence.
The other question is whether or not the Rozdol family is connected to the Skalat families. You might think this a simple question, since we have quite a few father-son lines among the Rozdolers and the Y-chromosome does not deteriorate over generations. Pinkas of Rozdol is probably in the same age cohort as Nachman, Isak Josef and the other male Skalat Pikholz born  about 1780-1795, so if he is a brother, his Y-chromosome would be an easy match.

And maybe that is indeed the case.

Rav Juda Gershon Pickholz tells us much about his family in his books. Here is what he says about his grandfather, Rav Pinkas of Rozdol, in the first version of his book Mahane Yehudah.
Although Rav Juda Gershon mentions his father (elsewhere) as Pikholz, he never seems to use the surname in connection with his grandfather. Between that and the fact that the given name Pinkas is totally unknown among the Skalat families, I have been thinking that if there is a Skalat connection, it is through the wife Sara Rivka - which would make a Y-chromosome test quite useless.

There is the possibility of a Mitochondrial (mother-daughter line) test in the MENSCH family, which would go back to Sara Rivka, but we don't really have anyone to compare to on the Skalat side, except perhaps in the RISS family.

So that leaves autosomal tests. But any attempts to match Skalat and Rozdol Pikholz descendants would be at the fifth- or sixth-cousin level and autosomal tests are not really appropriate for that - unless perhaps they show no connection whatsoever.

So how can we proceed?
Eric, who made the comment that prompted today's discussion, is not a Pikholz family member. That's too bad because I'd like to have responded "Good idea. How about if you take the initiative and I'll help in the background?"

Fact is, I have too much on my plate right now, but I will be happy to lend support and direction to any of the Rozdol Pikholz descendants who might want to undertake this project.

A Y-chromosome inquiry is easy. There are plenty of descendants of direct male lines.

Autosomal tests are more tricky since we want to stay as close to the early generations as possible. I did a cursory survey and see one living great-great-granddaughter of Pinkas and Sara Rivka in the BREZDOWICZ family. (At least I think she is living. People do not always keep me informed on a timely basis.)

In the next generation, I see living descendants in four additional families. Beyond that is probably too far to test in any meaningful way.

If someone from the Rozdol side wants to take this on - which involves getting people to agree to be tested and to pay for the tests, aside from questions of analysis - talk to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment