New Jewish DNA From 14th Century Erfurt #sephardic #dna #germany


Adam Cherson
 

If you haven't already heard, a halakhic loophole has allowed researchers to take DNA samples from 14th Century Jewish remains in Erfurt (https://twitter.com/ShaiCarmi/status/1526850050772590592).


This is an interesting day for those of us studying the topic, because the Erfurt data are the first set of samples I know of allowing for an in depth view of 14th Century, N. European Jewry.

 

According to a simple model I've formulated, the three Erfurt clusters represent: 1) Erfurt1a: older N. European Ashkenazim (perhaps descendants of the first wave of Jewish migration to the area circa 800-1100 CE); note that modern German Ashkenazim in the same cluster area as Erfurt1a, 2) Erfurt1b: a wave of migrants from Spain (many Jews were fleeing from Sepharad as early as the Granada Massacre of 1066 and after the Almohads conquered Sepharad circa 1121 until about 1269); on the scatter, Erfurt1b clusters nearby to modern Sephardim; 3) Erfurt2: this is the one that I find most fascinating because it introduces a new aspect to the history which I had not thought about until now: a wave of Jewish migrants coming from the Southern Italian Peninsula seem to have acquired Avar-Longobardic genes since the time when the Longobards and their Avar allies invaded those territories. I am not too clear on the exact historical exigencies that brought this group to N. Europe, nor when the migration may have occurred, but I believe that the data support a period of Jewish-Avar hybridization in Southern Italy (and possibly N. Italy as well) from about 650 CE until 1000 CE. Could the Avars be the answer to the riddle of Central Asian genes in the Ashkenazic population? We shall see....

 

I really don’t know too much about the Avars, besides their Uralic linguistic affinities, but I suppose they could be the vector bringing the unusual East Asian genes into the Erfurt samples, via the Longobards in S. Central Italy. According to this recent study: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.19.476915, the Avars received Xiongnu genes before coming into the Pannonian Plain. According to Amorim, et al, (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06024-4) the Avars became allies of the Longobards (the sample SZ1 which is on the scatter is a later burial from a Longobard cemetery in the Pannonian area, reported in this paper). Amorim goes on to say: “the Longobard duchies of Spoleto and Benevento ruled much of the inland areas of the [Italian] peninsula…” This would have been the time of the Lombard princes Pandulf and Landulf.  It is known that Benevento was a Jewish population center during this period (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benevento#Jewish_history), so there appears to have been an opportunity for introgression.

 

I am not sure what to make of the Erfurt3s: I14897 appears to be a Sephardic-S. Italian hybrid. I13867 could be a Original Ashknenazi-S. Italian hybrid.

 

An interesting aspect of this model is that the Erfurt average point clusters with modern Eastern European Ashkenazim which suggests to me that we see in Erfurt, the ingredients which were later to become the Eastern Ashkenazim population.

 

There is much to be unraveled here and I am curious to see what models others make of these data.


--
Adam Cherson
NY, NY


Kevin Brook
 

Adam,

Thank you for sharing your interesting thoughts here and elsewhere.  I've been closely following the discussions and data modeling of these Jews.

Although 5 particular mtDNA haplogroup branches were shared between Ashkenazim and Langobards, they are also shared with many other kinds of populations.  Plus, as Erikl86 said in the comments section of Eurogenes, "There is no proof that Lombards converted to Judaism".

And although the linguist Paul Wexler had suggested that some Avars could have converted to Judaism in the early Middle Ages, there is no documentary or genetic evidence for this, and scholars still debate the dating of Jewish-inscribed gravestones and the ethnic and religious identities of some of the people buried at the Chelarevo gravesite, where Avars were also buried (as I discussed at length in "The Jews of Khazaria, Third Edition" on pages 147-149).  Only some of them think any Jews were buried there, but even for those who believe Jews were, there are still major anthropological differences between that population and the Avar skeletons.

I continue to see Chinese and Khazarian contributions as the best explanations for East Asian and Siberian admixtures in 14th-21st century Ashkenazim and for the three East Eurasian maternal haplogroups in Ashkenazim.

I also believe evidence shows that all, or nearly all, Sephardic migrations into Ashkenazic lands occurred after 1492.  I agree with Erikl86's comments in Eurogenes that "There's also no proof for any substantial Sephardic migration in Germany that early on. Also, there doesn't seem to be any significant Sephardic subclades among these samples."

