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Next Meeting - Tuesday, Oct 1st, 2019 - 7:30p at Peretz Centre, 6184 Ash Street

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How I met my fathers
by Mark Loudon

Apart from an ambiguous hint dropped by his mum just after his dad died in 1990, and subsequently denied, Mark, a Brit of Scottish, English and Irish ancestry (so far as he knew), had no idea that the man he grew up with was not his biological father.

A chance DNA test in May 2017 revealed a completely different DNA profile than what he was expecting - instead of Scottish paternal heritage, it showed an Eastern European Jewish and Spanish one.

With only a third cousin DNA match to a stranger in Chicago, and some childhood memories from his aunt who was only eight when he was born, Mark set out on a search for closer relatives. This involved not just family history records, but diving into planning records and old photographs for clues. One such photo, shown here, is of the publican of the Sir Walter Raleigh, Aldgate, Henry Naftali-Hirts Hart and his wife Elizabeth Mendoza.

Mark will discuss his journey to discover his biological father, the emotional impact it had, and the subsequent wild ride. This talk will touch upon research into both Ashkenazi and Sephardic family history by way of the East End of London, Amsterdam, and beyond, along with the pitfalls and pratfalls of half-learned DNA research along the way. It will also touch on the issue of nature versus nurture, and the general weirdness of the universe.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of British Columbia (JGSBC), a non-profit organization, brings together people who are interested in pursuing their Jewish ancestry or family history. Together with the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC we try to restore the history and family links that time has erased.

While there are many resources available on the internet, their use does require some skill and training. Many traps await the unwary: name changes, spelling errors, the same name for two different people, the many vagaries of census takers, clerks and other takers of record. The difficult task of digitizing the records has led to other errors creeping in. We will help you to avoid those pitfalls and develop an accurate and descriptive family tree. If you are interested in joining us, you can pay for a yearly membership here. Any questions? – send us an email.

This site also has links to resources (including Jewish newspaper archives) that we have found useful in our research.

JGSBC is a member of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies