Archive for Research

Major Progress – 2nd Cousin Found! – UPDATE February 18, 2016

Thanks to an understanding woman sympathetic to our search, we are now closer to learning Frank’s and our true surname and a major part of our history prior to 1900.  This woman is a major breakthrough in our search. After comparing our respective DNA, 23andMe concludes that she is 2nd Cousin to Bryce, Brian, Marcus and me, as well as a 2nd Cousin once removed to my sons David and Jon.

No doubt, finding new second cousins has come as a huge surprise to her and her family.  I’ve not yet asked her permission to reveal her name but will do so once I complete this phase of research with some reasonable findings.  Some new friends at the Ontario Genealogical society are being of tremendous help in this more complex phase of the search.

Based on information that she provided, Frank’s surname is likely one of the following, with my calculated probability indicated:

  • Male lines Hirsch or Weil – 50%
  • Female lines Hellman or Kuhn – 25% (also Rosenthal, Kaufman, Lang)
  • Another,  including McCallum or some variant of it – 25%

We are investigating the following.


  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Havelock, Iowa
  • Saginaw, Michigan also nearby Millington
  • Detroit, Michigan

Time period: 1870 +/- 20 years

Generation: 2nd Cousin’s GreatGrandParents (2G), and, if necessary, her 3GParents

DNA factor

The critical 2nd cousin forecast by 23andMe is based on the following industry ratios.

DNA Shared Between 2nd Cousin and Ian McCallum
Normative Genetics Actual Shared
 Second Cousins Share  She and I Share
DNA % av 3.13% 3.4%
cMs 101-378 253
Segments 10–18 12

Brother Brian and cousins Bryce and Marcus share similar, even larger amounts of DNA with our common 2nd cousin.

Ashkenazim factor

  • 2nd Cousin – 95-98% Ashkenazim
  • Ian – 12.5%

This suggests that Frank was half Ashkenazim, therefore one of his parents was not “genetically” Ashkenazim otherwise my Ashkenazim content would be double to ~25%.

Male Y-chromosome factor

The male Y-chromosome has been of little help yet in this search since women don’t carry it. But, since Frank’s Y-chromosome E-M84 (E1b1b1c1a) also known as E-L117 was passed on to me via my father and since it is the second largest Y-chromosome among Jewish males, after J1, that fact combined with our Ashkenazim DNA percentages suggests strongly that (my estimate 90%+) that Francis’/Frank’s father was an Ashkenazim Jew.

Working Hypothesis

Therefore, I posit–for the moment–that we share a GreatGrandFather as the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).

Other DNA Cousins and Triangulation

Preliminary search has been started along two lines using other DNA cousins to triangulate with our 2nd Cousin’s 2G and 3G Parents.

Investigative line number one has been to find cousins we match in common on 23andMe where DNA lab testing took place.  I also found those matching cousins who also cited in their ancestral surnames one of our 2nd Cousin’s four 2G Parents’ surnames.    That small group now requires further cross triangulation and ranking with each other.

Investigative line number two has been to find the specific DNA fragments on specific chromosomes that the six of us share with our 2nd Cousin.  They are on chromosomes 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 16.  The next step, to be taken only if necessary, is to use services like GEDmatch and DNAgedcom to find cousin matches to me on those fragments.  Subsequently, it would be necessary to find means of verifying which of those also match our 2nd cousin.  This step is in an area of DNA analysis about which I know too little.

The Orphan Factor

Our 2nd cousin knows of no missing relatives.  Had there been such, this search could have likely concluded much sooner.

One of my new genealogy friends discovered a 1900 Iowa Census showing an 11 year old Frank McColum as a boarder (read labourer) on the Stover farm in Pocahontas, Sherman Township (Havelock), Iowa. His birth date varies on records from 1889 to 1891.

It was only one or two years later that our Frank walked into Saskatchewan, connecting with the Benolkin family somewhere along the way, with whom he stayed at their new farm at Dundurn, Saskatchewan before getting old enough to get his own land at Hanley, Saskatchewan.  He stayed friends with the Benolkins throughout his life.  I have spoken to one of the family who remembers him.

Of note is the fact that the route from this farm in Iowa to Dundurn is along roads that are virtually a one thousand mile straight line through the Beardsley, Minnesota community from which the Benolkins left, less than 500 miles to the north north west.