The few numbers of modern Western Ashkenazim from Alsace-Lorraine and southwestern Germany whose families remained genetically isolated from Eastern Ashkenazim (i.e., not descended at all from the back-migrations of some Eastern Ashkenazim into German-speaking lands) cluster much closer to Italki Jews and Sephardi Jews than Eastern Ashkenazim do.  We don't need to explain this by Sephardic migrations.  It's clear to me that those Western Ashkenazim are very similar to what 9th-century German Jews, recently arrived from Italy, would have been like.
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Kevin Brook


Jeremy Lichtman
 

Hi Adam,

Do you know if these sequences are available for people to run their own comparisons (i.e. on Gedmatch or similar)?

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Jeremy Lichtman
Toronto, Canada


Adam Cherson
 

Kevin,

Thanks for the observations and insights.

The initial period after a new data dump appears (such as the Erfurt data) is usually a highly exploratory time with several hypotheses emerging, re-formulating, and hopefully producing something that most can agree on. In that spirit I make a few tweaks to the initial interpretation from this thread.

I have modified the Sephardic explanation for the Erfurt-ME group because when I reviewed the data I saw that, genetically, the S. Italian Middle Age Jewish population, especially recent arrivals from the Levant, resemble Sephardim closely and could well have been the source of the ME in Erfurt. I now believe part of the Erfurt-ME group could just as well be S. Italian Jews migrating to Erfurt, not necessarily early Sephardic migrants to that area, although I still believe there could have been a few early Sephardic refugees at this time (not enough to constitute the Erfurt-ME group though)..

In some ways this modification would make the model simpler: a heterogeneous group of Italian Jews consisting of two sub-pops, one with some admixed Longobardic-Avar genes (Erfurt2) (BTW: I don't mean to suggest there was Longobardic-to-Jewish conversion, only that there was genetic mixing), and the other perhaps more recently arrived from the Levant (Erfurt1(b)), being more Middle Eastern. In Erfurt they meet a resident population of German Ashkenazim (Erfurt1(a)), and (this is new) they are met there also by a small number of Sephardic refugees (Erfurt3a: I14736 and I13867; the third Erfurt3 sample, I14897, seems to be a horse of different color, perhaps a person of more slavic origins, not sure). In time these 4 sub-pops merge into what we now call Eastern European Jewry (joined there perhaps by other populations migrating into EEs from other places, not included in this model). The fact that Erfurt 1(b) and Erfurt 2 are two different clusters does not imply they came from different places: both could have been S. Italian sub-pops, I figure. And I believe it makes some sense that there were already Jews in Erfurt who could have formed a slightly different cluster.

I am open to other possibilities regarding the origins of the East Asian and Siberian admixture. From where I sit, there is a certain logic to the idea that S. Italy is the pre-Erfurt melting pot and that the East Asian and Siberian admixtures occurred there. From this point of view it seems more likely that the socio-political vector for these genes would have been the Longobard occupation of the area around Benvento, including other populations politically associated and possibly intermixed with the Longobards. such as Avars. I find this historical scenario more compelling than the Khazar hypothesis since Khazaria was more distant from S. Italy than Pannonia and I am not aware of historical fact that would have brought Khazars into S. Italy.

Perhaps the Erfurt-EU group represents a population with a completely different geographical origin which does connect up better with Khazars. Are you able to summarize a historical progression that would have brought the Khazar genes into Erfurt by 1300 CE?

At this point I am seeking to gather as many plausible models for the Erfurt data as possible.

--
Adam Cherson


Adam Cherson
 

Jeremy,

G25 components for the Erfurt data here: https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?26176-The-Ashkenazi-founder-event-pre-dated-the-14th-century-(discussion)/page13  and here are K13s, which I believe can be used on Gedmatch: https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?26176-The-Ashkenazi-founder-event-pre-dated-the-14th-century-(discussion)/page17
(You may need to start a free account to access these pages)

I'm not sure whether anyone has uploaded the data to Gedmatch as a kit yet.

--
Adam Cherson


Kevin Brook
 

Adam,

For the handful of maternal and paternal haplogroups in Ashkenazim that are closely linked to the North Ossetians and Turkic peoples like Bashkirs -- I mentioned 3 out of the 4 haplogroups of this nature in JewishGen message #667951 -- I would posit anew the migrational path I had proposed decades ago whereby a small number of Khazars who remained Jewish were living in what became Kievan Rus' and became a part of East Knaanic Jewry, intermarrying with assorted Romaniote Jews and Mizrahi Jews, and subsequently mixing with other Jewish groups including West Knaanic Jews and Ashkenazic Jews.  The Khazars switched their language from Turkic to Slavic to Yiddish, and their writing system from Turkic runes to Cyrillic to Hebrew square script.

