by Nadine Epstein
Three thousand years ago, tradition says the prophet Samuel anointed a lowly shepherd named David king of Israel. A warrior who could defeat Goliath and write love psalms, David managed to pull the quarreling Jewish tribes together into one nation and then ruled a kingdom that today remains the heart of Jewish claims to the land of Israel. Living from approximately 1040 to 970 BCE, he had at least one daughter and 22 sons, and amassed enough wealth and power for one of those sons, Solomon, to build the Temple in Jerusalem.
Male descendants of King David ruled Israel until the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem in 597 BCE, and Jews scattered. Some managed to stay in Palestine, others fled to Egypt, but the victorious Babylonians took most of the nesi’im—the princes of the Davidic line—to Babylon. There, the King David line continued: Princes of the House of David were appointed by religious leaders to govern the Jewish community. This person was called Rosh ha’gola, which translates as “head of the exile” or exilarch. Fraught with behind-the-scenes political infighting, the position survived the Arab conquest of Baghdad but came to an end when the last exilarch, Hezekiah, was imprisoned and tortured to death in 1040 CE.
Descendants of the exilarchs and other nesi’im fanned out across Mesopotamia, the Levant, Egypt and the Mediterranean basin in search of new lands in which to practice their faith. Some stayed in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and from there migrated to Europe. Like other Jews, they followed varying routes to modernity, separating into Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi and other groups. Some families, especially rabbinic ones, kept careful track of their pedigrees, passing the tradition of royal descent from generation to generation. But through the centuries, plagued by perennial migrations and persecution, the vast majority of King David’s descendants, a number estimated to be in the millions, lost knowledge of the line…
The Ashkenazi Path
Susan Roth discovered her family’s lineage through a chair. Not any chair, but the hand-carved chair of Rebbe Nachman, the 18th century founder of the Breslover Hasidic sect in the Ukraine.
Her parents were actors who had left their pasts behind. Her father, the well-known Yiddish actor Pesach “Peishachke” Burstein, had run away from home as a teenager to join a traveling East European theater troupe, and her equally well-known mother Lillian, had been raised in Brooklyn disconnected from her family’s East European history. Her mother’s grandmother, Rivkah Rabinovitch, had immigrated to New York but was traumatized by pogroms and rarely spoke of the past. Pesach’s parents had been murdered in a pogrom, so Susan and her twin brother Mike, who grew up performing alongside their parents, knew little of their ancestry.
Her brother went on to become the famous Israeli actor Mike Burstyn, but Susan, a diminutive, energetic blond with a flair for the dramatic, left the theater at age 19 and married Michael Roth and became Orthodox. In 1997, when asked to participate in a film about her parents (The Komeidant, which would go on to win the Israel Academy’s award for best documentary in 2000), she was hesitant. She agreed on the condition that the producer and director would arrange for her to see the chair of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. The chair, revered as a holy relic by Breslovers because of its connection with their founder, had been brought from Ukraine to Israel and lovingly refurbished. It was kept in the men’s section of the Breslov synagogue in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim.
“They did it!” she says, “they carried it up to the women’s section, which had never been done before. I spent an hour with the chair and then I went down and talked to the head of Breslov. He asked me why the chair was so important to me.” She told him that the only thing she knew about her family’s history was that her great-grandmother Rivkah’s grandfather or great-grandfather had been Baruch, the shochet (ritual slaughterer) of the town of Tiplik, and that he had carved Rebbe Nachman’s chair.
“The head of Breslov spoke with me for quite a while and asked me about my family names,” Roth recalls. Two weeks later, she was handed a genealogy chart showing that she was descended from Rebbe Nachman and his great grandfather, the Ba’al Shem Tov, the father of Hasidism. She was also related to the first Lubavitcher Rebbe and founder of Chabad, Shneur Zalman of Liadi. Through these great rabbis, she was told, she was a descendant of King David.
Roth was delighted to discover that she was a member of these two major rabbinical dynasties, but she was most taken with her newfound Davidic ancestry. She established the Eshet Chayil (Woman of Valor) Foundation, based in Union, New Jersey, which is dedicated to strengthening the unity of the Jewish people. One of the foundation’s projects is the Davidic Dynasty, founded in 2000 to bring together the descendants of the ancient monarch. “I started realizing there isn’t just one family of King David, there are many families with different names, and they all wanted to be part of it,” she says. In 2003, she launched the website, davidicdynasty.org, to help people identify if they are part of the royal line by providing access to Davidic family trees and other information. In 2006 she hosted a lavish dinner for Davidic descendants in New York, which was attended by former New York City district attorney Robert Morgenthau, the Hasidic Grand Rabbi Yitzhak Twerski and the popular Orthodox speaker and author, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, among others.
Roth’s claim of Davidic descent is similar to those of many other well-known Ashkenazi Jewish families. Often related through marriage and with intertwining family trees, they generally trace their lineages to great 18th and 19th century rabbis such as the Ba’al Shem Tov, Rebbe Nachman, the first Lubavitcher rebbe and Saadya, the Gaon of Vilna, or further back to 16th century luminaries such as the Maharshal in Lithuania (Shlomo Luria) and the Maharal of Prague (Judah Loew ben Bezalel).
Today, anyone can search for family records and documents or collect oral histories, but for many generations it was the exclusive domain of scholars and rabbis. The Hebrew Bible is full of pages and pages of genealogies, and yichus—knowing your lineage—can be an obsession for Jews, especially for those of illustrious ancestry. It is of particular importance today in the Hasidic world where family background can determine position and status.
