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".

Joan Coon Deary commented on 28-Nov-2014 11:15 AM

Being female, I had my brother's DNA identified by Familytree. His Haplogroup is E1b1b1. Our male-line genealogy goes back to Dutchess County, New York, around 1775 -- all Christians as far as I can tell. There are many other people who have our surname of "Coon" and they also have had their DNA identified by Familytree. Their Haplogroup begins with an "R". Can I say definitively that we are not related to them even though they have the same surname? Am I right in thinking that is it impossible for a Haplogroup to morph from an "R" to and "E" in the course of 250 years? I've always wondered if our original surname was "Cohen" that was changed to "Coon" at some point -- but I don't think you can help me with that. Thank you for any information you can give me. Regards, Joan Coon Deary

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


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