I cannot agree with your proposal that Turkic elements were incorporated into a Jewish community in southern Italy, such as a population of proto-Ashkenazim.  Modern Sicilian Catholics, who sometimes have several segments of Sicilian Jewish DNA, don't show Turkic admixture in the calculators nor do they have Turkic uniparental haplogroups.  There are no living people whose ancestry is 100 percent Sicilian Jewish so we can't test your hypothesis in the best way but I never saw a reason to believe they had relations with peoples from northern and eastern Asia, nor that any Khazar Jews or Avar Jews had moved into southern Italy, although small numbers of Khazar Jews did live at least temporarily in a more eastern area of the Byzantine Empire and in Spain.

As others have said, the Jews in 14th-century Erfurt were a very mixed group and some members had genetic affinities that others didn't, sometimes seemingly randomly, without a completely consistent pattern when it comes to non-Slavic elements like South Asian, North African, and even East Asian, other than for example the "EA_Devils_Gate" element that Michalis Moriopoulous incorporated into his custom Vahaduo model using G25 coordinates to determine the Erfurt Jews' admixtures.

4 of the Erfurt Jews from the Eastern Profile group scored that element whereas none of the Erfurt Jews from the Western Profile group did.  "EA_Devils_Gate" is a Northeast Asian cluster similar to modern Ulchi of far-eastern Russia and other Tungusic-speaking ethnicities and to also forming a minority portion of Koreans and Japanese but not found in most Han Chinese, especially not the Southern Chinese where Ashkenazim got mtDNA haplogroup M33c from.  So I think "EA_Devils_Gate" would be Turkic Khazarian in this case, and would be at the deepest root of the "Siberian" and "Mongolian/Manchurian" affinities for Ashkenazim in some calculators.

In Moriopoulous's experiment, some of the Erfurt Jews with "EA_Devils_Gate" don't score in the other East Asian element, "EA_Hanben", which appears to represent affinity to Hanben people from Taiwan, and visa versa.  The EA_Hanben element is in 10 of the samples, this time including members of both the Eastern Profile and Western Profile groups as well as among what Moriopoulous calls the Mixed Western-Eastern Profile.  In fact, the highest Hanben score (2 percent) is in a Western Profile sample (I13863).

Using Eurogenes K13's admixture estimates, Erfurt Jewish sample I13869 scores 3.08 percent Siberian and 2.06 percent East Asian, adding up to 5.14 percent. Her Siberian score is the highest of all the tested Erfurt Jews.

The only carrier of mtDNA haplogroup N9a3 (which probably originated with a Khazarian convert), sample I14740, scores 2.74 percent Siberian and 0.95 percent East Asian in Eurogenes K13. She has the third-highest Siberian score among these samples.

The authors of the Erfurt study cannot be correct in assuming that East Eurasian DNA came into Ashkenazim from a Slavic people.  There's evidence in these samples as well as uniparental evidence that Slavic DNA in Ashkenazim is related to the Slavic peoples of Czechia, Poland, and perhaps eastern Germany (e.g., the Sorbs in the 14th-century Krakauer Berg DNA samples), rather than to those of Russia or Ukraine.  Ethnic Czechs and Poles have very low East Eurasian DNA proportions so it can't explain what Ashkenazim have.

The Erfurt sample I14899 scores 0 percent Siberian and 0 percent East Asian but 21.37 percent Baltic in Eurogenes K13.  This disparity would show what some of us already knew that the Slavic and East Eurasian elements in Ashkenazim don't come from the same ultimate non-Jewish source population if we went back to the 10th century.  But the Slavic-admixed and Eastern-admixed Jewish populations would have started intermarrying a short time after that.

The Erfurt sample I13862 scores modestly in the East Eurasian elements but has 18.25 percent Baltic, again all per Eurogenes K13.
--
Kevin Brook


Adam Cherson
 

As I understand your analysis, you interpret the Erfurt EU group as having some Khazar ancestry via Knaanic populations. This must be then one of the main hypotheses going forward. I look forward to a paper on this someday (not by me!).

I wonder if you can dig up any insight on sample I13866 (y-called as J1a), appearing in the EU cluster. Is there a way to look at the SNPs in the BAM file for this sample to see if that y classification can be narrowed down a little?

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Adam Cherson


Kevin Brook
 

Adam,
Yes. Leo Cooper says his SNP analysis of that sample you asked about (I13866) places it within haplogroup J-Z2215.
--
Kevin Brook


Adam Cherson
 

Kevin,

Thanks. Leo Cooper's read doesn't move the needle much at all. What a pity...

Here is a revised chart based on the connection of I13865 with the Maharam of Rothenburg (everything very tentative).

NB: The EU group includes y uniparentals T1a1a, J1a, and E1b1. I wonder how this would affect interpretation of that cluster's evolution.

