We recently hosted Netta Barzilai, winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, at the MyHeritage headquarters to reveal her incredible family history and MyHeritage DNA results.
Netta’s DNA and family history reveal is part of our One Big Family project, where we are partnering with some of the biggest stars in Eurovision history to reveal their family stories through the MyHeritage DNA test and family history research.
For many fans, Netta’s music represents a diversity of sounds and influences. Her DNA results and fascinating family history discoveries reflect that same unique mix.
Were her MyHeritage DNA results as diverse as her music? Who in her family had the greatest influence on the artist she is today?
Watch the emotional reveal here:
MyHeritage DNA Results
Netta’s MyHeritage DNA results showed the different journeys her ancestors took before her grandparents met, and even gave her a few surprises. She is 51.4% Sephardic Jewish from North Africa, 45.4% Ashkenazi Jewish, 1.7% Baltic, and 1.5% Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. Netta was thrilled to discover that she has some Irish DNA, and shared her lifelong affinity for the Irish people.
We also found 7,000 brand new relatives through shared DNA who come from 60 countries around the world.
To delve a bit further, our researchers built Netta’s family tree and went on to discover some incredible historical records of her ancestors that trace her family history back nearly 300 years.
Netta’s Father’s Family
Netta’s great-grandfather, Natan Barzilai, was from the town of Tomashov Lubelski in Poland. His original family name was Szpisajzen, and he changed it to Barzilai, both of which mean blacksmith.
One of our researchers also has family origins in Tomashov Lubelski, and he has a map of the town from the late 1930’s that lists the names of the residents. The family name Szpisajzen appears in several places.
The same researcher traveled to Poland and tirelessly searched for clues that would help him find out where Natan lived. He sifted through documents at the local and state archives, and with the help of some local residents, was able to finally locate Netta’s great-grandfather’s home.
As he added new details to Netta’s family tree, he discovered that he and Netta are in fact related by marriage!
Netta’s great-grandfather lived there until he moved to Israel in 1934. In addition to the home, we uncovered his birth record and marriage certificate, as well as the marriage certificate of Netta’s great-great grandparents.
There is also a photo of their son, Pinhas, Netta’s grandfather, as a baby, together with his parents.
Netta’s grandfather married Netta’s grandmother Ilana. Ilana’s close resemblance to Netta is quite striking! Netta was very moved by the image of her grandmother and spoke about the profound impact she had on her life.
Based on additional family tree data, we found one of Netta’s cousins, who was able to share a Barzilai family heirloom: a cup that has been used by Netta’s family to bless the wine every Friday night for the Sabbath, for over 120 years.
Netta’s Mother’s Family
Netta’s great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Seror, was originally from Tripoli, Libya where he owned a soap factory.
We were able to locate a 100-year-old bar of soap produced by his factory!
Benjamin’s son-in-law, Netta’s great-grandfather Moshe Galamin, came to Israel in 1949. His wife and 6 children joined him from Libya soon after. Here are photos of them and their family.
Netta’s maternal grandfather came from Meknes, Morocco from a distinguished line of Rabbis dating back 300 years. When we shared this with Netta, she noted that her grandfather was quite spiritual and would have found great meaning in knowing this piece of his family history.
Netta’s excitement was palpable throughout our family history reveal at company headquarters. As our time with her came to a close, Netta was eager to learn more and continue exploring her roots. She exclaimed, “I want to know more. This is addictive!” We presented her with a printed poster of her family tree so she can remember this experience and share it with her family.
The photos, records, and MyHeritage DNA results showed Netta the diverse mix of influences in her life that have shaped her into who she is today. By delving into our past, we connect to new people and places in the present, and we understand that we really are part of One Big Family.