Not all well-known rabbinical dynasties claim descent from King David, but being part of a rabbinical family makes it easier to connect to the royal line, since such families are more likely to have extensive family records, says Chaim Luria, an environmental engineer living in Israel, and one of a small group of dedicated Davidic genealogists. He is a member of the Luria family, which has a detailed family tree stemming from the Maharshal. “Because he was such a famous rabbi, his descendants kept very careful records of how they were related to him,” he says. These records often overlap since these families frequently marry one another, adds Luria, whose wife is a Berdugo, an established Sephardi Moroccan family that also claims Davidic descent.
So how do we know that these great rabbis of Eastern Europe were descended from King David? Tradition has it that they are all descended from the royal house through Rabbi Shlomo Itzhaki, known as Rashi, the great biblical commentator born in 1040 in the French city of Troyes. “You have stations along the way,” says Abraham Twerski, a psychiatrist and rabbi descended from the Hasidic dynasties of Chernoble and Sanz. “[The Twerskis] have a direct line to the Maharshal,” he says. “It is known that Maharshal had a direct line to Rashi, and Rashi to Rebbe Yohannan HaSandlar, one of the major authors of the Talmud and a shoemaker by profession. HaSandlar was known to be descended from King David.”
Luria says genealogists call this the “elevator strategy:” “That means we assume that if a person is a King David descendant, so am I.” In this way, the Luria family also traces its lineage through the Maharshal and Rashi, in its case, through one of Rashi’s daughter’s descendants, Miriam Schapira.
The question of whether the 1,000-year connection between Rashi and King David can be verified is a matter of contention. According to the late David Einsiedler, who wrote in the scholarly journal, Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, “Careful examination of all available sources leads to the inescapable conclusion that there is no complete, reliable and positive proof of claims of descent from King David, whether via Rashi, Judah Loew the Elder, or any of the other families claimed. There are at present no known sources that could fill the gaps or set the record straight. It is possible that there may be actual descendants somewhere, but at present, no one can produce sufficient and unquestionable proof of this claim.”
But the tradition that Rashi was descended from King David “was so strong that people take it to today as an axiom,” says Luria. “It’s a question of how much you believe in tradition,” he says. “The science of genealogy can prove something 80 percent but there is always 20 percent tradition and belief.”
The Sephardi Path
Rashi is not the only way for a family to link itself to King David. Sephardi families usually trace their lineage through the line of exilarchs and at least two major ones trace their line back to the last exilarch.
After the last exilarch, Hezekiah, was killed in 1040 CE—the same year that Rashi was born—his two grown sons, Yitzhak and David, fled Baghdad with their families to Granada, Spain, then a vibrant center of Judaic life with a Jewish grand vizier. Each son became the patriarch of a family that would become highly prominent in the diaspora. “The Shaltiel family sprang from Yitzhak, whose eldest son was the first Shaltiel,” says Moshe Shaltiel-Gracian, a resident of a Chicago suburb who has taken an active role in researching his family’s history.
In 1066 the Jewish grand vizier of Granada was assassinated and the Shaltiel family headed north to Spain and Portugal. There, many family members flourished, while others traveled east to Salonika and Italy. Still others intermarried for several generations with the Jewish kings of Narbonne, an independent city-state founded by Charlemagne that stretched north from Barcelona to Aquitaine and was a major hub of Jewish scholarship. Narbonne’s ruling families are said to be descended from Natronai, a former exhilarch in Baghdad who had been force to flee after losing political support.
While researching his family, Shaltiel-Gracian found Shaltiels in 25 countries. Their names had morphed into Sealtiel, Saltiel, Scietliel, Chartiel, Xaltiel and Saltelli, among others. “Many of them are not Jewish but they are very happy to know about it [the King David connection],” he says, adding that the family now holds regular international reunions. In 2000, the BBC aired a documentary on the family, Shealtiel: A Family Saga.
Along the way, Shaltiel-Gracian met Arthur Menton, who grew up during the Depression in the Bronx and now lives in Long Island. A member of the Charlap family, Menton was also descended from the last Exilarch Hezekiah, but through his other son, David. David’s son Chaim also left Granada in 1066, settling in Portugal. He is the progenitor of the Charlap family, which has also been known by many other names, among them ibn-Daoud, ibn-Yahya, Ben Chaim, Don Yahia, Donyechia and Donkhin, explains Menton, who has published his family research in The Book of Destiny: Toledot Charlap. It was Chaim’s son, Chiya, the chief advisor to the first king of Portugal, and a military leader and a scholar, who took the title Charlap. “It was typical that the famous leaders of the Jewish community took acronyms as titles, and he was first to use the title Charlap, which stands for “first in the exile in Portugal,” says Menton.
Chiya gave rise to the powerful ibn-Yahya dynasty, which had vast landholdings in Portugal and Spain. But with the expulsions from Spain and Portugal, the family was forced to flee, spreading throughout the Mediterranean basin and the Ottoman Empire. Two hundred years later, a Rabbi Eliezer ibn-Yahya living in Poland was asked to take a title. “He chose one from 500 years before—Charlap,” says Menton. When Jews were required to take surnames at the turn of the 19th century, most family members adopted Charlap. However, one Charlap, a dairyman, bucked tradition and took the name Ser, meaning cheese in Polish. Menton’s mother’s maiden name was Sahr, a corruption of Ser.
