28 February 2015

Avrum's Women, Part 12: Finding Family with Family Finder

I've been neglecting this series - and it's not for lack of something to share. So, let's continue on!

When we last met, I'd found that Lederman Y-DNA was an exact match at 37 markers for Garber DNA and Sheldon Lederman was definitely related via the (male line) Y chromosome to my brother Jim and my father's first cousin, Mel. In the T-M70 Y-DNA haplogroup there are no other males tested who match them exactly. I awaited results of Family Tree DNA's Family Finder (aka autosomal DNA test) to see what the company would predict for the kinship relationship between Garber and Lederman.

Autosomal testing looks at the 22 chromosomes that are not sex chromosomes (neither Y nor X). Segments of DNA on these chromosomes may come from either mother or father and one cannot tell without further analysis which chromosomes have been inherited from whom. To understand the results of autosomal DNA one should have comparison samples from those for whom one knows the relationship. I have tested myself and four known Garber relatives. The chart immediately below shows how we (those tested are highlighted in yellow) are related to our common ancestor Avrum Garber. I have included Sheldon and his known male ancestors.


Avrum was great grandfather to me, my brother Jim, my first cousin Lynne, and my second cousin Ellen. Avrum was the Mel's grandfather. I know from Avrum's tombstone that his father was Mordechai and his grandfather was Yitzchak Leib. Beyond that I have little information. We do not know how we are related to Sheldon, but we do know that his father was Morris, contemporary of Jack, Feiga and Eddie (who were siblings). Morris' father was Levi Yitzchak.

Family Tree DNA provides some tools for autosomal DNA analysis. This is a comparison of the results for the five Garber relatives to Sheldon's autosomal chromosome results. A color key is inset, below.


Each colored line above represents a specific segment on that chromosome where that person matches Sheldon's DNA. There are matches with Sheldon on every chromosome tested except 16, 18 and 21. On most chromosomes, Sheldon matches more than one Garber in the same location.

Generally, it is considered that the longer the shared segment the closer the relationship. I could have plotted only segments greater than 10 centiMorgans (cM = the measure of segment length) rather than greater than 5 to more clearly show robust relationships. But I noted that there are several locations where segments 10 cM or less for several Garbers match Sheldon in striking unison: especially on chromosome 7, 11 and 15. I thought these were worth sharing.

FamilyTree DNA predicts the following relationships with Sheldon based upon these shared segment results: first to third cousins for me, Jim, Ellen, and Mel and second to third for Lynne. (One would expect that Lynne's predicted relationship with Sheldon should be the same as mine and my brother's - since we'd be related along our shared grandfather's line. But, we are dealing here with probabilities. In theory, autosomal DNA is inherited 50% from each parent. But in reality, we might inherit more material from one side than another and, possibly, more from one grandparent than another. The prediction for Lynne is certainly within the range one would expect considering her known relationship to the rest of the tested Garber clan.)

Now, barring a non-paternal event, we know that Sheldon cannot be our first cousin because we know who our grandparents were and we do not share them with him. We also know that Mel and Sheldon do not share grandfathers (Mel's was Avrum; Sheldon's was Levi Yitzchak), so they could not be first cousins. Unfortunately, we do not know Sheldon's ancestry beyond his grandfather Levi Yitzchak. So, right now, if Family Tree DNA's Family Finder predictions are correct, then Sheldon and Mel could be as close as second cousins.

This is great news, but it still cries out for further research. Unless and until we can provide some documentation, we cannot tell exactly how the Lidermans are related to the Garbers. However, I will leave you with this tidbit: as a result of some new information, I have been doing some happy genealogy dances - more in the next post.
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Other posts in this series: 
Avrum's Women, Part 2: Feiga Grinfeld
Avrum's Women, Part 3: Following Feiga (and Raya)
Avrum's Women, Part 4: The Trouble with Harry
Avrum's Women, Part 5: Finding Feiga 
Avrum's Women, Part 6: Added Confirmation
Avrum's Women, Part 7: Feiga's Family
Avrum's Women, Part 8: Fannie's Story 

Avrum's Women, Part 9: Fannie's Brother Morris 
Avrum's Women: Part 10, Morris Lederman - Who's Your Mama? 
Avrum's Women, Part 11: Garber Y-DNA = Lederman Y-DNA
Avrum's Women, Part 13: Bond of Brothers 

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