Part V LDS and the Sephardic Connection: Seeding the Protestant Reformation

“The displaced Jews, like so many tiny floating seeds from a milkweed pod, landed on fertile ground in Holland, France, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and England, where they grew into the Protestant Reformation.”- Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman and Donald N. Yates

Elizabeth C. Hirschman, Ph.D at Rutgers University, and Donald N. Yates, Ph.D., owner and founder of DNA Testing Systems, have written a fascinating book entitled When Scotland Was Jewish: DNA Evidence, Archeology, Analysis of Migrations, and Public and Family Records Show Twelfth Century Semitic Roots. In chapter  Ten The Religions of Scotland: Did Presbyterianism Have Crypto-Jewish Origins, Hirschman and Yates reveal the evolution from Catholicism to Protestantism as influenced by the Sephardim.

200,000 plus Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal after 1492, added to the millions of others who were Converso, genuinely or not to Catholicism, had an impact on the religious practices of the European countries they immigrated to. Is it a mere coincidence, the Protestant Reformation sprang from the same European countries, in which large numbers of the Sephardim migrated to, namely France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, England and Scotland?  As a population the Sephardim were well-educated, and in many cases, better trained than the professionals in the Christian majority. Many Converos had careers within the Catholic Church.  As a group the Sephardim were multi-lingual, world travelers, socially aggressive and held key positions in government finance and administration. Many were counselors to kings and other nobles as trusted intimate advisors. It is natural to assume Converso private religious beliefs would have influenced their public dialogue and council.

The Huguenots respected the Jews and Moors as children of Abraham. The Huguenots sought to protect the Jews and Moors. Cecil Roth, a British Jewish historian, asserts many Huguenots were Converso Jews and Moors.   Abraham Lavender Ph.D, professor of sociology and anthropology, points out that the Huguenot Seal of 1559 has the same four Kabbalistic Hebrew letters YHVH (the Tetragrammaton) engraved upon it within a burning bush.

Hirschman and Yates have stated,  “We propose that the Reformation, beyond being a movement against Catholicism, should also be seen as a movement toward Judaism.” Consider the lives of Balthazar (Isaac) Orobio de Castro, John Calvin, and John Knox.

Balthazar (Isaac) Orobio de Castro was a Converso Portuguese philosopher and physician (1617-1687). While in Spain he combined his medical studies with Christian theology. This was a common study path for Converso intellectuals.  Orobio de Castro served a noble family. Orobio de Castro was accused of Crypto Jewish beliefs and was sentenced to torture in prison. He later escaped to Amsterdam and publicly acknowledged his Jewish beliefs.  His study of Christianity was useful later in interfaith discussions with dissident Christians in Holland. In returning to Judaism, Orobio de Castro and others like him used their vast theological knowledge to discuss the tenets of both Christianity and Judaism.


John Calvin (1509-1564)

Hirschman and Yates assert John/Jean Calvin/Cauvin born in Picary, France (contained a strong Converso community) was of Converso Jewish descent. John’s father was an Attorney for a noble family. John studied for the Priesthood.  Instead Calvin’s father persuaded him to abandon his religious training for a career in law education. From this we can assert, Calvin’s father was well educated, and an advisor to nobility. Ambitious for his son, he guided him in upward mobility and did not encourage conventional Catholic piety.  All are common traits of Crypto and Converso Jews.

Calvin was a close friend to the sons of the King’s physician, Nicholas and Michael Cop.  Hirschman and Yates assert the Cop family was likely of Crypto Jewish descent. Calvin was also a close associate with Melchior (Sephardic name) Wolmar. Later Calvin migrated to Switzerland. In Geneva, William Farel (Sephardic surname), the founder of the Reformed Church in Geneva convinced Calvin to stay and preach the new Protestant theology. John chose to learn Greek and Hebrew. Both languages would have enabled him to read the Old Testament (Torah) in his ancient form rather than relying on Christian Latin translations.


John Knox (1513/1514-1572)

Hirschman and Yates in When Scotland Was Jewish also propose  that John Knox, born in Haddington Scotland, was heavily influenced by Jewish theology.  Knox was trained in the Priesthood when he came under the influence of Lutheran oriented doctrine.  As a Protestant activist, Knox fled to Geneva, Switzerland where he joined John Calvin in translating the Latin Bible to English, resulting in the Geneva Bible. Later Knox returned to Scotland after Protestantism was declared the national religion.