An engineer by profession, Menton says that researching his family is the most satisfying thing he has ever done. “I have gone all over the world meeting relatives and I have gathered up 20 family trees,” he says. “They didn’t know of each other but they mirrored each other remarkably and they all have the Davidic connection.” One of these trees hangs in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He has found letters that speak of the family’s King David lineage and his nephew uncovered a medieval document describing the coat of arms of ibn-Yahya family in Spain and Portugal. It includes the Lion of Judah—to symbolize the Davidic throne—as well as an eagle that stands for courage and a Star of David behind a Ten Commandments above which is a crown, representing the royal House of David. There is also a spade, he explains, which signifies that the family will be instrumental in rebuilding the reestablished kingdom of Israel, and a palm frond referring to the land of milk and honey.
“We have thousands of relatives in Israel, everyone from humble farmers in Galilee to people like Dorit Benesch who is retiring chief of Israel’s Supreme Court and her sister, the head of the faculty of humanities at Tel Aviv University,” says Menton. “ I have relatives who are scientists at the Weitzman Institute and one who is a beekeeper on a kibbutz next to the Gaza strip. And many rabbis still retain the name Charlap. We crisscross the whole society of Israel.” There are also many prominent Charlap family members in America, he says, including the jazz pianist Dick Hyman, Abram Sachar, the first president of Brandeis University who died in 1993, and his son, the historian Howard Sachar.
The Syrian Path
Unlike most Syrian Jews today, most of whom live in Brooklyn, Mitch Dayan grew up in Chicago, where his father’s retail store was located. “When I would come back to Brooklyn I would hear that my family is from King David,” says Dayan, a handsome, compact man, “but when you are a kid you say, ‘everyone is related to King David.’ I didn’t understand.” But something clicked when his older brother Stanley died in 1983, and he and the family were sitting shiva in the family’s summer house in the Syrian enclave of Deal, New Jersey. “Throngs of people were coming in, many of them cousins in some way, and Rabbi Isaac Dweck came in and he said, ‘You’re from King David,’ and I said, ‘You know rabbi, I’ve been hearing that,’ and he asked, ‘Have you seen the book?’”
The next day, the rabbi returned with the book, Yashir Moshe, written by Rabbi Moshe Dayan in 1879 in Aleppo, Syria, where the Dayan family and many other Syrian Jewish clans had lived for centuries, until forced to flee after Israel’s creation in 1948. From the book, Dayan learned that his family was related to King David, not through an exilarch, but through a brother of an exilarch. Some of the same information, he discovered, was included in an entry in the Encyclopedia Judaica.
“DAYYAN, Syrian family claiming descent from King David,” it reads. “The Dayyan family’s origin can be traced to a branch of the house of Josiah Hasan ben Zakkai, brother of the exilarch David (?917-940). One of his descendants, Solomon ben Azariah, settled in Aleppo, and his family there occupied the position of nasi, the title of the House of David. The first to be known with the family name is Moses Ben Saadiah Dayyan in the 16th century…”
In Yashir Moshe, Rabbi Moshe Dayan listed the 85 generations of males between King David and himself. Solomon ben Azariah was generation 54, meaning that the family had been living in Aleppo since from around 1300 CE. Mitch Dayan set out to connect himself to this list. He interviewed cousins, aunts and uncles, many of whom, as was tradition, had married cousins who were also Dayans, and conferred with historians, Jewish and non-Jewish. Over 20 years he put together a family tree with a father-to-son link to King David. “That’s very rare,” he says. He connected himself through generation 81, he says, after finding that his great-grandfather was the third cousin of Rabbi Moshe Dayan.
“The Dayan family is the one that is known for the lineage, but if you go back in the family tree these surnames—Semah, Shayo, Sitt, Sultan, Pawil, Mansour, Hedaya—are all known families who are descendants of the Dayans,” says Sarina Roffe, a genealogical expert in the Syrian Jewish community. “Other Syrian families also claim King David lineage, but not all are related through Dayans,” she adds.
As she examines the Dayan family tree, Roffe points out comedian Jerry Seinfeld, whose mother is a Syrian Jew. “He goes back all the way to King David,” says Roffe. “Yes, Jerry Seinfeld is definitely a descendant of King David.”
The Genetic path
The Shaltiels, Charlaps and Dayan families trace themselves back to King David through the exilarch line. But if it seems simple, it’s anything but. Although the first 20 generations of kings are detailed in Kings and Chronicles, the biblical record stops after the Babylonian conquest of Israel. From there, scholars and genealogists rely on lists of exilarchs. But different lists have different names, and list comparison has been fodder for debate for centuries. Few lists clearly match, with the exception of two: Rabbi Moshe Dayyan’s 1879 list is similar to a list found in the Cairo Geniza, says Dayan, referring to the findings of a 2006 scholarly paper written by the late historian David Kelly in the journal of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. But like everything else in the field of Davidic genealogy, there are plenty of opinions about what this means, and little agreement.
Skeptics, such as the late genealogist David Einselder, simply don’t see how any available records can provide convincing proof of Davidic claims. “Some individuals rely on tradition and faith to back their claim [to King David],” wrote Einselder in the RAV-SIG Online Journal before his death. “More power to them. The rest of us may have to wait for that promised descendant—the Messiah.”
