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"Polish Jew" great-grandfather from Poland, but no Jewish DNA found on my mothers or my DNA results

18 Feb 2018 #1
Hey my great-grandfather was a Polish Jew and I always figured he was 100% ethnically Jewish. Recently though I did an ancestry DNA test and my mom did one as well and neither of us had any Jewish DNA. About a year ago I saw a pic of him and he did look REALLY European, i was expecting him to look a bit different. He was born in Lodz late 1890's. He had a typical Jewish-German surname that many people in Lodz had. One odd thing is that on his headstone of his grave his father seemed to have a diff last name then his. Where it says "Son of...". I dont think he was adopted as I was close to my grandma and sure she would have mentioned it. Is it possible that he might have converted? Though I read it was hard to find someone who was ethnically Polish but a religious Jew back then so im kind of muffed. I was thinking about looking at the Lodz archives but i believe they wanted like $40 per 30 mins of research or something (would ask for them to find his birth ceritifcate). Anyone got any ideas or thoughts? Thanks
kaprys 3 | 2,242
18 Feb 2018 #2
One of the reasons for conversion would have been marriage as there were only religious marriages in Poland back then, as far as I know. Although I have mainly heard of Jews converting to Christianity.

But I assume his wife and your grandma wasn't Jewish either. If she had, you would inherited 'Jewish DNA' from her.
Are you sure he was Jewish and not German? Was he a religious Jew? There were lots of Germans in Łódź, too. A German sounding 'Jewish' name might have in fact been German.

What about the name on the tombstone? Is it very different? Perhaps it's in yiddish?
We won't answer your doubts. Check the family records and contact the archives. Try and for the names you have if you don't want to spend money on it. You might be lucky. Both sites have English versions but not all records have been digitilised.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,854
18 Feb 2018 #3
and what kind of DNA test did you have? mitochondrial?
OP bullocks
18 Feb 2018 #4

Hi, he left Poland when he was about 20 for Germany and married my great-grandmother who was German. She was protestant and they had a few kids one being my grandmother. His last name was Grünbaum but on his headstone in hebrew it says "Son of Joseph Mair". It says his mothers name was a typical hebrew name. I actually did look at before and there's lots of Grünbaum's but I never found what i would think was the right one. Maybe i will try the other site.

and what kind of DNA test did you have? mitochondrial?

No, autosomal. But my mtDNA is v1a1
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,854
18 Feb 2018 #5
maybe Jewishness is just a religion and not a 'race' for many,
kaprys 3 | 2,242
19 Feb 2018 #6
Are you sure Mair is a surname not a first name? I have just googled it and it shows up as the Hebrew version of Mary, Miriam or probably Moira.

I don't know much if anything about Hebrew but is it possible it says the son of Joseph and Mair?

Apparently Meir might be used as a middle name for a man just like in the link above. Mair/Mair might be two different transcriptions from Hebrew.

That doesn't answer your question about the Jewish DNA but as Roz said, perhaps it's about a race. Google the topic online.
24 Feb 2018 #7
After some googling I think Mair could be his Hebrew name and Joseph most like Jozep in Polish as his first. Not 100% sure but "Meir" is a Jewish first name and maybe it's translated wrong.

Essentially it says on the back that the mother was Blima Rivka and Father was "Chaim, the son of Joseph Mair". Super confusing tho lol Either way you're right doesn't rly answer my question and centuries ago Jews were more a race then religion I think.

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