If you want to discover your genetic history and where you came from... you’ve found the right place!


review of scientific and news articles on dna testing and popular genetics

When Wales Was Jewish

Monday, April 02, 2012

Short answer: pre-Roman times.

As is well known, Haplogroup E1b1b1 accounts for approximately 18% to 20% of Ashkenazi and 8.6% to 30% of Sephardic Y-chromosomes. This North African type appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population.[i]

In Britain, this quintessential Jewish type (together with J, another telltale sign of Middle Eastern roots) is absent or negligible in many towns and regions but reported in elevated frequencies in Wales (Llanidloes 7%, Llangefni 5%), the Midlands (Southwell, Nottinghamshire 12%, Uttoxeter 8%), Faversham in Kent (9%), Dorchester in the West Country with historic harbors (7%), Midhurst in West Sussex commanding ancient sea-ports (5%)  and the Channel Islands, always an important crossroads of influences (5%).[ii] Bryan Sykes’ survey of paternal clans in England and Wales confirms significant traces of the E haplogroup which he dubs Eshu in southern England (4.9%) and Wales (3.1%).[iii] It reaches its highest point in Britain in Abergele, Wales (nearly 40%), an anomaly that has been attributed to Roman soldiers of Balkan origin but may have alternative and more complex explanations.

See our blog post "Right Church, Wrong Pew," arguing that the footprint of E in Britain is attributable to North African influence, not the descendants of Roman legionnaires from the Balkans.

In 2011, Llangefni  and Wrexham in North Wales became the focus of a call for local men to provide samples of their unusual DNA. A team of scientists lead by Andy Grierson and Robert Johnston from the University of Sheffield hoped to link the migration of men from the Mediterranean to the copper mined at Parys Mountain on Anglesey and on the Great Orme promontory nearby. A preliminary analysis of 500 participants showed 30% of the men carried E1b1b, compared to 1% of men elsewhere in the United Kingdom.[iv]

Significantly, Welsh tradition associates the Iron Age hilltop town on Conwy Mountain known as Castell Caer Seion with a settlement of ancient Jews. This site overlooks Conwy Bay on the north coast of Wales and lies on the ancient road between Prestatyn in Denbighshire and Bangor in Gwynedd opposite Angelsey.  In the Black Book of Caermarthen, the Welsh national bard Taliesin casually remarks in the persona of the battling hero,

When I return from Caer Seon,

From contending with Jews,

I will come to the city of Lleu and Gwidion.[v]

Lleu and Gwidion are the names of two other legendary figures; they are believed to be historical and to have lived in the early centuries of the Common Era or anterior to it.

It is hard to avoid the thought that the hilly area to the west of the town of Conwy, in North Wales was once inhabited by Jews.

[i] A. Nebel et al, "The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East", American Journal of Human Genetics69.5(2001) 1095–1112. [ii] C. Capelli et al, “A Y Chromosome Census of the British Isles,”  Current Biology 13 (2003) 979–984. [iii] Bryan Sykes, Saxons, Vikings and Celts (Norton:  2007) 206, 290. [iv] “’Extraordinary’ Genetic Make-up of North-east Wales Men,” BBC News North East Wales, article retrieved Jan. 2012 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-14173910. On Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog there is speculation about whether the main sub-clade involved is Balkan or North African E; posts and comments retrieved Jan. 2012 at http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2011/07/eastern-mediterranean-marker-in.html. [v] William F. Skene, The Four Ancient Books of Wales (Edinburgh, 1868, republished 2007 by Forgotten Books) 206.

Stephen Blevins commented on 03-Apr-2012 05:02 AM

My DNA is E1b1b1, my most distant ancestor is William Blevins (Longhunter) from the area you mentioned. My autosomal DNA places my ancestors in the orkney islands of Scotland. I'm convinced that a tribe of Jews migrated from Israel to north to Scandinavia
or Denmark and may have been apart of the invasion by Vikings to Scotland before they were found in Wales as Poweys in the Northern Mountains. Blevins comes from Blethyn meaning little wolf or (Hero) look up Ap Blethyn of Gwynedd.

Belvins Descendant commented on 12-Apr-2012 02:05 PM

I was always told the Blevins came from Wales, but in checking this story out I was unable to verify it, nor could I find any substantiation of the etymology from Bleddyn ("son of wolf"). There is not a single Blevins in the Welsh census records, although
the name is found sparsely in Cheshire, Lancashire and other northern English counties. "Formby, Wales" is actually Formby in Merseyside in Lancashaire. The -dd- element in the Welsh name Bleddyn cannot be twisted into a -v-. So go figure.