Also, family lore has it that several times Frank returned to the United States to look for a brother.  He also said that the orphanage records had been burned in a fire.  In 1920 orphanage and other municipal records were burned in a  warehouse in Havelock, Iowa the community nearest to the Iowa farm where Frank McColum laboured.  Also, in 1894 a major fire in central Saginaw burned many buildings including an orphanage.

The birth and orphan records of that time in Missouri, and presumably, Iowa were not comprehensive in any case.

Other - Mary Clara Lugiewicz  (born Lewandowski)

We have and will also pursue further leads concerning his time as an orphan, following up on cryptic information on this Military Attestation form completed when signing up for WWI. Some of this relates specifically to a reference to a female next of kin, Clara “Tygrnwitz”.   This information was scrawled in the margin and consequently our interpretation was wrong.  The name is Mary Clara Lugiewicz  (born Lewandowski) at 277 Winter St., Saginaw Michigan.  I have procured his full military documentation where the information was typed several times. That street exists, Winter St., but the address does not now exist but may have existed in that earlier, less organised time.

Frank’s relationship to Clara is unknown.  Clara was 15 years older than Frank.  The Clara Lugiewicz we found was born in Poland/Germany in 1875 as was her husband Andrew Lugiewicz.  They immigrated in 1890 and 1891 respectively and married in Saginaw in 1896. They had 8 children together.   They seemed to have lived on Winter St. for their lives.  He had a store.

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First Cousin Data

Now two additional grandchildren of the elusive Frank have taken the 23andMe DNA test.  Marcus McCallum (son of Neil) and Bryce Holmgren (son of Effie) have stepped up to the tube, spit and mailed it off to the lab.  Now, with Brian, we have 4 grand children from 3 different children plus 2 great grandchildren, David and Jon, from the same father, me.

Bryce and Marcus have given me access to their data to help isolate selected chromosome fragments that are consistent with us all, or most of us, so that we can use these to more clearly identify probable cousins.

The chromosome comparisons show some interesting correlations within the family but these need further review to determine what might by useful.  I have not yet had time to triangulate with other cousin matches.

Stay tuned.

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New Genetic Genealogical Resources – Kelly Wheaton’s Beginners’ Guide to Genetic Genealogy

I have begun reading this material and find it helpful. I hope that as I begin to use it that I will be even more helpful. At this site there are references to useful resources such as spreadsheets for consolidating data that can be sorted in many different order to find telltale patterns of chromosome segments that suggest branches on family trees..

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DNA / Genealogical Comparison Guidance

Can you suggest texts that explain how to read chromosome segments so as to determine family tree branches?  A utility or  app into which to plug selected chromosome data and generate probabilities would be ideal. GEDmatch does not currently provide the triangulation utility which did help locate and populate potential branches which could then be matched against known family trees.

Thousands of cousins have  turned up via various genetic testing services.  The labs propose generational distance.

Certain individuals share the same chromosome fragment(s).   Clearly segments over 6 cMs strongly indicate cousinage probability and the larger the segments the stronger the probability.  One can then infer that, the more segments shared, the stronger the cousinage probability.  But how does one read those segments to get the most out of the analysis?

GEDmatch provides  several Admixture analysis utilities which shows you the regional DNA sharing for each segment of  each chromosome.  What is the value in this if one can then determine that shared segments contain specific regional contributions, e.g. north-east Europe, West Asia etc?

There are likely to be other bits of wisdom the appropriate books or utilities could provide.

Where are they?





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The Family’s Silk Route Connection from the Orient to the Levant – 9.6% Baloch


Apparently we share 9.57% of our genetic material with the people of the region that straddle Pakistan (Balochistan) and Iran (Baluchestan).  This region lies along and roughly in the western-middle of the ancient collection of overland and sea highways known as the Silk Road or Silk Route stretching from China to Turkey.  Much of the over-land route is to the north of Baluchestan.

Why did we not know this before?

The nature of DNA genealogical analysis is that it is a relatively young field of study–roughly 10 years old.  From a start of, for all intents and purposes, a  zero population of DNA samples this field is adding DNA samples at an exponential rate.  However, this means two things  that are relevant to answering the question of “why now?”  First, sample collection is not even world wide.  There seem to be higher concentrations in certain populations determined by societal wealth, education, ethnic motivation, and marketing.  For the most part, homogeneous populations are not as interested in learning their DNA genealogy when their parents and ancestors as well as their archaeology and written records provide both oral and written records going back  hundreds or thousands of years thereby satisfying their curiosity–they know who they are.

