Monday, 17 September 2018

Back to Russia!

The second talk I did at the IAJGS Conference in Warsaw last month was Back to Russia!, about the experiences of my grandfather Louis Frankenstein and his cousin Jack Schwartz during the First World War. They had both emigrated from Gombin in Poland to London in 1913, Louis was around 20 years old, Jack a couple of years younger.

During the War they were both caught up in an episode about which little appears to be known, even by historians of the period. This was an agreement between the British and Russian governments for a reciprocal exchange of conscripts, so that Russian subjects living in Britain, and British subjects living in Russia, would be liable for military service in the country they were living in. This agreement was known as the Anglo-Russian Military Service Convention, 1917.

I have only been able to find one book which deals with this episode, War or Revolution: Russian Jews and Conscription in Britain, 1917written by Harold Shukman, a historian whose father went "back to Russia" under the Convention. Apart from Shukman's book - which is excellent - and a couple of unpublished PhDs, which were also very helpful, I found just a chapter here, a few quotations there, and nothing else. I have even drawn a blank with a number of historians whose main focus is the contribution of British Jews to the First World War, and the effects of the War on the Jewish community - even the specialists were not able to provide any useful leads.

So the story told in this talk is based on what I have been able to glean from these sources (listed at the end of the Handout, which you can read or download), and on documents found as part of my own research into the lives of my grandfather Louis and his cousin Jack. This involved, amonsgt other things, pursuing Freedom of Information requests with the National Archives, and with West Yorkshire Police.

I must say at this point that neither my family nor the Schwartz family had the faintest idea what our respective grandfathers "did during the War". We have a photo of my grandfather in some sort of military uniform, but I couldn't find any record of his military service; he doesn't appear in the British Jewry Book of Honour, which is a thoroughly researched roll-call of thousands of Jews who served in the British Forces in WW1. There is a Jack Schwartz listed in the Book of Honour, indeed there are several, and his family thought he fought in France. He didn't.
Here's the Presentation I used for the talk. Click on the image below, and you will be taken to the Presentation page. You'll be asked to give yourself a name - it doesn't matter what name you use. Then you just click on the 'Slideshow' icon - it's the blue triangle, just left of centre above the slide.  This gives you the Slideshow in all its full-screen majesty. 
You can play through it using the Spacebar, the Return/Enter key, or the right-arrow key. Most of the slides have two or three components that appear in sequence, one at a time. You'll just have to imagine the commentary that goes with them. Jan did an audio recording, but we haven't got round to processing it yet, let alone matching it up to the slides. 
When you get to the end, or feel you can't take any more, just press the Esc key.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Fields of Glass

The Annual Conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies was held in Warsaw last month, and I was lucky enough to have two talks accepted.

This is the Presentation that went with one of them, Fields of Glass. It grew out of my research into the family of my great-grandfather, Hersz Ber Waksman, who died in London in 1945, shortly after I was born. I found that his mother was Gitla Laja Glasman, and that she had died young leaving two infant sons. We'd never heard of the Glasmans, so I started looking into them.

They came from a village called Gniewoszow, on the Vistula River in central Poland, and there were loads of them. There are around 150 individual Glasmans listed in the village in the birth, marriage and death indexes on the JRI-Poland website, over a period of some 50 years in the mid-19th Century.

I thought that might be enough to do a little social study. I'm not a social scientist, or a statistician, and I know I can't draw any grand conclusions about 19th Century Jewish village life from this small survey, but I think there are some interesting pointers here. And they're my Glasmans, these are my ancestors.

Here's the Presentation I used for the talk. Click on the image, and you will be taken to the Presentation page. You'll be asked to give yourself a name - it doesn't matter what name you use. Then you just click on the 'Slideshow' icon - it's the blue triangle, just left of centre above the slide.  This gives you the Slideshow in all its full-screen majesty.

You can play through it using the Spacebar, the Return/Enter key, or the right-arrow key. Most of the slides have two or three components that appear in sequence, one at a time. You'll just have to imagine the commentary that goes with them. Jan did an audio recording, but we haven't got round to processing it yet, let alone matching it up to the slides.

When you get to the end, or feel you can't take any more, just press the Esc key.

You can also read or download the Handout for the talk.

[NB: I haven't tried it on mobile or iPad yet.]

