The Mystery Is Solved

About 4 years ago I started on a journey to discover where my Grandfather Meyer Kromelow came from and how the sir name came about.

Not long ago I had my DNA tested.  I am 89.6%  Ashkenazim Jewish,  but who knew South Europe 7.2% most likely Greek, East Europe 1.1 % most likely Balkan, and 2.1% South Asia.

Some years past I had my mitochondrial DNA done that showed I was a descendant of N9A who came out of Africa some 65 to 70 thousand years ago and whose daughters pretty much traveled the path that marks my DNA up to the Middle East, Asia, Central Europe, moving on to Italy, China and Scandinavia. I had hoped I would discover some long lost relative through this link but that so far has never happened.  Frankly, I didn’t think it would be any different when I had my DNA tested by My Heritage.

Then one day I got this message:  The following is our conversation.

MyHeritage DNA Match with Mylan Hawkins
Adam Bershad
Oct 29, 2017,at 4:37 pm
Hello! You have a high DNA match to my grandmother. Where is your family from and what are your family surnames?

Hope to hear back soon!

– Adam

Hi Adam: My maternal Grandmothers’ families were Katz or Cohen her mother was a Fine. She came from Zhytomyr, Ukraine. On my maternal Grandfather’s side, we do not know what his birth last name was. When they came to America he took the sir name of the town where we think he was born. The name family name is now Kromelow.
What about you?

Adam Bershad
Nov 1, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Hi! So my grandmother’s family came from Belarus and Poland. Actually, a few generations back, my grandmother’s great great grandmother was Perla Kromoloski. Pretty similar. I’m curious if the match could be through there. My doubt is that the match DNA wise looks way to close to be that distant of a match, and should be more along the lines of great grandparents.

Mylan Hawkins
Nov 2, 2017 at 3:16 pm
On my Maternal Grandfather’s side, we believe he came from kromolow zawiercie, Poland that was once part of the Russian Empire and where we believe the family name came from. Anyone in your family line with a connection to Chicago? My grandmother had a sister Naomi who married a Porwancher!

Adam Bershad
Jan 14, 2018 at 3:28 pm
Hm no Chicago! So you match 226 cM. You are probably looking at 3rd couins to my grandmother, which means you would share 2x great grandparents. I have all my grandma’s Polish side back to the late 1700s to early 1800s!

Adam Bershad
Jan 29, 2018 at 5:27 pm
Hi, could you tell me the names of your Kromelow family?

Mylan Hawkins
Jan 31, 2018 at 2:11 pm
My grandfather’s name was Myer, I do not have his brothers names. His grandfather’s mother was Carol or Caroline and his father was Irwin. One of my Kromelow grandparent’s daughters was my Aunt Pearl. Wonder if she was named after your grandmother’s Great Great Grandmother. The other children’s names were Harry, Abraham, Hyman, Leah, Theodore, Joseph and Ruth.

Adam Bershad
Feb 6, 2018 at 8:31 pm
I will look into this, I’ll message you back if I find anything, or if I have more questions. I will build you a tree on ancestry to mirror my tree. Basically, I will add your tree with the hopes of finding the connection (which is definitely there, we just don’t know where)
Adam Bershad

Feb 6, 2018 at 8:35 pm
Actually, the first question, of the people mentioned, are all of their last names Kromelow?
Adam Bershad

Feb 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm
Nevermind! I found info on them. Let’s see if I can put the pieces together.
Adam Bershad

Feb 6, 2018 at 9:25 pm
Sorry with all of the messages. So looking back and forth, it actually looks like you and my grandmother should be 2nd cousins! Now you said Myer’s father was Irwin. Where did you get that name from? I want to hear your answer before I make a hypothesis- Adam

Mylan Hawkins
Feb 7, 2018 at 8:08 am
Both my Aunt Pearl and my mother told me that Pearl’s oldest daughter was named after both of Myer’s parents. Irwin and Carol or Caroline. She was named Irwinna Carol. My Aunt Pearl married Albert Slatin.

Adam Bershad
Feb 7, 2018 at 8:31 am
Hi Mylan,

Thank you for getting back to me. If you would like to friend me on facebook please be my guest. My profile picture is me in Eagles attire. We could also email to share photos. I found your tree on this site with all of the photos. This one photo in particular of Hyman Kromelow looks EXACTLY like my great grandfather Casper Jay.

Here are the facts that I am putting together

you match my grandmother Helen Jay Bershad distinctly as 2nd cousins meaning you MUST share a set of great grandparents

We have 2 Kromelow matches on, who seem to appear in your MyHeritage tree who appear to be 2nd cousins once removed with my grandmother. Your Kromelow cousins match everyone on this side of my family including our cousins who changed the last name to Yellin.

Our surname was originally Jelen.

Since you must match my grandmother on her Jelen side and share great-grandparents, my grandmother’s great-grandparents were Ruwin Herszlik Jelen and Frymeta Jacheta Spiewak.

