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The goal of the project - to clarify who among Edelstein are relatives, and who are namesakes.

Surname Edelstein (Эдельштейн, עדעלסטעין) has a double root and translated from German (or consonant with the Yiddish language) as a noble or precious (edel) stone (stein).

Her first owners were immigrants from Eastern Europe - Ashkenazi (the so-called Eastern European Jews). Ashkenazim constitute the vast majority of the Jewish population of Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Kurland, Bessarabia and the Kingdom of Poland.

Hereditary surnames in that time was not. Each had only his name, to which the official documents could be added the name of the father. In addition, the name is being specified the birthplace of man, the name of his mother or wife. It existed only one generation and not hereditary.

In the early 19th century the Jews were obliged to acquire the names of any of the tax authorities or to the census, or for military service. In some countries, Jews restricted in the choice of names, names of officials embezzled.

Today is a common surname Edelstein, its carriers live in different countries (USA, Canada, Israel, Russia). Are all the modern Edelstein combine family ties?


Edelstein: namesakes or relatives - II 22.05.2016 (update 06.06.2016)

For the time being the communication through social networking and genealogical services resulted in summarizing the information on 39 persons under Edelshtein (Eidelshtein) surname who know their ancestors’ place of origin. However, the people whose kinship through direct male line was genealogically confirmed failed to be included. Contrariwise, the information on kinship with Edelshtein through the female line – once there were data on the origin from the Edeshtein’s line- was duly reviewed. Let me specify from the very beginning that Edelshtein and Eidelsjtein is one and the same surname being differently transcribed in the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets from the Yiddish.

The analyses revealed 19 persons to originate from Ukraine, 4 from Poland, 4 from Latvia, 2 from Lithuania, 2 from Byelorussia, 2 from Russia, 3 from Bessarabia, and 1 from Romania. It is worth noting that this statistics is rather provisional since upon review there were taken into consideration the contemporary borders rather than those used to be in the XIX or early XX centuries. Therefore- but for a couple of exclusions- the stated geography reflects the settlements in the Russian Empire typical for all the Jewish, as well as the historically established high density of Jewish communities in Galicia being at that time a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

One may highlight three independent Edelshtein branches from Ovruch, Zhitomir Region (buy the way, the great-grandfather of Yuliy Edelshtein, an Israel politician, originates from Moshli village, Ovruch District) which, apparently, are unware of each other, and two branches from Sinelnikovo, Dnepropetrovsk Region. The Kostopol-Rovno-Olevsk-Sarnu-Gorodnitsa Cluster may be highlighted separately and due to small distances may be reviewed as a single integration given the sibling connections among the Edelsteins who originate from these regions.

It is true that there are neither genealogical nor genetic data justifying the kinship of all or separate Edelsteins mentioned above. As I’ve already written, that brothers, fathers and sons were considered only once, and one reviewed only persons not being formally related through ancestral lineage.

Currently we have the data of 9 DNA tests. Two of them were made by 23&Me, and the rest by FTDNA under the Edelstein DNA Project. Reverting to Y-chromosome test findings (Y-chromosome is inherited without any changes by son from his father and therefore may be used as a genealogical marker of the direct kinship through the male line):

  1. The Edelsteins from Latvia – two different haplogroups of Y-chromosome: E-Y6923 (Daugavpils) and J2b2* (Riga)
  2. The Edelsteins from Romania - G-M377
  3. The Edelsteins from Poland (unfortunately, no more details) - E-Y6923 and J1e (aka J1-P58)
  4. The Edelsteins from Kakhovka, Ukraine (my line) - Q1b (Q-Y2750)
  5. The Edelsteins from Rovno, Ukraine - E-PF1975
  6. The Edelsteins from Mukachevo, Ukraine - J1-P58
  7. The Edelsteins from Ovruch, Ukraine - J1 (no details)

Thus, all Y-chromosome tested Edelsteins (even from one city) failed to be relatives to one another through the direct male line. Reasons: It is true that one should not exaggerate the rarity of Edelstein surname. Of course, we are not the Ivanovs or the Smirnovs….But when the Jewish were granted with a surname, apparently, the Edelstein surname was very popular due to harmony of its sounding. The people originally being named with this surname might not be relatives. In genealogy this is called as NPE (Non-paternity event). Main reasons: adoption of children who were assigned with the parents’ surname; marital infidelities (notwithstanding the high level of moral typical for that time we cannot exclude this either). Please see details here (in English): http://dnaandfamilytreeresearch.blogspot.ru/2016/05/y-dna-matches-with-different-surnames.html

Therefore I think that any further genealogical searches in respect of the Edelsteins may be feasible in case of two options: Given there are several Edelsteins whose ancestors originate from one place or areas located close to one another. The test findings may prove or refute their kinship. Of course, every time I hope for the kinship to be justified :) Given the person fails to have any reliable genealogical information on the place of his/her ancestors’ origin. The test findings- as compared to the available data on the performed tests- may be used to state the place of their common ancestors’ living.

Three disclaimers: All stated above relate to those being interested. Once genealogy is beyond the scope of your interests, please forgive me for your disturbing. I am not commercially interested in this issue. I’m privately motivated to find the information on my ancestors, and I’m curious and feel responsible before those with whom I’ve already started to communicate thereupon. If a person is tested, but the finding differs from the mine (this situation is currently very typical in respect of all persons), we continue to communicate, and are committed to find the roots of his/her Edelsteins together. The information I get through private communications will not be disclosed unless the contrary is agreed by the addressee. Once there is a principal position that the search for any relatives with common ancestors is beyond the scope of anyone’s interest, please, do not hesitate to promptly inform me thereabout. On the contrary, if you are interested and subject to your agreement, I will inform the persons whose ancestors used to live in the same place, of their possible kinship. You will take any further decisions – to proceed or drop the subject - independently.

As for any further testings. Please see Edelstein DNA Project at Family Tree DNA - https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/edelstein/about/background In case of initial testing, I would recommend Y-12 test (12 markers of Y-chromosome). The cost (delivery included) is circa 71 USD. The similar test may be ordered with YSEQ. The advantage of the first company: due to personality of its founder (Bennett Greenspen), the company is mainly focused on the Jewish genealogy. There is even a respective project: http://www.avotaynuonline.com/2015/12/announcing-avotaynu-dna-project/

The second company (YSEQ) has more attractive prices in case of any further tests, and more flexible attitude in liaison with its clients. Depending on the situation, I currently place orders with both companies. (The main reason: my hobby is not only genealogy but also the study of my Q1b haplogroup of which I wrote several articles. Please, see here: https://ncfu.academia.edu/VladimirGurianov ).

I would be glad to answer to any of your questions both through group and private communications.

Best regards, Vladimir Gurianov-Edelstein

The Groups to discuss the Edelsteins’ genealogy in the social networking: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/123936724357947/ Оdnoklassniki https://www.ok.ru/edelshteyn

Jewish roots forum: The Edelsteins from Mozur http://forum.j-roots.info/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1806&hilit=%D0%AD%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%88%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%B9%D0%BD

The Edelsteins from Kakhovka, Tavricheskaya Province http://forum.j-roots.info/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=3114&p=49694&hilit=%D0%AD%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%88%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%B9%D0%BD#p49694