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How I am using Family Finder

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  • How I am using Family Finder

    I like forming hypotheses. I have a huge family tree for Ashkenazi Jewish families in Central Europe and Eastern Europe (Suwalki Gubernia, Trakai District of Vilnius Gubernia and in between). I am finding that my matches have last names and locations near where my father's mother's ancestors come from. I see a name or a location and go and search for that town find either records or names of families from the town. Then I go to my family tree on and figure out whether I have a branch that matches the DNA / JewishGen information. I am both building out my tree and showing that my matches' surnames actually appear on my tree, as I expand the tree outwards and downwards.

    Never forget to pay attention to geography. The Itelson family, for instance, which may be "Adelson" was in Kalwariya, Zambudow, Merkine (Merecz), Vilnius, Vishinitz, Slobodka, and Viliampole. The families in Merkine and Ratnycia were in Druskienki. And so on. I wish more people would add surname and locations!

    Another "easy" way to use match information if you are an Askenazi Jew with rabbinic lines in your tree is to look for a shared ancestoral names such as Shapira, Treves, Segal and then go to a genealogy site where there are good family trees for that rabbinic line. Or go to Chaim Freedman or Neil Rosenstein or others' books on the genealogies of famous rabbinical lines. They have collected branches all the way to the present, with a good surname index.