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


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