Is Menasseh II ben Zebulon, Khagan of Khazaria your ## great grandfather ?

Started by Samuel Austin - Le Maux on Friday, November 9, 2012


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11/9/2012 at 2:30 PM


Perhaps this might have some interest for some of us ( and perhaps shall be less polemical than "God Almighty is my ## great grandfather" ... even if in some cases the two relations exist ..)

[Menasseh II ben Zebulon, Khagan of Khazaria Menasseh II ben Zebulon, Khagan of Khazaria]

40th great grandfather for me ...

regards to my cousins .. and to everyone


11/9/2012 at 3:24 PM

He's my 26th great grandfather! If he's your 40th GG and he's my 26th GG, something must be wrong with my line or with your line -- what do you think?

11/9/2012 at 3:45 PM

Hum ? Something wrong ? If you count the generation since the second part of the 9th century .. 3 or 4 generation by century .. my path seems to be correct ..
In yours, lot of your ancestors having child lately (about 50 years old or 60, even more than 70) .. I didn't check every one, but this is 2 or 3 generation by century ...this might give you some explanation .. just check your ancestors generations ...

11/9/2012 at 6:32 PM

Enrique Treat Gleason (Gleeson), Esq., I've found that the farther back you go in the tree, the bigger the generational gaps become between users. That makes sense mathematically if one culture tends to have children younger and one has them older. So I suspect Samuel Austin - Le Maux's theory is correct.

Menasseh II ben Zebulon, Khagan of Khazaria is showing as my 33rd-great-grandfather, so I'm precisely between the two of you. It averages out. :)

11/9/2012 at 6:34 PM

(And the timeline in my path makes complete too-young mothers or children born after their parents died. I don't see any red flags jumping out at me.)

11/9/2012 at 6:53 PM

Menasseh II ben Zebulon, Khagan of Khazaria is my 30th great grandfather

11/9/2012 at 6:54 PM

Correct Ashley. I have found the same thing.

11/9/2012 at 7:07 PM

By the way, I loaded some information directly from Wikipedia into his "About" area, but it would be nice if someone who actually knows something about him could help! :) That is a time and region about which I know nothing at all, unfortunately. But it's interesting to see a pretty close connection between a Turkic Jewish ruler and French royalty!

11/9/2012 at 7:10 PM

I know, I wish our resident Medievalist Justin Swanström (taking a break) would comment :)

11/10/2012 at 2:42 AM


A lot of about Khazaria here:


"Medieval Kingdom of Khazaria, 652-1016
Over a thousand years ago, the far east of Europe was ruled by Jewish kings who presided over numerous tribes, including their own tribe: the Turkic Khazars. After their conversion, the Khazar people used Jewish personal names, spoke and wrote in Hebrew, were circumcised, had synagogues and rabbis, studied the Torah and Talmud, and observed Hanukkah, Pesach, and the Sabbath. The Khazars were an advanced civilization with one of the most tolerant societies of the medieval period. It hosted merchants from all over Asia and Europe. On these pages it is hoped that you may learn more about this fascinating culture. "

11/10/2012 at 7:43 AM

I don't know much about the Khazars, but I'm happy to do some research.

My general impression is that the genealogy of the Khazar kings is spotty. A quick glance at Wikipedia suports that impression:

Geni says Marot, Prince of the Bihar Khazars is my 29th great grandfather. My notes would put him at 30th.

I have no father for Marot, so I doubt that it's certain he was a son of Menasseh II ben Zebulon, Khagan of Khazaria. In fact, reading the About Me for Marot suggests he has been merged with another person -- Menahem ben Aaron.

Wikipedia says about Marot, "The Kabars consisted of three Khazar tribes who rebelled against the Khazar Khaganate some time in the ninth century" and "Many Kabars settled in the Bihar region of the later Kingdom of Hungary and Transylvania. Some historians believe the character recorded by Gesta Hungarorum as lord Marot and his grandson Menumorut, dux of Biharia, were of Kabar descent."

