FamilyTreeDNA mitochondrial DNA results

In an effort to learn more about my family’s history, I’ve ordered several DNA analyses.

First, I ordered an autosomal DNA analysis from Ancestry.com. This test was an attempt to identify missing links in my family tree. Almost every week, Ancestry.com provides me with a list of new potential matches — other customers who tested their DNA who may be third, fourth, or more distant cousins. Since the company provided me with the initial results, I’ve received hundreds of these new potential matches.

I have yet to confirm a relationship with anyone listed as a potential relative. These false positives may be a common problem among those with certain DNA associated with Ashkenazic Jewish ancestry.

The Family Finder DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA provides a similar type of analysis. Again, I have hundreds of matches; in fact, I sent a few emails to those listed as potentially being third cousins, but I’ve received no responses. This is an old service; those who received their results many years ago may no longer be checking the email addresses they provided originally, or just aren’t interested in determining whether there is a relation.

FamilyTreeDNA also offers testing of Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. The Y-DNA test focuses on patrilineal ancestry. Assuming the analysis is correct, I fall within haplogroup G2c. Or at least, that is what I assumed based on the markers when I received the data from the test. Since then, FamilyTreeDNA has changed the way it describes haplogroups. I am now categorized as G-M201. My testing did not go far enough to determine my specific subgroup within haplogroup G — that would require a more expensive test. Part of haplogroup G migrated from the Middle East into Europe while another part migrated to South Asia.

Haplogroup K, FamilyTreeDNA
Haplogroup K, FamilyTreeDNA
When I ordered the mitochondrial DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA, I chose to full package, which analyzes the complete mitochondrial DNA sequence. This gives me the fullest picture of my matrilineal ancestry, which I share with my mother, her sister, and her mother’s sister. The designation for my mtDNA haplogroup subclade is K2a2a1. The individual in charge of the haplogroup K community on FamilyTreeDNA contacted me soon after, helping me navigate all the information available.

The image on the right shows the migration path for haplogroup K. The “Eve” indicated on the map isn’t the biblical Eve, it’s Mitocondrial Eve. All mitochondrial DNA can be traced back to this theoretical woman, the most recent common ancestor of all living women, who lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago. The K2a2a1 subclade of haplogroup K is identified as being exclusively Ashkenazi.

In addition to the proposed relatives listed among the Family Finder matches, the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests also provide a list of potential matches. Very few people provide their family trees, however, so it would be almost impossible to determine if there are any close relatives in the system without sending out mass emails.

Taking all the DNA tests into account, I appreciate the idea that I can trace the historical migration of my patrilineal and matrilineal ancestors back to practically the origin of the species, but those two lines make up a small portion of me. Going back four generations, my Y-DNA and mtDNA represent 12.5% of my ancestry (two ancestors of sixteen). Going back eight generations, the same DNA represents only 0.4% of my ancestry (two ancestors of 256). Go back 1,000 years, about 50 generations, and my Y-DNA and mtDNA represent about one five-hundred-trillionth of my total ancestry (assuming there has been no duplication of ancestors, but is also impossible because there were only about 400 million people alive in the year 1000).

That’s the extent of my satisfaction with these DNA tests. So far, the results have done little to identify relatives who might help me build my family tree. There has been one potential close call, but my skeptical nature prevents me from agreeing to a potential relationship without some sort of documentation, or at least some fairly convincing evidence.

Landes family history

This is the first article in which I take one of my ancestral families and attempt to reconstruct a narrative history.

The Landes family was located in Romania in the second half of the nineteenth century. The family’s emigration trek would take them through Europe to England, and in North America, they lived in Montréal for some time before their final destinations in Detroit and New York City.

The first branch of the Landes family to arrive in North America included Martin Landes (1876-1951) and Paulina “Pearl” Yeruslavitz (1881-1966). They arrived in Canada in 1898 and married that same year. Martin was a traveling salesperson and frequently traveled between Montréal and Detroit. Other Landeses followed Martin to Canada. Martin’s brothers, Joseph and Charles Landes, and his sister, Fannie Landes, arrived in 1898 or 1899. His father and mother, Moses Landes and Bertha “Brauna” Yeruslavitz, who married in Iași, Romania in 1875, arrived in 1900. All Landeses other than Martin’s family came to reside permanently in Manhattan and Brooklyn within a few years.

