Sunday, October 25, 2015

More on David Martino

Three weeks ago, I introduced you to Chromosome 3 of David Martino. David has a set of nearly identical matches with my four sisters and me, but not with any close relatives on either side. Not our father's brother and sister, not the second cousins on our father's paternal side and not the first or second cousins on our mother's side.

What we did have are overlapping matches on that segment with a half second cousin who has only one Jewish grandparent, on our father's maternal side, and a with a third cousin once removed on our father's paternal side.

The thing is, the triangulation is crazy. Amy and Jean match Ralph and not Fred. Sarajoy, Judith and I match Fred and not Ralph. The five of us are not the group that they seem to be vis-a-vis David. I was surprised that Sarajoy is paired with Judith and me, not with Amy and Jean - her end point is the same as theirs not ours.

The matches for David's maternal grandmother were almost precisely the same, so clearly it's all on his grandmother's side. I concluded with a call for possible explanations, hoping to get more that the usual "If it doesn't make sense it must be IBS and not indicative of real common ancestry." No one ventured a guess, not on the post nor on Facebook.

So today, I want to have a look at the other segment where David matches multiple Pikholz descendants, all over 10 cM. That would be Chromosome 22.

Here we have two of my sisters, our father's brother, our father's first cousin Herb, our second cousin Terry (her father is a first cousin of both Herb and Uncle Bob) and two other Pikholz descendants, Bonnie and Rita. here everyone matches everyone in a fine triangulation, except Terry and Herb who do not match each other. I cannot imagine how that can be and I'd be pleased to see some theories. (Once again, David's maternal grandmother has much the same group of matches.)

Jean and Judith have identical segments. Herb and Rita - an odd combination - have the same starting point.

Our family group are all descended from my great-grandfather Hersch Pikholz, whose parents are indeterminate Pikholz cousins born probably 1815 or so. Rita's Pikholz ancestor is Nachman Pikholz, born about 1795 and Bonnie is almost certainly from Berl Pikholz born about 1789. (We know who Bonnie's great-great-grandfather is - the only tiny uncertainty is whether he is a son of Berl.)

Bonnie has a handful of third cousins who are not represented in this segment and Rita has one second cousin and several fourth cousins who are also not represented here.

What I'm thinking is that since David and his grandmother match descendants of three Pikholz who lived around 1800 all on one 10+ cM segment, it is likely that our most recent common ancestor precedes those three Pikholz. Not necessarily, but highly likely since 1800 is about the point when we know many of the surnames.

That, of course, is the conclusion regarding so many of the folks who show up with a large number of Pikholz DNA matches.

Housekeeping notes
This Tuesday, 27 October, I'll be speaking in Hebrew about Jewish Genetic Genealogy for the Jerusalem branch of the Israel Genealogy Society. The meeting begins at 5:30 at Yad Ben Zvi, Ibn Gevirol 14. I'll be speaking in Hebrew.

The following day I wail be speaking in Carmiel, at Yad LeBanim, at seven o'clock. Also in Hebrew.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A New Report on Leo The Spy

I told the story of Leo the Spy three years ago. Leo Pickholz died in Lugano Switzerland in January 1972. His grave is unmarked.

Earlier today, I saw a post by Randy Seaver which introduced me to the Ancestry database "Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974." 

I looked up Pickholz and there was one result - Leo the spy.

The report was filed nearly four years after his death. In addition to information about Leo himself and his death, we also have current addresses for his sister in Liege (who died in 1981) and his brother in Paris, whose death date is unknown. There is a reference to  an additional woman in France who is not known to me.

The database is 1835-1974 and the death is from 1972 but recorded in 1975. So the limit of the database appears based on the date of death, not the date of reporting.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Extra Scharf

The short-lived marriage of Basie Rachel Pikholz and Samson Scharf is one we have known about for years. It was short-lived because Basie Rachel died 6 August 1882 at age 29, of stomache cancer (magenkrebs).
Basie's death is the sixth record on this page.

