Small World

In spite of the proximity of our shtetl towns in Kielce county (his from Chmielnik, ours from Wislica), David Price of Canada is not related to my family Price. I know this with certainty. I asked David and one of my Price cousins to submit a Y-DNA spit-test. A Y-DNA test analyzes markers on DNA passed down from father to son, and generates a list of other men with whom there is a marker match, going back up to 24 generations, with results of 99.9999% certainty. 24 generations constitute roughly 700 years worth of family connections, long before there were any archives in Poland. David’s and my Price cousin’s match results are totally non-overlapping. So we are not related on the Price side – at least going back 24 generations.

Some time in November, 2011, David mentioned to me that he had gone to school with a Matthew Price and I should try to figure out if he is my relative, because Matthew wasn’t his relative as far as he could ascertain. So I checked Toronto information and found a listing for Matthew Price, picked up my phone and called. No one answered, but I left a message. If, perhaps I got to the right Matthew Price, and maybe if he was interested in figuring out a possible Price family connection, please call me.


Three days later I receive a phone call, not from Matthew, but from his wife’s father, Cyril. As the genealogist in their family, he was delegated to contact me.

Cyril contacted Matthew’s father who stated that he knew that his grandfather – Morris (Moshe) Price – and The Very Famous Rabbi Abraham Aron Price of Toronto were somehow cousins, and that they were buried in the same cemetery. The Rabbi was indeed world-renowned, and, as I wrote Cyril, if there is any Price connection between Matthew and the Rabbi, then he is part of my Price Clan. The Rabbi was a third cousin of my grandmother.

On my database is a Moshe Mendel Price. Moshe Mendel’s father was Israel, who was one of 10 children, and one of Israel’s older brothers was Moshe Leib (aka Lewek), who was the Rabbi’s Price grandfather. If Moshe Mendel was indeed the very same as Matthew’s great-grandfather Morris, then Morris and the Rabbi’s father, Josef, were first cousins.

Confirmation hinged on verifying Morris’ parentage and spouse. I have documentation that Moshe Mendel’s parents were Israel and Chana Melchior Price, who married in 1880 and moved to Radom, the county adjacent to Kielce. Further, I found a listing in a Radom Book of Residents stating that Moshe Mendel was married to Perla Hisel, daughter of Abram. Cyril knew that Morris’ wife’s name was Perl, so we were definitely close. If Perl’s father’s name was Abram then this would clinch it. Cyril already knew that Israel was Morris’ father’s name, so we were pretty sure we were on the right track. What did Cyril do? With camera in hand, he took a ride to the cemetery where both Morris and Perl are buried.

The tombstones confirmed it all – Perl was “Perl Nisel” (not Hisel), daughter of Abraham.  And Morris’ name was engraved “Moshe Mendel”. Q.E.D. as they say. Matthew and I are fifth cousins.

In March 2012, I had my father submit a spit-test for general DNA ancestry matching. The results came back showing over 1,900 matches with men and women who had taken the test. However, there is so much “noise” in the Ashkenazi gene pool that it’s often nearly impossible to ascertain how a matched person is actually related. None-the-less, I excitedly perused the list, and was stunned and amused to find Cyril’s name, listed as a probable 4th cousin. We knew that he was not connected on the Price side – at least we ruled out Dad’s mother’s line. But how on Dad’s side? None of the direct ancestor surnames that I had listed on my database matched any of Cyril’s.

My paternal grandfather came from the town of Chrzanow in Galicia, not far from Krakow. It’s probable that an ancestor at some point migrated from the city of Staszow, since the family took the name “Staszower”. There is a dearth of documents from Chrzanow; reputedly the archives prior to 1880 are “lost”. Whether that means that one day they will be “found” remains to be seen. Some time early 2013 I was able to obtain the 1891 marriage document of my great-grandparents Staszower, stating that Moshe’s parents were Leizer Gecel (I knew this) and the deceased mother Chava (Eva) (I didn’t know this). Prior to this, I had inferred that Moshe’s mother was named Ruchel, since I had found documentation for the death of Leizer and Ruchal’s daughter in 1882 at the age of 2. So Chava probably died before 1879 and Leizer remarried.

Moshe named his first daughter Esther Eva, likely in part after his deceased mother.

The key to Cyril was hidden in another document of the 1901 marriage of Miriam Necha born 1864 in Chrzanow, daughter of Leizer Gecel Staszower and Chava Gliksman. Ah-ha! Now I had Chava/Eva’s surname.

It turns out that one of Cyril’s maternal great-great-great-grandmothers was named Esther Gliksman.  Doing some research on the Gliksman family from Przedborz, I find that Esther’s father was Judka. In addition to Esther, he had a son Israel who married someone named Frajna. Since the dates comply, I suspect that Israel is the father of Chava. Why? Frajna’s father was named Shmuel, the name of Leizer and Chava’s eldest son. Leizer and Chava’s youngest son is named Zvi Yehuda – Judka – likely after Chava’s grandfather. Since Chava’s birth and marriage record are not found, this linkage is not 100% certain, but by dint of the family name protocol, and the knowledge that Cyril and Dad are definitely somehow related, the connection theory is highly probable. The upshot? My father and Cyril are 5th cousins.

This means, of course, that Cyril’s daughter and I are 6th cousins from my paternal grandfather’s side and her husband Matthew and I are 5th cousins from my paternal grandmother’s side.

Small world.