Sadie Lustig Landes and Joseph Landes via Paul Landes
Sadie Lustig Landes and Joseph Landes
via Paul Landes

When they arrived in Canada in 1900, they traveled with a few other individuals. One seems to be listed as Sam Landes, and I haven’t been able to identify him. Another is Edith Yeruslavitz, who I believe to be Bertha’s mother, Eidil (as listed on Moses’s marriage certificate).

I haven’t found a direct connection to Moses’s wife Bertha Yeruslavitz and Martin’s wife Paulina Yeruslavitz. There is a potential connection. Bertha had a brother named Moses Yeruslavitz, and this is also the name of Paulina’s father. The ages and the fact that both are listed as having lived in Valleyfield, Quebec make it likely these are the same individuals, but Bertha’s brother married Becky and Rosa, while Paulina’s mother’s name was Clara. Could Clara be Bertha’s brother’s third wife?

While all the Landeses of this generation were born in Romania, there are some questions about where in Romania they lived. Martin, Joseph, Fannie, and Charles have documented that they were born in Iași, and thanks to the administrators of the JewishGen ROM-SIG (Romania Special Interest Group) community, I now have a few birth index records translated from Romanian as confirmation.

I have no information about Moses and Bertha’s birth locations other than that they were born in Romania. Family lore indicates there may be an adoption, but that might just mean that the family arrived in Romania from Galicia and adopted the surname Landes when it became necessary to do so.

Moses’s parents are Herș Landes and Perla Leah as listed on his marriage certificate, or Joseph Landes and Pauline Leon as listed on his death certificate.

Martin’s family grew. He and Pearl had five or six children, all born in Montréal: Clara, Isaac, Irving, Grada Caroline, Molly, and Lillie. There is some confusion about Isaac and Irving. The evidence seems to show they were born over a year apart, but there are discrepancies pertaining to official dates. Irving Landes was born in 1904 and passed away in 1981, but his military records indicate he was born in August 1903, a year before other records indicate. This birth date would be too close to the official birth date of Isaac Landes, June 1903. The 1911 Canadian Census lists an Isidore Landes with the birth date of August 1903.

Martin’s final child, Lillie, has a birth record and a listing in the 1901 Canadian Census, but no records pertaining exist beyond 1901. I expect that during sickness, the family began calling her Ruthie, which would then line up with the 1921 census and a cemetery record. Martin passed away in 1951 and Pearl passed away in 1966.

Grada passed away in 1971, having never married. Irving, as already mentioned above, passed away in 1981. Clara Landes married Misha John Spiegel and passed away in 1996. Molly Landes married Israel Jack Cook and passed away in 2000.

Before arriving in New York, Joseph studied pharmacology and/or medicine in Romania, possibly in Bacău. After settling in New York, Joseph Landes married Sadie Lustig and had three children: Mortimer, Herbert, and Edith. Moses and Bertha continued to live in New York among their children until their deaths in 1926 and 1927 respectively.

Mortimer (Morty) married Pearl Blush and Herbert married Marcia Kerstman. Joseph was a pharmacist in Manhattan, and the family business, including the ownership of a corner pharmacy in Brooklyn, was carried on by his wife and his sons Herbert and Mortimer. Charles was a salesman in a drug store. Herbert passed away in 1964, Edith passed away in 1986, and Morty passed away in 1993.

Back row: John Paltiel, Bob Paltiel, Charles Landes Middle row: Joan Landes, Patricia Patiel, Paul Landes, Joel Landes Front row: Randy Landes via Paul Landes
Back row: John Paltiel, Bob Paltiel, Charles Landes
Middle row: Joan Landes, Patricia Patiel, Paul Landes, Joel Landes
Front row: Randy Landes
via Paul Landes

Fannie Landes married Albert Paltiel. They had two children, Joseph and Harry, and Albert passed away. Fannie remarried, to Adolph Goldenberg, and they brought up the two children. Joseph married Hannah Paltiel and passed away in 1995, and Harry married Isabel Jackson and passed away in 1986.

Charles Landes married Clara Schier (or Shear), and they had no children.

Many people with the last name of Landes, some with alternative spellings, lived in New York after coming from Romania. At this point, I haven’t found any relationship between any other Landeses and my family.

There are a number of unidentified family members. Moses’s obituary indicates he had a sister in Saint Louis, Missouri, who married a man named Cohen. When Moses and Bertha immigrated to Canada, they traveled with a Sam Landes, born about 1882, as mentioned above.