In November of 2014, I submitted a Y-111 DNA test to Family Tree DNA.
I received an intriguing correspondence >from a lady in Finland who
explained to me that we are a perfect match on the 111 marker,
evidently meaning that there is a better than 85% chance that we are
directly related in four generations or less. What she told me was
astounding. She said that her father's preoccupation with genealogy
began when he was retired, and that his grandfather's father was
unknown. Her great grandfather (Johan Viktor Sandström) was born in
Hämeenlinna 2.7.1864 and his mother never told anybody the identity
of the baby's father. There was only speculations that he was a Jew
from Russian army visiting Finland and that he might have been atrumpeter in the army band.
I am simply at a loss as to how this can be. If this is correct, it
appears that I am a perfect match for her father, with a direct
connection to him in four generations or less.
I do not know a great deal about my paternal line, but what I know
is pretty clear going back to about 1850. My paternal grandfather,
Jozef Juda (Joe) DENN, was born in Korczyna, Galicia (northernmost
province of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire -- currently in
southern Poland) in 1894. He had three older siblings who survived
to adulthood, the oldest being born in 1877. My grandfather's
father, Chayem DENN, died in Korczyna in 1910 at the age of 59,
placing his birth at about 1851 or so. My grandfather told me that
his father Chayem was born in Brod, a town "deep in Poland." He
seemed to indicate that this town of Brod was the same town called
today Brody in the Ukraine, which at that time was much closer to
the Russian border with Poland. Here is where things get a bit
murky. Chayem's parents were Izroel Shimon DENN and Beila NEUMANN.
She was born in about 1831 in Baligrod, Galicia, not to far >from
Korczyna in southern Poland. I know nothing about Izroel Shimon
DENN, but according to oral family tradition, not long after
Chayem's birth, Beila arranged for a divorce >from her husband, who
supposedly had an abusive personality. This was unheard of in those
days for a woman to have the wherewithal to arrange her own divorce.
What is even more strange was that Izroel Shimon was able to keep
his son Chayem and raise him. His wife Beila then remarried her
second husband in a little town on the other side of the Slovak
border (at that time in Hungary). She and her second husband
subsequently had five children. The oldest daughter, Faiga Perl,
born in 1854, eventually got married in about 1875, and the youngest
daughter >from Faiga Perl's union married my grandfather Jozef Juda
DENN, her half first cousin (they shared a common grandmother, but
different grandfathers.) Faige Perl used to say about her half-
brother Chayem DENN, "what a pity it was for my brother Chayem
that he had to grow up in such a miserable home devoid of love,
while we and our siblings were raised in such a happy, loving home."
Additionally, my grandfather used to tell me that growing up in his
home, he and his siblings were terrified of their father, and that
when he used to come home >from work, nobody spoke out of fear, or
that they would hide >from him because they feared him. This is
literally all that I know about the DENN side of the family. Other
than the 1910 death certificate for Chayem DENN that I have >from
Korczyna, Poland, I have no other documentation about the DENN
family prior to that time. I know nothing about Izroel Shimon DENN,
but I must assume that he had siblings because it would have been
unheard of for Orthodox (Chassidic) families at that time not to
have multiple children in a family.
So, back to the connection to Finland. I have never heard of the
DENN family associated with Russia or the Russian army, however I
assume that it is possible that if they lived in Brody, it might
not be too big a leap to posit that they may have come to Brody
from the other side of the nearby Russian border, or could haveventured to Russia >from Brody. I would assume that if Chayem DENN
was born in 1851 and his mother was born in 1831 (age 20 at birth),
they most likely did not have other children in that union. So, it
probably was *not* Izroel Shimon who was the father of Victor
SANTASALO, because he would have most likely been 10 to 15 years
old at the time. However, it is very possible that Izroel Shimon
could have had a brother, father or uncle who could have sired the
I am turning to any of you for advice on how to proceed with this
baffling turn of events in my research.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.