Sunday, August 6, 2017

Another Generation of Diamonds?

I had tested my father's Y DNA several years ago.  As is not uncommon for Jews (who have not had surnames for too long), he had no matches with the surname Diamond besides his second cousin who I'd also tested--but had lots of matches with lots of people with Jewish surnames.  But then about 2 months ago a new match popped up--with the surname Diamond.
The first match is Uncle Leibish's grandson.  The second is this new match

This new Diamond match had 4 mutations different than my father at 37 markers (but since my father's second cousin had 3 mutations different, that seemed reasonable).  I contacted this gentleman, and he responded that he didn't know much about his father's family, even his own paternal grandparents' names.

I asked what his father's name and birthdate was and was shocked by the response--his father was Hillel Diamond, born in New York in 1901.  Well, Hillel was my great-great grandfather's name, and (based on naming patterns in my family) he died sometime around 1900.  Could this match's father have been named for my great-great grandfather?  That would imply a relatively close relationship.

I was able to quickly find my match's paternal grandparents (Samuel and Molly Vittor/Wito/Vito Diamond) with census records.  I also found Samuel's parents (Mordechai and Hannah Zots Diamond) from Samuel's marriage certificate and grave.

Sam & Molly Diamond's Marriage, New York City, 1887
Could Sam have been a brother of my great-great grandfather Hillel--and therefore named his youngest son after his recently-deceased brother?  If so, Mordechai and Hannah would be my great-great-great grandparents.

Sam came to the US early enough that his ship manifest and naturalization papers give no place of origin besides "Russia."  So I looked at several of Sam & Molly's children's birth records.  All were born in New York other than their son Max who was born in Illinois.  The New York records only gave Sam's birthplace as Russia-Poland.  But Max's was more informative.
Max Diamond Delayed Birth Certificate
Max's (delayed) birth certificate from Chicago said that Max's father Sam had been born in Krinker, Russia.  I have not been able to locate this to see how close Sam's birthplace was to where my Diamonds lived.  Krynki, Poland is a possibility, but it's relatively far from where my family lived in Volhynia.  (Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!)

I've asked my match if he would add an autosomal FamilyFinder match to see how much DNA he has with the many Diamond descendants who have tested.  He's considering it, but that would really help me determine if this is a complete red herring or something that could really have meaning.  So stay tuned--hopefully he'll test and will have huge segments with my Diamond-descended cousins.

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. How many steps is the new guy to the known second cousin? Sounds like he is closer than your father.

  2. I would recommend upgrading both kits to 67 markers. A 4-step difference on 37 STR markers can be very misleading, especially if they are fast mutating markers on the same palindromic sequence. My money is on Sam being a close relative of Hillel.

    1. I'm trying to convince him to do FamilyFinder, and perhaps upgrade his Y as well. (My father is already at 111 markers.)

      I think Sam is closely related to Hillel as well, but I'd like to find a smoking gun.

  3. I hope he takes the autosomal test. I've learned something new here---I have not taken my brother's Y DNA results or a maternal cousin's Y results very seriously. I assumed that once there were more than one or two mutations, the relationship would be too remote to be helpful. But now that I see you have a relatively close relative with 4 different mutations, I need to reconsider. Thanks!

    1. Yes, that result surprised me as well and had me take a closer look at some of my other Y kits.

  4. You mention Diamond's in Chicago. Shirley Diamond was married to my Uncle Jack Segall. Is that perhaps a part of your Diamond family?

    1. It seems they only lived there for a few years. The child born before Max and the one after were born in New York.