06 March 2007

Jewish DNA mentions in major media

Thanks to the Rev. Al Sharpton and his connection to Sen. Strom Thurmond, everyone in the media is asking questions about DNA.

Fortunately for Tracing the Tribe's readers, reporters are also talking to Jewish genealogists, such as Herb Huebscher of New York and to Bennett Greenspan, founder of Houston-based Family Tree DNA, the very first company to do genetic genealogy.

Thanks to recent stories by Matt Crenson of the Associated Press and Jamie Talan of Newsday, DNA - specifically Jewish DNA - is in the news. And Amy Harmon of the New York Times is working on another article in this vein.

And for those families of Eastern European origin with an oral family tradition of Sephardic roots, there is a just-established Family Tree DNA project called "Iberian Surnames of Ashkenaz," headed by Judy Simon. She writes "We are starting a geographical DNA project for male Ashkenazi Jews with a Spanish or Portuguese surname or an oral tradition of having Sephardic roots, who are interested in tracing their ancestry by DNA."

To read more about the project, click here. You may also e-mail Judy for more information, IberianAshkenaz@yahoo.com

If you want to learn even more about DNA in genealogy, the upcoming 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will feature a DNA and Genetics track. There will be programs by author Jon Entine, genetics counselor Gary Frolich and the Shoah Project with Syd Mandelbaum. Greenspan will speak on Genetic Genealogy 2007 and Huebscher will provide an update to his fascinating project linking a growing number of Galizianer (Austro-Hungary) and Litvak (Lithuanian) families to genetically matching Sephardic families, which may indicate a pre-Expulsion Sephardic origin for the entire group.

The conference program is now online, for all event details, registration and much more.

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