Enter the relatively new science of genetics, which has added a dimension to the study of the Davidic line. Unfortunately there is no way to take a sample of King David’s DNA—no one knows where he is buried—so the only current scientific method of tracing the line is to search for similarities in the male Y chromosome, which passes largely intact from father to son, except for minor mutations, which are what allow scientists to track and identify genetic branches. This was the method used by Karl Skorecki, a kidney specialist at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion Institute in Haifa in 1997, when investigating the validity of the oral tradition of the patrilineal inheritance of the Jewish priestly class, known as the Cohanim. The study found that 48 percent of Ashkenazi and 58 percent of Sephardi men who identified themselves as Cohanim, based on oral tradition, carried a unique chromosomal marker, called the J1 Cohen Modal Halpotype.
To find a unique chromosomal marker shared by men who believe they are descended from King David, it is necessary for two who don’t know they are related to each other to have matching chromosomal markers. “If I can find someone from Baghdad community, who is somewhere on the line of the exilarch, and a European Jew who has a similar claim, and these families haven’t had contact for hundreds of years, if these two men have the same Y chromosome, I would have to take that as very successful,” says Bennett Greenspan, president and CEO of Family Tree DNA, which has conducted some of the Davidic studies. Greenspan says he has found such a chromosomal match between descendants of different branches of the al-Hashimi family that claim descent from the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad.
Only Sephardi men can be tested this way, since Ashkenazi claims generally go through Rashi, who had only daughters. At this time, there is no way to genetically trace women back to a male ancestor But if there was, the likelihood is that the vast majority of Jews would descend from King David. “Since it is 3,000-plus years since David, there is at least an 80 percent chance that any Jew is a direct descendant of King David,” says Yale University statistician Joseph Chang in a 1999 article in Advances in Applied Probability.
Explains Jeffrey S. Malka, a retired physician, genealogist and author of Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World: “We all have two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, and so on. In just a few centuries we have more ancestors than there existed people in the world. Certainly more than there were Jews in the world. How could that be? Because many of these ancestors are the same people re-appearing in different places. It also means that we are all related to each other—and in this context—we are all descended from some branch of King David!”
Malka adds that this is why many genealogists frown on doing genealogy just to prove one is related to someone famous. “One can always find a relationship to anyone if that is the goal including relationship to Queen Victoria or King David,” he says. “For instance, genetic studies have shown that, because of their smaller genome spectrum and history, the farthest any two living Ashkenazi Jews are related to each other is fifth cousins.”
Chaim Luria estimates that there are 80 million people who are related to King David today. These include the royal families of England and Europe, who claim to be the descendants of the Jewish kings of Narbonne, who are said to have intermarried with Europe’s aristocracy, infusing the nobility of France, Flanders, Scotland and England with Davidic blood. Continents away, the Imperial Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia claimed Davidic descent through the Queen of Sheba. But says Luria: “The majority of people descended from King David don’t even know it.”
So far Y chromosomal testing of Davidic descent has yielded inconclusive results. “In all cases individuals who claimed to be descendants of King David on the direct male lineage did not match each other,” says Greenspan. “To sum up, that means that one of the testors or none of the testors might be direct male descendants of King David.” Testing could be more effective if a larger pool of Sephardi men participated, he adds.
But no family’s claim has been disproved and chromosomal correlations have been found within families. In his testing, Chaim Luria found that the cartoonist Ranan Lurie, who lives in New York, and Eduardo Luria, of Padua, Italy, share the same haplogroup. This is remarkable, says Luria, because “their families split off from one another 500 years ago and have had no contact since.”
Luria could not test himself since, despite his surname, he is related through the female line. “When a male would marry a Luria daughter he would drop his surname and take hers because the Maharshal was so famous and people wanted to be linked to him,” he says. “This was a widespread practice in famous [Ashkenazi] families.” As a result of this, and the fact that unrelated people often adopted famous names, he has found that 80 percent of men with the Luria name do not have the family’s signature haplogroup.
While theoretically the Charlaps and Shaltiels should share the haplogroup of the Exilarch Hezekiah, they don’t, says Shaltiel-Gracian, perhaps because somewhere along the way, descent went through a woman. Some Shaltiel males, however, are part of the same haplogroup. And some Charlap men, share their own separate haplogroup. “The amazing thing is that as I go around the world, different branches of the family look so much alike,” says Menton, who is a Charlap through his mother. “Take Dick Hyman, he is my fourth cousin, but when we are together people ask us if we are brothers.”
The lack of genetic proof doesn’t trouble Mitch Dayan. He has participated in several studies, although he says few other Dayan males have done so. “If the science world finds a connection fine, but if not,” he says, “my research conclusions are not going to change because it’s not verified by the science world.”
Some families are not interested in testing at all. Coming from a lineage of prestigious rabbis, the Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis has always known of her Davidic ancestry. “Before the Holocaust there were 86 rabbis in Hungary with the last name Jungreis, all traced to King David,” she says.” I have a copy of the family tree that traces my lineage.” But the rebbetzin—who was born a Jungreis and married a Jungreis, a third cousin—was offended when asked if any male members in her family had undergone testing, implying that no scientific proof was necessary. “Of course they haven’t been tested,” she says.
What Does it All Mean?
But Susan Roth, in search of finding other Davidic families is enthusiastic about testing: “If we could only find a DNA that is shared by all the descendants, that would be unbelievable,” she says.
