Ich Bin Ein Berliner: Re-uniting Five Half-Siblings

Date & Time
Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location Virtual Program
Ticketing $5 for non-members, Free for JGS Pittsburgh members

This program with the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh will explore how the JRI-Poland database has been used to reunite a family.

During the coronavirus pandemic in July 2020 a woman in the United Kingdom asked for help in identifying her Jewish birthfather, who had been newly discovered via DNA. She could not imagine the story about to unfold. In the next three weeks, following the DNA trail and building family trees for each of eight significant DNA hits on three different websites, her ties to four half-siblings were identified, sharing a father but each with a different mother. Verifying the connections between the DNA matches and the half-sibling required using the JRI-Poland database to create family trees going back to the late 1700s. In the process the accuracy of the DNA-estimated family relationships could be compared with the true family relationships and the impact of any endogamy could be analyzed. In his talk “Ich Bin Ein Berliner: (Re)uniting five half-siblings from four different mothers,” Michael Tobias will present this incredible story and share insights.

This program is possible through the generous support of the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation.


“Ich Bin Ein Berliner: (Re)uniting five half-siblings from four different mothers” is a collaboration between the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. Please register online. The program is free for JGS-Pittsburgh members and $5 for the general public. To become a member of the JGS-Pittsburgh and receive a free membership code for this program, please visit its website here.

This program will be recorded and made available to current JGS-Pittsburgh members.

About the Panelist

Michael Tobias is a co-founder and Board Member of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (1995-), President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB; 2022-), Honorary Research Fellow-Genealogical Studies, University of Strathclyde (2020-) and former Vice President of Programming for JewishGen Inc. (1995-2018). He was database matching consultant for the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims. Michael received the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Lifetime Achievement Award in Washington, D.C., in 2011. He was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to the Jewish community in the Queen’s 2021 New Year’s Honours List.