Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lazarus and the Good Folks at

The last stop on my coming trip to the United States is at the Conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies in Seattle where I'll be giving three presentations.

One of the three is called "'s Lazarus Tool As It Applies to Two Kinds of Endogamy" and this is the official description:
Lazarus is a tool offered by GEDmatch which can create a partial genome of a person, based on autosomal test results of descendants on one hand and non-descendant relatives on the other. This recreated kit can be compared to other kits in order to help determine and clarify relationships. But for endogamous families, this is more complicated, especially when you consider that there are two distinct types of endogamy. This presentation will address the two types of endogamy and the way to best use Lazarus while reducing "contaminated" input inadvertently introduced due to multiple relationships. It will also address the use of Lazarus as a tool for DNA analysis. The presentation – much of which is based on the speaker's recently published book "ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People" – will use examples from the single-surname Pikholz Project.
I have been working on this presentation for some time and as I went into the stretch a week or so ago, I needed to look at the results comparing a number of relatives with the Lazarus kit of my great-grandfather Hersch Pickholtz. I summoned the kit as usual and it came up with my great-grandfather's matches in descending order beginning with Aunt Betty, Uncle Bob, Cousin Herb and my sisters and cousins. That is the standard format.

As I have mentioned here before, I name my GEDmatch kits so they will sort together and near the top, otherwise they would not all make the cutoff of 1500 matches that GEDmatch   permits. The naming system also make it easier to see all our kits together, sorted by family group.

So as usual, I hit the small blue triangle at the top right of the "Name" column to initiate the sort. And I got an error message.

I tried a few unsuccessful workarounds while attempting to attract the attention of the GEDmatch team to address the problem. After a few days, I heard from John Hayward, a name I did not recognize. He said that he did not have the problem I described and realized that it was a function of my very large number of matches. He made some changes so that the system would take my top 6000 matches, delete those with privacy issues and then give me the top 2000 matches by whatever criterion I was using to sort.

(It seems that they had raised the number of matches they show from 1500 to 2000. I am not sure if someone announced this but if so, I missed it. In any case, this increase was sorely needed as the total database has grown significantly in the past couple of years.)

This solved my problem and I got my 2000 matches sorted in alphabetical order on the "Name." column. With those parameters, my great-grandfather Hersch Pikholz had matches with eight of the fifteen Pikholz descendants from Rozdol, forty-four of the fifty-two Pikholz descendants from Skalat and one of the three Pikholz descendants whose affiliation is unclear. And another eleven matches with non-Pikholz parts of the family.

John then suggested that he could increase the match limit from 6000 to 50,000, allowing lesser matches to be included in the "Name" sort - still with the limit of 2000. I suggested that we try it to see what difference it would make and after a few minutes the new sort was ready.

My great-grandfather now matches eleven Rozdolers and fifty Skalaters. That served my purposes better, as it increased the number of my great-grandfather's matches by over 15%.

Thank you, John Hayward and the (volunteer!) GEDmatch team. You have been good to us.

So now I can get back to completing my Lazarus presentation for Seattle and preparing to leave for the US in less than two weeks. Wasn't I just there?

Housekeeping notes
14 July 2016, 7:00 – Congregation B’nai Shalom, 701 W. Aptakisic, Buffalo Grove Illinois, RSVP

24 July 2016, 1:30 – JGS of Maryland Hadassah, 3723 Old Court Rd., Suite 205, Baltimore
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove

25 July 2016, 7:00 – Fairfax Genealogical Society, JCC of Northern Virginia, 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax VA

28 July 2016, 7:00 – Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room (Charlotte Mecklenburg Library) and the Levine-Sklut Judaic Library, Jewish Community Center in Shalom Park, 5007 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC

31 July 2016, 1:30 – Triangle Jewish Genealogical Society, 6905 Fayetteville Road, Suite 204, Durham NC (across the street from SouthPoint Mall)

4 August 2016, 12:00 – The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 800 Vine Street, Cincinnati
(Genealogy and Local History Department, Third Floor)

7-9 August 2016, TBA – 36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Sheraton Seattle Hotel:
Sunday 9:00 AM  Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey, Grand Ballroom D

Sunday 4:30 PM’s Lazarus Tool As It Applies to Two Kinds of Endogamy, Room Willow A

Tuesday 3:00 PM  Beyond a Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove, Grand Ballroom C

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Second Cousins..... and Siblings

While working a new presentation, I considered that I might want to say something about my second cousins Ruth and Judy, on my mother's father's Gordon side. They are first cousins to one another and their grandmother was the older sister of my grandfather.

