Sunday, May 3, 2015

Our Bible: A Wealth of Jewish Genealogy

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                          
Ezra, teaching the Torah to the Multitude (400s BCE) 

I've already started a biblical genealogy tree  starting with Abraham  in my software program, Family Tree Maker.  I've used it quite often in my writings.  Genealogy is the study of the descent of families, and much material is embodied in the Bible, especially in the Pentateuch "Torah", and  another section which I had not paid much attention to.  In our Tanakh, the Jewish Bible, which differs in order and sometimes in translations from the Christian Bibles, our last section is called  "Chronicles".  It was composed by Ezra, and the Sages of the Talmud canonized it as part of Scripture, so we say it was composed under the guidance of the Divine Spirit.  It seems to contain a combination of long lists of names and royal records of events which have already been enumerated in the  books of Samuel and Kings.  However, many of the names differ from those found in the other Books of Tanakh.  It deals primarily with the Davidic dynasty, so is a wealth of information for genealogists.The Prophets and other books of the Bible/Tanakh include 2,767 genealogical records.  

The Torah itself includes 477 genealogical records.  

The unfamiliar names in Chronicles represent allusions to the inner essence of people.  For example, in the book of Ruth (1:2), the sons of Elimelech are called Mahlon and Chillon, but in Chronicles (4:22) they are called Joash and Saraph, Hebrew words that allude to despair and burning.  This is because those 2 men doomed themselves by their callous behavior.

This is a book that is a harbinger of the future and of the final Redemption.  It starts with the genealogy of the Davidic Dynasty.  Here's what I have collected without knowing about this section.  His son, King Solomon, wasn't the only one who had many wives, but Solomon was reputed to have 1,000.  He married to keep the peace among his neighbors.  If David really had all these wives, he must have had lots of children as well, creating more people carrying his Y haplogroup of J1.  We have to remember that we lost 6 million people in the Holocaust, many of which were direct descendants of either David or Solomon.
Descendants of Jesse

1   Jesse b: in Bethlehem
. 2   Zeruiah, brother of King David
. 2   King of Israel David b: in 1010 BCE Bethlehem d: in 970 BCE
..... +Bathsheba -first child died, 2nd was Solomon
. *2nd Wife of King of Israel David:
..... +Ahinoam of Jezreel
. *3rd Wife of King of Israel David:
..... +Michal the First, Daughter of Saul-reported to have no children
. *4th Wife of King of Israel David:
..... +Abigail b: in Carmelite
. *5th Wife of King of Israel David:
..... +Maachah
. *6th Wife of King of Israel David:
..... +Merab
. *7th Wife of King of Israel David:
..... +Haggith
. *Partner of King of Israel David:
..... +Abital
. *8th Wife of King of Israel David:
..... +Eglah
. *9th Wife of King of Israel David:
..... +Maacah

Other people can find Chronicles in their Septuagint, Vulgate and English Bible among the historical books, usually found between Kings and Ezra.

Ezra was born in the 5th century BCE, and was a reformer of Jewish life.  He was a member of the priestly family of Zadok, descendants of Aaron (brother of Moses) , which means he should have had the haplogroup of J1, the Cohen gene.  He served as a scribe in the employment of the Persian (Iranian) government.  He heard that the Jews back in Judah,  reorganized some 60 years previously by a group of Jews who returned from Babylon under Zerubbabel, decided to lead a new party of settlers who would firmly establish the Mosaic law in Judah.  Remember, Babylon had attacked Judah twice, in 597 BCE and again in 586 BCE and led the best of the Jews away in captivity.  It was Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon  who wanted more land to empty of its people and treasures for himself.  Many scholars believe the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles to have been written by a single hand in the 5th to 4th centuries BCE.