Knox was a biblical purist, similar to the Jewish Karaities. He believed the Bible to be the word of God and the only religious guide.  He equated his congregation to the ancient Israelites. Knox urged the adoption of Mosaic Law as the governing rule of Scotland. He proposed a universal system of education so that all could be literate to read the scriptures for themselves. He urged a universal charity system to care for the poor. Knox described the resulting society as one in which “events on Earth would mirror those in Heaven” a metaphor that Hirschman and Yates assert could be derived from the Kabbalist tradition in France.  In Knox’s view, Scotland was a “new Israel dedicated to uphold God’s law”.

Knox was instrumental in persuading the Scottish Parliament to adopt Sabbatarianism similar to the Jewish mitzvoth regarding the keeping of the Sabbath.  “Knox developed guidelines for the religious training of ministers. He advised studying theology, but Hebrew, Mathematics, physics, economics, ethics, and moral philosophy. A curriculum that appears to be patterned more on the Islamic and Jewish ideals emanating from Spain and southern France than on any prior Christian educational scheme.” Knox advocated every household sing the psalms, hold prayer services morning and evening in their homes, and instruct their children in God’s law; mirroring the familial worship of Orthodox Jews. The only exceptions to Judaic laws were the absence of dietary rules and the requirement of males to the circumcised.

Knox associated with Thomas Parry (common Sephardic surname) and John Foxe (Ashkenazi surname). Knox also associated with Thomas Lever (a Sephardic surname), a Protestant minister in Switzerland. Lever descendants of this same Lever family immigrated to the American colonies and established the Lever Brothers Corporation. Interesting enough, the modern-day Levers were practicing Jews.

For more information please see:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009

51 thoughts on “Part V LDS and the Sephardic Connection: Seeding the Protestant Reformation

  1. Interesting ideas here. However, I pretty skeptical. John Foxe’s Book Of Martyrs, which was chained along with Holy Bibles to the pulpit in churches during the Reformation is full of antisemitic rhetoric of the very worst kind. When I say the very worst, I do not exaggerate. It is very ugly, and very deliberate. Early Christians were not friendly with Jews.
    Simply because Christian people share last names with Jews, claim places to be the New Jerusalem (which, almost all Christian groups have done at some point, from Constantinople to Moscow to Missouri), and practice Biblical praying in the form of Psalms and sacraments (as Jesus did), does in no way show it was a pro Jewish, or movement towards Judaism.

    It seems to me the authors of the book were looking for links, and found them based on the assumption that they existed in the first place, regardless of a true body of proof.

  2. Wow, Joanna, this is interesting stuff. You should put this together for a book at some point. I never knew about the Jewish connection to the Reformation, but this makes sense.

  3. mmiles- you are right, with the exception of the Hugenots; Protestant Christians were not pro-Jewish.

    Consider that the worse persecutors of Sephardic Jews in Spain were they themselves Converso Jews. Something like the old saying about “self-hating Jews”. The ideas and theology of Judaism had a way of seeping into the Protestant movement whether the theologian realized it or not.

    Geoff-How kind. thanks for taking the time to read. Hirschman and Yates book is a fascinating read : .

    WSWJ is expensive (the price is going up. I paid $40 dollars for mine) for a small book, but it is packed with eye-opening information.

  4. This is really intriguing. I’ve found some reviewers who were very unhappy with the (lack of) evidence in the book cited above, but the general premise of this post seems strong to me.

  5. Johanna,
    If anything the book comes off as anti-Catholic. Catholicism maintains religious rites that are very much in line with the oldest of recorded Jewish tradition from the Old Testament. It really is, IMO, poor logic for the authors to jump to Reformation tradition and try to apply them to Jewish tradition as if Protestant traditions developed in a vacuum. The traditions they developed may appear somewhat Jewish in nature, but less, not more Jewish than Catholics.

    I’m sure a Jewish presence in France influenced the culture as a whole, but to say it influenced developing Protestantism directly is still quite a leap.

