Historian/Genealogist Reb Naftoli Aron Vekshtein is certainly a very respected חוקר יחוס. Maybe the best. The fact that he's frum also works in his favor; he has the necessary respect for the personalities he researches and for other Rabbonim and Tzaddikim, even if he reaches different conclusions, which helps his acceptance among people like yours truly. The non-frum simply are arrogant and disrespectful, they know better than anybody - not so here. Vekshtein quotes the Rebbe extensively, but reaches a different conclusion, even quoting the Rebbe who he says was always looking for more information about Reb Boruch the AR's father, so here he is giving that information.... Having said that - and I'm a total amateur here - it seems to an amateur like me that he's shooting the arrow first and then drawing the bull's eye, to use an overused cliche'. Much of what he concludes is based on his choice who he prefers to believe - one eynikel of the Rebbetzin Rivka over another, (i.e. Yisroel Ber
See Chapters 1&2 of Reb Berel Levin's תולדות חב"ד ברוסיא הצארית
There are several items here that differ from accepted Chabad opinions - some of them he doesn't even bother to note when he mentions them!
1) Was it Boruch or Yisroel Boruch?
2) Was Reb Boruch's father Schneur Zalman - as per Hayom Yom, or was it Avrohom?
3) Was the AR a Ben achar Ben of the MaHaRaL, as per Hayom Yom? (Was he bichlal a descendant?)
4) When was the AR born, was it Chai Elul תק"ה as per Hayom Yom, or another date?
5) Is the Matzeivoh in Selish/Sevlus/Vinogradov the AR's father?
Much of what RNAV concludes is based on the Matzeivoh in סעליש that says ישראל ברוך ב"ר אברהם, ח' תשרי תקנ"ב. The Mesorah in that town was that this is Reb Boruch's מקום מנוחה, and an ohel was built there some 10 years ago. Yet, practically, nowhere in Chabad literature will you see the name Yisroel mentioned. RNAV seems to think that the name was dropped by Reb Boruch since he was a talmid of the BeSHT andit was not befitting to be called בשם רבו. But if that were the case the that tidbit should have been mentioned when mentioning RB. Also, despite the fact that the date of RB's passing is debated by virtue of the fact that the AR's descendants were only named Boruch from a later date; yet nobody mentions - as far as I could tell - that none of them were named Yisroel Boruch! Another point not mentioned is that if the AR's zeide was Avrohom and not Schneur Zalman, where did he get the name Schneur Zalman from? They just pulled it out of a hat? And despite the fact that the date of the AR's birth is not discussed and argued in this kuntres, he does make mention of the date תק"ז, which some use as his DOB. Truth be told I was relieved to see that he decided that the Yichus - although not Ba"B - is confirmed even by Monday morning QBs... היינטיגע טעג קען מען דאך גארנישט נישט וויסן... There's much more to discuss on this topic, but in the interest of time let's get this out now. Discuss.
Reb Boruch's Matzeivoh in Sevlus.
Photo and PDF from Yiddish Velt