To be accepted into the priesthood, the  person had to show his genealogy.  They claimed their genealogy was from Aaron, the brother of Moses, which is exactly what is thought to be the originator of the Cohen gene, where we can trace it back to Adam, and especially, Abraham.
Esau and Jacob, carriers of the J1 Cohen gene from Abraham and Isaac and Ishmael
These genealogies, so precious to the families, were maintained in 2nd Temple times.  The 2nd Temple was built when Jews returned from Babylonia and was rebuilt from 538 to 515 BCE.  In the Talmudic age,  about 1,000 years later, the tradition weakened.  This age started with the Babylonian Talmud  that was written  before 500 CE since authorities mentioned in it lived during that period.  The Palestinian Talmud was written before 400 CE for the same reasoning.  The patriarchs in Judah before 400 and down to the 13th century CE had exilarchs-relatives still living in Babylonia who were believed to possess unbroken descents from King David.  Although later, some families continued to claim Davidic origin, authentic genealogies bridging the ages were unknown to exist.
Rabbi Samson Wertheimer
Today, we have DNA testing, and such tests include autosomal DNA testing, which can actually look at a person's 23 chromosomes and see segments that match other people, showing a family connection.  I am part of such a study of people who have found our connection to each other, and this has been traced to a Rabbi Samson Wertheimer (1658-1724) and his brother, Moshe who were born in Worms, Germany. It looks like our family may be from Moshe.  That's how clear DNA testing has become.Rabbi Wertheimer died in Vienna at the age of 66.  His greatest friend was Samuel Oppenheimer, the great financier.  The two of them had met with King Leopold the 1st to give him financial assistance.  When Oppenheimer died, Rabbi Samson took over his post which he kept during the reign of King Joseph.  He was known for his wisdom and fine character.

Jews had been thrown out of the city of Worms, expulsed in 1615.  Restrictions were imposed in 1641 when they returned.  A massacre was carried out by the soldiers of Louis XIV in 1689.
  This city of Worms was very important to us, as it was a center for Jews who left Jerusalem in 70 CE from Rome's destruction, and went through Rome, either as slaves or by choice, as it was a well known path.  It is thought that Jews had arrived in Worms in the 10th Century.  From there, in search of a same place to settle down, they wound up in Worms.  Many rabbis congregated here, and it was a center of learning.  However, these were perilous times for the Jews.  This gives us the fact that we also were connected through Wertheimer to the Rabbi of Worms, another famous person.
Eleazar ben Judah was called the Rabbi of Worms.  His original name was Eleazar Ben Judah Ben Kalonymos.  Ah ha!  Your eyes should perk up to that, for the Kalonymos family was from Italy, and I have also found in a separate finding to have a few segments of DNA chromosomes from this family as well.  I had wondered how the scientists figured I had some Italian genes!  The Rabbi of Worms was born in c 1160 in Mainz, Franconia (Germany).  Do you see this city's connection to France?  He died in 1238 in Worms, and was a rabbi, mystic, Talmudist and codifier.  He was the co-author of the Book of the Pious.  His voluminous works were the major extant documents of medieval German Hasidism that stressed prayer and mysticism.  Of course he was also a member of the eminent Kalonymos family which gave medieval Germany many of its spiritual leaders and mystics.  Judah ben Samuel, the Hasid of Regensburg, was his teacher and spiritual master.  Eleazar's wife conducted a business so that he could devote himself to his studies.                                                                
Crusaders broke into his house in 1196 and murdered his wife and 2 daughters in front of him.

During the Medieval Period, we find our famous Biblical commentator, the name we see in our Prayer books, is RASHI,
King David of Israel (1010 BCE-970 BCE), youngest son of Jesse born in Bethlehem 
The Rabbi of Worms was connected to RASHI, and his oral history was that he was connected to King David.
RASHI b: 1040 Troyes, France-1105 Troyes, France
Rabbi Rashi (Solomon Yitzhaki (ben Isaac) studied in Worms (the Rhineland) from 1055 to 1065.  Rashi was born in 1040 in Troyes, France. France borders Italy, so it's thought that this was the path the Jews took from Italy after 70 CE.   As each country became aware of Christianity's dispute with Judaism, they would be expelled, and would move onto the next country seeking refuge. He studied in the Rhineland, then returned to France where he had a school.  His money came from his vineyard.  His chief contribution was his lucid commentary on the bible and Babylonian Talmud.  Particularly the section on the Pentateuch became universally popular.
Jews leaving Jerusalem 70 CE from Rome's destruction
 The adage of the "Wandering Jew" was being born.  Today we have the false information from Arthur Koestler's book, THE THIRTEENTH TRIBE, who tried to say that all Ashkenazi Jews were originally from Khazaria and were converted to Judaism there.  This has been disclaimed to be false.  To top it off, Koestler was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1905 and belonged to the Communist Party in Germany but resigned in 1938.  He was not Jewish but had a Jewish wife.  DNA was not yet discovered as a science, probably not even something imagined then.  Still, people hateful of Jews throw this around as fact, not wanting to accept that half the Jews of the world, the Ashkenazis, and real blood-lined Jews which historic connections to Jerusalem, Israel and Judah.  Khazaria had been a refuge for Jews, and the royal house had converted to Judaism.  Some of us may have a few segments of genes from  Khazarians, but that is all.  It's thought that Hungarian Jews may have the most, since Khazaria had been a part of Hungary in it's early stages.