My DNA matches with them seem to me to be odd and I have cited them before.

As you can see on the far right, I share 497 cM with Ruth and 249 cM with Judy; Ruth has about twice as much as Judy. (These numbers have changed a bit since I last cited them. Then Ruth's match was more than double Judy's.) My longest segment with Ruth is 64 cM and with Judy 41 cM. The ISOGG chart says that second cousins are 212.5 cM on average, so clearly Ruth is the outlier.

Blaine Bettinger's chart of shared cM based of reported data from known relationships has second cousins sharing 246 cM, precisely Judy's number before the recent adjustment.

Since Judy and Ruth have the same grandfather, the difference between them - aside from the general randomness of DNA as it passes from generation to generation - is Ruth's father. I don't know much about his background. He was born in New York and both his parents were dead by the time he was twenty-two.

I have not done much to clarify Ruth's father's background, but Ruth has matches of one sort or another with more than forty Pikholz descendants from my ancestral town of Skalat, so I assume he was a Galicianer on both sides.

But before I used these numbers to make my particular point in this new presentation, I took a look at how my four sisters match with both cousins. (The numbers here are from GEDMatch, so are slightly different from those on FTDNA.)

The match between Ruth and me is much greater than her matches with my sisters - 1.7 standard deviations. The average of Ruth's matches with us - 356.4 cM - is nearly sixty percent larger than Judy's - 225.2 - much less of a difference than with me alone.

This would not serve the purpose I wanted for the presentation, but it is worthy of note on its own. Just for sport, I looked at how my sisters and I line up against the rest of our second cousins. I did not include our two double second cousins and our half second cousin, just the straight-forward second cousins with no known endogamy and with standard-issue Jewish parents and grandparents..

Judy & Ruth are first cousins. So are Sam & Beth. Marty, Rhoda and Terry are second cousins.

There is considerable variation in these numbers. Each of our eight cousins except Terry has matches with us that include one with a standard deviation above 1.4. And Sarajoy is less than 1.15 standard deviations from each of the eight cousins, the rest of us being further from the averages for at least one cousin - in my case, three.

The range of averages goes from Judy's 225.2 cM to Ruth's 356.4 cM and Sam's 360.4 cM. There is a very large gap between Sam and Ruth and the next largest matches - Beth and Susan. I am not sure what to make of it except to say that the "other sides" of the cousins are undoubtedly relevant. Blaine Bettinger announces studies from time to time of matches of known relatives and I have shared this with him.

My own lesson - one that I have written about before and which I hope the genetic genealogy community is absorbing - you must test siblings. You cannot assume that once you have tested one or two children in a family, the rest will not add anything. Even moreso first cousins. "I know he is my first cousin, why do we both have to test?" is, shall we say, not productive.

But test the siblings. Your own. Your parents'. Your cousins'. As much as you can afford. You cannot know in advance how and when it will matter. So just do it.

I will probably find another excuse to hammer at this, before too many more months.

Housekeeping notes

Books for Seattle
Anyone who would like to ensure getting a signed copy of my book ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People at the IAJGS Conference is Seattle can order here until 10 July. After that, it depends on how many I have with me.