Relatively recent immigrants to “new world” regions don’t have these resources, particularly if they were forced by conflict to migrate thereby losing their family records. Intermarriage between immigrant groups confuses the oral tradition and often newly developed regions in the past t-500 years haven’t had  religious or civic record keeping.  Aside from large cracks through which data could fall, this also provided a vast canvas upon which individuals could paint new identities for themselves further obscuring their ancestral trail.  Gramps, Frank, stand up and take a bow.

Major forces in collecting genealogical material, by DNA and other means, have been Jews and Mormons–for different reasons.  European antisemitism from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s was a major people and record destroyer motivating contemporary Jews to learn who they are and who their ancestors were as well as locating lost living relatives.  The Mormons have their own, more open-ended, motivation which they have developed into a thriving business world wide.  They are omnivorous.

Into this mix has come a new generation of academics, geneticists, genealogists and genetic entrepreneurs bringing new DNA data collection and analysis and new analytic tools.  The world wide web has made this available to us all.

Even as data is being collected, the analysis of  that data is becoming more sophisticated.  Researchers are sharing their databases, their analytic approaches and even their tools making them and us smarter, more knowledgeable and increasingly more accurate.

The terminology is standardizing.  Terms like Admixture Analysis and Painting are becoming more comprehensible to the likes of us amateurs.

Our Baloch/Baluch is such an evolutionary product of this growth of data and understanding.

Admixture Analysis examines “the interbreeding between two or more previously isolated populations within a species”.  We are species that sleeps around.

The admixture of the child of one Caucasian parent and one Chinese parent is roughly (47-53%) 50% Caucasian and 50 % Chinese.  However, each parent is also an admixture of their ancestors.  The greater the amount of DNA analysis from an ever growing sample of DNA tests, the more refined is the researcher’s ability to match specific genetic fragments to specific populations both farther back in time and more specific to geographical locations.

Previously, our admixture analysis was based on samples and analysis more heavily European and North American.  The most motivated, therefore the most active groups providing samples and doing analysis were Jews, African Americans and Indigenous Americans–for obvious reasons.

My first use of Admixture Analysis was provided by 23andMe, then FTDNA and then analysis of my DNA by separate sources other than specific DNA labs.  I used GEDmatch and then Dienekes Pontikos’ Dodecad Project  made available by GEDmatch.

Dodecad was weighted to northern Europe.  Two weeks ago I used a new one, Harappa Ancestry Project (HarappaWorld), which focuses on Asia and Africa.  You can find a table below comparing the analysis of my DNA by these two analytic engines.

The 4 Admixture analysis engines produced results not that far off each other, in the macro, such as Mediterranean and Western/Northern/Eastern Europe and Asian/East Mediterranean.  The analysis by first 3 engines identified lots of general regional (Asian and Eastern Mediterranean) fragments without attachment to specific national geography.  However, Harappa appears to have pulled many of the fragments together and assigned a specific region and national group–Baloch.

The technology is more nuanced and sophisticated than I can adequately represent but as far as I have examined, they are reasonable presentations.  Will they change? Probably.  But they will become more precise as the years go on, perhaps even pinpointing specific small geographic regions, such as a province and a specific point in time.

So what’s the big deal about only 10% of my/our DNA being Baloch?  Big deal is a stretch but fascinating is closer to the truth–for me anyway.

For one thing, our major Y-haplogroup, E, came out of Africa.  We all originated there but not all haplogroups originated there.  Recent analysis suggests, contrary to previous analysis, that the migratory route was NOT up the Rift Valley from Kenya through Egypt into the Eastern Mediterranean. “The patterns of recombination diversity in the X chromosome from 30 populations Old World suggest that anatomically modern human first left Africa through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait rather than through present Egypt.”  This was about 60,000 years ago when the oceans were much lower and the straits were much shallower or dry, allowing a series of emigrations along the southern coast of Asia.  They went across the now 80 mile long and minimum width 20 mile strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa.