Jan and I paid a brief visit to Gniewoszow last year, I'll post a few photos later.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Schreibmans of Pinsk - Thirteen Families or One?

Some of the 13 separate Schreibman Trees visualised in MacFamilyTree's Interactive Tree
Benjamin and Andrew go back to Pinchas Schreibman, b c1740; I go back to Movsha Schreibman, also b c1740. The two families are separate lines as far back as we know them, and both are recorded in Pinsk (Belarus) throughout most of the 200 years up to WW2. The name Schreibman is occupational, signifying 'scribe', and both families have traditions of Torah scribes, teachers, and similar. Are Pinchas and Movsha connected? Unfortunately, we can't tell. Every so often I have a big push on Schreibman research, and I did again a couple of months ago. I reckon I have found some 13 separate Schreibman lines, all from Pinsk or other towns in the region such as Kobryn or Lubishev, none of which I can connect to any of the others. As an example, there are what appear to be 3 different men called Chaim, all b c1840 to different fathers. Are their fathers connected, brothers even? We can't tell. One of the problems is that we don't know when the name Schreibman was first adopted by these families as an inheritable surname. The earliest documentation I have for my line is the 1816 Revision List, which has: Hirsh Schreibman, son of Movsha, aged 50. So Hirsh was b 1766. What we cannot deduce from this is that the family was known as Schreibman when Hirsh was born. So although I refer to my 4g-g'father as 'Movsha Schreibman', I don't actually have any evidence he was ever called that. The date of adoption of the surname is important, because this is an occupational name. Anyone could be a shoemaker, or a tailor, or a scribe. You might be from a family of shoemakers, tailors or scribes, but you didn't have to be. So when the time came to assign surnames, any old scribe could become a Schreibman. You didn't necessarily have to be related to any other Schreibmans. On the other hand, some occupational names were in use as family surnames long before the Russian Empire obliged Jews to use them. Was 'Schreibman' an early surname? It might help if we knew what regulations were in force governing the adoption of surnames at the relevant time in this part of the Russian Empire. My understanding is that in Congress Poland it was the rule that any particular surname could only be used by one family in any given town, and this certainly seems to be the case in several Polish towns I have looked at. In Belarus, on the other hand, I have the same problem with my Ilyutovich family from Lida as I have here with the Schreibmans of Pinsk. My own family is identifiable in the 1816 Revision List, and I can claim almost all the Ilyutoviches in that list as members of it. However in each succeeding List throughout the 19C, new Ilyutovich groups turn up that seem to have no connection to the original family. I believe the name originates from the given name Eliyahu, so Ilyutovich signifies 'son of Eliyahu'. Was there one Eliyahu in the 18th Century, who had loads of sons, all bar one of which went into hiding in 1816 so they didn't appear in the List, and whose sons and grandsons in turn gradually surfaced, a few at a time, over the next 100 years? Are they all connected, or was there something in the air around Lida that led them all to choose the same surname? Back to the Schreibmans. I have a DNA match with Andrew, but it's not very strong, and as 6th Cousin at closest according to the paper trail we wouldn't expect it to be. The matching segments we share (9cM and 10cM) don't line up at the moment with any other possible Schreibman matches I have. So, this too is inconclusive. So are the Schreibmans of Pinsk all connected? I'd love to find evidence that they are, but unfortunately I don't think I've found it yet.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Prayer Books of Gombin

A year ago I took part in a visit to Gombin in Poland, home town of my grandfather Lajb Frankensztajn. I went along with a few other members of the Gombin Society from the USA and the UK, all of us descendants of Jewish inhabitants of the town. We were there for a weekend of events commemorating the town’s former Jewish community, which was wiped out in the Holocaust. Several members of my own Gombin family perished at that time, including my grandfather’s two sisters, their husbands and most of their children, possibly his mother (though she may have died a year or two before the War, we don’t know), and many of his cousins.

Amongst the many moving moments of the visit, one in particular stands out for me. It happened on the Sunday, when we had a programme of walks around the town, followed by a few short films and talks in the afternoon.

The Books
It was 10am. We had just arrived in the town, and were standing around waiting for the local dignitaries to join us. A woman approached us, carrying a plastic bag, from which she pulled out a number of old, black-bound books. They were Hebrew Prayer Books, which she said had been found when her house was being renovated a few years ago. They had been hidden under the stairs, or maybe behind a wall, during the War. They must have been there for at least 75 years, as the Nazis deported all remaining Jews from the town to concentration camps in 1942.

