JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Cohanim, Leviim and Yisraelim #general
I would like to correct several errors in David Kravitz's response to this
1) Leviim are not all descended >from Moses, but rather >from his uncles. In
fact, aside >from the two sons of Moses, later descendants are not known.
2) "There is no reason that the daughter of a Cohen might not marry the son
of a Levite creating a connection. Thus their son would be a Cohen but an
uncle or first cousin might be a Levite"
Just the opposite is the case. A child born to the daughter of a Cohen is
not a Cohen. If his father is a Levi then he is a Levi. If his father is a
Yisrael, he is a Yisrael.
3) Israeli civil registration does not include Cohen, Levi or Yisrael
status. That appears on religious documents such as Ketubah (marriage
certificate), synagogue membership lists, and tombstones.
But a word of caution: families which became assimilated may have forgotten
their tribal status, such that the absence of such even on religious
certification or tombstones, in modern times, does not necessarily negate
the possibility of Cohen or Levi ancestry in the male line.
Care should also be taken when a woman marries twice, once to a Cohen or
Levi and has children by him who are therefore Cohanim or Leviim, then a
second marriage to a Yisrael. Children of the second marriage are Yisraelim.
I am aware of cases where the descendants of these half brothers may become
confused as to their tribal affiliation. Or if which husband is the male
ancestor of later generations is not known, considerable confusion may
Another factor can be when in an ancient family of Leviim such as Horowitz,
Epstein or Landau a son-in-law who is not a Levi may take his
father-in-law's surname. Thus there are families bearing the above names who
are not Leviim. Similarly with the non-Cohen son-in-law of a Cohen Rapoport,
Petah Tikvah, Israel