  6. Ben- Thanks Ben. The Sephardim is interesting. At this point, I am just reporting what others have said.
    Crypto Jews is a controversial subject. It is difficult to find strong historical evidences for Crypto Jewish practices and communities. Pardon for stating the obvious…they were crypto. 🙂 They either did not write it down or they shovel buddied the scant evidence. However a strong swell of interest is starting to take hold.

    When _Scotland was Jewish_ and HIrschmans other book _Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America_

    was published, the Melungeon community (tri-isolate group in the southeastern USA of Indian, black, and white mix with strong Mediterranean and Middle Eastern DNA) just came undone (southern word definition meaning: freaked out!!). The battle cry was, “You can call us Indian or Black, but don’t call us Jewish!” Most of the oppostion has been from this community. The oppostion has since quieted down.

  7. mmiles Thanks for your comment. Hirschman and Yates are not anti-Catholic. I am not anti-Catholic. When you report the goings-on 500 years ago you quote people who were virulently anti-Catholic. Jewish communities thrived in the Land of Tarshish ( Mediterranean area) since the time of Solomon. Jewish people from the earliest times converted over to Catholicism. Many of those Converso were the biggest persecutors of their own Jewish relatives. They brought with them the traditions and adapted them.

    I have a genealogy line I call my “KIn to Jesus LIne”. Going backward in time it goes from the Holcombe family in New England to England to royal lines in Spain and France then back to a High Rabbi in Persia, then back thru the great Sephardic lines to the Biblical lines. Looking at the royal lines in Spain, several of my ancestors were Jewish persecutors. Others were pro-Jewish. The wealthy influential Sephardim married their lovely daughters ( legacy of Esther) into the royal lines for protection. THe Sephardic Jews were not your “Fiddler on the Roof” Jews. The Sephardim were much more laid back in their religious practices. They adapted well to their host community. They were aggressive socially and like a moth to the flame, sought to be near powerful people. Given their propensity to be attracted to power, how could they not be influential?

  8. I had previously figured my patriarchal declaration of lineage being that of Judah was due to my father’s Jewish family, both grandparents on his side. Now it seems possible that there’s a link, however tenuous, through my mother’s English and Scottish lines. Hoots mon and oy vey!

  9. Joanna, Your article is most amazing! Calvin is defintely a Spanish-Judeo surname. Why didn’t I realize this before?!! This book WSWJ would be a perfect “Christmas” gift for my very-fair-blue-eyed Scotish-Irish mom-in-law. No, I ought to give it to her for Hannukah :)!!
    Munchos Años!!

  10. Johanna,
    I did not intend to accuse you of being anti-catholic. Apologies.
    I just don’t see any evidence to call the backlash against the Catholic church as a Jewish movement. Sure, some of the players may have had Jewish ties. But there were as many more powerful players that were not Jewish. I just don’t think Judaism had much to do with it, based on the lack of evidence.

  11. Bookslinger- instead of “oy vey” (woe is me) in Yiddish. Let us say “ale gria e plazer” (rejoice, happiness) in Ladino . Ladino is a Castilian, Portuguese, Hebrew language. In other words Ladino is to Sephardic Jews like Yiddish is to Ashkenazi Jews.

    Bonnie-Buen moed (Happy Holiday) Rosh Hashanah to you!

    mmiles-I did not take offense. I am sorry if my typing is terse. You can not see the happy smile on my face. I think we are talking past one another. I am not proposing that in the Reformation was completely Jewish; instead there are strong influences. For example, the Jews believed in being literate so all could read the Torah for themselves. Catholics not so much. The Sephardic Jews owned and operated the printing presses in much of Europe and The Ottoman Empire. They massed produced not only the Kabbalah commentaries, but the Bible. Enabling all to read the word of God also provided the way for Protestantism to flourish.

  12. It talks about the influence of Cabbala (not the Madonna kind) on the Reformers in the Netherlands. It traces Jewish – Reformed contacts and the influence of the Mishnah on Reformed exegesis. @JA Benson

  13. Thank you Joel. You are correct. I need this book. It is now in my budget for October. Cabbala or Kabbalah has gotten such a bad name with the attachment to Madonna.