As of 2006, specific proofs that modern Hungarian Jews are even partially Khazarian are lacking. Ashkenazi Jews and their DNA were least like Russians, Austrians, and the British and most like the Greeks and Turks.  The most Jewish of all of us, the purest from ancient times gene-wise, are the Iraqi, Moroccan and Tunisian Jews (Mizrachi Jews)  who best represent the paternal gene pool of our ancient Israelites.  The shared haplotype markers-the closely linked genetic markers present on the YDNA-among all the Jewish groups, except for the Ethiopian Jews, trace back 4,000 years, which is about the estimated time when Abraham might have lived.  I would have thrown in the Syrian Jews, too,  but the majority of Syrian Jews living today arrived in Syria mostly after the 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain, and then later from Portugal.  Today, the Syrian Jews have left Syria through the good assistance of Judith Feld Carr of Canada, and now reside either in Israel or the USA.
German Jews of 13th century
Worms was a city closely associated with the Jewish communities of Speyer and Mainz.  These 3 German cities were called the Shum, which is an abbreviation for these 3.  The regulations of their synod (takkanot shum or councils) were binding on all German Jews.   Its cemetery dated from the 11th century.  Its synagogue was originally built in 1034 and close to it was the Rashi Chapel built later in 1624.  Close by the synagogue was the ritual bath (mikvah) built in 1186.  The chapel and mikvah were destroyed in November 1938 in the  Nazi beginnings of hatred against Jews.  In 1933, Worms had 1,200 Jews.  The community ended under the Nazis.  Those that had not emigrated earlier were slaughtered.   After the war, the chapel and mikvah  were reconstructed.

In the medieval and post-medieval period, descent from famous scholars was prized, just like here in the USA, being descended from the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 is prized, and one can belong to a special genealogical society.

Historians  in 1992 had turned attention to genealogy and with the basis of communal records, inscriptions and such have traced certain families back for some centuries, such as Gompertz, Montefiore, and Rothschild.  It is improbable  that the genealogy of any Jewish family today can be demonstrated authentically beyond the late Middle Ages.   That was before autosomal DNA  testing came into existence.  If there are descendants of these people living today and have this test, others can find out if they match any of the genes.  It's exciting.  Genealogy Centers teach free classes on how to check this out.  Another website,GedMatch, is a big help in this.  I was lucky to have 2 matches skilled in this and are at the forefront of finding information.

Resource: Tanach, The Stone Edition, ArtScroll Series, project of Mesorah Heritage Foundation
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
The Jews of Khazaria, 2nd Edition, Kevin Alan Brook
Updated  5/8/15 with  book?  Eliyahu's Branches by Chaim Freedman on descendants of the Vilna Gaon and his family


  1. this is all so very interesting nadene! my maternal dna is J1c3 and on a schematic phylogenetic tree it references anatolia/near east. does near east refer to iraq? (J1c2 says north africa). would that have been a possible source of jewish ancestry? i know we have talked about this some before as my haplogroup (jasmine) is J1c3e2 in particular from northern italy through my ggg-grm antonia defilippi. when i saw that info about the phylogenetic tree it made me wonder again about that. i so enjoy your posts. keep 'em comin ;)

    1. Andre, 7% of Jews have the mt haplogroup of J1. I think Near East and Middle East are about the same. My article, What Haplogroup We Be? might help a little, but your J1 goes back 45,000 years, so is a very old line. Is your mother Swedish? Surprisingly, this website came up for your haplogroup: It's the Swedish Haplogroup database.

    2. yes nadene there is some swedish, finnish, german and swiss. have seen the words latvia and estonia on gedmatch too. the part of italy where her mtdna was from was very close to switzerland and was at one time duchy of savoy. as far as i know on my momma's maternal side that is the case but that might be somewhat a mix of paternal too. not totally sure about that.