The real experts on this line are likely to be FARKAS Mihály László and Private User, the two managers of the profile for Menasseh II ben Zebulon.

Private User
11/10/2012 at 1:45 PM

No one knows very much about the Khazars.

I have personally reviewed the Cambridge archives of extant text which discussed the Khazars...and Justin has done a good job of summarizing.

I am not tightly linked to the Khazars on my father's paternal line due to their Palestine/North Africa/Andalus orientation: "Menasseh II ben Zebulon, Khagan of Khazaria is your 12th cousin 28 times removed's wife's 6th great grandfather".

But my father's maternal ancestry, through the Harlow's of Kent, results in Prince Marot zu Bikar Khazars von Bihar being my 30th great grandfather with a 200 year gap in generations between Francis Place and Roland Place.

In other words, it is highly unlikely that there is a direct path to the Khazars for anyone unless they descend from Yehudah ben Me'ir Ha-Kohen HaZaken of Mainz Yehudah ben Meir haKohen, Hazaken al-Khazari

Or descent from Ashkenazim who traces their lineage to "Kalonymus the Roman".

Yehudah ben Me'ir Ha-Kohen HaZaken of Mainz was great-grandson of Benjamin ben Menahem, of Khazaria: Benjamin ben Menahem, of Khazaria

Hope that helps.


11/10/2012 at 3:33 PM

For what it's worth, Geni says Barjik al-Khazari is my 38th great grandfather

11/10/2012 at 4:21 PM

Haplogroup R, at a DNA site labeled M117.

. . . Arthur Koestler in his 1976 book The Thirteenth Tribe, has to do with the Khazars, a Turkish people living between the Black and Caspian Seas, whose royal house adopted Judaism (with what degree of rabbinical supervision, we have no way of knowing) in the 8th century c.e. A great deal is obscure in the history of the Khazar kingdom, which at its apogee ruled much of present-day Ukraine, and the degree of the Judaization of its population is uncertain.

Koestler and a small number of historians on whom he based himself are convinced that, following the destruction of this kingdom in the 11th century by its Slavic enemies, many of its Jews fled westward to form the nucleus of what was to become East European Jewry.

The Khazar theory never had many backers in scholarly circles; there was little evidence to support it and good reasons to be dubious about it. Why, for instance, does medieval rabbinic literature almost never mention the Khazars? Why, if they spoke a Turkish language, did East European Jewry become Yiddish-speaking?
“Y-Chromosome Evidence for a Founder Effect in Ashkenazi Jews,” was published in 2004 in the European Journal of Human Genetics by a small team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Multiple Origins of Ashkenazi Levites: Y-Chromosome Evidence for Both Near Eastern and European Ancestries,” appeared in the American Journal of Human Genetics in 2003.

Both studies discuss a mutation, widely found in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine, that occurs in a Y-chromosome classification known as Haplogroup R, at a DNA site labeled M117.

The Hebrew University study states:
Recent genetic studies . . . showed that Ashkenazi Jews are more closely related to other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than to their host populations in Europe. However, Ashkenazim have an elevated frequency of R-M117, the dominant Y-chromosome haplogroup in Eastern Europeans, suggesting possible gene flow [into the Ashkenazi population]. In the present study of 495 Y chromosomes of Ashkenazim, 57 (11.5 percent) were found to belong to R-M117.

As for the American-Israeli-British study, it was designed to ascertain whether Levites, who functioned as priests’ assistants in the ancient Temple and are supposedly also descended from Aaron, have a worldwide genetic signature similar to or the same as the Cohen Modal Haplotype.