New Family Finder results
Results are in for a new Family Finder test, this one a Pikholz descendant from Rozdol in a family where no one had tested before. This is the family I call IF3, headed by Abraham Pikholz (~1826-1878) one of several sons of a couple (or two couples with the same names) Isak and Feige Pikholz. Abraham's youngest son lived on Nyar Street in Budapest and the woman who tested is one of two daughters of his youngest son.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


I have been Facebook friends with Jeannie McClenahan Cecil for not quite a year but it seems like much longer. She told me she had matches with me and several members of my family. Family Tree DNA had us as suggested second-fourth cousins, a category with includes about 130 of my matches and which surely doesn't mean we are that close.

Her father was born in Mandatory Jerusalem to a Jewish mother but was adopted by a non-Jewish couple and from his teen years lived abroad. I don't have all the details straight, but in any case, this is her story to tell, not mine.

She visited her father's house earlier
Jeannie and her daughter Gabrielle are here for the first time. A long visit, considering that they are first-time tourists.

Last week we went out to dinner, less than a ten minute walk from where her father grew up.
Her father's house on the right, our restaurant on the left

We talked about her research journey that began some twenty years ago, about her impressions of Israel and Jerusalem, about the first cousin of her father who shares his original name and whose wife does the genealogy research from their side. (I am a suggested second-fourth cousin to him as well and his wife and I are now Facebook friends. They live in the same small community as my third son. In fact another first cousin lives on my son's street!)

Jeannie sprinkled her conversation with basic Hebrew words that she had learned from her father, who passed away only last winter. She was clearly enjoying herself and was experiencing a sense of "home." ("Home" is in fact a small town in northeastern Ohio.)

Our matching DNA
And we talked about our DNA connections. We hadn't done much of that during the past year. I tried to be there to give her advice, suggestions and encouragement - the work she did herself, as it should be.

As it happens, of all the matches with my family members, I am the closest both for her father and for the cousin.

Her father, whose father remains unidentified, is in the Y-haplogroup R-M269. So am I, but not close enough to be a match. The cousin has not yet tested his Y-DNA.

These are my matches with Jeannie's father and his cousin. Two of the three are identical segments, the smallest one is not an identical match.

This looks to be fairly straightforward. The three of us share a little over 30 cM, which is third-fourth cousin territory, so the question is on which side.

Jeannie's father's DNA
Jeannie's father matches my sisters, some more, some less. But he does not match Aunt Betty or Uncle Bob. Nor does he match my double second cousins Marshall and Lee. So that points to a match on my mother's side. He matches all six of my cousins on that side - two firsts and two seconds via each grandparent. Here is how my sisters and I, those six cousins and Jeannie's cousin line up with her father on GEDmatch.

On chromosome 5 where I matched both of Jeannie's kits at 17.32 cM, we see the cousin's yellow bar at the top, followed by my second cousin Sam, then three of my sisters and me. Sam is on my grandmother's side. In the center of that chromosome my sisters and I and my first cousin Kay match Jeannie's father but not his cousin.

On chromosome 7, none of the matches under the cousin triangulate with him except my sister Amy on line four. So these are mostly matches with Jeannie's father including both my first cousins. The small pink segment is a second cousin on my grandFAther's side. But Amy matches Jeannie's cousin as well.

None of my cousins matched the FTDNA segment on chromosome 10.

On chromosome 12, both of Jeannie's kits match my cousin Sam, but not my sisters or me.

Chromosome 17 shows a long list of matches, but only mine (the fourth line) triangulates with Jeannie's two kits. The others who match Jeannie's father but not his cousin include both my first cousins and one of the seconds on my grandfather's side.

So it appears to me that the common ancestor with both of Jeannie's kits and my family is on my grandmother's Rosenbloom side, from Borisov in Belarus. Jeannie's family knows of no connection to that area.

There is likely also a common ancestor also on my grandfather's side who is not reflected in Jeannie's cousin. Since Jeannie's grandfather is not-Jewish, the connection with my grandfather's side must be shared by both him and his cousin since he would have no other way to receive this DNA. It's just the vagaries of recombination that each shows different matches.

The cousin's DNA matches
Jeannie's cousin too has a collection of matches which include my sisters and me and assorted combinations of the cousins on my mother's side. This is the other side of the coin whereby my grandfather's family's DNA came to the two cousins differently. (I am not going to lay all that out here. Jeannie can do it in her spare time.)