That’s because Roth would like to see the reestablishment of the King David dynasty. This is important, she says, “because the world keeps saying Israel is only 63 years old and that’s not true. There was a king 3,000 years ago who pulled together 12 tribes and started a dynasty. There were always Jews in Israel but they were not always a nation because they were sent into exile. And they came back once and rebuilt the Temple and then the Romans came. But no one wants to admit it. They say, ‘Prove it.’”
Roth envisions a royal House of David that takes its place alongside the current government of Israel. “Just like in England, where there is a queen who is a figurehead, there could be a king of Israel who is a figurehead,” she says.” A king would be taken seriously and signify that Jews have been in Israel for over 3,000 years. The Knesset could run the country but there would be a royal house that would bring legitimacy. The royal House of David could be a light unto the nation. It would bring about peace harmony and everything the world is waiting for because the world is in a terrible shape right now.”
Her Eshet Chayil Foundation opened a Jerusalem museum dedicated to King David in 2008. “My greatest hope is for us to produce a king like King David today,” its curator, Yisroel Cohen, said in news reports at the time. That museum, claims Roth, closed for political reasons. “The Knesset certainly does not want to have a royal house,” she says. But this January, the foundation opened a new King David museum in Tel Aviv, which, she explains, is separate from the Davidic Dynasty project, again, for political reasons. “Tel Aviv is where the museum is needed,” she says. “It’s not a religious place. People there need to see artifacts from his palace and his history and story.” Museum exhibits include collections of harps, coins, weights and measures from the Davidic era plus Davidic family trees, and birth and death records. There is also a genealogy center to help people identify if they are related to King David.
Although a small group of people of Davidic descent are interested in restoration of the monarchy, most of the people I spoke with said they were not interested in a kingship or in involving themselves in Israeli politics. They also stressed that they did not believe that being related to King David made them speical. Chaim Luria finds King David genealogy to be a “challenging hobby” that “is not going to change the future of the world. I am proud of my ancestry but I don’t think it makes anyone any better than another person,” he says. “Our blood is not blue that is for sure.” Rebbetzin Jungreis also insists her ancestry doesn’t make her special. “We are all am yisrael,” she says.
The Messianic Path
The destruction of Jerusalem’s Second Temple bestowed upon the descendants of King David an additional legacy. To replace the Temple, which was the central and sacred gathering place of the Jews, rabbis of the time put forth a new unifying concept: a Messiah who would return to rebuild the Temple and unite the Jewish people. The messiah, they said, would be of the lineage of King David. Ever since, King David’s descendants have not been mere royalty but the carriers of the seed that could usher in the future.
Tradition has it that a messianic claim requires male-to-male Davidic lineage. Jesus’ followers claimed such a connection for him in the Book of Matthew, which calls Jesus, “Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham.” Simon Bar Kokhba and Shabbtai Tzvi each claimed Davidic descent, as did the seventh and last Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem mendel Schneerson. Many claimants over the millennia have also done the same.
“When you talk about being part of the Davidic lineage, the hidden message is that you are a messianic family,” says Mitch Dayan. “When you talk about a messianic family rather than a Davidic family, you are talking about the possibility of the Messiah coming from your loins.” Dayan believes his family has the strongest messianic claim because of the clear record of male-to-male descent, but he is not interested in getting mixed up in discussions of kings and messiahs. “I just got into this to research my family and wound up in this.”
The Messiah, Dayan points out, must be much more than the bearer of King David’s genes. “In the view of the classic Orthodox Jew, there are obligations. You have to be an observant Jew. You just can’t be the son of someone and expect to be the Messiah.”
Karl Skorecki believes, however, that it is the messianic connection that is the underlying attraction of being a Davidic descendant. “Being of the line of the Great King of Israel is being in a dynasty which is supposed to lead—which will lead to the coming of the Messiah, the end of days,” he says.
Whether or not they realize it, all Jews who attend Shabbat services sing the prayer, Yigdal, asking God to send the Messiah, but Orthodox Jews actively pray on a daily for him to come. For Roth, restoring the dynasty is the first step toward rebuilding the Temple and ushering in the Messiah. “A lot of rabbis are talking about the coming of mashiach,” says Roth. “Some rebbes say the mashiach will be King David’s descendant,” she says, but “there are some great rebbes that say the mashiach is going to be King David [come back from the dead].” Just in case, she has already commissioned a Torah scroll for him to use on his return.
*There are many families and surnames not mentioned in this article. A list is available on davidicdynasty.org.
30 thoughts on “King David’s Genes”
This article is not only fascinating but regardless of the fact that i really don t know personally the writer it seems that the research is grandiose
House of David? David represented the Jews only.. He United the Jews.. Judah only. NOT all 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob).. Jacob (Israel) was the other 10 tribes… the Kingdoms split. Judah was disowned for following Rehoboam.. Please don’t corrupt history according to text. Judah using the name of Israel is insulting and a false claim.. ONE tribe does not represent all 12..
Some loathe what they can’t be. I am sorry that you obviously are unable to be moshiach, but that is no reason to refute the concept based solely on your emotions. Either you believe the Tanakh, or you do not. Either you will change your thinking to conform to the Tanakh, or you are just one more individual with failed messianic ambitions who changes the words of Tanakh to conform to his selfish desire to be the lord of somebody.
