Sunday, September 29, 2013


I would like to lay out some numbers on our DNA project. (Please don't say "So what does this mean?" I will take it as a complaint, not a question.)

Last week, I told the Pikholz descendants that I would be posting about the DNA results we have received until now. After preparing a draft, we received results for three more Family Finder tests and one Y-chromosome test.

So what follows has been completely rewritten and includes results that no one has seen yet.

Family Finder (autosomal) test results

We have actual autosomal test results in hand for twenty-five people - twenty-two from "group a" above and three more from "group e." That means that each person can match up to twenty-four other people in our group. The twenty-two all have Pikholz (that specific spelling) listed in FTDAN among their ancestral surnames, so it is easy to locate them.

So let's see how that works out.

I match only twelve, but my aunt matches sixteen and my father's first cousin eighteen. There are only four that neither of them matches - oddly enough none of those are on the Rozdol side.

Only three people match fewer people than I (eight, eight and five), but two of them have non-Jewish "other sides" which means they don't have the background noise that the rest of us have.

The average tester has 14.4 matches.

The two of the three non-Pikholz we have so far have sixteen matches, higher than the average number of matches within the Pikholz testers. The third has only thirteen matches and nothing close, but he joined our group on his own initiative. He has a cousin with good, close matches and I hope she will be joining our group soon.

The two people with the most matches are Lloyd from Skalat (twenty-one matches) and Micha from Rozdol (twenty matches). Micha, by the way, has two documented second cousins once removed (third cousins to each other), but his test shows him as a suggested fourth cousin to both. This is unusual, as it more often happens that people appear closer than they actually are.

Y-chromosome (male-line) tests
Several people who have tested have done their non-Pikholz male lines. I shall not be including those in this discussion.

Eight people have done Y-chromosome tests, four from Skalat, three from Rozdol and one whom I think is Skalat.  That last one is non-trivial as he has seventeen autosomal matches within our group.

Both Lloyd and Micha have done Y-chromosome tests, but Micha has only tested at the most basic level thusfar.

Among the Skalaters, I and two others have an identical haplogroup (R-M269) and we are pretty sure that one of them is my fourth cousin once removed.

The other is a bit of a puzzle, for while he and I are perfect matches at 37 markers - which indicates that we very likely have a common ancestor about six generations ago - he is the person who has only five autosomal matches, and none with my immediate family. His known cousin has only eight autosomal matches, also with none to my own family. What probably happened here is that particular branch of that particular family did not pass on its Pikholz DNA well. Other branches might have, but there are few of those and they have not tested.

Lloyd's haplogroup is something else entirely - E-M35.1. His case is unusual as his grandfather's birth record shows both his parents to be Pikholz. We know the lineage of the mother, but not the father. When the mother went to the US, she was married to someone who is not a Pikholz and it is possible that the birth record may be in error regarding the father's surname, thus explaining the different haplogroup.

Further explanations
I think I'll forego further explanations here, at least for now. Tiptoeing around certain privacy demands makes it difficult to communicate.

I'll write to people individually, based on their own results.

This, by the way, is well worth a read -
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I am giving a serious look at attending a course called Practical Genetic Genealogy which will be held at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh the week preceding the next conference in Salt Lake City.


  1. Very cool. Am I on the "non-Pikholz" list? I think I match most all of you :-)

    1. No. I don't think you checked if you match up against us across the board.

  2. Well I'm 3rd-5th cousin with your aunt (known 4th1R but almost all the DNA is on another line, possibly Pikholz), suggested 4th+ cousin with 3 Pikholz's, suggested 5th+ cousin with 5 more Pikholz's. So 9 out of 22. Since FTDNA isn't saying you're one of my cousins, even though we know you are, I wonder how many others I really match that it's not showing in my match list. You have my data. Do with it what you like :-)

    1. Well, we know we are fifth cousins on my grandmother's Zelinka side and that is based on a documented tree, not just DNA.

      Let me suggest this. Go to your Family Finder match page. In the top left window put "Show All Matches" and in the bottom right put "Pikholz." Run that filter and we will see exactly who FTDNA thinks you match among my twenty-odd Pikholz test results.

  3. That's what I did. 9 people. But I'll send you the full list in email.

    As for our DNA...only one of the several segments we match comes from my mom, which is the side we have the paper trail for. All the rest are through my dad.

    DNA is fun...wooooo!!