Friday, July 08, 2005

A personal family history Web site

Hi cousins,
This is my first-ever post to a blog, so I'll try to keep it brief. Since late December 2003, I have been crafting and modifying a personal family history Web site about my and my wife's genealogy. It has been a very enjoyable creative process that I would urge anyone with an interest in sharing family history with relatives and friends to try.
The home page URL is
You will see that I have compiled all kinds of family history-related information on the site: photos, letters from the old country, family anecdotes, the text of newspaper articles concerning family members, links to some relatives' own Web sites, our genealogy research breakthroughs and roadblocks, as well as family trees.
For those who might be hesitant about trying to create a Web site, I would suggest you read the article from my site at in which I explain, step by step, how I created the site with almost no experience. It was very much a learning-while-doing process.

Martin Fischer

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New Journal on Genetic Genealogy

A few days ago I learned about the launch of a new peer-reviewed online journal called the Journal of Genetic Genealogy (JOGG). While other journals have covered genetic genealogy on a regular basis, this is the first journal to be dedicated to the subject. The premier issue features a fascinating review of current research on Jewish genetic genealogy. The article takes issue with researchers and journalists who have over-simplified the complex history of Jewish genetics. It also makes a compelling case for the admixture of genes from Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and the Khazars, a Turkic people from north of the Black Sea that converted en masse to Judaism. Scholars have gone back and forth as to whether there's a noticeable Khazar imprint on the genes of today's Ashkenazic Jews; this article asserts that the Khazar connection needs to be taken seriously, and offers plenty of research to back it up. I was also fascinated by a related discussion on a Y chromosome connection between Jews, Scandinavians and Native Americans, some of whom may share a common ancestor -- via the Y chromosome mutation known as Haplogroup Q - by way of central Eurasia tens of thousands of years ago.

The other thing that impressed me about the new journal is that the articles are all freely available - ie, you're not stuck with reading just the abstracts, as is the case with so many journals. Even better, the journal uses Creative Commons licenses as a way of encouraging members of the public, scholars and educators to reproduce their articles, as long as it's done for noncommercial purposes.

From the looks of the first issue, JOGG is off to a great start. I can't wait to read it on a regular basis. -andy