    For those of our M* readers who are unfamiliar with Kabbalah/Cabbala. It is the study of growing closer to God thru symbolism, Tree of Life, Adam and Eve. Math is also involved. The Sephardic Jews and the Hasidic Jews were followers. The Chiam Potok book _The Chosen_ has some Kabbalah thought in it.

    Best source I have found for introductory information is _Kabbalah for Dummies_ by Rabbi Kurzweil.

    Brian -Thanks for stopping by to comment.

  14. Caldwell and Yates are full BS. I would not put any type of trust in the insanity they published in When Scotland was Jewish. Scotland was never Jewish and it is insulting that they insist time and again that all the Scottish history and culture is specifically non-Celtic. Anything and anyone they deem significant suddenly becomes a Crypto Jew. The problem is that a good deal of people they accuse of being crypto Jews of Sephardic lineage could not possibly be. Look a bit beneath the surface of their books and you will find that they cannot even make up their minds about who is Sephardic and who is Ashkenazi. When DNA proves their theories wrong they attempt to explain that these Sephardi Crypto Jews were European converts and not Semitic. Later they insist on a Middle Eastern origin. They lie so much that they paint themselves into a corner.

    The true Stuart/Stewart lineage from Scotland is indeed Celtic. Perhaps some Melungeon and Jewish imposters took the last name but they are not genuine and they know it. Part of their supposed research that so many claim is thourough and beyond reproach came from the imposter Michael LaFosse. He is a liar and con man and the fact that Yates and Caldwell used his lies and distortions in their book makes all their claims nothing more than a joke in my opinion. Both authors are trying to con the native Celtic people out of their culture and advancements by insisting that all their accomplishments are really from mysterious Crypto-Jews. The book is insulting to Scots and a pure fabrication.

  15. Thank you Kristin for your different point of view. This topic is controversial. Hirschman-Caldwell and Yates divide the book into sections of possible migration of Hebrew people. Some of the oldest migrations would be over 2000 years ago. Others only 500 years ago. I am sure Scotland was not empty of human habitations when and if the Jews arrived. If so, the Hebrews could have influenced the celtic peoples who were already there. Celts and Hebrews have commonalities.

  16. The key word in your reply is possible migration. They use all sorts of exmaples of possibilities. There is a good review of their book by a descendant of one these supposed crypto Jew Scots.

    He points out how the authors claim Jon Cowane was a very probable Jew. He was very probably not a Jew and they ignore all the evidence that is contrary to their claim and come to a conclusion about Cowane’s ancestry based on possibilities and probabilities.

    Here is an example from that review.

    “-Kohane is a noun meaning a Jewish priest.
    -These priests often assumed the surname Kohane.
    -The surnames Cowane and Kohane are analogous.
    -John Cowane of Stirling, therefore, was very probably a Jewish priest.

    No consideration is made of other sources of the name Cowane. The authors offer no clue in support of their inference and none can be found in a web search.”

    What type of research is this exactly? They supposedly comb through thousands of church, synagogue and court records and this is the conclusion they come up with. His name [i]sounds[/i] Jewish?

    What type of hokey nonsense is this? Perhaps they are looking to start up their own church of made up lineages and fantastical claims like Lafosse. Perhaps the agenda is to claim anyone who was successful and wealthy was Jewish no matter how impossible it would be.

    There are few commonalities between Celts and Hebrews. No more commonalities than what you could find between Japanese culture and Hebrews. There is nothing controversial about the book. It reaches silly conclusions based on false information and assumptions. The only controversial thing is the number of people confused enough to believe the lies in it.

  17. Kristin- Of course we are talking about migration. To be human is to migrate. We, humans take our technology and knowledge then infuse it into another culture. For example, do you know the beloved scottish instrument the bagpipes are not Scottish? They are Middle Eastern. The Egyptian are the probable inventors way before the birth of Christ. Do you not know the history of the Sephardim and the Levantine Jews? Do you not know how widely they were dispearsed, or is it you only know of the Askenazi; and believe all Jews are “FIddler on the Roof” Jews?

