Question of the Week: Do you have Jewish roots?

+24 votes

Do you have any Jewish ancestors? Answer below.

You might consider joining the Jewish Roots project to help identify and honor your Jewish ancestors.

We also have a Holocaust Project that is working to memorialize and remember victims of the Holocaust. These ancestors are difficult to research and document. If you have information that will help this project, please let them know!

asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
You're absolutely right, Ken!! It's not easy at all!!

The Sweden Project has done extensive work with patronymics. I don't know how alike or different their naming issues are to what you're dealing with, but I'm sure the project leaders would be happy to help you if they can. Here's the project page:

Good luck!

Julie, hi, and as a long timer in our work here, your comments are greatly respected.

In this continuing matter of patronymics and LNAB when no name exists, I wholly agree with KEN ELSTEIN, on Jan. 13 above: ". . .these are issues that need to be addressed by Wikitree, if it is to fulfill its mission."  To omit whole, linked generations and to say essentially, "we can't figure out how to do that" and then to let the matter go is, it seems, to let the One-World idea go. 

The normal response, "No way to do that Now" may be "correct," but it's not useful. Our leaders must turn to linguistic and computer technicians, especially those young new ones not doing genealogy now --like the young Japanese Phd's who discovered the invisible rooms in the tomb of KHUFU near Cairo, Egypt. Their minds were completely affixed on the newest methods for research--and of course the old-school archaeologists resisted their results until they couldn't any more. Their work was a breakthrough, and this DIFFICULT instance of ours needs one.  

--Our problem becomes then, to whom would we turn who have those brilliant, young brains who have some "extra" time to work on it? WHERE are they, and WHAT could be the right first research question that all good scientists use to start a project? WHO will approach them and WHO will follow through with them? 

Until this string of events is energized by human initiative, our trees will stop producing desired long-term results and become archaic before their time. Our primary reason for being will die in a natural erosion. 

Will all of us with knowledge bases that lead us to find these new minds SPEAK UP, ASK AROUND among these "outsiders," and start us more powerfully toward these breakthroughs. 

(My apologies here to those who don't like CHANGE.)

In my long experience - I'll be 85 in June- it is the older ones who are able to question and search for the truth.   We have more time for starters and I didn't get to the real truth in so many questionable matters until I had the time for example to learn to read Ancient Egyptian and study the brilliance of Prince Francis Tudor, son of Elizabeth I.   You have used the faked name 'Khufu'.   Both the Abydos Kings List and the earlier 5th Dynasty Giza Writing Board spell the word with the God Name RA and not the translation foisted on us beginning with 'KH'.  The Placenta hieroglyph and the Ra hieroglyphs are very different and they were not interchangeable as is the usual deceiving excuse.   So it spells Ra F W which could have been pronounced F RA W - something like 'Pharaoh' as this could be a case of honorific transposition with the glyphs.    The deceit goes back to the corrupt politician Vyse who bribed his way into Parliament and then went to Egypt in 1837 and planted the Fake 'Khufu' cartouche in the Great Pyramid upper chamber.  We have now found the proof of this deceit in Vyse's private journal wherein he actually wrote his instructions for Raven and Hill to paint the fake cartouche on any low plain trussing.  The journal is now in the Library of Buckinghamshire Studies in Aylesbury, Bucks.    This is only one of thousands of accepted deceipts I have found through heavy research - though the Vyse forgery is given in a book by Scott Creighton, 'The Great Pyramid Hoax' and this has much more evidence of lies we have been fed.

Malcolm, thanks for your very interesting comment. The TV program was PBS's Secrets of the Dead, and it was amazing.  I do not remember one utterance of the name RA, which I am very familiar with. So, the name and the beaten-up small sculpture of this person-god are the only ID features I remember. I'm 78, so I could be mistaken. But I used that information because it fascinated me and because it seemed angularly relevant to our problem of naming within our group. 

I make no claim to be an archaeology student, but my mother's interest prompted mine in arcane directions, and she was an amazing person, doing what some mothers do who aren't interested in scullery skills. 