The real king is a human being, perfectly imperfect, striving to conform himself to the Tanakh, rather than an egoist megalomaniac with the desire to rule. I would bet the actual king would be more shy than outgoing, and would seek solitude rather than limelight.
From time to time, I check on Geni to see my path to King David. Who knows what is fact and what is fiction? But it is fun to click on some of the 100 or so ancestors and learn some history. Some people get very hung up on the issue of having trees that might connect to something that is part mythology, but it never bothers me. I have plenty of work to do in the past three hundred years. As I always say, if you find something you know is a mistake, just fix it and move on. http://tinyurl.com/nvewjm4
One additional point to consider when one analyzes the question of proof of descent from King David is that until recently, no one was really interested in a path that went through a maternal line. And the tools we now have for working collaboratively on genealogy, like Geni.com) were unavailable only a few years ago. So I would not put much stock in old claims that proof is impossible. Since no genealogical fact can be proved with 100% certainty (not even your own parents) eventually it comes down to what you consider to be sufficient proof.
I believe I am descended from a Jewish background. I don’t have any way of knowing for sure. But I have memories and dreams and thoughts that have always been there.
I want to be part of this Jewish family. I was born and raised in Texas USA.
I was not raised Jewish, but I know inside I have some long ago connection.
I descend from Sephardic and Ashkenazi bloodlines. I found my maternal grandmother’s genealogy on the website geni. I don’t know who posted it nor do I know how accurate it is. When I followed it deep in the past, it took me all the way back to King David. People think we’re Jewish, but we’re Christian. I do know some of my Spa. ancestors were burned alive for being cryptojews. I’d like to know if I’m really a descendant of King David; however I’m a female and genetic testing wouldn’t work on me.I would think it would wk on a relative. N R Perez
This is very interesting. I just found out that my ancestor, Sisnando Davides, born in Coimbra, Portugal around the year 900 was the son of David ibn Yaish abu Suleiman, an exilarch.
All you need to do is get your DNA tested. It will show up what are your true origins. Autosomal DNA test will take you back 6 generations or more. Y-DNA (paternal) and mtDNA (maternal) will take you right back. If you are Jewish your genes will show it.
The Davidic Dynasty website is not online anymore. Does anyone know why?
My name is Howard Gadsden a descendent of king David and the seer and prophet Gad I can trace my lineage to the kingdom of David through the prophet Gad l agree with Moshe dayan about him having a lineage of king David. I have the same lineage of king David I can see my lineage from great Britain king George III and Queen Charlotte and Queen Victoria because my birthday is may 24,1958 queen Victoria birthday is may 24,1819 and Moshe dayan birthday is may 20,1915 and king George III birthday is June 3 1738 so I am right in that king David lineage.
Isaiah 7: 14 says that the Messiah will be born of a virgin
Check the Hebrew and see if it really says that…
No, the hebrew mazoretic probably says maiden. But the Greek septuagint, is well over a thousand years older than the mazoretic text, and was translated from Hebrew to Greek, and the Greeks translated it as virgin, before Jesus the Messiah was born.
No…that prophecy speaks of a king of Israel who is raised as a non-Jew, Israel having not raised this individual, yet he comes to be a Jew anyways.
Study, study, study, and do not teach what you do not know.
Shooting a documentary I would like very much if you contact me
Everything we are is God-giving anything good in us he put in us what we see the things we hear the moon and stars Hes the Lord of it all If we trip stumble fall He’s the one that we call He’s the one that wrote the law in the brightest night or the darkest day to the Lord my God is to whom I pray I pray to keep my demons at bay I pray for the words I need to say and for my spirit to go the Lord’s way…Psalm of Cody
95% Much more Fiction than Facts…
=Deconstructing the walls of Jericho
Following 70 years of intensive excavations in the Land of Israel, archaeologists have found out: The patriarchs’ acts are legendary, the Israelites did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, they did not conquer the land. Neither is there any mention of the empire of David and Solomon, nor of the source of belief in the God of Israel. These facts have been known for years, but Israel is a stubborn people and nobody wants to hear about it
By Ze’ev Herzog
This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, Jehovah, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people – and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story – now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells.
What follows is a short account of the brief history of archaeology, with the emphasis on the crises and the big bang, so to speak, of the past decade. The critical question of this archaeological revolution has not yet trickled down into public consciousness, but it cannot be ignored.
Inventing the Bible stories
The archaeology of Palestine developed as a science at a relatively late date, in the late 19th and early 20th century, in tandem with the archaeology of the imperial cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome. Those resource-intensive powers were the first target of the researchers, who were looking for impressive evidence from the past, usually in the service of the big museums in London, Paris and Berlin. That stage effectively passed over Palestine, with its fragmented geographical diversity. The conditions in ancient Palestine were inhospitable for the development of an extensive kingdom, and certainly no showcase projects such as the Egyptian shrines or the Mesopotamian palaces could have been established there. In fact, the archaeology of Palestine was not engendered at the initiative of museums but sprang from religious motives.
The main push behind archaeological research in Palestine was the country’s relationship with the Holy Scriptures. The first excavators in Jericho and Shechem (Nablus) were biblical researchers who were looking for the remains of the cities cited in the Bible. Archaeology assumed momentum with the activity of William Foxwell Albright, who mastered the archeology, history and linguistics of the Land of Israel and the ancient Near East. Albright, an American whose father was a priest of Chilean descent, began excavating in Palestine in the 1920s. His declared approach was that archaeology was the principal scientific means to refute the critical claims against the historical veracity of the Bible stories, particularly those of the Wellhausen school in Germany.