But what is interesting is that the cousin has significant matches with me that Jeannie's father does not have. They are not as impressive as the Rosenbloom matches which I discussed above, but there are many and they are pervasive. The cousin has matches with Aunt Betty, Uncle Bob, Marshal and Lee, but they are weak.

There are stronger matches with Craig, Ron and Felisa whose Pikholz roots are not clear, as their farthest known ancestors are from about 1860-70.

The matches cross my parts of the Pikholz family is all directions showing a wide but distant connection. But this does not look to me like a pre-surname common ancestor as there is relatively little with the descendants of Peretz Pikholz and Nachman Pikholz. So perhaps we are talking about the family of Rojse the wife of Isak Josef Pikholz or the family of Taube the wife of Mordecai Pikholz. Or someone via the mother of my g-g-gf Isak Fischel Pikholz. Or my Kwoczka great-grandmother. Most like some some combination of several of these. It would be speculation at this point to try to say more.

What is clear is that this Pikholz connection is with the mother of Jeannie's cousin, about whom I know nothing. Yet.

One other thought. The matches between Jeannie's kits and my mother's side include almost no X chromosome matches, and not many more on the Pikholz side.

Jeannie, you have work to do, though I do not know that we have enough to break this wall down. For now.

Jeannie's story is different from the usual "How I found my family" and I suggested that she might want to propose a presentation for the IAJGS Conference in Orlando next year. With or without the DNA component. A daughter of Jerusalem has come home.

Housekeeping notes
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the study published in Avotaynu by Rachel Unkefer, J. B. Royal and Wim Penninx called Y-DNA Evidence for an Ashkenzai Lineage's Iberian Origin. This study is being done on a haplogroup called FGC20747 and it includes my line. That article is now available here. I mentioned this to the Pikholz descendants from Skalat, for whom it is relevant and my cousin Terry asked if this would permit us to eat rice on Passover, as the Sephardim do and would it help get EU citizenship.

I am an authority on neither subject, but I think the EU has a list of approved surnames and you have to belong to one of them to qualify for a restoration of Spanish citizenship.

On the question of rice - and I repeat that I speak with no authority - it seems to me that there are several problems. First of all these customs are generally patrilineal.  Terry's grandmother is the Pikholz, not her grandfather. So she is probably stuck with his rice.

Secondly, DNA has not achieved any status of halacha, so Sephardic ancestry would probably require a generation-after-generation proof, not something macro like DNA patterns.

Third - and again, I speak with no authority - even if we pass the test on the first two points, there is probably a requirement for nullification of a vow, as some ancestor six, seven or more generations ago surely took this custom voluntarily.

Books for Seattle
Anyone who would like to ensure getting a signed copy of my book ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People at the IAJGS Conference is Seattle can order here until 10 July. After that, it depends on how many I have with me.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

That Time of Year

The Jewish community of Skalat, one of the two ancestral Pikholz towns in east Galicia, suffered its final aktzia on the holiday of Shavuot in 1943 and here in Israel some of the remaining survivors and descendants gather the following day at the monument in the Holon cemetery. I have described this service in earlier years here and here and here.

The beginning of the scroll of martyrs'
names that is inside the monument
We had a bigger turnout this year than last. Something more than two dozen people and no problem with a minyan. There was no mention of the passing of survivors in the past year.

Yocheved Sarid spoke first. Her three children and her late brother's wife were all there. The row of monuments is along the east side of the cemetery with a major highway right outside, so I found it difficult to hear her.

Tova Willner Zehavi spoke at great length. I don't remember her ever speaking before. She spoke with special emphasis about a baby - one who was never properly given a name. Pikholz descendants, the sister and brother Tzipi Tal and David Dekel are also Willner descendants through their mother's mothers mother. (Before the service began, David and I discussed his DNA results which indicate pretty clearly that he is connected to my family in a way we haven't figured out yet. I discuss this in Chapter Eight of my book.)

