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 SANTASALO (SANDSTROM translated into Finnish)
was born in Hameenlinna 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 a
trumpeter 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 too 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 >from the age of one or two years.
Other than the fact that his name was Izroel Shimon, I do not know what
happened to him after my great grandfather's birth... where he lived, if he
remarried, had other children, where/when he died, etc.
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's early life,
not even his parents' names, 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.
I have never heard of our DENN family >from Galicia ever having been
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 have ventured 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 is possible that Izroel Shimon was the father of Johan
Victor SANTASALO (SANDSTROM), or it is very possible that Izroel Shimon
could have had a brother, father or uncle who could have sired the child.
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.