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Davidic, Levitic, and Cohanic yDNA: David, Levi, Aharon, and Samuel

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  • R' Moshe Levi Zaks, A.B.D. Filipove and Nemakst (1829 - 1905)
    Author of the rabbinical responsa Divrei Moshe , published in Vilna in 1878. Rabbi Moshe Zaks In 1873, Rabbi Moshe, son of Yaakov Zaks, became rabbi in Filipowe. R'Moshe Zaks was born in Vilna in 1...
  • R' Aharon HaKohen Jampoller (deceased)
    In a Yichus paper drafted by Rabbi Dr J Simcha Cohen , based in on the work of his grandfather, R' Samuel Burstyn, A.B.D. Shatowa (from 1887) , as well as his own research, R' Simcha Cohen describes hi...
  • Yehudah Abravanel (c.1260 - d.)
    Abarbanel – undated handwritten manuscript from the collection of the late Rabbi Shmuel Gorr, held by Chaim Freedman.Reference was made to “Elef Margaliot” 1993, Meir Wunder.
  • Ḥananel ben Ḥushiel, Ra'is Yeshiva al-Qayrawan (952 - c.1033)
    Ḥananel ben Ḥushiel was resh be rabbanan and dayyan in Qayrawān in the first half of the eleventh century. Other than the statement of Abraham Ibn Da’ud in his Sefer ha-Qabbala (sec. 7, beg.) that Ḥana...
  • Shem Tov Ha-Levi Hitzhari (1035 - 1110)
    Shem Tov Ha-Levi, one of the greatest Talmudic scholars in Provence, who claimed direct descent of the prophet Samuel, who according to Jewish tradition was a direct descendant of Yitzhar (hence the fa...

There are several latter day lineages claiming to descend from King David (usually through the gaonim or exilarchs), the Prophet Samuel, Aharon the Priest, and various other Levitic and Cohanic ancients. This is a gathering place to identify and study these lineages. A current hypothesis is that the initial haplogroup of the sons of Yakov begins with J-ZS222. The ZS222 hypothesis implies that any claim of patrilineal descent from one of the sons of Yakov would require identification with the J-ZS222 haplogroup, or one of its many sub-branches. Persons claiming descent from King David, who is a descendant of Judah ben Yakov, as well as those claiming Levitic or Cohanic descent via Levi ben Yakov, should all be within the J-ZS222 haplotree. An alternative to this scenario derives from the hypothesis that the 400 years of captivity in Egypt caused an impenetrable genealogical 'black box' and that there can be no certainty as to patriline continuity between the many generations that passed between the initial enslavement and the Exodus. Under this scenario, the Davidic, Levitic, and Cohanic haplogroups cannot be inferred to be that of Yakov, nor can all the tribal lineages be guaranteed to descend from the same Yakovian haplogroup. NOTE: There were also many other haplogroups, both from within the J line and from other macrogroups in the early Hebraic population. For more information about the ZS222 hypothesis please see 1) and 2)

Under either of the preceding scenarios, by the time of Aharon the initial Levitic haplogroup is hypothesized to be J-ZS222 or J-Z18271. Over time due to Levitic and Cohanic bottle necks, as well as due to various creative name adoptions, several other haplogroups have also joined the Levitic and Cohanic tradition. This project is focused only on the ZS222 Levitic and Cohanic lines. Within ZS222, not all Levitic descendants share the Cohanic Modal Haplotype because some are descended from cousins of Aharon, and not all persons who share the Cohanic Modal Haplotype are descended from Aharon, because the Haplotype probably originated before Aharon's time and was distributed to parallel lines besides Aharon's.

Profiles from lineages claiming Davidic, Levitic, or Aharonic descent may be added to the project at any time, as may any persons within the ZS222 tree, or undergoing testing, whether considered to be Levites, Cohanim, ben David, or not.

Persons adding their own or close family profiles to the project should either already know their family's yDNA haplogroup or be in the process of obtaining this information. To obtain this information one member of the family needs to be tested via the Y37 (or greater) test at FTDNA and then upload their results to GENI for comparison. In order to be potentially a part of the J-ZS222 lineages, one's macro haplogroup must be within the J-M267 macro group. Persons who have already tested at AncestryDNA may use a free online tool to determine their macro haplogroup: ( Those who've tested at 23andMe, or MyHeritage, or any YDNA test at FTDNA already have a YDNA hg designation and may search their results for this identity. There are also ways to use the Morley tool to obtain a macro haplogroup designation using results from other labs not already mentioned above.

Please use this project responsibly and feel free to post questions to the discussion board.