Thank you again!

There is one very important point that we should all learn no matter what culture we come from.   

Jerusalem has always been where the people of Israel lived and not just where it is recognized today.

It is a spiritual name IAH (the Moon God of the Fertile Crescent, aka Yah, Lah and Ea) + RE (The Sun God whence Ancients believed all energy and life came from) + KA (the Holy Spirit).

During the 3rd Dynasty of Egypt and especially during the reign of DJOSER who was 'Joshua the Bethshemite' of 1 Samuel 6:18, Israel was Lower Egypt and the Sacred Capital was Bethshemesh which we know from Jeremiah was also known by the Greek name of Heliopolis.  To the Israel Egyptians it was IWNW  - and this translates as 'Of the IU's'.      IU was an abbreviation written in hieroglyphs as two Water Reeds, i.e. YY.   Repetition of a letter or word in Egyptian made it plural and the plural letter was 'W', so YY was known as YW or IU which according to Gerald Massey (1907) was the origin of the name 'Jew'.   This is confirmed by Irish legends which use the IU prefix written as 'IU' in the names of Abel and Cain who were 14th/15th Dynasty Kings of Egypt.

     Later on in the 18th Dynasty during the reigns of the Kings David and Solomon of Egypt - Dhwt and Ymn Htp(Salim Amen or Salomon in Hebrew of that time) - Jerusalem was spiritually where Luxor and Karnak stand today.    This is evidenced by masses of strong proof which I can show to anyone interested in learning true facts.

     During the travels of Herodotus in the 5th century BCE, he left Egypt and made his way through Cadytis - believed to be Gaza and then to the north.    Herodotus was intensely drawn to learn about other religions and how they and their temples compared to his, the Hellenic Gods.   Had Jerusalem been where it is today he would most definitely have gone there and written about it - but there is not mention of it whatsoever.

     The New Jerusalem and Temple Dead Sea Scrolls could only describe the lay out of a city at Amarna - the new City of Akhenaten who was Moses and it is clear then that he wanted it to be the New Jerusalem to replace Luxor where the Hebrew priests of Amen held sway led by the Prophet/King Ahijah (1 Kings 11) aka Aye.

     So why are they fighting over Jerusalem today?   When you know the real history it just doesn't make sense.
Thank you for your reply Roberta.  The real truth is so fascinating when unraveled.    But do be careful about TV documentaries.   I've just watched the first episode about the treasures of Tutankhamen and it is full of very misleading and wrongful information.    They can't even pronounce his name correctly even though I have pointed out the error to Chris Naughton in the past.   He keeps saying 'Ahmoon' for Amen, a word which has lasted the millennia and was spelled in Greek in Antiquity as 'AmEn'.   The worst of it is that TWT is DWD in Hebrew and it was DAVID in English.  They must know this but still try to hide the truth about the 18th Dynasty Hebrew Kings of Egypt - several Davids and 4 Solomon's.    Even the name 'Hebrew' appears in the names of many Egyptian Kings as 'Heprew'.    We also know from the Kebra Nagast, the Ethiopian Bible that Ymn Twt Ankh - Tutankhamen - was also called DAVID.     His throne name was Re (or RA) HEPREW Neb - God of All Creations.

Another deceit is that the Merneptah Stele has the first mention of Israel in any ancient carving.   it doesn't.   The main enemy of Egypt at that time was Assyria and the glyphs read YYSRYAR.   These are followed by a determinative glyph - a Throw stick which indicates Enemy.  Since Egypt still ruled the Canaan territory during and after the reign of Merneptah we can easily spot another lie.

     Another point to remember is that the 18th Dynasty Kings David and Solomon have had their ydna checked and it is R1b1a2 - the dominant ydna of all British Males.

Roberta --

In response to your comments re: names ...

I don't think we have indicated that nothing can be done to accommodate the name situations that you encounter with the Jewish Roots projects, etc.

There are several projects on WikiTree that have had to deal with patronymics and lack of a last name. They've found ways to use the existing fields on profiles in different ways.