Paul commented on 28-Apr-2012 08:46 PM

My mother is a descendant of Henry Cook I of Devon. His ascendants were among the first settlers of Massachusetts and Connecticut. A great Uncle, Lemuel Cook, was the oldest surviving Revolutionary War veteran when he died at 106 years of age. We recently
had my mother's autosomal dna analyzed and found strong population matches from the Balkans (Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, etc.) - which was very unexpected. There was also prominent representation form Spain and Portugal - not so unexpected. In my own
18 marker test, I had one Jewish III marker, though I can't say from whom. There is no known Judaism on either side. Sounds like your article might be describing the early Cooks. Interesting...

katarina cadieux commented on 13-Dec-2013 07:36 PM

well the language of the Welsh(Cymri)alone is very Hebraic.
here are some examples: Anudon(welsh)/ Aen Adon(hebrew)(without God)
Yni all sy-dda(welsh) / Ani El Saddai(hebrew)(I am almighty God)
Llai iachu yngwyddd achau ni(welsh) / Loa yichei neged acheinu(hebrew) ("Let him not live before our brethren")
An annos(welsh)/ ain ones(hebrew)(None did compel)
the amazing to me is how similar the words look and sound, the english is the meaning for both welsh and hebrew, their meaning are the same.
the welsh are a very ancient people even their name for themselves in their language has Crimea roots which many hebrew tribes migrated to.

Dafydd Gwilym W. Gates commented on 17-Feb-2014 11:58 AM

Katarina Cadieux 13 Dec 2013 wrote some examples to show how Welsh had parralels in Hebrew. I'm a first language Welsh speaker and couldn't make sense of the Welsh examples, I'm afraid, It wasn't Welsh.
So sorry, Dafydd

Jamie commented on 25-Aug-2014 11:15 AM

I am not surprised that Jewish (Hebrew) DNA is found in Great Britain. If people read the Bible correctly and believe what it says, they will find that when the Israelites (not Jews) went into captivity for the last time as a nation,(2,000 years ago), God sent them to the northwest, "To the Isles in the sea".

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.