She had given birth to two sons in Zbarazh, Peretz in 1878, named after her father who had died in 1873 and Lazar who died in January 1882, four and a half months before his second birthday.  On Lazar's birth record, his mother is incorrecty recorded as "Basie Lea."
We have these three records, but it's easier just to show the index.

By 1885, Samson is having the first of four recorded children with his second wife, Gittel Kornweitz. (There may be one more in 1883, but Samson's name does not appear on that record.)

Peretz married in nearby Skalat - where his mother had almost certainly been born and where Samson and Gittel lived - and after the birth of his first child, went to the United States where his subsequent children were born.

I have been in touch with a granddaughter of Peretz almost since the start of the Pikholz Project and she knew that there had been a younger brother who had died in childhood. So the structure of this particular family was clear. Two sons, one of whom grew to adulthood.

Until last Wednesday.

When I received the following email from David Zelikvoski here in Israel. This was not a name I recognized.
my name is David Zelikovski, a descendant of the Scharf family on my mother's side. Recently I've taken a DNA test at FTDNA, and was found to have a relatively big shared longest block of 43 CM (total of 108 CM) with [redacted] Scharf a descendant of Samson Scharf and Bessie Pickholtz. My branch of the Scharf family is from a village between Zlochov and Brody, not very far from Zbaraze, which leads me to believe that Samson Scharf is probably related to my Scharf ancestry. Unfortunately, I was not able to prove that.

Anyway, by random search for data on other parts of my family, originating from Moravia, I've found this piece of information that might interest you (assuming you don't already have it). It is a marriage registry between Ester Scharf, daughter of Samson and Burche Scharf and Isak Keller. The marriage took place in Kyjov, Moravia in 11/1915 (emphasis in the original)
The Scharf he matches is a participant in our DNA project and is a great-grandson of Peretz.

As we can see from the partial certificate above, Ester's mother is Basche, not Burche, so this appears to be a sister an older sister of Peretz. (Married in 1915 at age 39, would mean she was born about 1876.) My immediate suspicion was that this was a late recording of an earlier Jewish marriage, perhaps with children born in Galicia.

As David continued looking at the WWI refugee records for Kyjov Moravia, he saw that this couple had a daughter Sarah, born in 1915.

who died two years later,

a few weeks after an older sister Berthe, who must have been born in Zbarazh.

So it looks like Peretz had a sister that lived at least until WWI and had at least two children. So why didn't he ever mention her?

Meantime, David went back to JRI-Poland (I love it when someone else does my work for me!)  and found two birth records that we had not noticed before. This...

Freude Jente was born near Zbarazh in 1904. For some reason, the record names Ester's father but not her mother. I have not figured out the long note on the bottom right, but it includes the date of Ester's 1915 marriage, so at least part of has to do with the "legitimacy" of the child.

And this...

The child here is Basie Rachel, born 10 October 1901 and here Ester's mother is identified as "Basi Rachli." That removes any remaining doubt that we are talking about the same family.

So Ester, the previously unknown older sister, and her husband Isak Keller had four daughters. Or maybe three. I suspect that Berthe who died at fifteen in February 1917 is the same person as Basie Rachel who was born in October 1901. (David agrees with me on that point.) But in the meantime, I'll keep them separate.

Now we have to find out what happened to Ester, Isak and at least Freude Jente.

And we still don't know why Peretz (who died in 1963) never mentioned her.

Housekeeping notes
I am speaking next week (in Hebrew) on Jewish Genetic Genealogy, based largely on my book ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People. (NOTE: The Israeli discount expires at the end of October!) One talk is for the Israel Genealogical Society's Jerusalem branch on Tuesday 27 October. The other is the next day in Carmiel.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

David Martino's Chromosome 3

May G-d avenge their blood.
For some additional perspective, see here.

And more has happened since.
There will be an announcement on my Facebook page Wednesday morning.
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I received an email last week from a man named David Martino. He began as so many others do:
I am writing because I match with three of your kits on gedmatch: ...