A couple of those projects:

Since we are a free website with limited technical resources, restructuring our database to accommodate different name structures and alphabets for different countries and cultures is just not something we can do at this time. 
I suggest getting in touch with the leaders of the Sweden and Native American projects to see if they can help you come up with a way to address the naming struggles. 
You can also ask the community for help by starting a G2G post to discuss options. 
Thanks, Julie, some of us will find your comments very useful.
Well I thought I did but all I have are relatives with Jewish names, my early Missionary families managed to convert them to the new religions and then obviously bred the DNA out. We got the brains and not the ethnicity.
No its the luck of the draw depending on who tested my husband has thousands from his mothers side that come up Jewish your family may be from an area that are not interested in family history yet.

36 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
Yes, I started [the Jacobus Name Study] I have also researched the Jewish Ashkenazi Salomon and am starting on Maschke
answered by Kat Venegas Jacobus G2G6 (7.4k points)
selected by Roberta Burnett
+9 votes

Yes, and I'm hoping that WikiTree will add features in the future that will make it more capable of representing data relevant to ancestry needs of non-western civilizations.

The following features would greatly benefit the needs of Ashkenazi genealogists:

  1. Support for dual first names
  2. Support for entering and showing names in more than two languages while clearly identifing that as one and the same info. For example: I have ancestors whose names were recorded differently in the following languages (all for one person): Old Russian, German, Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian. It would also be nice to be able to add English spelling variations as well even if none of the documents were in English. And of course, all those fields should be searcheable.
  3. Support for entering Russian patronymic names as those were always present in official documents.
  4. Ability to enter contemporary location name as was well as its present-day-equivalent google maps searcheable address.
  5. Nice family tree charts that deal elegantly with endogamy :)
answered by Patrick Munits G2G6 (9k points)
I hope more users will enter Hebrew as well and other world languages in the biographies.  For example
I agree, in general, with your points Patrick.

1. Doesn’t seem to be a problem. I’ve entered dual first names for several Scandinavian and Jewish ancestors and Wikitree doesn’t complain.

2. I’ve been putting the various language varieties in the Bio text and sometimes adding Polish, Lithuanian, or whatever, Categories for places.  Can’t imagine multiple entry boxes for multiple languages.

3. Other groups (the Scandinavians) put the patronymic as Middle Name if there is a Surname, but in the LNAB if there is no ‘family name’.

4.  See #2

5.  As if ;-)
Yes, of course! I forgot the calendars! Definitely there's a need for support of both the Hebrew and Julian calendars. Most dates of Ashkenazi ancestors from 19th/early 20th century Russia are in Julian calendar, and were in fact never converted to Gregorian calendar when they arrived to Americas.
The issue with nicely storing and displaying names in different languages will get resolved once WikiTree will start fully supporting Unicode. I still see a issues related to fonts.

However, the displaying Unicode characters and actually being able to fully integrate them are two different things. For example here's a list of how my great-grandfather surname appeared in official documents over a span of just 35 years in a single European city:

Муницъ - old Russian imperial passport 1906
מוניץ - marriage record - 1913
Munitz - WWI occupation era documents - 1916
Munic - early Latvian independence IDs - 1920
Munics - post-reform Latvian documents - 1929
Муниц - Latvian SSR, Soviet Union period - 1941

I'd also like to add English transliteration (Munits) of this Surname to the official list. Storing and showing these variations is not such a big deal, it mostly works fine. However, WikiTree is only fractionally capable of finding the proper profile when multiple surnames are used. This is a major shortcoming that I'm sure lessens the popularity of this otherwise fantastic genealogical platform among non-English speakers.

The whole interface should also be extended to allow menu, navigation, etc to be displayed in any language. The actual work of doing the proper translation can be performed by volunteers. I'm pretty sure such extensions in functionality can help increase popularity and use among genealogists from other countries.
Patrick, I'm just going to throw one more thing in here for you.  The Lituanian records I find for Munitz or Munits using "sounds like" at almost all show up there as Munetse.  The only variants I encountered on a recent search were 1 or 2 Munitse instantiations, so I think that's probably another needed variant.