There was one new participant - Koby Willner, an American immigrant who got in touch with me last year. Koby's Skalat connections are both Willner and Bomse.

David Braunstein, who has come the last few years after his father's death read a piece that his father had written. (Chaim Braunstein edited the Hebrew yizkor book and was the prime mover in setting up the memorial sites in the Skalat-area itself.)

Zvika Sarid reported that both the Skalat monuments are in need of maintenance and asked that those who can send contributions to Yocheved Sarid at Kevutzat Yavneh and she will send them to Skalat.

We concluded with everyone saying kaddish.

Correcting the database
Steve Pickholtz sent me a very long list of Pickholtz (that specific spelling) on MyHeritage which includes a Rachel Weisinger married to Joseph Pickholtz. There was no identifying information here and I haven't a clue who this Joseph is. I had seen this couple before on, but as I have seen before, you cannot always get responses from the folks who manage the information.

This time, I got a response via MyHeritage and Olivier in France checked with his family sources and reported that he had no information on the couple but did know the name of a nephew of Joseph. That was enough for me to recognize Joseph as the son of Benjamin (Bendit) Pickholtz of Rozdol, Skole and New York. Joseph had no children but a nephew had told me years ago that his wife was Rae Gross.

I went back and forth with both families for a few hours and then decided to check the theory that made the most sense to me. Using Steve Morse's One-Step site, I found this:

Rae (Rachel) Weisinger married Harold Gross in 1934. That triggered memories in both families where everyone agreed that Rae had been married before she married Joseph Pickholtz. Database corrected.

Housekeeping notes
Family Tree DNA has announced a Fathers' Day sale. I for one am disappointed as I can only see one of our pending orders for which it is relevant. This is their announcement.
I will get one second cousin out of this. The rest will wait. I hope.

I have just set up a couple of additional visits with cousins as I work my way from Baltimore to North Carolina next month. The "new" Pikholz family in Durham has still eluded me.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Beglers: Bonnie and Marla

So Wednesday afternoon, I am minding my own business when I get one of these "I match [so-and-so-many] of your project. Can you tell me how we are related?" messages that seem to come every other day. In this case, the writer mentioned that her grandparents came from a particular town in Poland and when they arrived in Pittsburgh, they shortened their surname. So I asked her if she is related to my seventh grade teacher and sure enough she is.

Bonnie bottom right, me top left
Later, I wrote to Bonnie Morris, who sat in front of me during much of seventh grade, and told her the story. We laughed at that and talked a bit and for the first time I asked her about her family history. I knew her family. Two of her first cousins were also in our class and during much of the 1940s and 1950s her father and my grandfather served together in various synagogue capacities, particularly in the
Men's Club. On this particular occasion, I learned that one of her cousins had an older sister I don't recall knowing about and that her father had another brother I have never heard of.

I asked her what "Morris" had been originally and where in Europe they came from and she said that her grandfather had been Matasarnik and that he had come from Uman, a well-known town south of Kiyev. Matasarnik is a name I had never heard so I had a look at the JewishGen Family Finder and saw no one listing it as a surname of interest.

Then I asked about her mother. Mrs. Morris (Pearl) was a Begler, Bonnie told me, from Russia someplace but Bonnie wasn't sure where. So I make another quick trip to JGFF and find this:
Marla Waltman, President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto, with whom I spent much of last Sunday. Marla Waltman whose mother has DNA matches with almost all the Pikholz descendants from Skalat. Marla has Beglers in what was then Russia and in what is now Pittsburgh. How cool is that!

So I opened a new Facebook chat, introduced them and the fun began.

At first Marla thought Bonnie was Bonnie Eckhouse, a known relative of hers, "the daughter of Israel Louis Eckhouse and Pollie Begler."

Wait. I know who the Eckhouses are. Louis Eckhouse's mother is Rose Braun, the aunt of my father's cousin Herb. But Herb had told me that Louis' wife was Pauline Saville, not Begler. So I go off to the indispensable Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project to look for a death notice for Pauline in the Chronicle. And there she is - sister of (among others) Jack, Sam and Paul Begler. (Scratch Saville.)

