Expert: Jewish genes set genealogy challenge

Israel Pickholtz
Israel Pickholtz

Professional genealogist Israel Pickholtz will discuss the challenges of working with information provided by DNA testing in his talk, “Endogamy: Genetic Genealogy — Challenges for Jewish Research,” at the Southern Arizona Jewish Genealogy Society’s meeting on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. at Congregation Bet Shalom.

Pickholtz says that in Jewish communities, “peo­­ple have married ‘within the tribe’ for hundreds of years, thus ensuring that everyone is related to everyone else multiple times.” This complicates the process of interpreting DNA results. In his talk, Pickholtz will discuss how he used those results to determine the probable family of his ancestors and the lessons he learned along the way.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pickholtz has lived in Jerusalem since 1973. He has been involved in genetic genealogy since 2012 and has been working on his family’s genealogy since 1994. Besides his book documenting his experiences, “Endogamy: One Family, One People,” he is the author and researcher of the Pikholz Project, which serves to identify and reconnect all Pikholz descendants. He also blogs at allmyforeparents.blog spot.com.

Pickholtz is a member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, the Guild of One-Name Studies, the Israel Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists. He has also published in APGQuarterly, Sharsheret Hadorot, Avotaynu, The Galitzianer and other genealogy publications.

The event will also include a book signing. Copies of “Endogamy: One Family, One People,” will be available for purchase. Admission is free for SAJGS members and $5 for guests, which may be applied to a $36 membership.

For more information, call 731-0300.