Also, please add Hebrew and Yiddish to your item 2 - I often find names there in either Yiddish or Latin character equivalents of Hebrew.
My great-grandfather never lived in Lithuania per-se, but for a period of a fee years he did obtain Lithuanian citizenship while living in Latvia. I omitted the Lithuanian spelling variation of our surname. I also didn't bother with additional different proper legal forms that are to be used by married or single women in Lithuania. Of course feminine form of spelling Munitz surname in Latvia is also yet another version.

Some versions even a smart soundex can't handle.
On top of all that, the myriad "proper legal forms" are only the tip of the iceberg because I don't know anything about Latvia, but in Lithuania what records were kept for Jewish people were mostly recorded by the temple.  In cities or large towns, formal Hebrew names were often the ones recorded, while in less populated and/or rural areas, names were recorded in Yiddish.  To make matters worse, the names recorded were NOT the ones the parents intended for their children - the names they used were local - sometimes slang - versions, while the officials unilaterally recorded what they deemed proper versions of the names selected by the parents.

Trying to deal with this opens a real can of worms!
Bravo, Robert, for all your continuing work on your large energy and information on your also large number of Jewish ancestors.

YES, please add a field for patronyms! It is definitely not the same as a middle name and I have ancestors who had a first name, a middle name and a patronym. People with Russian and Volga German ancestors would benefit from this too!

Great comment, Patrick about having more languages represented in our research pool.The Whole Family Tree goal includes them all, never mind for the nonce that it seems too huge to manage. Things will evolve.
Evelina Staub, Your comment Seems reasonable and nearly effortless, but may not be.
Patrick Munits, Thank you! Your comments made in a numbered list are impressive and your other ideas dated January 6. How do you handle these complex renderings now? I'd be making notes for things you've mentioned in the Biography section of each person's profile page.

I do understand that W-Tree's long-time "citizens" have realistic points denying that many of them can't put in  more time and money to get the items you/we need to make a thorough note about our ancestors' histories.

That said, would you be willing to put together one comment in several paragraphs about what you've been saying we need. In doing that, some pattern may out itself, and perhaps form a list of Genealogical Vitals. This list people could use in their ancestors' profile on the basis of need (for clarification) because that is, after all, what we all want for our families' people.

If/when you do this, please show it to Robert Hvitfeldt and to me (it goes to him first) and see if he connects to it as you'd want him to. He's the official point man for Jewish Roots Project and I'm now his sidekick, at my request.

(At this point, I need to find more ways to dig into finding the culture and customs of my ancestors' years on Earth. Perhaps your suggestions would get me closer to their realities in time and area of their lives.)

Dear Roberta Burnett,

I do not believe that a custom solution to accommodate the needs of a specific group of users is the most effective way to move forward the universal genealogical collaboration platform that is WikiTree. Instead I believe that users of WikiTree have enough collective wisdom and experience to work out the best solution that will serve the needs of genealogists from every possible ethnicity.

Establishing templates creates boundaries, and this means that there ought to be exceptions that can’t be satisfied. I believe there’s a way to have no exceptions when it comes to personal names in genealogy. This can be achieved by separating name as a unit of information from a preset structure. On the hand a flexible system design that can accommodate unlimited configurations and presentations of names in any language would inherently have no boundaries.

I proposed a way how this can be accomplished with some technical implementation concepts detailed in this thread: The discussion in that thread is long with many examples in various languages. As shown it would easily accommodate the needs of Ashkenazi genealogists from every locale in Europe.

So far there has been no definite buy-in from the people who run WikiTree. I’m confident that this question will continue to arise over and over again until it will get addressed or if WikiTree gets overshadowed by some other solution.

In the meantime, in an effort to somehow increase the chances of people actually finding the profiles that I create using spelling variations I add those surnames into the “other surnames” fields, and try to add full names in various languages in the body of the profile. i.e.:

P.S. sorry, but I’m not sure how to tag Robert Hvitfeldt in my post so that he would be automatically alerted.

