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Newbie - Where do I go from here?

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  • Newbie - Where do I go from here?

    So I have gotten my results and my mind is blown. I have no idea how or where to start. My whole reason for doing this is this:
    My father was a holocaust survivor from Berlin Germany. He came to the United States as a child. He was an orphan and had lost his entire family. He never spoke of his past. He died very young, and any information on his family died with him. For a long time now I have been on a very intense but rather fruitless search for any living relative of my father no matter how remote.
    I have been doing my mother's family tree on ancestry as well, so I have found some information on that side, and I knew I had some cousins and I figured I would come up with some new ones from doing the Family Finder thing.
    Fast forward to now. So I wasn't sure what I would find. I am female so can't do the Ydna thing. I got my matches, and I have just over 6000 matches. I know that since it is Autosomal DNA there is no way to tell if these matches are from my mother or father. And since not everyone gives their ancestral heritage, I wouldn't know where to start looking for my relatives.
    I don't pretend to understand my findings, shared cM's, etc. So I know this is a lot to say here. (Will someone even read this?) My questions are:

    1. How do I go about figuring out who might be able to fill in my family tree? Who do I contact? Who do you contact - meaning anyone who may or may not be reading this long drawn out post? I don't recognize anyone in my matches, but I certainly see a great deal of Lithuania, Belarus, etc and I know my mother's family is from those areas.
    2. Do I have any chance of finding a relative of my father? Do I just look for people with German ancestry?
    My origins - 100% Ashkenazi Jew and all my DNA is 100% Jewish Diaspora. Perhaps my heritage just makes it that much more difficult to find family.
    If you have take the time to read this....THANK YOU

  • #2
    1. If you are a male order a Y-DNA test such as Y-DNA67. This test looks for paternal (father's, father's, father's --- father) line.

    2. If no one from your mother's side has Family Finder have one or more of her close relatives order it. This will help indicate which of your FF matches are from her side of the family.

    3. When FTDNA allows GEDmatch to start accepting their FF raw data aagain upload your raw data to GEDmatch. GEDmatch accepts data from 23andMe and Ancestry.

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    • #3
      Hallo Mrs. Stern,

      as you are female you could test, as Jim Barrett wrote, all elder maternal relatives via Family Finder you have in your family, if possible(your mother, maternal grandparents, brothers or sisters of your mother). This helps to sort out names of matches, who are related to your mother. Then you might write mails to the rest of your own match list starting from closest cousins and ask them, if they had relatives in or near Berlin before WW2. Perhaps you find some redundant surnames in their trees and could get some clues, where to search furthermore.

      I guess, you know the surname of your father and a circa date of birth of him? This may help to look up for other info in the internet, for example here:

      http://www.jewishgen.org/?gclid=COOL...FXMz0wodB10AyQ

      A lot of people share jewish family trees on that platform and there are geographic projects, databases...

      All the best for your research,
      Petra

      P.S.:
      I just looked for the name STERN in Berlin and I saw, that you are already member there... Did you already write to the archives directly in Berlin?

      http://www.landesarchiv-berlin.de/lab-neu/kontakt.htm
      mailto:[email protected]
      Last edited by Petra; 4 April 2016, 09:56 AM. Reason: missing word, P.S.

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      • #4
        Thank you

        Thanks for the reply. I have my father's information, and I have been on Jewish Genealogy. I don't know German so it's hard to get information from German sites.

        I appreciate your input!

        Joan

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        • #5
          Hallo Joan,

          you might write in English to the mail address ([email protected]) of the archive. They will answer and help.

          Perhaps they can find original documents (adress lists of jewish households) of your possible grandparents with their son (you got the name) in Berlin in a time frame, when your father was born. I know, this will not be easy to research as there were a lot of Stern families in Berlin those days. But as you have name and birthdate of your father, this could be a way for your research.

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          • #6
            As suggested by others, if you test someone on your mother's side you can determine which of your matches belong to that side and therefore know which are on your father's side. If your mother's isn't an option, other close relatives to her may help. However, they would have different DNA from your mother so it won't help as good as her DNA.

            If there are no older relatives, you can still test siblings if you have any. They would have DNA from your parents that you do not have. Since both your parents have Jewish ancestry, it will be hard to split your matches based on which side of your family they are from as some could be related to both of them. If you have a brother, his Y-DNA could be of some help.

            Other than trying to find your grandfather's records, you could contact your closest matches and give them that snippet of information about your grandfather. It could be a long shot, but if any of them have done extensive research they could have a record that matches your grandfather.

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