Archive for November, 2015

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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