Thanks, Patrick, for all your proposals and comments.  I see all the Jewish Roots tagged entries, though I’m not sure why Roberta asked for me to be notified specifically. Like you, I add assorted Hebrew, Russian, and even Swedish alternate spellings and orthographies into ‘other surnames’ and in the body of the Bios.  This may suffce until something better comes along. We persevere...
+5 votes
Yes I do. I found this out recently. My grandmother used to say when she was a small girl she used to be taken to a synagogue and she listened to the beautifull singing. I established that her grandmother was a daughter of a catholic mother and a converted father. This father before taking on christian faith in 1846 in Warsaw, Poland, when he became "Józef Majewski" was  "Neuman Spicholtz", and his parents were called Szlama and Hana. The name Spicholtz is hard to locate anywhere, so I am looking for relatives.


have a great day,

answered by Kasia Marchlińska G2G5 (5.6k points)
Kasia, My father also heard and loved the Jewish music he heard as a child in Connecticut. Music became a dear and private part of his life.
Kasia, how did you discover the information about your gf x 3's conversion? I'm aware it was a life-saving move, and it strikes me as difficult to track.
Not difficult to track at all. Such christenings were noted in books of christenings in parishes. I have a picture of this, will add as a source to his profile shortly. This was 1846 - not a lifesaving situation, surely. He wanted to marry a christian girl. Also there were more career opportunities for christians.


best luck in genealogy,

Try Pickholz
I hope you have found some leads! --A tangle of facts is much better than none.
+3 votes
My Family is for many generations from Amsterdam (Mokum), my nickname is Manus, so do the Math.
So yes there is, as we say in Amsterdam everyone de Mazzel.

Herman Overmars
Uzelf  →  Antonius Wilhelmus Overmars
your father →  Wilhelmina Dreessen
his mother →  Wilhelmina Catharina Tiernego
her mother →  Bernardus Wilhelmus Tiernego
her father →  Berendina Lot
his mother →  Bernardus Wilhelmus Tiernego
her son →  Jansje van Zaanen
his wife →  Dirk van Saanen
her father →  Andries Dirkse van Sane
his father → Jan Dirkse Van Zanen
his brother →  Dirk van Zanen
his son →  Jan van Zanen
his son →  Dirk van Zanen
his son →  Niesje Beets
his wife →  Tede Beets
her brother →  Maria Elisabeth Beets
his wife →  Geertruida Wilhelmina Mullemeister
her mother →  Arie Emilius Middelkoop
her brother →  Margaretha Frederica Middelkoop
his daughter →  Elias Diamant
her ex-husband →  Sara Zeldenrust
his mother →  Kaatje Elias Zeldenrust
her sister →  Jacob Elias van Mindeno
her husband →  Maartje Aron van Collem
his mother →  Aron Eliazar / Leizer van Collem
her father → Eliazer Abraham van Collem
his father →  Jacob Jokeb Abraham van Kollem
his brother →  Vrouwtje Wolf Coblens
his wife →  Ze'ev Wolf Mozes Koblenz
her father
answered by Herman Overmars G2G6 Mach 1 (12.9k points)
edited by Herman Overmars
+4 votes
My 3x Great Grandmother was Sarah Noah Dacosta, a Serphardi Jew though she married a Christian and converted.  He parents were Solomon Noah Dacoata and Leah, but I can't find Leah's LNAB
answered by Christine Frost G2G6 Mach 2 (22.6k points)
Thank you, it bears out that they came to London from Spain/Portugal as we thought. Do others find that the birth names of their Jewish ancestors change or at least are modified, from one generation to another?
Bravo! for helping her, Herman! That's a good way for our project to work!! Everyone helping each other--another major type of collaboration!
+3 votes
2 weeks ago I would have said "No", but after getting my DNA results, I have .01% Ashkenazi Jewish..
answered by Lynn Bloomfield G2G Crew (650 points)
There is likely at least .01% in nearly every eastern European and many western Europeans.  That a pretty tiny ampunt to trace.  Good luck.
Same story with my husband and I.
If you trip this line into history, you'll find someone with a more major percentage. Research question: Who is it and how far in the past did this person lend his/her genes?
@ Roberta, Lynn & all

