Breaking Down the Dziurzyński Brickwall with DNA

Way back on 13 June 2006, I wrote about the Dziurzyński brickwall.  My paternal grandmother, Marianna Dziurzyńska, was apparently born in Sielnica in the parish of Dylągowa.  I had previously found two other people who had Dziurzyński ancestors from Sielnica, but we were unable to prove that any of our three family lines were actually connected.

Well, it seems that on 04 Oct 1945, Dylągowa and the neighboring villages of Bartkówka, Łączki, Sielnica, and Pawłokoma were burned to the ground by the Ukrainian Rebel Army.  The parish metrical books were transferred to the Diocesan Archives in Przemyśl and, because the books are in poor condition, the archivists there are reluctant to allow genealogy researchers to examine the records.

Several years passed and we were still unable to find any evidence that our three Dziurzyński families were related to each other.  Finally, in the year 2011, Paulette Mackuliak and I started a Dziurzynski surname project at Family Tree DNA.  We enlisted volunteers from each of the three lines to take the Family Finder Test through Family Tree DNA.

The Family Finder Test examines autosomal DNA (atDNA), the DNA from the 22 pairs of human chromosomes that are not either sex chromosomes (X and Y) and are not mitochondrial chromosomes (mtDNA).  This test examines a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on those chromosomes and establishes relationships between pairs of people whose DNA match.

Paulette and I waited for the results.  To our disappointment, the only matches were within a particular family line.  There were no matches between people from different lines and there was no evidence that people from different lines were related to each other.

Then, on Saturday, 09 Jun 2012, the results from a new participant came in (Participant 4 in the chart below).  To our amazement, the DNA from this new participant matched people from all three lines.  In fact, Participant 4 matched all the other participants in the chart below.  We had our answer!  All three lines of Dziurzyńskis descend from a common ancestor!

Our problem now is that we still can’t figure out who that common ancestor was.  The paper trail simply isn’t complete enough to give us that answer.  We have, however, constructed a theoretical family tree that is consistent with the DNA information and with known dates of birth, marriage, and death.

Proposed Descendants of Theoretical Dziurzyński AncestorProposed Descendants of Theoretical Dziurzyński Ancestor

Now, if we can only get a look at those records in Przemyśl!

Copyright © 2012 by Stephen J. Danko

This entry was posted in Daily Journal, Dziurzyński and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Breaking Down the Dziurzyński Brickwall with DNA

  1. Donna says:

    That’s awesome, Steve!

  2. Oh wow! That is so very exciting Steve! Congrats on the connections! It is amazing how over time, tests and things change, new information is released, and suddenly something new will magically and suddenly pull things together! One day you will find the person who connects you all together too, I just know it! Congrats again!

  3. Barbara Toner says:

    Congratulations! It is absolutely so exciting to find that 1 person that brings it all together. And all of us who are still searching, look forward to your being able to view those Przemysl records. Never give up–never give up.

  4. GDz says:

    Ditto to all of the above! It’s amazing how it all came together. And yes, we have you and Paulette to “thank” for getting the three families together. I am so grateful for all your work. As you know Vincent left abruptly to defend his native Poland during World War II and his young family lost him forever. This gives the Vincent family some direction. Thank You. Georgia Dz.

  5. Paulette Mackuliak says:

    Steve, We will find that ancestor. We are all looking forward to you meeting all your new cousins this Saturday at the Dziurzynski/Czwalga/Swalga reunion in Leechburg, Pennsylvania. Have a safe trip from California to Pennsylvania.

  6. Jim says:

    Wow, I didn’t know DNA would be that specific and helpful in research. I knew you would be able to identify regions of origins.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

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