Rabbinic Genealogy SIG #Rabbinic Vilna Gaon #rabbinic

Jeff Miller

In the 20 years since I purchased a copy of Chaim Freedman's 1997 book,
"Eliyahu's Branches," I have researched my first cousin's vague claim of our
being related to "the most famous Rabbi in Russia," and decided the closest
identification and verification I can make is a somewhat distant
relationship through my verified connection to the Blankfort family, and
specifically to the Rebecca Blankfort Kramer family related to/descended
from Tuviah Jurbarsky.
In addition to reuniting with Blankfort relatives, finding source documents
for the family, I have recently had a Blankfort family member do autosomal
DNA testing, and her results further confirm the connection.

I am interested in a few things that readers may be able to help me with.

First, do you have any sources, or can point me toward any sources, to
update the information on these related families?

Second, a Blankfort relative who has been recently DNA tested writes, "I
remember my grandfather Barney telling us that we were direct descendants of
the Abarbanels of Spain and direct descendants of King David." I have tried
relatively unsuccessfully to find any documentary support for this claim,
and only mild DNA evidence of any Sephardic connection of members of the
family that in modern times is Ashkenazi. Any thoughts and suggestions about
that would be most welcome in my investigation of this claim.

Third, on page 289 of "Eliyahu's Branches," Yekhezkel (Charles) Kramer death
date is given as 1951. Another source by Dr. Neil Rosenstein, "The Gaon of
Vilna and His Cousinhood," also published in 1997, provides a different year
of death [1945]. I am seeking more information about this and other related
family members.

Thank you in advance for your insights and assistance.

Warmest regards,

Jeff Miller
Maryland, U.S.

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