Good question.  And this math will vary as you get different amounts of DNA from different grandparents, but on the "average:"

50% from each parent

25% from grandparents

12.5% g grandparents

6.25% gg grandparents

3.125% ggg grandparents

1.526% ggg grandparents

.78125% gggg grandparents

.3906%% 5x great-grandparents

.195% 6x great-grandparents

.0976% 7x great-grandparents

.0488% 8x great-grandparents

.0244% 9x great-grandparents

.0122% 10x great-grandparents

While your mileage may vary, my known 10x great-grandparents were born ~ 1600.  In this case, Lynn had a Jewish ancestor some 4 centuries ago!
+3 votes
Yes, Steinfeld in Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Charles Steinfeld (1808-1890) immigrated to the United States sometime before 1846. I have no information on his family in Germany. He settled in Marion County, Ohio. He married, first, Mary Ann Carpenter (1823-1847), in 1846 in Marion County, and, second, Lamira Page McWherter, in 1849 in Marion County, Ohio.
answered by Cathi Lyman G2G Crew (500 points)
+3 votes
I have 2% Eastern Jewish in my DNA.  How can I find my Jewish roots?
answered by

Do you have any information at all?  Is it your mother’s or father’s side? A country of origin?  You might look at the Jewish Roots Project page. There are several links there. The Jewishgen site is a good place to start.

Anonymous, hi !--  Unless you have unstated reasons for searching your Jewish roots, I'm of the opinion that under 10-12% Jewish means your fairly distant Jewish roots are so small as not to need research, but of course that's up to you and EVERYONE. 1-5%? 5-10% ?: Ditto. 

At 25%, that seems more significant: Your parent is 50% Jewish.

Thank You.  I appreciate an honest answer.  It was just a hope!

Remove the "just," Elaine, please. You still have every chance to be interested in the history of being Jewish. I shared your hope, and I'm 21%.  But I still don't know his name. He's found as my father's father at Hilse-40.

"He (my GF) is connected with me among the living by a family of Bermans in the USA, but perhaps his connection to them is from another of the names that appear in the trees listing Elizabeth Betty Berman (m. Kirshner) and Samuel Philip Berman, her brother, both now deceased (2016). My Jewish GF has roots originally from Lithuania. I know he gave me almost all of my Jewish roots, but the total amount is now 21% because FTDNA has stated that 10% of my former portion of DNA is now from India, so What remains is the 21% figure." 

+4 votes
My entire family is Jewish as far back as we have records, so yes.
answered by Bill Flarsheim G2G Crew (690 points)
+4 votes
Ashkenazi  genes in my DNA.  Our colonial patriarch arrived as a reformed Christian, but may have been a recent convert per a testimony in his Luther Bible in 1722. He likely came from an area of Germany that included many Ashkenazi Jews.
answered by Roger Shell G2G Crew (520 points)
Tell us more: your story may help others!
I have done much research on my surname's line after they came to the New World. I wish I knew more about how my greatX grandfather came to convert to Christianity in Germany.   There was much persecution of not just Jews, but Protestants as well during the 16th and 17th centuries.  Was my ancestor coerced into converting to Catholicism first, then found faith in the reformed movement?  I don't know.  I have yet to delve into any German records that might exist which explain his history there. I will appreciate any insight from others re:  Jewish records from that era.  I don't know German or Hebrew.
ROGER, HI, Remember that we are a collaborative site. If you message us in G2G or Tree House, saying you need help translating THIS DOC and then you paste it in the message, someone will pop up on your behalf. Europeans, for instance, out of need for use will have more than one language.

I wish I had that trouble. My finding documents is rare any more. Does that well actually run dry?
+3 votes
Stutz is my Jewish surname which is also my brick wall.

My father and uncle were estranged from their parents growing up. Some of the stories I have heard were validated with genealogy records, while others are stubs which means to me they changed over time.

