Jewish Genealogy Through DNA

Jewish genealogy can be a complicated history to trace. Because Judaism is primarily a religion, it cannot be pinpointed by a specific genetic mutation. However, you
can still find out the likelihood of Jewish ancestry through a DNA test.

While DNA cannot absolutely confirm Jewish ancestry, it can tell whether you are a match with ancestors who have claimed Jewish origin. You can find the likelihood of
Jewish descent by examining the number of matches with this origin. Corroboration from other traditional genealogy research can help you confirm these results.


One of the challenges of Jewish genealogy is that surnames often changed over time. As a population that endured much hardship and discrimination, families often
changed surnames once they immigrated to blend into the culture. There is also a lack of genealogical records in Jewish ancestry, making the task of research and
corroboration more difficult.


Current DNA databases can show matches for Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and Levites. The Levite group can also be further broken down to find matches in the Cohanim line, a priestly line originating from Moses’ brother Aaron.


The test you need depends on the type of information you are looking for.

Y-DNA – Only males can be tested for Y-DNA. It is a test of the paternal line of DNA. This is the test that is needed to search for matches in the Cohanim line, as the priesthood was passed down from father to son. If a female would like to research this lineage, she can have a close male relative tested.

mtDNA – To find information on your maternal line, you will need an mtDNA test. This DNA is passed from mothers to all of their children. The line is passed down from mother
to daughter.

Autosomal DNA – The Autosomal DNA test does not search a specific maternal or paternal line, It cannot reach as far back in history; however, it can reach wider to find cousins and more distant relatives who can help you with your research.

Get started with your Jewish Genealogy DNA test today.