Sunday, October 27, 2013

AncestryDNA Updates Ethnicity Results ~ Jewish Results

Initial AncestryDNA ethnicity results were not particularly helpful or interesting for those with primarily Jewish ancestry. The results have been updated. I don't know if they are more helpful, but they certainly are more interesting. I look forward to seeing if matches with other Ancestry users are more fruitful now.

I first wrote about AncestryDNA-One Jewish Result over a year ago. At that time, the autosomal results for my husband indicated that his genetic ethnicity (going back many hundreds of years) was 82% European Jewish, 13% British Isles (which didn't make sense to us), and 5% Uncertain.

The updated results show an increased number of genetic regions and provide more information about the possible ranges of ethnicity. The updated summary page is below, showing an approximate amount of European Jewish ancestry of 92%.

My husband's updated genetic ethnicity (according to AncestryDNA)

Okay, this makes more sense - 92% European Jewish with some trace regions... let's look at these results more closely:

Specific ethnicity results for European Jewish from AncestryDNA

The links in this information box provide additional information about how AncestryDNA came up with the percentage and range for each ethnicity. The link after "Surprised by your ethnicity estimate?" includes a good explanation of the reasons for variations, which include: the genetic influence of neighboring regions, the estimate is on the edges of our predicted range, the random nature of genetic inheritance (with a nice graphic representation showing how genes can pass quite differently from parents to multiple children), and the fact that ethnicity estimation is still an open problem.

Trace Regions is an interesting addition to the AncestryDNA results. (I like this better than "Uncertain" as a result.)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workday Wednesday ~ Patent for Suspensory Device (Garter Belt Improvement)

When I discovered information about the Emanuel Levitas family (see Max Levitt's Brother is Emanuel Levitas) based on my mother-in-law's memory that her maternal grandfather's brother ran a garter factory in New York City, my husband looked for Levitas and found a patent under the name of Sarah Levitas.

You can search patents at and when you search for Sarah Levitas, there are two results.

The first result is for Patent No. 842,893, patented Feb. 5, 1907 to S. Levitas for "Suspensory Device for Garters, &c.," Application filed Apr. 4, 1905.

The initial result page is an OCR'ed version of the patent (Optical Character Recognition), so it's not a 100% accurate transcription of the patent, but you can click on a button for the PDF of the patent, and here it is, with Sarah Levitas' signature on the first page:

The second search result is a 1958 update to this device by Sidney Baruch and references the 1907 Levitas Patent, among others.

So, although only Emanuel is listed as Garter Manufacturer in census records, it looks like his wife had something to do with his success in his business.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Anna Goldstein's Death Certificate 1918

The story about the death of my husband's great aunt Anna Goldstein (sister of Max Goldstein and Morris Goldstein) is that she was hit by a trolley in New York, and didn't tell her family. Supposedly her untreated injuries caused her death sometime in the late 1910s.

My mother-in-law was named after her father's sister.

I recently obtained her death certificate.

New York, New York, Manhattan Deaths: FHL Microfilm 1322427,
Certificate No. 17223. Anna Goldstein, May 27, 1918.
She died at a private hospital at 41 E. 78th Street in Manhattan at 6:00 A.M. on May 27, 1918. The cause of death is "Carcinoma of ovary; Exploratory operation May 24th." She had suffered from this for two years.

I am guessing that in 1918, family members were not comfortable talking about their sister's death by ovarian cancer and the story about being injured by a trolley was an easier way to explain a young person's death.