The school of biblical criticism that developed in Germany beginning in the second half of the 19th century, of which Julian Wellhausen was a leading figure, challenged the historicity of the Bible stories and claimed that biblical historiography was formulated, and in large measure actually “invented,” during the Babylonian exile. Bible scholars, the Germans in particular, claimed that the history of the Hebrews, as a consecutive series of events beginning with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and proceeding through the move to Egypt, the enslavement and the exodus, and ending with the conquest of the land and the settlement of the tribes of Israel, was no more than a later reconstruction of events with a theological purpose.
Albright believed that the Bible is a historical document, which, although it had gone through several editing stages, nevertheless basically reflected the ancient reality. He was convinced that if the ancient remains of Palestine were uncovered, they would furnish unequivocal proof of the historical truth of the events relating to the Jewish people in its land.
The biblical archaeology that developed from Albright and his pupils brought about a series of extensive digs at the important biblical tells: Megiddo, Lachish, Gezer, Shechem (Nablus), Jericho, Jerusalem, Ai, Giveon, Beit She’an, Beit Shemesh, Hazor, Ta’anach and others. The way was straight and clear: every finding that was uncovered would contribute to the building of a harmonious picture of the past. The archaeologists, who enthusiastically adopted the biblical approach, set out on a quest to unearth the “biblical period”: the period of the patriarchs, the Canaanite cities that were destroyed by the Israelites as they conquered the land, the boundaries of the 12 tribes, the sites of the settlement period, characterized by “settlement pottery,” the “gates of Solomon” at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, “Solomon’s stables” (or Ahab’s), “King Solomon’s mines” at Timna – and there are some who are still hard at work and have found Mount Sinai (at Mount Karkoum in the Negev) or Joshua’s altar at Mount Ebal.
Slowly, cracks began to appear in the picture. Paradoxically, a situation was created in which the glut of findings began to undermine the historical credibility of the biblical descriptions instead of reinforcing them. A crisis stage is reached when the theories within the framework of the general thesis are unable to solve an increasingly large number of anomalies. The explanations become ponderous and inelegant, and the pieces do not lock together smoothly. Here are a few examples of how the harmonious picture collapsed.
Patriarchal Age: The researchers found it difficult to reach agreement on which archaeological period matched the Patriarchal Age. When did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob live? When was the Cave of Machpelah (Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron) bought in order to serve as the burial place for the patriarchs and the matriarchs? According to the biblical chronology, Solomon built the Temple 480 years after the exodus from Egypt (1 Kings 6:1). To that we have to add 430 years of the stay in Egypt (Exodus 12:40) and the vast lifetimes of the patriarchs, producing a date in the 21th century BCE for Abraham’s move to Canaan.
However, no evidence has been unearthed that can sustain this chronology. Albright argued in the early 1960s in favor of assigning the wanderings of Abraham to the Middle Bronze Age (22nd-20th centuries BCE). However, Benjamin Mazar, the father of the Israeli branch of biblical archaeology, proposed identifying the historic background of the Patriarchal Age a thousand years later, in the 11th century BCE – which would place it in the “settlement period.” Others rejected the historicity of the stories and viewed them as ancestral legends that were told in the period of the Kingdom of Judea. In any event, the consensus began to break down.
The exodus from Egypt, the wanderings in the desert and Mount Sinai: The many Egyptian documents that we have make no mention of the Israelites’ presence in Egypt and are also silent about the events of the exodus. Many documents do mention the custom of nomadic shepherds to enter Egypt during periods of drought and hunger and to camp at the edges of the Nile Delta. However, this was not a solitary phenomenon: such events occurred frequently across thousands of years and were hardly exceptional.
Generations of researchers tried to locate Mount Sinai and the stations of the tribes in the desert. Despite these intensive efforts, not even one site has been found that can match the biblical account.
The potency of tradition has now led some researchers to “discover” Mount Sinai in the northern Hijaz or, as already mentioned, at Mount Karkoum in the Negev. These central events in the history of the Israelites are not corroborated in documents external to the Bible or in archaeological findings. Most historians today agree that at best, the stay in Egypt and the exodous occurred in a few families and that their private story was expanded and “nationalized” to fit the needs of theological ideology.
The conquest: One of the shaping events of the people of Israel in biblical historiography is the story of how the land was conquered from the Canaanites. Yet extremely serious difficulties have cropped up precisely in the attempts to locate the archaeological evidence for this story.
Repeated excavations by various expeditions at Jericho and Ai, the two cities whose conquest is described in the greatest detail in the Book of Joshua, have proved very disappointing. Despite the excavators’ efforts, it emerged that in the late part of the 13th century BCE, at the end of the Late Bronze Age, which is the agreed period for the conquest, there were no cities in either tell, and of course no walls that could have been toppled. Naturally, explanations were offered for these anomalies. Some claimed that the walls around Jericho were washed away by rain, while others suggested that earlier walls had been used; and, as for Ai, it was claimed that the original story actually referred to the conquest of nearby Beit El and was transferred to Ai by later redactors.
Biblical scholars suggested a quarter of a century ago that the conquest stories be viewed as etiological legends and no more. But as more and more sites were uncovered and it emerged that the places in question died out or were simply abandoned at different times, the conclusion was bolstered that there is no factual basis for the biblical story about the conquest by Israelite tribes in a military campaign led by Joshua.