Did we know who these books belonged to? She wanted to return them to the original family, and was reluctant to hand them over to a museum - and we had amongst us the Directors of two of the most important museums in Poland, the State Ethnographic Museum, who had organised the Conference, and Polin, the Museum of the Polish Jews, both located in Warsaw. But she insisted she wanted to give them back to the family.

She said the Jewish family who had lived in the house before was called Pindek. At that point I had not come across the name at all, and when I checked later, I couldn’t see it on any of the databases I had on my laptop. It didn’t ring any bells. None of the Jewish Gombiners amongst us recognised the name.

There was some writing on some of the blank pages at the beginning of one of the books, some in Yiddish, and a child’s hand practising letter formation in Hebrew and in Russian. A few people looked at it but no-one could make much sense of it.

Our hosts arrived, our meeting started. The lady put the books back in the bag and went off. We were busy all day and I didn't have another look at the photos I had taken.

Reading the Writing
Then at the end of the day, she turned up again, as we were all filing into a hall for some talks and films. I’m always stopping to take photos, and as usual I was at the back of the bunch to enter the hall, along with a few of our Polish friends from the Ethnological Museum. As proceedings began inside, those of us still outside had another look at the books. I can read a bit of Russian, albeit with difficulty, and I suddenly realised that the child’s writing - even reading it upside down, as someone else held the book - was that of a little boy learning how to write his own name: Lab Ran.

Lajb Rajn?

I have Rajn relatives, from Gombin. They are descendants of Gersz Ber Rajn and Rifka Laja Frankensztajn, sister of my great-grandfather. Plus, conversations with a newly-contacted cousin, Louis Kaplan, had confirmed that Gersz Ber Rajn, and Louis' great-grandfather Boruch Nusyn Rajn, were brothers, and that therefore what looked like two Rajn families in Gombin were really one. Plus, Boruch Nusyn's wife was a member of my Zegelman family.

So they're all relatives of mine, one way or another. They’re on my Family Tree, and my Tree is on my phone, and my phone is in my pocket …

There he was - Lajb Rajn, born 1901, from Louis’ side of the Rajn family. We checked the date of publication of the book: 1900. It could be him! I checked again in my notes, and there were indeed no other children called Lajb in the Rajn family at that time. It had to be him. 

As Chance would have it
I showed the Museum people the entry for the Rajn family on my iPhone - so glad I’d bought the App! - and one of them explained what I was saying to the lady, Mrs Romanowska.

She was delighted to have found someone connected with the family, but I don’t think she realised what a massive part Chance had played in bringing us together:

Chance #1: I was on the trip in the first place - there were only 5 of us from old Gombin families; none of the others was connected to the Rajn family
#2: I was still in the street, and not already inside in the hall, when she came back in the afternoon
#3: I can read a bit of Russian; I don't think any of the others could
#4: I have a ridiculous number of relatives, confirmed and potential, listed on the genealogy app on my phone
#5: I had only recently been contacted by Louis, who had helped me to join some of the dots

We had a little impromptu handing-over ceremony right there and then in the street, and a little hug. I now have the Book.

More dots joined
So we had identified the child who had written in the book, but we were still in the dark about the Pindeks. 

A few days later, back home, I was writing to Louis, who is from New Jersey, USA, to tell him that, on the Gombin trip, we had been given a book belonging to his family. While I was writing, I had another look at his Family Tree on the Geni website, and saw that since I had last looked, before the trip, he had added in some names and dates to his Rajn branch.

There they were: a Pindek married to a Rajn! Fool (probably a diminutive of Rafal) Pindek, married to Kajla Rajn! I already knew about Kajla - she’s a daughter of Boruch Nusyn, and an older sister of Lajb, the child whose writing is in the book. So Lajb's book had been found in his sister's house, and she was married to a Pindek.

Sadly, Louis also had dates of death for all 3 of them: Lajb, Kajla and Fool: 1942. All killed in the Holocaust.

Whose Books?
I suppose the book had belonged to Boruch Nusyn originally, and maybe one of Lajb’s older brothers or sisters, possibly Kajla, used the blank pages to show him how to write his name. We were told by Barbara Kirschenblatt, Director of the Polin Museum, that the book is a Mahzor (a festival prayer book), that all families had one, and that they would have been accessible to the children.

