Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What Shall We Do With An Orphaned Segment?

One of these inquiries that appears every day or so in my email inbox reads as follows:
As you are in the process of writing your July lecture on DNA and the Lazarus tool, I thought that it would be appropriate for me to ask you what should I make of the fact that I match about 50 **0Pikholz DNA kits?
My kit # is [redacted].

Best, Olivier Szlos
So I have a look, as I usually do, and see that he indeed matches fifty-four of my kits.
  • twelve of my seventeen Rozdol-Pikholz kits 
  • all four of my Kwoczka cousins
  • two of my four sisters, my brother and me - but the other two sisters
  • one first cousin on my mother's side and two second cousins, one from each grandparent
  • two second cousins on my Pikholz side plus one of my two double second cousins
  • one third cousin and one 3C1R on my Pikholz side
  • one second cousin and one 2C1R on my father's mother's side
  • six other Pikholz to whom I am fairly closely related (4-5 cousin territory)
  • a few other Pikholz descendants 
  • and a few other kits not specifically related to me
GEDmatch has everyone listed at 4.5 generations or closer. It looked like a decent vein to mine.

On the other hand, Aunt Betty and Uncle Bob are not on Olivier's match list and in general, the potential for patterns of matching segments looked weak.

Six of Olivier's matches with my project have a longest segment of 20 cM or more, but three of those are my brother, one sister and I, all over 26 cM. That in itself got my attention. I ran a series of chromosome browsers but no matter how I did it, the only interesting group is this.

OK, excellent match. But which of my families does it come from? Nothing at all from Aunt Betty or Uncle Bob, but my father may have received this segment while they didn't. But surely someone else must have.  One would think, after all that testing!

On my grandmother's side, Olivier has matches with Marshal (my double second cousin) and my other cousins Susan, Fred and Shabtai. But not there. (And not with Marshal's brother at all.)

On my grandfather's side, there are matches with my second cousins Terry and Marty, but not on this segment. And not at all with Herb, Rhoda and Roz. And none of Olivier's matches with the four Kwoczka cousins fall on this segment. (They match each other enough to identify that Olivier has a distant common ancestor with the Kwoczkas.)

Or maybe our match with Olivier comes from my mother's side. But only one of our two first cousins is a match with Olivier. And one of two second cousins on my grandfather's side and one of four on my grandmother's side. Needless to say, none of those matches show up on "our segment."

Moving a bit further away on the Pikholz side, my regular readers will recall that my great-grandfather Hersch Pikholz had two Pikholz parents. Hersch's father seems closely related to Mordecai and Taube Pikholz and six of their descendants match Olivier - not very strongly, mind you - and in any event, not on our segment. And not much with each other either.

Two of those six are related to Hersch Pikholz through both of his parents, but others who are related only through Hersch's mother Rivka Feige do match Olivier at all.

So in some ways this is very typical - lots of matches but not much we can do with them.This is not the first time I have run into someone who match my siblings but no one else, but the other occasions have been smaller segments - 10, 12, maybe seventeen cM. This orphaned segment - one with no clear ancestry - came to three of us in chunks of more than 26 cM. And Judith has two bits there that total more than 17 cM.

I have done my due diligence here and it has left me frustrated. Sometimes you do everything you are supposed to do and it doesn't help.

The one thing we do know is that Olivier's father has those same matches, so we are at least certain which of Olivier's sides this comes from. His geography is the Lublin area of Poland, which is not much help.

Housekeeping notes
I'll be speaking in Hebrew for the IGS Rishon Lezion branch, 6:30 PM 19 June at the Rishon Lezion Museum, 2 Ahad Haam Street.

When I sent out my pre-Passover greetings and genealogy summary to the Pikholz descendants, I asked if anyone wants to attend the Conference in Orlando and introduce one of my talks. Thus far one Rozdoler has registered - for the entire Conference, no less - and will introduce my presentation Monday morning. I have never met her, but I look forward to doing so in Orlando. The talk she will be introducing has a couple of references to her grandfather, great-grandfather and and both second and third great-grandparents.
–   Monday 24 July 9:45-11:00, Room Swan 9
Beyond a Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove
Introduced by Audrey Pickholz Sandford.

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