In the last few years, many volumes have been produced about genetic genealogy. That is no wonder, because the field is both growing in popularity and developing rapidly, with new tools and new methods. But I have not seen anything on the genetic genealogy of Jews and other “closed” populations.
The purpose of this book is to change that.
European Jews have always married mainly within the tribe. Whether our numbers five hundred years ago in Europe were four hundred or four hundred thousand, the pool was limited. As a result, the members of the tribe today are all related to one another, multiple times. This phenomenon, known as endogamy, makes Jewish genetic genealogy very difficult, often impossible. There is a similar phenomenon in some other population groups.
I was convinced that this brick wall is not as impenetrable as it seems, at least in some circumstances.
I believe that this book demonstrates that I was correct.
When I decided I wanted to write a book, I was not sure if I wanted to write a “How to” book or a “How I did it” book. The decision was dictated by the facts in the field. Different family structures, widely different numbers of living family members, and other similar factors dictated that writing “How to” would be irrelevant for most researchers.
“How I did it” is more likely to be helpful to the research community and more likely to instill the confidence necessary for such a project.
It is my hope that this book will encourage and inspire other researchers of their European Jewish families and other endogamous populations to say “I can do this!”
5775 / 2015