I wanted to compare family names and see if we can find the connection.  I also have multiple kits on there.  I wonder if any of your kits connects with multiple of mine.  That could help us narrow down the connection.
Two of my sisters are his closest matches beyond a couple of known famiIy members.

I replied as I do to other inquiries of this sort, that I have some eighty kits and that proper analysis requires looking not only at the closest matches. And that you cannot analyze these matches in the aggregate, but it is necessary to look at the segments on individual chromosomes.

So David gets right to work and came back to me with GEDmatch results which included nearly congruent matches with my four sisters and me.

Amy and Jean match precisely. Sarajoy ends at the same point as they do. Judith and I also match perfectly, starting and ending slightly before the others. Normally, I would just look at that and say that this represents a single match with one of our parents that came down to us with some variation. The task would be to see how we share matching segments with David and our other family members. Are there relevant matches with my father's brother and sister? With our second cousins on the Pikholz side? With the first or second cousins on our mother's side?

Turns out it isn't so simple. First of all, David has only two additional chromosomes with matches of 20 or more cM (represented by yellow bars) or 10-20 cM (represented by green bars). There is a "yellow" match on chromosome 17 with only my sisters and a handful of "green" matches with two of my sisters and some other relatives on chromosome 22. I'll look at chromosome 22 separately, but for now the curiosity in chromosome 3. Our group of five are joined there by two other family members, both on our father's side but not known ro be related to one another.

Fred is the grandson of our grandmother's half sister. Our great-aunt is Fred's only grandparent with Jewish DNA. Our grandmothers' common ancestry is through their father who is a Rosenzweig from Trencin County in western Slovakia.

Ralph's great-great-grandmother is a Pikholz, the sister of our great-grandfather Hersch Pikholz, who is from Skalat in east Galicia.

My immediate reaction was that one of Fred and Ralph matches David together with us and the other matches David via his other parent.

The way to examine this further is by triangulation. Let's revisit the definition of triangulation, according to Kitty Cooper.
If I match A and B on the same segment why is that not enough to prove they match each other and we have a common ancestor?
The reason the ancestor is not proven is that you have two strands of DNA on each chromosome (remember there are 23 pairs of chromosomes) and the testing mechanism cannot differentiate between the two of them. So A could match the piece from your mother and B could match the piece from your father or one of them could even be a false match to a mix of alleles from both parents (see my post on IBC for more on that concept)
The way to prove the common ancestor is to see if A and B match each other in the same place that they match you. This is what we call triangulation. [Emphasis is Kitty's.]
So I triangulated everyone. Amy and Jean match Ralph and not Fred. Sarajoy, Judith and I match Fred and not Ralph. The five of us are not the group that they seem to be vis-a-vis David. I was surprised that Sarajoy is paired with Judith and me, not with Amy and Jean - her end point is the same as theirs not ours.

Just for fun, I ran the GEDmatch "Are your parents related?" function on all five of us. For four of us, the answer on chromosome 3 is negative. Here is the result for Sarajoy.

So somehow or other, Ralph, Amy and Jean match David via one of his parents, while Fred, Sarajoy, Judith and I match David via his other parent. But that cannot be right because it would require David's parents to match on that segment using the "Are your parents related?" tool. Which they do not. In fact, David's father has no known Jewish DNA.

David is in the process of convincing family members to test and as of now, he has test results from his maternal grandmother and the sister of his late maternal grandfather.

Here are his grandmother's matches on Chromosome 3:

Looks familiar, doesn't it! Down to the end point that Sarajoy shares with Amy and Jean.

The grandmother also comes up negative on the "Are your parents related?" tool.

Perhaps some of the experts have some ideas on all of this. I expect that some of them will explain that the start and end points are fuzzy and that some of these 10+ cM segments are likely Identical By State (or By Chance) and not "real" matches. This looks like a circular argument to me, but that's me.

In the meantime, David is doing some homework on Chromosome 22 and perhaps we can look at that next week.