My grandfather was Joseph Pierpont Stutz, a U.S. Army veteran. He was a Presbyterian due to his mother was Priscilla Dorris, an Australian immigrant. My great-grandfather was Jackson Stutz. I believe he was banished from the Orthodox Jewish community marrying outside of his religion. I cannot locate any records to support this other then the mention of these names on my grandfather's SS application. His WWI records were destroyed in a fire. I believe Sam Stutz is his brother, but cannot link the correct one to the family because parental names don't match.

My father Alfred told me that my grandfather was an orphan and the large family was taken in by the Wexler family, but we don't know where this happened. Maybe New York, Massachusetts or Ohio as Joseph enlisted in the Army in Ohio after attending 2 years of college.

After I took a DNA test with 23 and Me, there were people contacting me with Jewish names I didn't recognize and their genealogy was not complete enough to reflect where "Stutz" linked into their family. But it was sort of stunning that they also had Slavic (Polish) and Russian in their backgrounds, when I was told our family line is Orthodox Jewish/German.
answered by Judi Stutz G2G6 Mach 1 (19.1k points)

Judi Stutz--  Your narration above is fascinating, and I suggest trying to transfer (it may not be possible) your first DNA test to, a testing company only that does NOT continue to cost and re-cost you over time. It also provides LOTS OF MATCHES, depending on who's tested and that changes every month.

 BUT: If you haven't purchased an autosomal test, at also called the Family Finder (FF), just do that. The test there costs something, but first phone them to find out if you can transfer your 23/Me results and if you need to do more -- just do it. (My matches are in the 4000, or maybe 5, the last time I looked. They increase over time.)

+3 votes
In doing my family research, I came across two different women (direct grandmothers) in the 1700's who had Jewish sounding names. Both are on my mom's mom's line. I had no proof and my dna came back as zero Jewish, which was not a surprise considering how far back these roots go. Then I did my mother's aunt's dna (my great aunt, also sister to my grandmother as both my mom and grandmother are deceased); she is 91 years old and she came back 2% Ashkenazi Jew.

No surprise for me as it confirmed my suspicions that the two ancestors were Jewish, which are in her direct line. So, yes, I have some Jewish roots, but no, I do not carry any Jewish dna.

Since we all come from Noah and his three sons, at some point in history we would have all come from Jewish roots. :)
answered by Lori Smith G2G3 (3.3k points)
Lori--Good sleuthing!
+3 votes
My sixth great-grandfather was Moses Mordecai, who emigrated from Germany to Philadelphia in the 1750's (?).  He was one of the founding members of the Beth Israel congregation there.  He was a merchant who signed the boycott of English goods in the 1770's and his house still exists in Old City Philadelphia.  I would love to know more about him.
answered by Candace Timpanelli G2G Crew (510 points)
Try his name plus "founding member of Beth Israel temple in Philadelphia. That should give him some history.

Also go to family to seek his vital records.

Thank you!  The congregation was Mikveh Israel not Beth Israel. I even found a picture of his grave.