The burial database at the Rauh Jewish Archives (at the Heinz History Center) shows four Eckhouse graves at Torath Chaim Cemetery and Pauline's father is Yehudah Lev (sic - should be Leib), whose secular name is Louis.

Louis and (Bonnie's maternal grandfather) Harry (Yitzhak) Begler are brothers. Bonnie knows that. Kind of curious that the first cousins Pauline and Pearl (Bonnie's mother) Begler both married men with the same secular names as their fathers and both had daughters named Bonnie.

So what is Marla to Bonnie? Marla says that her great-grandmother Sosya Beigler is the elder sister of Harry and Louis. Sosya is the eldest and Harry the third. Sosya married Levi Ben Tzion Spektor and their son Louis is the father of Marla's father Irving Waltman.

How Spektor became Waltman is beyond the scope of this particular article, but if Marla wants to write up the family here, I'll be pleased to give her the space to do so whenever she is ready

Marla says that the parents of Sosya and Harry are Simcha Chaim Beigler and Freda Breteal. Marla says further that the family says they are from Shpikov (48 47 N 28 34 E) in the district of Bratzlav Podolia, later Vinnitsa Ukraine, but the records point to Radyanskoye some 27 miles away.

Marla and Bonnie are second cousins once removed. That's pretty close considering that they did not know of each other. For me that's a good day's work. They will no doubt continue talking and I'll be available as needed. Sometimes I'm just a facilitator. But then who else knows both Bonnie and Marla? And I love it when my friends meet each other!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

London and Toronto

I'm afraid that blogging from actual events is more than I can handle and both events have been covered by blogs, Facebook posts and tweets, but having spent nearly a week abroad, I figure I should say something here, if only for my own record.

As I write this, I am in my home office expecting to get a call any minute from the fellow delivering my suitcase. Each of the three legs of my trip included a stopover in Brussels and two of the three times my suitcase was not loaded onto the connecting flight. In London, they delivered it to my hotel at 1:20 AM, in time for my four o'clock taxi. Here they are not in such a rush, but since it's mostly laundry, neither am I.

The Wednesday evening program was sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain and the Guild of One-Name Studies (of which I am a member). The program was organized by Jeanette Rosenberg of the JGS and most of the attendees are members of that organization. The audience also included my wife's brother and one of her cousins with his wife.

Jeanette's husband Mark Nicholls picked me up at the airport after what seemed an interminable wait at Border Control, plus filling out papers for the missing suitcase. They took me from the hotel to the program site and back.

Paul Howse of the Guild did the introductions.

With Debbie Kennett, in my traveling clothes
Debbie Kennett spoke first. She gave a nice, professional, comprehensive introduction to the whole notion of DNA and its use in genealogy research. (She also addressed - aggressively - some of the nonsense that is being published in the field.)

I followed with the latest iteration of my basic DNA talk that has accompanied the publication of ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People. I have renamed it Lessons
With Paul Howse (right)
in Jewish DNA - One Man's Successes and What He Learned on the Journey
. It was well received. We took questions together afterwards and in most cases we both had what to say.

Debbie and I exchanged signatures on our books. Hers was on the reading list for the course I took at GRIP two years ago.

My thanks to Mark Nicholls for the photos.

My friend and colleague Lara Diamond and I were invited to the first-ever Jewish stream of the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference, where we heard some of the top speakers in the field. Much of the conference was centered on matters Canadian, which didn't much interest either of us. But there were also some top-notch speakers including CeCe Moore and Judy Russell, whom I already knew, and Maurice Gleason whom I knew only by reputation.

There were some of the usual vendors, but mostly Canadian groups with limited appeal for those of us with no Canadian interests. (Actually, my grandfather arrived in the US via Montreal and St. Albans Vermont, at age seven with his mother and an older brother and sister. That was 1904. The rest of the family had preceded them in stages.
Actually, Uncle Dave was nine and Aunt Bessie was a bit older

Friday, I listened to Maurice on the basics of Y-DNA research. Mostly basic stuff with a lot on the FTDNA surname projects. Even knowing much of the material, I can usually learn something from a new speaker and such was the case here.

