Afternoon, Spider Rock © Robert Sommers 2023

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Its a small world, after all.

Life is amazing some times. When you least expect it, it can throw you a gift from the heavens. This one is wonderful and poetic in its possibilities and import.

Since I got my initial genetic marker testing back a few days ago, I sent out some emails to those individuals that I suspected had a strong genetic linkage. This is an extraordinary letter chain that I have been involved in the last few days.

Dear Gentlemen,
I am new to this process but was informed today that we are a genetic
match to 25 markers, with a genetic distance of 2. I thought that I
would give you a little history and hopefully compare notes. We  have a
29% chance of a common ancestor in 8 generations and a near 90%  chance
in 24. My name is Robert Sommers, son of Amos, grandson of Israel.
Israel was originally from Plock, near Warsaw. He may have moved to
Wyzkow, where my grandmother Pesa Shkarlat was from. His father was a
veterinarian. The family name was originally Sommer. He had a
relation, Sam Sommer, who was a very wealthy man in San Francisco and
helped bankroll Twentieth Century Fox. Sam had a son named Julius. My great grandfather
returned to Poland after the earthquake and then emigrated to
Palestine. Changed his last name to Kaitz. Some family still extant  in
Israel named Kalusky. If any of this information sounds familiar,
please contact me. I live in California with my wife Leslie.


Robert Sommers

Thanks for the note, but none of the information matches up with  me.  My father came from Gomel in what is now Belarus.  I have  reason to believe that one of his direct ancestors was adopted since  I am not a genetic match with any of the large B----- family  primarily in Israel.  Of course it is possible one of their  ancestors was adopted and my true family name is B----.  Gomel  is a good distance from Warsaw, making the genetic match difficult.

I am somewhat interested in your Kaitz family in Israel.  Were any  of them living in LA in the 1940s?  I had, at that time, a teenage  friend from, at that time, Palestine, named Amos Kaitz.  I have no  idea what happened to him.

I too live in California, in Claremont.


Amos is my father. He changed his name to Sommers at UCLA. He is getting older now and lives in Fresno. I will forward this email to his wife.



Of course - Kaitz is summer!!

Now a story:  In the late 1940s, I was very active in Habonim which is where I met your father.  At one point many of us wanted to adopt Hebrew names.  I did not want to be called by my given Hebrew name, Yitzchak, but wanted a modern "new Hebrew" name.  It was Amos, who, after a long search, came up with Adar, which is what I have been universally called since.  The world gets smaller all the time.

Please send a drishat shalom to Amos from me.


Dear Adar,

I am not an expert, but we were a wandering people. Our genetic
relationship suggests strongly that not only were you friends with my
dad, but also close relatives.


I take it that is him on the right. Attached is a recent picture of me. I have somewhat less hair now but otherwise the picture is reasonable.

This whole dialogue is a gift to me. Not only the possibility of finding a new relative but the amazing fact that these two friends, my father having such an instrumental impact on his life, turn out to be close genetic relatives with an extremely high likelihood of sharing a common ancestor in a very few generations. And they never knew it.

And I have just started my quest! What else will turn up?


Anonymous said...

What a neat story.It is a small world.

Anonymous said...

The plot thickens.....what a great story. Does your father remember Adar? They certainly look alike. I think you've got a short story here....or maybe more.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that amazing. I have goosebumps.


depgrl said...

I love this! Tara