+3 votes
My grandfather, Maurice Louis Fauerbach [b. Oct 1871 in NY] was Jewish. His father Louis Fauerbach [von Feuerbach] was b. Dec 1833 in Kurhessen, Germany  and came to NY 15 Oct 1853. In general the family came from the Frankfurt area. They left before the holocaust but the records are tough to find
answered by Betty Kennedy G2G Crew (870 points)
+3 votes
I've have had my DNA tested on several sites and most of them have given me a trace of European Jew. I have lines that go back into European Royalty and Nobility and I understand that there is a Jewish lineage through those lines.
answered by Gail Hardy G2G2 (2.5k points)
+4 votes
Yes,  My grandmother was born in Lithuania and came over with her mother when she was two.  The family subsequently had four children - two boys and two girls.  The girls came first and the patriarch, Abraham, was not happy about that!  The original name was Schindler but when Abraham came over he changed it to Cohn (one of the seven tribes, I think.)  They landed in St. Louis and kept kosher until my grandmother married an Irish Catholic, John Patrick Maher.  The four siblings only produced three children, two of which were brought up Jewish and one of which, my mother , married a Protestant. My great grandmother never saw any of her family after moving to U.S. but a sister moved to South Africa.  The rest were swept away in the Holocaust.  Brave, brave people!
answered by
My good friend Steve is from a Jewish family, and he tells me that when HIS mother was a young woman in the 1920s and 1930s, she kept in contact with her cousins back in the "old country" via letters. Then World War II happened and... well, let's just say they were never heard from again.
Yes, they were. Please immerse yourself in the history of European Jews. You will appreciate them more and more. And please try the puzzle next week in G2G. Check the Jewish Roots Project in Wikitree too for things to read. I started years ago by reading literary novels. Some great writers are Jewish. You'll learn the culture there.
+4 votes
I am still trying to find out who was Jewish in our Family. Hubby is 2% Ashkenazi, and he believes it is from his Polish/Russian side. The rest of his DNA is English and Dutch only 91%. My DNA showed I am 6% Sephardic Jew, and 27% Spain/Portuguese. 2 parts of my DNA I had no clue about. My Uncle (My dad's brother) was tested, and only tested 1% jewish. So I am thinking it is on my NY Grandfathers side. That is the only part of my tree I can not get back past 2xs GG's. but if my Uncle tested for Jewish, wouldn't that mean it's on that side too? Wonder why my % is higher than his? I'll keep digging. =)
answered by Shan Dawson G2G4 (4k points)
Your mother could have some Jewish ancestry as well, there's no need for it to be on one side only. :)
Oh ok, thank you. I will keep looking to see who it is. =)
And veer off of your direct family lines when you research. You're likely to find surprises of every kind.
If you're 2%, that means that your g-g-g-g-g-g+ parents were Jewish. There are charts that show you the % ratios by generations. Its something like 50% parents, 25% grandparents, 12% g-g, etc etc
Thank you, I will look that up. Actually I am 6% and hubby is 2% so we will check it out and see who we have in the tree. =)
+4 votes
Yes, but I have yet to discover who they were. I have over 100 96% to 99% Ashkenazi DNA cousins on 23andMe but my 1.1% is so low that my Jewish ancestors may not be recorded in anyone's family trees. I think they are on my father's side from Germany approximately in the mid seventeen hundreds but I can't find any proof. This could be one mystery in my family tree that won't be solved.
answered by Larry Herbstritt G2G2 (2.2k points)
+4 votes

Jewish roots: the Salvador line would appear to be Spanish /Portuguese Sephardis and my maternal line from right on the German/Polish border would appear to have many connections that were Jewish (although the Dau family was not, as far as I can tell.) The deep roots are Russian, in Bahrain, Scottish all over so most likely, yes. The Cornish and English are not, as far as I can tell.

This is likely to be a very diverse and interesting project.


Elaine Hooper (born Salvador)
answered by Elaine Hooper G2G1 (1.2k points)
+4 votes
I was surprised when I had my DNA done that I came up 1%. I am waiting for my Geno 2.0 to see what it shows. I had my dad's DNA done and he is 2%!

Also, I think some might be surprised to see what they might learn about the Holocaust following this link:[search_id]=a6b078d7-c388-4708-b465-197c9f8edfc0&insight[search_result_index]=3
answered by Jamie Thompson G2G2 (2.3k points)
Many would also be horrified to learn of the Vatican's involvement in the Holocaust.   The Reichskonkordat of September 1933 gave Hitler the Green light and under the agreement he made with the Vatican the new Church Tax in Germany went straight to Rome.   During the War the Church ran half the Extirmination Camps in Croatia - it is all on the net and Jasenovac was the worst - run by the Franciscan Brothers.   Only one Archbishop - Stepinac got caught and put on trial - let off with 16 years and home imprisonment after 5 years.   Somebody big must have arranged that.

After looking through "the net," please go to books written by historians. At a local college, university library or a state library, you will find readable, thorough stories that have become known. You have been given some important basic information in the two comments above--please follow them as your leads.

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