Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Simche Seigel, 1919

A couple of years ago, my husband and I explored Tifereth Israel Cemetery in Woodbine, New Jersey, looking for the gravestone of Simche Seigel, his second great grandfather and had no luck.

Well it turns out the gravestone was all in Hebrew.

Photo courtesy L. Seigle, via R. Seigle, Jerusalem
A third cousin of my husband was in the southern New Jersey area in September and took this photograph. Her father, who previously shared Simche's death certificate with me, sent me this photo and his translation:
"My eyes were like springs of water because of my dear and honorable husbands death Rabbi Simcha son of Yehuda Seigle (סיגעל). Passed away in old age. Died on second and buried on third of Tamuz in year 5679."
He also notes that "The numbers slightly do not match as the second of Tamuz is about 1 July and on the death certificate his death is July 7th."

I shared the image at JewishGen's ViewMate and got a slightly different translation from Lara Diamond of Lara's Family Search blog:
"Fountains of water fall from my eyes
On the death of my husband
The dear and honored Reb
Simcha son of Yehuda Siegel
What like sleep his rest
On the 20th day and was buried on the ?? day
Of the month of Tamuz in the year 5679
May his soul dwell in everlasting life"
Another translation from Sheindle Cohen at ViewMate:
"Streams of water shed from my eyes
On the death of my husband
The dear and honorable Reb
Simcha son of Reb Yehuda Segal
[Who]died in good old age on day Two (Monday)
and was buried on day Three (Tuesday)
10th(?)day of the month of Tamuz
Year 5679
May His Soul Be Bound in the Bindings of Life"
Monday, July 7, 1919, corresponds to 9 Tamuz 5679, so "Day Two" (two days after Shabbat) makes sense, and he was likely buried on July 8, which was 10 Tamuz 5679.

There is something to be found in each of these translations, and I thank everyone for their assistance.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Sam and Sadie Handler

Photo credit Alan Simon

Shalom son of Aaron (I think; at least that's what it should read).
Sam Handler
Husband - Father
1887 - 1954

See his Find A Grave Memorial with additional pictures and links to family members. His death certificate names his father as Arthur.

Photo credit Alan Simon

And his wife, Sadie, who outlived Sam by over 30 years. Link to her Find A Grave Memorial.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Y-DNA and Haplogroup Result

There are a few different companies that do DNA testing for genealogy. I have written before about my experience using AncestryDNA, first at AncestryDNA - One Jewish Result, then at AncestryDNA Updates Ethnicity Results ~ Jewish Results. AncestryDNA does autosomal testing, which means it is a test that provides a breakdown of one's ethnic percentages, to find out where all your ancestors may have come from going back hundreds of years. However, you don't know which ancestors (maternal or paternal or your mother's grandfather) these ethnic percentages apply to.

Family Tree DNA is another testing company which does Y-DNA testing and mtDNA testing, in addition to autosomal DNA testing.

Y-DNA testing, which only men can take, traces a man's father's father's father's line, which can be used for surname studies for men trying to confirm if they descend from the same man (assuming the surname has remained the same over the years). This doesn't really apply to Jewish genealogy, as surnames do not apply for enough generations to go back very far.

Then mtDNA (maternal) testing, which traces a person's (either male or female) maternal ancestors (mother's mother's mother, etc.), lets that person know what his or her maternal origins are 20,000 to 100,000 years ago.

Awhile ago, I had my husband take the Y-DNA test (at 37 markers), and the results show that his haplogroup is R-M198, also known as R1a1a. [Update: this has been updated and his haplogroup is now identified as R-M512.]

According to my notes from Bennett Greenspan's talk at the IAJGS Conference in August, this Haplogroup goes back to Eastern Europe or Western Asia. Half of Levites are in this Haplogroup, so the story that has been passed down orally in my husband's father's family that they are Levites is supported by this testing result. It has been suggested (via Wikipedia) that the R1a1 Haplogroup originated about 21,000 years ago in southern Russia. This Haplogroup is most often associated with Russians, Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians and Belarusians (also Wikipedia).

Below is a screenshot of the map that shows where the R Haplogroup split and then where R1a ended up - in Eastern Europe.

My husband's grandfather, Joseph Handler (1884-1947) was born in Ilok, formerly in Hungary, then Yugoslavia, now in Croatia. I know nothing more about his father than his name was Aaron (or Adolf, or Arthur), that he was believed to have been born in Yugoslavia (based on that notation on the death certificates of his sons, Joseph and Sam), and that his Y-DNA was the same as my husband's.

For better explanations of genetic genealogy, visit Your Genetic Genealogist blog, written by CeCe Moore. She also wrote an article for Geni.com explaining Y-DNA testing, where she explains it much better than I ever could.