Captcha Image

Recent Posts


Douglas Owsley Sizemore surname religion single nucleotide polymorphism Mother Qualla Ethel Cox DNA magazine archeology art history Ripan Malhi Alabama Early Jews of England and Wales N. Brent Kennedy Barnard College Richard Buckley Rare Genes haplogroup D Beringia Kurgan Culture Constantine Rafinesque Riane Eisler population genetics French Canadians Tucson Pueblo Indians Celts Asiatic Fathers of America Central Band of Cherokee rapid DNA testing Romania Charles Perou Hertfordshire Egyptians genealogy haplogroup E alleles ethnic markers Old World Roots of the Cherokee Kentucky Joel E. Harris microsatellites peopling of the Americas haplogroup X Anne C. Stone Israel Austronesian, Filipinos, Australoid Peter Martyr immunology Indo-Europeans Cornwall Nephilim, Fritz Zimmerman Nayarit Jone Entine Zizmer Freemont Indians American Journal of Human Genetics Rutgers University Janet Lewis Crain James Stritzel Sorbs Muslims in American history seafaring education Pomponia Graecina Phoenicians Sinaloa BBCNews INORA NPR Plato Smithsonian Institution Arizona State University Thruston Tablet anthropology Abraham Lincoln Smithsonian Magazine bar mitzvah Majorca Applied Epistemology Maya New York Times Belgium Brian Wilkes North African DNA Teresa Panther-Yates Zuni Indians Erika Chek Hayden metis Helladic art Slovakia Maronites Navajo Richard Dewhurst Scotland Philippa Langley Thuya oncology Phoenix haplogroup J Irish history Chris Tyler-Smith Bigfoot Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales (book) prehistory Antonio Torroni surnames Holocaust Database National Geographic Daily News King Arthur, Tintagel, The Earliest Jews and Muslims of England and Wales origins of art Comanche Indians phenotype ged.com Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America Melungeons Colin Renfrew John Butler Puerto Rico Satoshi Horai Anne Marie Fine Washington D.C. When Scotland Was Jewish Elzina Grimwood Hopi Indians Albert Einstein College of Medicine gedmatch Lebanon haplogroup M Native American DNA Test Phillipe Charlier Les Miserables Arabic GlobalFiler Turkic DNA Kennewick Man Population genetics Charles Darwin Hispanic ancestry Chuetas 23andme family history Algonquian Indians Olmec Cooper surname DNA Diagnostics Center London Marija Gimbutas Life Technologies consanguinity African DNA Nikola Tesla Tifaneg American history MHC DNA Fingerprint Test Bradshaw Foundation Charlotte Harris Reese human migrations Ron Janke Waynesboro Pennsylvania Nadia Abu El-Haj Indian Territory Science Daily, Genome Biol. Evol., Eran Elhaik, Khazarian Hypothesis, Rhineland Hypothesis England Amy Harmon Ziesmer, Zizmor Black Irish Leicester Family Tree DNA Secret History of the Cherokee Indians AP haplogroup T George Starr-Bresette Terry Gross Austro-Hungary Maui pheromones history of science Jewish contribution to world literature Zionism Stone Age Basques Wikipedia National Health Laboratories Monya Baker Monica Sanowar Melungeon Heritage Association clinical chemistry Lab Corp Russell Belk Jon Entine ethnicity Khoisan Asiatic Echoes Akhenaten Peter Parham Cleopatra Dragging Canoe horizontal inheritance Kari Carpenter Columbia University Bryan Sykes Britain Y chromosomal haplogroups Dienekes Anthropology Blog Grim Sleeper Rich Crankshaw James Shoemaker New Mexico Germany Native American DNA occipital bun Johnny Depp Patrick Pynes French DNA Michael Grant Bering Land Bridge Epigraphic Society cancer Pueblo Grande Museum Bode Technology Great Goddess Magdalenian culture Gypsies Denisovans Arabia DNA testing companies Navajo Indians Henry VII megapopulations Mary Settegast Tennessee Mark Thomas Khazars health and medicine myths cannibalism DNA databases Shlomo Sand Mucogee Creeks Middle Ages Alec Jeffreys Ananya Mandal Colima Telltown Jewish GenWeb Gravettian culture Robinson Crusoe William Byrd Svante Paabo haplogroup L Cismar prehistoric art Barack Obama Panther's Lodge China Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Etruscans corn genetic memory Eric Wayner Ireland BATWING Gregory Mendel university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Sonora methylation Mohawk Richard Lewontin Bill Tiffee rock art Sir Joshua Reynolds evolution Miguel Gonzalez Rush Limbaugh Roma People Moundbuilders andrew solomon Elvis Presley DNA Paleolithic Age Israel, Shlomo Sand Sinti Anasazi Hohokam Indians Karenn Worstell climate change mummies Irish DNA Old Souls in a New World Daily News and Analysis Hawaii Michael Schwartz Lithuania Arizona Cajuns Clovis Fritz Zimmerman epigenetics ISOGG Pima Indians Bureau of Indian Affairs Genex Diagnostics haplogroup B population isolates Cherokee Freedmen research John Wilwol breast cancer DNA Forums Melungeon Union Kate Wong Jalisco Anacostia Indians human leukocyte testing Discover magazine Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama Henriette Mertz Iran bloviators Valparaiso University genomics labs Chromosomal Labs Bode Technology Ashkenazi Jews haplogroup W palatal tori University of Leicester Asian DNA Gunnar Thompson Jesse Montes Middle Eastern DNA Colin Pitchfork admixture Current Anthropology Micmac Indians Finnish people Stacy Schiff Y chromosome DNA Taino Indians Virginia DeMarce haplogroup N PNAS Tutankamun Jews John Ruskamp Ari Plost Genome Sciences Building Kitty Prince of the Bear River Athabaskans Ostenaco Hohokam Salt River Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Patrick Henry Eske Willerslev Phyllis Starnes Nature Genetics Carl Zimmer Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute New York Academy of Sciences Greeks Jewish novelists New York Review of Books Neanderthals Scientific American CODIS markers Mary Kugler Nancy Gentry Juanita Sims Douglas C. Wallace El Castillo cave paintings Sasquatch Holocaust Russia Melba Ketchum Wendell Paulson forensics Europe Neolithic Revolution Louis XVI Havasupai Indians FBI Isabel Allende Science magazine hoaxes Texas A&M University Solutreans Melungeon Movement Chauvet cave paintings Promega Michoacan Sizemore Indians Black Dutch Harold Sterling Gladwin Cree Indians Virginia genealogy Donald N. Yates Timothy Bestor haplogroup Z Kari Schroeder Horatio Cushman District of Columbia crypto-Jews Cancer Genome Atlas Caucasian Wendy Roth hominids India race Chris Stringer Oxford Nanopore haplogroup R Roberta Estes Mark Stoneking private allele Sam Kean Abenaki Indians Irish Central news Keros mitochondrial DNA haplogroup H B'nai Abraham Stony Creek Baptist Church Richard III clan symbols Oxford Journal of Evolution Sea Peoples M. J. Harper genetics Douglas Preston statistics Bryony Jones Normans Henry IV Elizabeth DeLand Cohen Modal Haplotype Tom Martin Scroft First Peoples Mexico Rafael Falk Anglo-Saxons FOX News Stephen Oppenheimer Rebecca L. Cann Tintagel Wales National Museum of Natural History Odessa Shields Cox Joseph Jacobs Cave art Altai Turks Luca Pagani medicine Melanesians Harold Goodwin Harry Ostrer Mildred Gentry genetic determinism aliyah familial Mediterranean fever Ancestry.com Richmond California Theodore Steinberg King Arthur Italy Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies haplogroup U Central Band of Cherokees X chromosome FDA Jack Goins Ukraine Nature Communications autosomal DNA Marie Cheng Nova Scotia Walter Plecker European DNA Sarmatians Discovery Channel Cherokee DNA Project Panther's Lodge Publishers George van der Merwede Jim Bentley ethics Victor Hugo Patagonia ENFSI Penny Ferguson Jewish genetics Bentley surname research IntegenX The Nation magazine EURO DNA Fingerprint Test Choctaw Indians pipe carving mental foramen Cherokee DNA Yates surname personal genomics Ancient Giantns Who Ruled America Gila River Jan Ravenspirit Franz Cismaru North Carolina David Cornish Daniel Defoe human leukocyte antigens Elizabeth C. Hirschman Joseph Andrew Park Wilson Bulgaria giants haplogroup C far from the tree powwows DNA security DNA Fingerprint Test Acadians polydactylism HapMap mutation rate Stan Steiner linguistics ancient DNA