From there they then went either across the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen et al) or by sea north across to Balochistan (Iran or Pakistan). Alternatively it could have been overland towards the Mediterranean and then back east along the Silk Road through Iran.  Our E Y-chromosome, even E1b1b1c1a (M-84), is found in Yemen. I don’t know yet if there are many M-84s in Balochistan but I presume that there are.  Stay tuned.

The further importance is that the flow, as the scientists suggest, was then west along the Silk Road by land and by sea.  Overland arrives at the small triangular region bounded by the upper coast of the northeastern Mediterranean and then over to the Syrian/Turkish border near Haran where Abraham lived and, according to a genealogical study, may have been an E1b1b1c1a like us.  Analysis suggests that in this triangular region of about 300x150x400 km is where our most recent mutation, giving us E1b1b1c1a, is believed to have taken place in our Most Recent Common Ancestor about 1515 BCE, give or take a few hundred years.

A further fascinating question about the Baloch connection, the answer to which might lead to further fascinating revelations, is “why is my Baloch fragment 10%?”   Clearly, or perhaps not so clearly, my mother and grandmother should have diluted my Baloch connection substantially–by at least 75%.  If they had no Baloch DNA themselves, then Frank would have had Baloch DNA of approximately 40%.   Bear in mind that this extrapolation math is being done by a DNA amateur.  But if true, one of Frank’s parents would have had Baloch DNA approximating 80%.  Obviously, this would have implications for ancestry migration prior to Eastern Europe where Frank seems to have come from.

Stay tuned.

In 10 years all this analysis will look quite primitive as then we will better know the migratory steps.

Below you will find some of the information and sources on the Balochs and Baluchs for you to explore, if you are interested.

Note: Eventually I will edit the following material  but it is sufficiently clear to get you started–if you are curious.


The ancient Silk Route straddles it and ends up near Harran in Turkey at the eastern tip of the area where our Y-chromosome originated. As the crow flies it is 2,643 km from Quetta in Pakistan to Harran.  It just skirts (40 km) the southern suburbs of Tehran en route.


The Silk Route or Silk Road meandered over 6,500 kms over land and there were sea links as well. See the map.

  1.  IRAN Baluchestan Province Wikipedia
  2. PAKISTAN ·  Balochistan, Pakistan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Balochistan (بلوچستان) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and the largest, constituting approximately 44% of its total land mass. It is bordered by Iran to the …,_Pakistan

·  Balochistan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Balochistan (Balochi: بلوچستان) or Baluchistan Land of the Baloch. Is an arid, mountainous region in the Iranian plateau in Southwest Asia; it includes part of …

·  Balochistan travel guide – Wikitravel


Open source travel guide to Balochistan, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written …

Cities (Pakistan)

Other destinations

  • PC Gwadar Beach resort [1] and Gadani beaches
  • Archaeological site of Mahargarh
  • Makran Coastal Highway (Over 770 km From Karachi to Gwadar) is unique fascination for tourists. It is pertinent to mention here that Alexander had passed through the coastal belt of Balochistan in 325 BC covering a long trail
  • Juniper Forests in Ziarat Valley – One of the largest Juniper forests in the globe


Balochistan provincial region of SW Pakistan has an area of 134,051 mi2 or (347,190 km2). It covers 48% of Pakistani territory;

Stay safe

You should seek advice from tourist offices and embassies about which areas are safe and which are not. Travel to some portions of Balochistan is not advisable or requires an armed escort.


Judaism and the Silk Route

Richard Foltz

The History Teacher
Vol. 32, No. 1 (Nov., 1998), pp. 9-16
Published by: Society for History Education
Article Stable URL:

To read a page go to

Admixture Comparisons

Harrappa Admixture Dienekes Admixture
Population Population
NE-Euro 46.56% East_European 15.97%
Caucasian 8.61% West_European 44.99%
Siberian 0.79%
Mediterranean 29.54% Mediterranean 25.30%
West_Asian 6.92%
Baloch 9.57%
SW-Asian 4.17% Southwest_Asian 3.72%
South_Asian 0.76%
NE-Asian Northeast_Asian 0.74%
SE-Asian 0.27% Southeast_Asian
San (South Africa) 0.22%
W-African Northwest_African 1.61%
E-African East_African
Pygmy Palaeo_African
American 0.25%
Beringian (ancient Asian migrants to America via Siberia and land bridge over the Bering Straits)


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Two people walk into a bar…

I’ve been asked how we got started on this quest. As all such stories should go, it starts with, “Two people walk into a bar…”

In the spring of 2010 my son, David, was in a Toronto bar with his girlfriend Angella. They were discussing finding an appropriate birthday present for her father.