The answer turned out to be negative, since the Y chromosomes of Levites from different geographical backgrounds proved to correlate no better with one another than they did with the Y chromosomes of non-Levitic Jews. And yet, rather astonishingly, Ashkenazi Levites, when taken separately, do have a “modal haplotype” of their own—and it is the same R-M117 mutation on which the Hebrew University study centered! Fifty-two percent of them have this mutation, which is rarely found in non-Ashkenazi Jews and has a clear non-Jewish provenance.
What is one to make of this finding? An 11.5-percent incidence of R-M117 among Ashkenazi Jews in general is easily explainable: the mutation could have entered the Jewish gene pool slowly, in small increments in every generation, during the thousand years of Ashkenazi Jewry’s existence.

(This need not necessarily have been via conversion to Judaism and marriage to Jewish women. Pre- and extra-marital sexual relations, and even rape, widespread in times of anti-Jewish violence, were in all likelihood more common.)

But the 52-percent rate among Levites is something else. Here we are dealing not with a gradual, long-term process (for no imaginable process could have produced such results), but with a one-time event of some sort.

Such an event could obviously not have been a sudden influx of Levites into the Jewish community from a Gentile society. Both of our studies, therefore, raise the possibility that the original R-M117 Levites were Khazarian Jews who migrated westward upon the fall of the Khazar kingdom.

Of course, since all or most Khazarian Jews were converts (although some may have been Jews who came from elsewhere), few could have descended from Aaron. Yet it is quite possible that some became, or were designated, “honorary” Levites in the course of the Judaization of the Khazarian population.

But if R-M117 did enter the East European Jewish gene pool via a lineage of Khazar Levites, how many Khazars can be assumed to have joined the Ashkenazi community?

At this point, it becomes pure guesswork. Analyzing the data, the American-Israeli-British study concludes that the number of R-M117 Levites absorbed by Ashkenazi Jewry ranged from one to fifty individuals. But as much as we might like to do the rest of the arithmetic ourselves, we can’t.

-For one thing, we have no way of knowing what the percentage of Levites in the Khazarian Jewish population was.

-Nor do we know the percentage of Khazars possessing M117, which is found in 12 or 13 percent of Russian and Ukrainian males today. If these were also its proportions among the Khazars, there would have been seven non-M117 Khazars joining or founding Ashkenazi Jewry for every Khazar who had the mutation.

In sum, even if the R-M117 Levites are traceable to Khazaria, the total flow of Khazarians into the East European Jewish population could have been anywhere from a single person to many thousands. If it was the latter, the Khazar input was significant, as David Goldstein suspects it was; if the former, it was trivial, as Jon Entine believes. The last eight years of research in Jewish historical genetics have not left us any wiser in this respect.

. . . I myself have long suspected, starting far before I knew anything of historical genetics or Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe, that I have Khazar blood in me.

One of my father’s sisters had distinctly slanty eyes. In one of her daughters, these are even more pronounced. The daughter’s daughter has features that could come straight from the steppes of Asia.

Hillel Halkin is a columnist for the New York Sun and a veteran contributor to COMMENTARY -

Private User
11/10/2012 at 5:19 PM

Hi Malka,

I've studies those Khazari/lLevi'im DNA analyses. Acouple of details too often overlooked is:

1. Qara'm claim to have had significant trade and intermarriage with Khazars since both groups lived in close proximity prior to 14th century..and,

2. The Cambridge texts suggest that a condition of the Mass-conversion was that existing Pagan priesthood of Khazar were trained in skills and practices of Kohanim. That Khazari "Kohanim" carry title of "Kagen" is suggestive of this compromise.

The only genealogical evidence of Khazari intermarriage, with Ashkenazim (which I can vouch for) involve marriage of leading Chasdei Ashkenaz Rabbanim marrying daughters of Khazari leader.

We have no present day khazar DNA with which to verify the DNA SNP in question.


11/10/2012 at 6:49 PM

Ashley Odell -- Thank you for your explanation.

11/10/2012 at 7:50 PM

I don't remember where I read it but apparently the DNA evidence rules out Koestler's hypothesis. I loved his book however.

11/25/2012 at 12:00 PM
11/25/2012 at 12:30 PM

My 34th ggf, much to my surprise-and delight.

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