    COWAN is on the list of Sephardic names on the Sephardic Gen yahoo group moderated by the great Harry Stein, but not on his Sephardim website. The yahoo-group has 39 messages discussing the name. Several other researchers besides Yates and Hirschman also believe it is of Jewish origin.

    Also Yates and Hirschman have DNA data to back up their claims.

    Let’s remember, “To be Crypto is to not leave evidence”

    I have no idea what/who La Fosse is. If it has something to do with the topic at hand, please enlighten us.

    Actually interesting idea, the Japanese and the Hebrews. There are some Jews who believe some members of the Lost Tribes found their way to Japan. It is a fascinating theory. I do not have time to research and write about it.

    And more importantly, did GOD not promise that the children of Abraham would go out and the bless the nations of the world see: ? Of course, HE did, so why not Scotland or Japan? Are they not nations, and do they not deserve to be blessed by the hand of GOD thru HIS covenant people?

  18. The DNA they use to back up their claim actually disproves their claim. This is how deceptive they are with their work. They stop short of using the full sequence which proves that the Scottish John Cowane is not closely related to the Jewish lineage. His own descendant doubts the claim and it is insulting to suggest Cowane is Jewish because he gave to a charity and that is not the type of things Christians did. Where do they come up with such nonsense? To put any stock in such a conclusion is desperation.

    Even if we take the claim that certain R1a1 lineages are Jewish they most likely did not come from the Middle East. This was Eastern European or Central Asian DNA that came from other groups. It is not similar to the DNA of people native to the Middle East today. I know there were population shifts so it is possible the DNA make up of the ancient Hebrews could be different compared to the modern population that inhabited Palestine prior to 1948. The evidence we have though suggests these lineages have nothing to do with Abraham or the ancient Hebrews of the bible. They entered the Jewish gene pool at a later time.

    Why is there a focus on one man with the last name who actually does not have similar DNA? They do not take into consideration that the last name is believed to have come from somewhere else by the very people they are discussing. Could it be due to his wealth and fame? Would they otherwise ignore such a DNA disparity if someone possessed it who had no supposed Jewish connection? Yates and Hirschman make the connection based on false evidence and faulty logic and, in my opinion, they are doing it for disingenuous reasons.

    There is little to no connection between the Scots and the people who are Sephardic Jews today. It is frustrating to see a double standard with the DNA used by certain groups. What is not and never was considered “Jewish” DNA suddenly becomes a possibility because of certain criteria or the desire by the person to be Jewish. It is simply making things up when one does not get the answer they wanted in their DNA results. People need to accept who they are and if they do not like what may come about from a DNA test then they should not get one. Lying about our ancestors and making them something they could not possibly be is helpful to no one.

  19. Kristin- Me thinks you are a troll looking for a fight about whether or not the ALL the Cowans were Jewish. Frankly I do not care as I do not care as I do not have any Cowan (that I know of ). DNA can be subjective in cases like the Jews who often do not show up on DNA tests as they are a religion foremost, and as a people are not a stationary population. AFter 500 years DNA kinda breaks down. Sweetie you are trying to fight about a single tree in a forest. I care more for the forest. Go take your arguments some place where they are discussing the validity of Yates and Hirschman in regards to Cowan. We are discussing Sephardic Influences in Western Europe and then in the Americas. Yates and HIrschman are just part of the puzzle.

    Like I said this is new, exciting and groundbreaking research. Folks get excited and heated about this topic. Fun isn’t it? 🙂

  20. Did you read the book review? I am not the one who focused on one person with the last name Cowan. The authors of this scam were the first to do so and they cannot even lie in a convincing way. Cowan may be a Sephardic Jewish surname but he may have an Ashkenazi DNA sequence. The truth is this one man does not have a Sephardic Jewish last name and he does not have Ashkenazi DNA. They point out this one man as being a Sephardic influence when he clearly is not.

    So where does it end? They are lying about who is a Jew to make it look as though Jews had a bigger influence in Western Europe than what they really did. IT is historic revisionist lies and distortions and they do not seem to take into consideration that the people they are lying about or their descendants may take offense to it.