--
Adam Cherson


Moshe Berman
 

Hi Adam, this is fascinating. thanks for sharing!

Where can I learn more about the halakhic loophole? I couldn’t find it on the Twitter thread, and I think there may be others who are interested as well.

I’m also curious about the process of extracting this DNA from such an old sample.

Thanks!
Moshe Berman,
Boca Raton, Florida, USA


Kevin Brook
 

Moshe, the DNA extractions were performed from teeth. The rabbis' requirements included that the teeth were already detached, that the digging up of the graves wasn't done for the purpose of DNA analysis, and that the bodies be subsequently reburied. There are believed to be additional Jews buried in an extension of the cemetery beyond a fence (if i remember) and those were never dug up because they were beyond the construction zone so we can only guess at their DNA. But the existing DNA samples are plentiful enough and, as Adam Cherson is showing, can probably be used to study the genealogical kinship on particular lineages of rabbis where the matches are close.
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Kevin Brook


Yossi Jalas
 

Would be wonderful if someone can upload the samples to GedMatch and let us know the kit numbers.

Thanks in advance,
Yossi Jalas
USA


Kevin Brook
 

Josh Lipson got more precise on sample I13866 and determined that it is in the Y-DNA haplogroup J-ZS2622.

Leo Cooper thinks it is likely Judean/Israelite in origin.

--
Kevin Brook


Moshe Berman
 

That’s really fascinating. I’m not judging at all, but am curious who gave this ruling or where it’s sourced. Here’s why:

I wonder if identification purposes would be permitted if the identification was for moving the body to what is considered a “family plot.“

I asked someone who moved a body on behalf of R’ Moshe Feinstein ztv”l about moving a grave. I understand there are several reasons for permitting exclamation and moving a body:

1. “Kivrei Avot” burial on a family plot with 3 or more other relatives.
2. To be buried in Israel 
3. If a cemetery is in danger
4. if a cemetery isn’t an honorable place. (A Jewish cemetery that becomes nondenominational for example It’s forbidden to say Kaddish in front of a cross, or the like.)
5. If someone is buried alone in a forest. 

One further loophole might be to exhume and rebury in Israel, and then you only have to hope you find detached teeth.

Anyway, thanks for sharing, and if you have more context I’d be fascinated to learn more.


Moshe Berman


Adam Cherson
 

Thanks Kevin,

This covers just about all of the y hgs from the study. There is one more I14846, called simply J(xJ2b) in the paper, with only 58k SNPs, so probably nothing further to be seen there.

It seems that most if not all of the y hgs are consistent with a strong Mediterranean input into the mix, both in the Erfurt1 and Erfurt2 groups.

The mt hgs are preponderantly K1a1b1a, followed by a smattering of various others.

--
Adam Cherson


val.ginzburg@...
 

Hello everyone, 

I was able match my y chromosome to the tree going back to 12 century Germany Gunzburg.
My question:
Does anyone know of a DNA application that allows user to match DNA of existing family members to cut out samples of the Matched DNA to reconstruct an ancestral DNA to further expand search.

Thanks

Val Ginzburg 
TORONTO CANADA 


Adam Cherson
 

Summary of latest ydna calls and other data on revised chart.
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Adam Cherson


Alex Fuchs
 

Val, yes, https://borlandgenetics.tools/ has the best DNA reconstruction framework.

Also, check GEDmatch's Lazarus tool

--
Alex Fuchs


Adam Cherson
 

A couple of updates:

1) I've seen reported that some (or maybe all) of the Erfurt samples are available for (free) matching here: https://mytrueancestry.com/en
You should be able to upload your raw data on this site and see which of the Erfurt samples you match most closely.

2) after several weeks of study and discussion, I've revised the charts posted here earlier: the latest analysis shows the Erfurt samples are from the same Ashkenazic population of Jewish migrants to N. Europe, from Byzantine Italy (primarily the wide area around Benevento in the south, and north of Rome in the center), with varying trace amounts of non-Jewish genes associated with ancient Yamnaya and Sarmation-Hunnic migrations into Europe, carried by subsequent European populations (Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Lombards, etc,). who brought these Yamnaya and Sarmation-Hunnic genes into Italian areas, where Roman and Byzantine Jews were residing prior to the Ashkenazic migrations northward. https://1drv.ms/u/s!AuwT-4qnkJLBnVu3UA7YAT6ndXmi?e=Ra7vz6

Adam Cherson
NY, NY


Jeremy Lichtman
 

MyTrueAncestry is free to upload, but to actually get results requires money.

They seem to be releasing the results a few per week. So far I can see 8:

I13862
I14740
I14738
I14736
I13867
I13861
I13868
I13863

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Jeremy Lichtman
Toronto, Canada