Yearly Archives: 2012

FamilyTree DNA Summer Sale

DNA Inheritance

FamilyTree DNA is having another sale, this one until July 15th which is this coming Sunday. These sales are always a good way to get started in genetic genealogy, or to bring relatives into it. For men, the price of entry is $59, which you can always upgrade later. Oddly the less expensive mtDNA tests for both men and women are not listed in the sale, and in fact I no longer see any option for the cheapest mtDNA test. It seems FTDNA has opted to start mtDNA testing at what was their second tier test, the mtDNAPlus test, which is $159. In many cases, however, women will have more success with a Family Finder autosomal DNA test, which is on sale at $199 (instead of $289) and is probably the better option.

I’ve written before on Using Y-DNA and mtDNA for Genealogy, and I guess I still need to write something more comprehensive about autosomal tests like Family Finder. In short, Family Finder will let you find relatives who are up to your 5th cousins, male or female, as long as they have also been teted. It’s much more of a statistical test than the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, however, in that if you have a solid match on one of them you can be sure there is a connection on that line, while with Family Finder it’s based on the statistical likelihood and can be thrown off in its estimates if you have cousins who married, etc.

Of note, this the first sale that I’ve noticed the Y-DNA 67-marker test can be upgraded at a discount to the 111-marker test ($109 instead of $129).

Sale prices are listed below. You don’t need any special codes to get the prices, all prices are changed this week when you go to the site. Note that if you were to just go to the site without being a member of a DNA group, the before prices below would in many cases be even higher (Y-DNA 37, for example, is normally $169, $20 more than buying through a group, and Comprehensive is normally $837, is $797 for groups and is $617 during this sale. So go to FamilyTree DNA and buy some kits before Sunday.

Current Group Price
Y-DNA 12
Y-DNA 37
Y-DNA 67
Family Finder
mtFullSequence (FMS)
FF+ Y-DNA 37
FF + mtDNAPlus
Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-DNA 67)

12 to 37
25 to 37
25 to 67
37 to 67
37 to 111
67 to 111
mtHVR1 to Mega
mtHVR2 to Mega

So go to FamilyTree DNA now and save some money.

Around the World in 40 Blogs

Family Tree Magazine  recently published  their list of the top 40 international (outside the United States) blogs, titled Around the World in 40 Blogs, and one of them is the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) site (

As some of you may know, I built most of that site late last year and early this year for IGRA. It’s rewarding that something I spent so much time and effort on is being recognized. If you haven’t checked it out, or haven’t seen it recently, I recommend going to the site and seeing what’s there. There are videos and articles and dozens of searchable databases with information you cannot find anywhere else online.

Jewish Databases from Aleppo, Syria

Aleppo Jewish Wedding 1914
Jewish Wedding in Aleppo, Syria in 1914

Record keeping by the government in many of areas where Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews lived simply didn’t exist before the 1920s. With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after WWI, the new governments in those areas began to keep records of things like births and marriages, but how does one research family events that occurred earlier? The short answer is, unfortunately, with difficultly. Since the governments did not systemically keep track of events, you must look to the local Jewish communities and their own records, if they exist.

That said, one of the more interesting projects to assist a specific community with family research is the Sephardic Heritage Project, which has indexed a number of important collections of vital records from Aleppo, Syria, including:

  • Aleppo Britot – More than 7500 circumcision records dating from 1868-1945
  • Aleppo Marriage Database – 1354 records – For the  most part, the data covers 1847-1850, 1868-1877, and 1893-1934. However, we included a few records found in 1811and 1855 that were  derived from Ketubot manuscripts.
  • Aleppo Eulogies Database – Deaths in Aleppo, Syria, covering sporadic entries from periods as early as 1716 -1946

This effort has been led by Sarina Roffé, who founded the project in 2004, and had overseen the collection and translation of records in Israel and New York. You can read Sarina’s description of the Aleppo Jewish community in her JewishGen article The Jews of Aleppo.

Note that these databases are all hosted on Jeffrey Malka’s SephardicGen web site. For general information on Sephardi/Mizrachi genealogy, I recommend starting with Jeffrey Malka’s Resource Guide on the Israel Genealogy Research Association web site.