    3. Perhaps with this exact tag of your haplogroup, it's narrowed down to Sweden now. My gentile Swedish grandmother has H2a1, a very common European Mt haplotype. She came from Lumsheden, Sweden, a tiny village. Latvia and Estonia are just across the Baltic Sea.

    4. so my J1c3e2 might? possibly? have a jewish root then since the line origins are the near east/anatolian-is that what i may gather from what you are saying? a long track from the near east to scandananvia and back down through germany into northern italy. so amazing to think of how people of those times back when made their journeys isn't it?

    5. ---found this to be very interesting nadene. have always thought that the custom of marrying in their family lines could mean that these may have shared not only same y-dna but also may have often shared back and forth the same mtdna too. as terah (probably married a niece or cousin himself ) who was father of abraham and haran (father of sarah who was abraham's niece). see what you think......interesting for sure.

    6. Right. They share all the dna of each other. As for the Swedish connection of your mother-this most likely goes back several or many generations. I just found out that Sweden invaded Poland, I think it was. I have it in one I wrote today about the Lithuania-Khazaria connection Ashkenazi have to a very limited degree, and not for all of us. 7% of Jews have your haplogroup of the mtdna. As for my father's Ydna haplogroup, it is Q1b1 and that's only 5% of the Jewish people. Of course, here I know for a fact that we're Jewish, so can readily say we are part of that 5%. But you don't know about your ancestors and what went on, so you possibly do have Jewish roots. Now I'll go look at your found website of royal ancestors.

    7. hi nadene. well i went and looked and copied this from gedmatch. it is my kit results on eurogenes feature. what does all this mean? can you make sense of it?

      # Primary Population (source) Secondary Population (source) Distance 1 92.7% West_Scottish + 7.3% Italian_Jewish @ 3.22 2 92.8% West_Scottish + 7.2% Sephardic_Jewish @ 3.29 3 93.3% West_Scottish + 6.7% Tunisian_Jewish @ 3.3 4 85% West_Scottish + 15% Spanish_Murcia @ 3.31 5 93.4% West_Scottish + 6.6% Libyan_Jewish @ 3.34 6 93.1% West_Scottish + 6.9% Algerian_Jewish @ 3.39 7 89.8% West_Scottish + 10.2% Tuscan @ 3.42 8 85.5% West_Scottish + 14.5% Spanish_Valencia @ 3.43 9 95.2% West_Scottish + 4.8% Yemenite_Jewish @ 3.46 10 85.2% West_Scottish + 14.8% Portuguese @ 3.47 11 91.5% West_Scottish + 8.5% West_Sicilian @ 3.47 12 84.7% West_Scottish + 15.3% Spanish_Castilla_Y_Leon @ 3.48 13 83.9% West_Scottish + 16.1% Spanish_Cataluna @ 3.49 14 94.6% West_Scottish + 5.4% Lebanese_Druze @ 3.49 15 86.3% West_Scottish + 13.7% Spanish_Extremadura @ 3.52 16 92.6% West_Scottish + 7.4% Ashkenazi @ 3.52 17 88.4% West_Scottish + 11.6% North_Italian @ 3.55 18 76.9% West_Scottish + 23.1% French @ 3.55 19 94.9% West_Scottish + 5.1% Lebanese_Christian @ 3.55 20 92.6% West_Scottish + 7.4% South_Italian @ 3.55

    8. the other in the above reply was in columns but copied and pasted like this instead-don't know why but anyway it is from my dna kit results. here is more from that same page of it.
      Eurogenes K13 Oracle results:

      # Population (source) Distance
      1 Southeast_English 3.86
      2 Southwest_English 4.43
      3 West_Scottish 4.88
      4 Orcadian 5.15
      5 Irish 5.46
      6 North_Dutch 6.52
      7 Danish 7
      8 South_Dutch 7.99
      9 North_German 8.57
      10 Norwegian 8.69
      11 West_German 9.11
      12 Swedish 11.37
      13 French 11.73
      14 Austrian 16.09
      15 East_German 16.97
      16 North_Swedish 17.28
      17 Spanish_Cataluna 18.2
      18 Spanish_Castilla_Y_Leon 19.26
      19 Southwest_French 19.82
      20 Spanish_Cantabria 19.96

    9. this is jtest results (on eurogenes feature) *summary of secondary sources
      tuscan, FR, PT, (whatever that is!) ES, northern italian, sardinian, FR basque, sicilian, IE (?) druze, GR

      i am not understanding this compared to the other results. probably you can't either but maybe you have a clue that i don't?