We presume that Lajb, or maybe Kajla, would have kept the Books, and hid them when the Germans came. 65 or 70 years later, the house was being renovated, floorboards were pulled up, and the books were found.

The other three books, Barbara told us, were part of a series of commentary prayer books, Mikraot Gedolot, that would only have been used by a Rabbi or other synagogue officiant, or maybe a Yeshiva student. I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask for these three books at the time, but they clearly are all part of the same collection, and we are hoping that Mrs Romanowska will agree to return them to the family.

More Mysteries
Meantime, there are a number of other mysteries waiting to be cleared up. Who was the Rabbi, or Teacher, or student, who owned the commentary books? It is probably Lajb’s father, Boruch Nusyn, but I can’t be sure as so far I haven’t managed to find out anything at all about him. Louis says he was in the leather business, and that’s about it. It could be Lajb himself, or perhaps Rafal Pindek. Again, we know nothing further about them.

Why are there only 3 volumes out of the 11 in the series? Did the Rajns/Pindeks originally have all 11? If so, where are the others? It has been suggested that maybe the books belonged to the synagogue, and that they were spread amongst the community at some point during the War in the hope that they might stand a better chance of surviving. We do not know.

There are further question marks over the house itself. It is located in Kilinskiego Street, which runs from the synagogue out to the Jewish cemetery, about a kilometre away. When the Germans created a Jewish ghetto in the town, this street became its centre. We do not know whether the Pindeks were living there before the War, or whether they were moved there when the ghetto was formed. We do not know whether Lajb Rajn and his family lived there at all. Mrs Romanowska says that her family bought the house from the Pindeks, and that she has some sort of documentation of this amongst her parents’ papers. At the moment we do not know when her family took over the house - before the War, or under the Occupation? Or after the Jews were deported to the camps?

She also says there are photos that might include the Pindeks. This leaves us wondering what the relationship was between her family and the Pindeks - were they friends, neighbours, business associates maybe? If we could see the papers and photos she has mentioned, it might help make the picture a bit clearer. We have asked.

The Pindeks
Finally, the Pindeks themselves. Rafal and Kajla were killed in 1942, but their son Bernard (probably named after his grandfather Boruch Nusyn) managed, somehow, to survive. Louis, whose mother was a cousin to Bernard, recalls: “They had a son named Bernie who survived the Holocaust and I recall meeting him when I was a little boy. The legend was that he escaped into the woods and lived out the War in hiding.”

Bernie’s escape must have been from a concentration camp, as some of the cousins who remember him from their childhood recall the camp number tattooed on his arm. Louis remembers going to visit Bernie and his family, and playing with his two sons.

Bernie died aged 50 in 1967. Louis recalls the family saying he "died before his time”; his mother said that it was from “the trials that he was exposed to during the time of the Holocaust.” It has just struck me that this year is his centenary.

Six of Boruch Nusyn’s children had emigrated to the USA in the 1910s and 20s; Kajla and Lajb were the only ones who stayed in Poland. Bernie probably knew that his uncles and aunts were in New Jersey, and he managed to locate them there after the War. Other members of the Rajn family also remember family contacts with Bernie and his family. Three of them, Arline, Lauren and Dan, recently helped me to make contact with Bernie’s sons, and with a grand-daughter, Lilly. Until they saw my emails a few weeks ago, Lilly says they thought that her Grandfather’s family had all perished in the Holocaust, and they would never be able to find out who they were.

We have pooled our knowledge, and Lady Luck has played a part, but there are still many mysteries. Maybe together we will be able to resolve some of them, and recover at least some of the history of a family torn apart by the horrors of the Holocaust.

Links to:
- The Frankenstein Trail: posts on our family's history

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Tracing the X in Levin

Several of my cousins have now done a DNA test, and we are beginning to get some interesting results. Within the last couple of weeks results have come in for Beatrice, a 3rd Cousin to me, and for Dan, a 2nd Cousin. Dan and I share great-grandparents, Shliomo Dovid Ilyutovich and Mikhlya Levin, whilst Beatrice's great-grandfather is Mikhlya's brother Leib. So our connection with Beatrice is one generation further back, with the parents of Mikhlya and Leib, Berko Levin and his wife Sora Leya. Our Levin family is from a village called Streshin, in Mogilev province in the east of Belarus, and later from Gomel, a bit further south.