    Yates and Hirschman are liars and are simply trying to write Jewish influence into everything and everywhere. It is not fun if your ancestors are the people they are lying about. Perhaps you should read the book review and take a closer look at the book. There are several instances of them claiming that Scottish and English aristocrats were crypto based on silly reasoning and it can be easily disproved.

  21. Kristin- Have you even read the book? Or did you just read your beloved review? As a whole the book deals very little with this Cowane man and you make it out to be the whole book. Even if Cowane isn’t a Jew that hardly proves all of the research wrong. I would also like to ask you what would the authors of this book gain from lying about this subject? It is perfectly reasonable to say they are mistaken, its research, mistakes happen. But you are attacking the authors’ character and I really see no reason why. Also unless you are some kind of Neo-Nazi I can’t understand why you would be insulted by being of Jewish decent. Can you please explain this to me?

  22. Because I am not of Jewish descent. My MtDNA is very specific. It is part of a haplotype common in Northern Europe and my specific sequence is from England. Plain old England. If there was more to it I would admit it but there isn’t. There are people who insist this may be Jewish but it is simply impossible and I think it may be a personal thing and if it is then the truth has to be said. It is English and has been there thousands of years. There is a common thread with the authors and the people who follow them and one thing they do is claim certain people are Jewish. Well I am related to one of these people. Always have been and not once did I hear this. I know this person could not be. The insulting thing is that it would seem this is a personal agenda that is not taking into consideration that these were real people who really could not be Jewish. So why are they lying? I cannot answer that but it would seem to me that when it comes to the famous, influential and wealthy these people will make up a link if they need to.

    There is nothing wrong with being English, Scottish or Celtic. It may seem boring to you but it does no good to lie about it. I am sorry if people are disappointed there is no Jewish link to some of these people they talk about in their book but it is the truth.

  23. In deed their have been reasons, that sephardic people dont like catholic church and also a
    bigger number became protestants later, but may be the reason has been more in the bigger
    modernity and the bigger chances in business in the protestant areas. Also the idea of
    assimilation has been much more successfull than today. In earlier times to be protestant
    means to decide by your own, which way you like to go in life, instead of following the old
    rules and authorities. On the other hand, for example my grandpa, born in 1866 never forgot,
    where he was from and it has still been a quiet part of his life, to be a protestant with
    dutch sephardic roots.

  24. Thank you TIm for your input. Freedom from restrictions and negative perceptions, plus better opportunities did indeed play a big part in the loss of the Sephardim to the Protestant religions. Hopefully better genealogical research thru DNA will help their descendants to know their lost heritage. Whether they return to Judaism in any of it’s forms, or just having the knowledge, is part of the “gathering of Israel” promised by the prophets.

    Our pioneer names and DNA. THe rest of the posts explain how this happened
    part 1-

    What happened in Spain
    part 2-

    Some went to Turkey
    part 3-

    Some went to Western Europe
    part 4-

    Sephardic Influences
    part 5-

    England and Spain were at war. The Western Europe Converso and Crypto Jews fled even farther west in fear of Spain
    part 6-
    part 7-

    Some Sephardic Jews were part of the tri-isolate communities in America
    part 8-

    Sephardic descendants preferred to be out on the wilderness
    part 9-

    Sephardim altered or adapted their surnames, but often kept a few Sephardic given names
    part 10-

    Sephardic Jews had unique illnesses:

    Evidence of Orson Hyde’s Jewish ancestry using the Hirschman model

    We are all gathered

  25. I am impressed by your use of photo shop to add a big nose to the pictures to support your contention that these Scots had Jewish origins. You would be better placed to look at the DNA of the man in the street.
    The manipulation of the evidence to support the theory is as racist as those who seek to persecute Jews such as the BNP. I am reminded of their use of photo shop to make their thugs look like a British Bulldog.
    Of course you will find “foreign” DNA. Making a leap to racist comments is a completely different step.

  26. David- Bless your heart, you don’t seem to have your fruits in one basket. Trust me, I do not know how to photoshop. i am fairly computer illiterate. Back in the 1500’s photography had not been invented. 🙂 The subtle differences in the portraits ( carvings or drawings) of an individual, done in that era, were differences in artistic styles of different artists.