2 notes, your grandfather Meyer was born in 1873 or so, and my 2x great grandfather was born in 1877. The ages fit perfectly as them being brothers.

Irwinna could totally be named after Ruwin (though its pronounced Roovayn or Ruven, though it looks like Roowin)

Irwin is not a Polish name is it makes lots of sense. As for Carol, I am not sure. Frymeta Jacheta (pronounced Freemeta Yakheta)
doesn’t sound like Carol, so it could be a misunderstanding of another grandparent

Ruwin Herszlik Jelen’s grandmother was Perla Kromoloski, so its quite possible Meyer took her surname.

Let me know what you think!

– Adam Bershad

Mylan Hawkins
Feb 7, 2018 at 2:34 pm
Adam: I remember my mother telling me that there were Yellin’s in the family. I can’t see your family tree is there a way I can get a link. This is really very exciting. You would be the same age as my 1st cousins once removed and second cousins. This is just amazing. Do you know where Meyer was born and who his parents were? I could find nothing on him.
And where is your family from. My grandfather Meyer had a brother in New York. I remember my grandparents going to New York for some family event.

Adam Bershad
Feb 7, 2018 at 2:59 pm
Yes! This confirms it then if you were related to Yellins! I’ll respond here, but let me know if you prefer messaging through facebook or email so we can share photos. I just accepted your request. My email is (blanked for Privacy) If I get your email I can give you access to my tree.

I am probably younger than that. I am just about 22 years old.

The Jelen family lived in Konicepol, Poland which was a small schtetl outside of the town Czestechowa which wasn’t so big either.

My cousin Matthew Jay and I have been able to gather records from this town from a site we pay for. We are looking to make another subscription to potentially find new records. They are always updating records and we haven’t been on in a year.

I can tell you what I know about this generation, there were many children

The parents are Ruwin Herszlik Jelen (1830-1896) and Frymeta Jacheta Spiewak (1834-1900)

Known children (through records, and now adding your grandfather)

Aron Szlama Jelen (1854-1919) —> married Chaja Blum (1855-1919) His children all came to US, to New York and Philadelphia. They all changed their last name to Yellin. He and his wife got sick in Poland and died there

Mindla Jelen (1855- unknown) —> don’t know anything about her besides she married what the records say Sanel Braun

Gitla Jelen (1858-1940’s) –> married Kopel Lewkowicz (1853-1936), much of this family died in the Holocaust. Those who survived moved to Australia. One of the survivors wrote a book. He passed away recently in the last year I think. (

Perla Jelen (1862-unknown) –> married Moszek Nowak. no details on them besides having a son David

Meyer Kromelow (1873-1950) –> Your family)

Moszek Szmul Jelen (1877-1950) — my family. Married Hinda Pik (1874-1930). They moved to the US. First to New York and then to New Jersey, and finally settled in Philadelphia in around 1908 I believe. He changed his name to Samuel Morris Jay, as did the entire family change their last name to Jay.

My dad grew up in Philly so I came to Temple University to get back to my roots. I grew up in New Jersey, so not too far away. My grandparents still live here.

There are probably more siblings, and more details to the siblings we don’t know much about. The only family that we knew were the Yellins as they were in the area. I don’t personally know any of them but have recently gotten in touch through facebook. Of the younger generation (they are older than me, but I am the generation of their mother) they have a cooking youtube channel called Brothers Green Eats. (

Excited to learn more about your family!

– Adam Bershad
Mylan Hawkins
Feb 7, 2018 at 5:31 pm
My email is (blanked) I have a blog where I recorded what I knew about the families beginning to this point. You are the same age as several of my first cousins once removed children.

I have several close cousins who are very much involved with family genealogy and they are going to be blown away by this discovery. I lived in Philly ( well actually in Villanova on the Bryn Mawr border for a time) and spent a lot of time in New York. And I am thrilled the Eagle’s won.
Lots to talk about. I prefer email to this or you can message me on FB. too. So Let’s switch over to those forms of communication.

So it was. The search was finally to come to an end. Adam and his cousin Mathew Jay solved the line of inheritance and indeed we are all part of one big family.  I am of the same generation as Adam’s grandmother Helen Abigail Jay who married Adam’s grandfather Jack Bershard.  It was through following Helen’s father Casper G. Jay who had an uncanny resemblance to my Uncle Hy Kromelow that the link was made to a Great Great Great Grandmother Perla Kromolowshi who married Arron S. Jelen. Their daughter  Malka Laja (Molly) married one of Perla’s relatives. maybe a cousin or an Uncle, Herszlik (Harry) Kromolowshi . They were Meyer’s parents.

I knew Adam had found Meyer’s line when he asked if he had been married before. Indeed I knew that to be true. Also in his family tree was a brother, Harry Lewis that I remembered came to Chicago to visit one summer.

The search for all the rest goes on. But at least we know how the name of Kromelow came to be. The big plus we discovered our extended family.

I hope one of these days to meet Adam and his cousin Matthew. Amazing what one can learn from a little spit.