With these new results in, I was able to do a few checks comparing known Levin family members using the chromosome browser on the FTDNA website. Apart from my brother Brian and myself, we have results for Katy (the daughter of our 1st cousin Jenny, so she's our 1st Cousin-once-Removed), and for Patrick - a 1C1R to Dan. 

The Chromosome Browser shows us where we have segments of DNA that exactly match those of another person. These matching segments - especially the longer ones - must almost certainly have come from a common ancestor, although in many cases this ancestor will turn out to be too far back in time for us to be able to trace.

The first impression was that we all seem to match each other here and there, to a greater or lesser extent. Phew! I experimented comparing the group first against myself, then against Brian, then against Katy - and it was here that I encountered a major surprise.

Here is the chart for Katy's X-chromosome. The X has a different inheritance pattern to all the other chromosomes. It is passed from the Mother to all children, Male & Female, and from the Father only to a Female child. This makes the inheritance path quite complicated, but if you sit down with the Tree in front of you and a pencil in your hand, you can follow it through.
NB: the black background represents Katy, the green is Dan, the yellow is Beatrice. The blank lines you can discern on the right-hand side are where Brian, Patrick and myself would be, except we didn't get this X because we are all males, and our Levin line passes through our fathers. And as we saw above, fathers don't pass an X on to their sons. And none of us matches Katy on the left-hand side.

We see that Dan shares a long segment on the X-chromosome with Katy, and Beatrice also matches both of them in this segment in a couple of short stretches. Dan's match with Katy is 110cM, which I am told is unusually long for 2C1R - the segment has been passed down unaltered over 3 generations to Dan, and 4 to Katy. And although Beatrice's match is comparatively short, it is significant that she matches with both of the others at those points.

What is more, we know where this segment comes from, for any ‘match’ displayed in the Chromosome Browser has to come from an ancestor common to all the people who share the match, and our cousinship is close enough for us to know who those ancestors are.

We can trace one of Dan’s X-inheritance paths back via his mother Raya, and her father Shmuilo, to our great-grandmother Mikhlya Levin, and then on to her mother Sora Leya, born about 1830. 

Katy has a path that also wends its way back to the same place, via her mother Jenny, Jenny's father Michael, his mother Zlata, and back to Mikhlya and on to Sora Leya.

And Beatrice also has one that goes back to Sora Leya, via her mother Alice, Alice's mother Annie, and Annie's father Leib, Mikhlya’s brother.

Here's our Levin X-inheritance chart:

NB: girls are pink, boys are blue; and notice that none of these 3 paths pass through two successive males at any point - this would block transmission of the Levin X, which is why Patrick, Brian and myself can't share in the fun.

So we can trace this long stretch of X back to a known common ancestor. That in itself is nice to know, but it has further significant potential. Because anyone else matching Dan or Katy on that same stretch of X - or Beatrice, on her shorter stretch - will have got it from Sora Leya, or from her X-path ancestors, or their X-path descendants. That leaves quite a lot of possibilities, but at least we know what direction to look in.

I would say that this makes anyone matching either of Dan or Katy on the right-hand module of the X-chromosome worth following up - they will be related to us, and the relationship may be traceable. They won’t be close to us, the closest they could be is probably descendants of any siblings of Mikhlya and Leib - but it would be wonderful if we do find some! They would be 3rd Cousins to us - and that's worth knowing about!

Dan and Katy meet for the first time last year. At that point we didn't know about the X in Levin.

Two more members of the Levin X-club: Beatrice and Alice, celebrating Alice's 100 birthday in 2011 with a Yiddish song or two. Sadly Alice passed away the following year.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Something in the air

There must be something in the air ...
There I was, whiling away the time on the top deck of the Number 7 bus, scrolling through the emails on my phone. There was one from MyHeritage, so I opened it to see what news there was on the family history front. It was a list of 'record matches' they'd found for people in the Family Tree I've got on their site. One of them was for the family of Joseph Szapira of Brighton. In the 1891 Census they were living at 3 St James's Street.As I read this, the bus pulled up at a stop, and I glanced out of the window., as you do.
There it was, just behind me - Number 3, the yellow building currently offering organic Belgian chips. In 1891 it was a fruiterer's. Joseph Szapira, formerly a jeweller, seems to have taken over the business after the death of his father-in-law Samuel Joel. Apart from the shop-fronts, the row of buildings, with their bow-windows on the first floor, are more or less as they were in 1891.So was this email from MyHeritage primed to open at just this time, and just this place? Are they in cahoots with the bus driver?
Or is it maybe Kate Joel's way of reminding me that I haven't yet managed to link her family with that of Jacob Joel, who lived at 89 St James's Street? Or is it even Isaac Frankenstein nudging me again, from across the Atlantic - I haven't managed to link him to anyone at all.
Or .... ?