While surfing the net on a friends web-enabled phone they discovered that 23andMe was offering DNA testing for both medical and genealogical results for $99 down from $495. The offer expired in 20 minutes. They bought one for her father and David also bought one for himself since he had been asking “who am I?” largely motivated by the identity-hole left by his great-grandfather, one that David had unsuccessfully tried to fill.

When his results came back he had no time to check them since he was out of town for two months and had recently decided to do his PhD in Sweden and they had to be there in two months. So he gave curious me access to his file. After a week or so of poking around I stumbled across a MacCallum web site devoted to genealogical DNA research. Hundreds of McCallums (McCallan etc) on it were people with only versions of haplotype R. None were versions of our E. We didn’t belong. Then I checked for other sites related to E1b1b1c1a. Low and behold we came from the Levant (near Abraham’s Harran) around 1515 BCE  (+/-650 years).

It was like waking up on a foreign hotel room and not know which way was home. Completely disorienting—for days.  The Levant is not Glasgow.

Fortunately, Klezmer is every bit as appealing as bagpipes.  My grandfather did marry a Glaswegian and so my love of the pipes must come from her.

While on the subject, yes David’s girl friend’s father’s DNA test must have checked out because David and Angella will marry July 27th on the shore where the Atlantic Ocean meets Canada in Newfoundland.

Just kidding about David checking Angella’s father’s DNA test.


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Background on the process of diluted gene fragments passing from generation to generation

Here are some good resources to explain gene fragments passed down from a common ancestor to generation to generation.

There is an interesting user-controlled animation here:

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Sources: DNA Basics Explained

It is an oxymoron to state that DNA is complex. Fortunately, if you focus on the area that is important to you and if you use some of the many excellent resources that are available, you can understand what you need and apply it effectively.

Well that’s the theory. Stumbling is both frustrating and richly rewarding. After all, it is only about life and death, and so we might as well enjoy the ride.

As we come across resources that are reliable and have helped me, we will add them here.

It is also worth noting that we cannot assume that any “fact” or interpretation will be definitive for all time. DNA research is growing new knowledge at an exponential rate. The increasing number of people having their DNA analyzed is contributing to that.

It is also worth noting that what appears to be bona fide interpretation and analysis may not be reliable. Enthusiastic amateurs like me, without the rigour of peer review, can post anything and make it sound credible. Others post “analysis” which is really opinion or speculation. Still others, like me, conduct their research from a particular interest base which either corrupts their findings or states them in a way which is misleading because they do not take the time to qualify their findings or to put them in the appropriate context. Alas and, occasionally, mea culpa.

All of the retail DNA labs that I have checked out seem to have very good explanatory information. some of it is not so easy to find. There are other organizations, like the ones that I will list below, which provide great services as well, but many of them are hybrid blog/peer review so be careful about how you use information that you find there if it is critically important to you. Verify.

Retail Labs
23andMe (mine)

Information Sources
ISOGG International Society of Genetic Genealogy

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Modern humans migrated out of Africa via a southern route through Arabia, rather than a northern route by way of Egypt – The Genographic Project – National Geographic Society

Modern humans migrated out of Africa via a southern route through Arabia, rather than a northern route by way of Egypt, according to research announced at a conference at the National Geographic Society this week.

In itself, somewhat remote and not earth shaking. But, down the road this research will lead to further research which may lead to a clearer picture of the place of origin of E1b1b1c1a M84 and therefore us. It will more easily explain our admixture of Asian, near Eastern, North African genes along with our Northern European genes.

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Immigration to America in the 1800s

For the time being, we are assuming that Francis “Frank” Freeman McCallum was born to immigrant parents, perhaps on board ship during the voyage to America. In his WWI Canadian military attestation documents he claimed to be born on October 27, 1891. The actual range may be a year on either side, approximately 1890-92.

His parents’ nationality of origin remains a mystery.

The best statistics that I have found of the country of origin of immigrants is an American Senate report from 2011. It provides a year by year breakdown by country for that period. It can be found at

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