I spoke Friday afternoon at a special "by invitation only" seminar for the Genetic Genealogy Special Interest Group of the Toronto branch of the Society, on Observations on the DNA of Populations Who "Marry Within the Tribe." This was a first-time event for this talk and it was well-received.

Lara and I both went to the Jewish neighborhood for Shabbat and I met several very nice couples, all of whom had done genealogies of their families. It made me think about how much genealogy is being done outside what we consider the genealogy community. It is important to harness all these private projects so that others can see their work in a searchable format, learn from it and perhaps connect to them. (Programs like where people can change each others' data are not the solution.) I don't think this is being addressed. I don't even think that we are aware of the scope of such works. 

I imagine that the non-Jewish world has the same phenomenon.

Lara at 8:30, from her blog
Bright and early at 8:30 Sunday morning Lara spoke about ancestral movement in Europe in a talk called Movement Between Towns in Eastern Europe (aka Ancestral Towns May Not Have Been So Ancestral). It was a good crowd and it went well. (We aren't competing or anything, but she had more people than I.)

Shamelessly lifted from Lara's blog
I followed with my basic DNA talk, Lessons, in a different room, then we went back to Lara's room for her second talk Jewish Genealogy Research in Ukraine. It was largely the same people she had at 8:30, so they must have liked it.

Later, I did a Pop-up presentation in the hallway - fifteen minutes showing two case studies, while Lara did some "Ask the Expert" consulting.

We moved on to a panel discussion on the future of genetic genealogy, including the panel's thoughts on the long-term viability of the testing companies who control all our spit-and-swab data and many of the analytical tools. The final program was a keynote address by CeCe Moore to a packed auditorium where she impressed everyone with her stories of people who had searched successfully for their birth families. The folks doing that kind of work are having a real affect on peoples' lives.

Sunday evening, I gave a non-DNA talk to the JGS of Toronto. Perhaps they'll have me back to do DNA.

You can see Lara's more detailed descriptions of the conference here and here.

After I arrived in Toronto Thursday, I met with a fellow who had a few weak matches with my family and wanted to talk about trying to nail down the possible Jewish background of his grandfather. That is not the kind of thing that holds much interest for me as it is all so remote and tenuous, but he found it useful and attended my other talks. I thought something similar awaited me Monday morning, when I had a meeting scheduled with a man whose family matched mine on our Y-DNA line.

I was wrong. This one was real. A few days earlier, the latest Avotaynu had an article by Rachel Unkefer, J. B. Royal and Wim Penninx called Y-DNA Evidence for an Ashkenzai Lineage's Iberian Origin. This study is being done on a haplogroup called FGC20747 and it includes my line. It appears to include the Goldlust line as well, and one of the Goldlusts was my Monday meeting. As a result of our meeting, they have now joined that project and we look forward to learning more about our joint heritage, which appears headed for the days of the Inquisition - not generation after generation, but in a more macro view.

As my own work has concentrated on the past 220 years, I really do not fully understand this type of Y-DNA research but between the GRIP course next month and some personal mentoring from Rachel afterwards, I hope to enhance my understanding.

It was a good conference and a great experience. Many thanks to JGS Toronto president  Marla Waltman - whose mother matches over forty Pikholz descendants from Skalat and who was responsible for creating the Jewish stream and inviting Lara and me to speak. Les Kelman, too, facilitated our participation.

Housekeeping Notes
Suitcase arrived.

The call for papers for RootsTech2017 has gone out. I may submit some proposals for that February event. I have also submitted proposals for the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Pittsburgh at the end of August of next year.

I have another second cousin lined up for a DNA test as soon as we find out about the Fathers' Day sale prices. Perhaps some others of you will also sign up.

Only a month before my summer trip and things are falling into place nicely. I'll write more later but in the meantime, you can see some of it here.