    10. Italian_Jewish, Sephardic_Jewish, Tunisian_Jewish, Libyan_Jewish, Algerian_Jewish, Yemenite_Jewish, Lebanese_Druze, Ashkenazi

      these are all secondary population sources from list above nadene from my eurogenes K13. do you know what these refer to? the one just above is from the jtest so i don't get it what the breakdown means. any ideas?

    11. Sure, when Jerusalem fell in 70 CE with Rome burning it down, Jews had to flee and they did in all directions. Besides that, some had traveled earlier in trading in other places. So Italian Jews most likely were from Rome-either as slaves or trade; Sepharic Jews are all the Jews who had gone to Spain. In 1492 (yes, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue) they were given a choice of conversion or leaving. Those that converted did so unwillingly and were later called Marranos-not a nice name. Today they are returning to Judaism and are called the Anusim (Hebrew word). Many had moved on to Portugal only to face the same situation a little later. Some migrated to North Africa in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Yemen and Lebanon in the Middle East and the Druze are Arabs of a different sort. Many now live in Israel and are good citizens. Ashkenazi Jews are what I happen to be. Jews that went to Europe and lived there, many in Eastern Europe and Russia. They left Jerusalem, went to Rome, then France, Germany (speak Yiddish which is a mixture of German and Hebrew) then on up to eastern Europe to Russia. So I'm not sure why they list 2ndary population sources, because this is about covering the whole gambit of Jewish life. They're covering all bases.

    12. Read this one to see all the different Jewish groups there are. I just wrote it today.

    13. thanks nadene. i will. well remember when i mentioned my ancestors the italian bassano's? they were of veneto italy before getting safe passage to england as instrument makers and musicians (had the silkworms and mulberry tree on their coat of arms). i read that they were of moorish and jewish descent. that might explain some north african jewish strains because sephardic right? i think it is possible that on my momma's side the ashkenazi shows up. yes mtdna has swedish heritage and german and northern italian like it shows in the results i posted above. so interesting. now to go read your article. i learn so much! thank you!

    14. Right! Imagine. You've got Jewish genes on both sides of your family. Most likely German Jewish genes for the Ashkenazi being they were in Germany for so long and so early.

  2. You will find the Biblical tree and much else at

    1. Thanks, Randy. I am a member of genie but didn't know about this. You know how references always say that Abraham and Sarah were related. It was through my own tree, created aside from my personal and overlarge tree, that I realized that Sarah was Abraham's niece. At least according to the Torah and the way it is recorded. Glad to see so much information is right here in this website.

  3. Very interesting, Nadine! I didn't know all of that about Worms.

    I haven't done the DNA testing yet, but I'm also related to both Wertheimer and Oppenheimer, at least by marriage if nothing else.

    There are four Nadine Goldfoots on, and all four are marked private, so I can't tell which (if any) is you, or how we are thus related, but if you join and claim one of them, we'll be able to see that. Both of these families are *extensively* documented there.

    Wendy Hoechstetter

    1. The cousin who is a lawyer in England in Nadine. I am Nadene. I've never met her or corresponded, but have her on my tree. There is another branch, and she is on that branch. I didn't know mine was marked personal. I'll try to go in and fix it. If you do DNA testing, for $99 you can do the autosomal test which is called familyfinder at Family Tree DNA in Houston, Texas. It would be exiting to see your results. There are quite a few of us and we belong to the Halpern Group there. We have 2 lady leaders; one living in Israel and the other here in the USA. They have done all the work of matching and finding out this information. On my branch we have a Wendy Goldfoot! WOW! Glad you found me. I've got to see this. The DNA test will tell if 3rd cousin or not and what chromosomes match with now much DNA.

  4. Oops, sorry, I misspelled your name! I did find you on Geni; you are my third cousin once removed's husband's uncle's wife's sister's husband's fourth cousin's wife's niece! Via an Oppenheimer connection.