    I am confused as to your accusations of “racism”; Jewish is a religion and not a “ethnicity” and Jewish peoples are found all over the world with all sorts of different noses. I have one son with a stereotypical Ashkenazi ( Eastern European) nose, but the rest of us have the stereotypical MIzrahi (Asian) nose.

    As for our abundantly “foreign” DNA in our British ancestry, we stand guilty as charged. 🙂 see: .

  27. 2 Nephi 25:15 – “Wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered among all nations,”

    I don’t know of many Asians which have large noses. And I believe in the scriptures. I would think David’s comments about large noses to be the racist comment.

    As for the Reformation: 2 Nephi 29:5-6. The Tribe of Judah figures prominently in the History of the World. Ask your Creator which tribe His mother belonged to – on this the week after Mother’s Day.

  28. Well this does explain the extreme brutality of the Scottish Presbyterian reformation. I was just recently reading two different eye witness accounts that both said it was worse than the persecution by the early Romans. Another account called the Scottish reformation a revolution rather than a reformation. I know for a fact those that signed the Declaration of Arbroath were clearly not Scots just by what they wrote in the document. John Knox’s mother was a Sinclair. I guess that’s why Rosslyn Chapel wasn’t touched when Knox’s Presbyterian mob was destroying statues and burning churches throughout Scotland. Rosslyn Chapel built by a Sinclair before the reformation houses a statue of the fallen angel Lucifer, the Green Man from pagan religions plus Islamic and Judaic symbols. And they try to pass it off as a Christian chapel. Being just outside of Edinborough I guess Knox must have missed it. Not. During the ethnic cleansing of the Highland Clearances Knox was counting the commercial benefits of a stolen country. If people with Highland decent from around the world knew the full truth about that period in Scottish history they would demand a formal apology from what is left of the Presbyterian church. But then with what Hirschman and Yates have to say possibly the formal apology should be coming from a different group.

  29. Joanna:

    Thankyou for your very interesting series of articles. It’s an absolute smorgasbord of information on the history of Sephardic Jews. After discovering, last year, that our family’s Y-DNA, was one of two Semitic haplogroups, and we matched twenty Sephardim and Ashkenazim individuals at the 12-0 and and 12-1 levels, plus tight 37 and 25 matches to people with common Sephardic names/practices, I read everything I could on Sephardic history. But, your articles stand out. They are a delight to read, encapsulating the important facts.

  30. I was searching through the net trying to find references and meanings to a lot of Scots history when i happened upon this drivel and i have to say, as a Scot i find it very objectionable that some one would even have the temerity to insinuate through questionable evidence at best that Scotland has some jewish beginnings!?. Not that i’m antisemitic it’s just that nowhere in Scots history and indeed culture are the jews mentioned or even referenced!. Not one scrap of jewish culture has it’s origins in scotland, so please to the people that wrote this drivel!, Get tae!, you’ve taken it too far!

  31. “THe Sephardic Jews were not your “Fiddler on the Roof” Jews. The Sephardim were much more laid back in their religious practices. They adapted well to their host community.”

    Sephardim more laid back in religious practices? This simply isn’t true, and most Sephardim I know would be rather offended by the suggestion that they were somehow less observant and less exacting in their observance of the Torah than Ashkenazim. If anything, they consider Ashkenazim lax on many points. Indeed, many Hasidic stringencies were adopted from Sephardic practices and teachings.

  32. Charles,
    Sorry just noticed your comment. Are you aware your beloved Scottish bagpipe originated in Egypt? Please see “When Scotland was Jewish” and you are anti-semetic 😉

  33. “Allen,
    I agree with you. Hassidic Jews had Sephardic influences. The Jews you knew were Eastern Sephardic. I am speaking in general terms about the Sephardim in the west, especially in the Americas.”

    I know both.

  34. I have to admit, I find all of this fascinating. I grew up in the “melungeon” region. Reading a list of “melungeon associated” surnames was strange, as they were names I had known and grew up with. I recently began searching my family tree, and have found six of those surnames in my lineage. The names closest to me on the geneology tree are almost stereotypically Irish/scot. My family was primitive baptist…certainly nothing that I noted was jewish about that. Interestingly, as the dna projects start to come in, I began to sit up and take notice. My father’s line type was R1b. Classically european/possibly celtic.The y-dna on my paternal g-mothers side came back as E1b1b1…another on my maternal grandfather’s side…E1b1b1. From…north africa? I am still trying to piece this together. It is a delightful sort of mystery. I am trying to keep a neutral and open mind. I am sure the truth is somewhere in the middle.