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Just like a jigsaw

Our first success
I did an autosomal DNA test with FTDNA getting on for 5 years ago, and since then a few of my cousins have done so too. Week after week I check our match lists, occasionally spotting a promising looking match, but never yet managing to establish a connection with anyone.

Well, we've just had our first success: my cousin Katy has been able to confirm a previously unknown cousin. It's on her father's side, and I'm connected to her on her mother's side, so it's not a new cousin for me, but the discovery could indirectly be of some help to my own researches.

A few days ago a new match, Niel, appeared in Katy's list, with figures too big to ignore: they share a total of 225cM, with a longest single segment of 75cM. FTDNA predicts they should be 2nd-3rd Cousins. We all have plenty of predicted 2-3Cs, as do most people with Jewish ancestry, and I have never yet been able to connect to any of them. But none so far have shown figures as high as this, so it was obviously worth investigating.

Mystery Man
I have pretty full information on our close relatives on Katy's mother's side, but I have no record of Niel's name. He appears on my match list, and that of my brother, but we share such a small amount of DNA with him that the match probably has very little significance. So the first conclusion is that he'll probably turn out to be on her father's side.

Next step: ask Katy. She had never heard of him. She asked her Dad. He didn't recognise the name either.

So I tried looking online. My first port of call was the Geni world-wide Family Tree - and bingo!, there he was, in a Tree with a handful of relatives, none of them known to us. One of these was his father, Louis, so I tried looking for him on Geni, to see if there was maybe another Tree for this family. There was, and it showed Louis' mother with a surname not too far from Katy's own family name. This did indeed look promising.

Yesterday, while we were still scratching our heads over this, Katy received an email from Niel. He had seen her in his own match list, and recognised her surname as being close to his grandmother's maiden name. He looked for her via Google, found her website, and saw that she had family connections to South Africa.

This is where the jigsaw comes in.

Niel told us that his grandmother, Mary, was "sent to Canada" to marry his grandfather, Noah, whose wife had died, leaving him with two young children. She herself had a young child, and as Niel puts it, "Unfortunately in those days they thought it was OK to leave her baby behind in Lithuania." This child, Heidi, was brought up by one of Mary's brothers, who later emigrated with his family to South Africa; Niel didn't know the name of this brother.

This last sentence immediately rang a bell with Katy. She knew from her father that his own father, Bentzion, had grown up in South Africa with a "cousin" called Heidi as part of the family. However none of the children seemed to know how she was connected, nor who her parents were.

Now we know. Piecing together the information from Niel and Katy, we have been able to re-constitute the family tree. Mary (also known as Miriam) has to be a sister of Woolf, Bentzion's father (and Katy's great-grandfather) - they have the same surname, and the two stories fit. Heidi is Mary's daughter by a first partner, brought up as a member of Woolf's family, and emigrating to South Africa with them. Meanwhile Mary and Noah had two children in Canada, including Niel's father Louis.

So Niel is Katy's 2nd Cousin-Once-Removed. Without the DNA test to spark the contact, we would most likely never have known. They are now moving on to swapping photos and more stories, no doubt.

And as an added bonus, FTDNA uses the DNA that a person shares with known close relatives to allocate some of their other matches to one side or the other of their family. In Katy's case, her mother is a First Cousin to myself and my brother. The DNA we share has enabled FTDNA to create a list of Maternal-side matches for her. Fitting together the pieces of the jigsaw with Niel has now produced a list on her Paternal side. This should help orientate further researches for her.

It may even have repercussions for myself and Brian, as we are more likely to be related to her Maternal matches than to her Paternal ones. So if a promising match appears on my own list, I can use Katy's lists as a steer, and pay it more attention if it is also on her Maternal side.

So we haven't exactly completed the jigsaw, but it's nice at least to fit two of the pieces together - and at the same time, to increase our chances of finding more pieces!