  35. Hi Stacie, Welcome! As a fellow North African descendant ( Egypt and Tunisa), I am glad you are joining us in the discussion. Enjoy the Journey, it is indeed delightful!

  36. Thank you Dave and JA! I am absorbed with researching this right now. The spectrum of reactions to this is almost laughable. I just finished commenting on a well written, but absurd blog that stated that basically mutations can occur when dna “material” is exposed to southern heat. People are so uncomfortable with these results that they are actually suggesting that a couple hundred years of warm male parts can completely change a y-dna profile : ) On a more personal note, I moved from Va to Colorado 12 years ago. I met my fiance, and discovered that he came from a Jewish family 45 mins from where I grew up. At the time, I laughed and said “we have jewish ppl in southern appalachia?” Now, I am looking at my home with a new perspective. The reality is that this information makes a lot of ppl uncomfortable…both racially, and religiously. I truly wish that ppl would understand that this research exists far outside the realms of our current perceptions of race and religion. It is a beautiful perspective on the migration and story of humanity. I havent read the Hirschman books yet, but I am buying “The Seven Daughters of Eve” this weekend. Simply engrossing…

  37. Thanks Stacie for your comment. I had to smile about your statements on people’s perceptions and comfort levels. For me this knowledge is a wonderful gift from G-d. It is marvelous thing to see all of humanity as a distant cousin.


    Hopefully that link will work. Frankly. it seems the writer is looking for any explanation other than “african” origin. He pretty much turns the data upside down. Its strange.
    . One of the things that is nagging me about this research, is the fact that this particular haplogroup does not seem to be especially common in europe or the US. I have been looking for a general distribution of E1b1b1 in the US. It does not appear to be especially high (if anyone has this information, please share!). The mystery for me at the moment is…why do I have an ancestor from germany, one from france, and another from Ireland…all arriving in the same county during pioneer times…and all having this particular genetic marker. It seems to support Hirschman’s theory that there was some other factor (perhaps religion?) drawing these ppl together. Im open to other ideas if y’all have em : )
    JA- I agree. You should watch The Human Family Tree doctumentary by National Geographic

  39. Stacie, thanks for the link. I haven’t looked at it yet, but will do so shortly.

    E1b1b1 is the European, Middle Eastern, and North African subclade of E1b. E1b1a is the Sub-Saharan African branch of E1b. About 68%, if I recall correctly, of E1b1b1, in people of European descent, are in the subclade E1b1b1a1b (most current ISOGG designation). This subclade peaks in the southern Balkans and Greece. It’s likely, but not definite, that your relatives are in this subclade.

    Here’s a chart of the freqencies of E1b1b in various European countries: In the British Isles it runs at around 2%, while in northern Germany where my own paternal E1b (E1b1b1a1b) line originates, it runs at 2.5%. It peaks in the southern Balkans, but its frequency rises generally the further south you go. It’s very common in the Mediterranean basin, and occurs at 20.5% among Ashkenazim and 9.0% in Sephardim.

  40. Stacie, I just looked at the blog. This fellow is touting pseudoscience. There’s no way that Y-DNA “haplogroups can change every 200-400” years, presumably; he doesn’t provide a metric – like years, centuries, millineum, etc. If that were true all the science developed to study haplogroups would have to be discarded.

    Did your grandparents test at If so, look under “Ancestral Origins” in the Y-DNA section. This will give you some idea who your grandparents match at the low 12 marker resolution. If any of them matche, within a few steps, to, for example, an Ashkenazi, or Sephardim, at 37, or especially 67 markers, then it’s practically certain that that paternal line was originally Jewish. This would be especially true at 67 markers.

    At the low resolution of 12 markers your grandparents should match some Jewish individuals, but the common ancestor, assuming the match doesn’t continue at a higher resolution, would be in the millineum time frame.

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