The Canaanite cities: The Bible magnifies the strength and the fortifications of the Canaanite cities that were conquered by the Israelites: “great cities with walls sky-high” (Deuteronomy 9:1). In practice, all the sites that have been uncovered turned up remains of unfortified settlements, which in most cases consisted of a few structures or the ruler’s palace rather than a genuine city. The urban culture of Palestine in the Late Bronze Age disintegrated in a process that lasted hundreds of years and did not stem from military conquest. Moreover, the biblical description is inconsistent with the geopolitical reality in Palestine. Palestine was under Egyptian rule until the middle of the 12th century BCE. The Egyptians’ administrative centers were located in Gaza, Yaffo and Beit She’an. Egyptian findings have also been discovered in many locations on both sides of the Jordan River. This striking presence is not mentioned in the biblical account, and it is clear that it was unknown to the author and his editors.
The archaeological findings blatantly contradict the biblical picture: the Canaanite cities were not “great,” were not fortified and did not have “sky-high walls.” The heroism of the conquerors, the few versus the many and the assistance of the God who fought for his people are a theological reconstruction lacking any factual basis.
Origin of the Israelites: The fusion of the conclusions drawn from the episodes relating to the stages in which the people of Israel emerged gave rise to a discussion of the bedrock question: the identity of the Israelites. If there is no evidence for the exodus from Egypt and the desert journey, and if the story of the military conquest of fortified cities has been refuted by archaeology, who, then, were these Israelites? The archaeological findings did corroborate one important fact: in the early Iron Age (beginning some time after 1200 BCE), the stage that is identified with the “settlement period,” hundreds of small settlements were established in the area of the central hill region of the Land of Israel, inhabited by farmers who worked the land or raised sheep. If they did not come from Egypt, what is the origin of these settlers? Israel Finkelstein, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, has proposed that these settlers were the pastoral shepherds who wandered in this hill area throughout the Late Bronze Age (graves of these people have been found, without settlements). According to his reconstruction, in the Late Bronze Age (which preceded the Iron Age) the shepherds maintained a barter economy of meat in exchange for grains with the inhabitants of the valleys. With the disintegration of the urban and agricultural system in the lowland, the nomads were forced to produce their own grains, and hence the incentive for fixed settlements arose.
The name “Israel” is mentioned in a single Egyptian document from the period of Merneptah, king of Egypt, dating from 1208 BCE: “Plundered is Canaan with every evil, Ascalon is taken, Gezer is seized, Yenoam has become as though it never was, Israel is desolated, its seed is not.” Merneptah refers to the country by its Canaanite name and mentions several cities of the kingdom, along with a non-urban ethnic group. According to this evidence, the term “Israel” was given to one of the population groups that resided in Canaan toward the end of the Late Bronze Age, apparently in the central hill region, in the area where the Kingdom of Israel would later be established.
A kingdom with no name
The united monarchy: Archaeology was also the source that brought about the shift regarding the reconstruction of the reality in the period known as the “united monarchy” of David and Solomon. The Bible describes this period as the zenith of the political, military and economic power of the people of Israel in ancient times. In the wake of David’s conquests, the empire of David and Solomon stretched from the Euprates River to Gaza (“For he controlled the whole region west of the Euphrates, from Tiphsah to Gaza, all the kings west of the Euphrates,” 1 Kings 5:4). The archaeological findings at many sites show that the construction projects attributed to this period were meager in scope and power.
The three cities of Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, which are mentioned among Solomon’s construction enterprises, have been excavated extensively at the appropriate layers. Only about half of Hazor’s upper section was fortified, covering an area of only 30 dunams (7.5 acres), out of a total area of 700 dunams which was settled in the Bronze Age. At Gezer there was apparently only a citadel surrounded by a casematewall covering a small area, while Megiddo was not fortified with a wall.
The picture becomes even more complicated in the light of the excavations conducted in Jerusalem, the capital of the united monarchy. Large sections of the city have been excavated over the past 150 years. The digs have turned up impressive remnants of the cities from the Middle Bronze Age and from Iron Age II (the period of the Kingdom of Judea). No remains of buildings have been found from the period of the united monarchy (even according to the agreed chronology), only a few pottery shards. Given the preservation of the remains from earlier and later periods, it is clear that Jerusalem in the time of David and Solomon was a small city, perhaps with a small citadel for the king, but in any event it was not the capital of an empire as described in the Bible. This small chiefdom is the source of the “Beth David” title mentioned in later Aramean and Moabite inscriptions. The authors of the biblical account knew Jerusalem in the 8th century BCE, with its wall and the rich culture of which remains have been found in various parts of the city, and projected this picture back to the age of the united monarchy. Presumably Jerusalem acquired its central status after the destruction of Samaria, its northern rival, in 722 BCE.
The archaeological findings dovetail well with the conclusions of the critical school of biblical scholarship. David and Solomon were the rulers of tribal kingdoms that controlled small areas: the former in Hebron and the latter in Jerusalem. Concurrently, a separate kingdom began to form in the Samaria hills, which finds expression in the stories about Saul’s kingdom. Israel and Judea were from the outset two separate, independent kingdoms, and at times were in an adversarial relationship. Thus, the great united monarchy is an imaginary historiosophic creation, which was composed during the period of the Kingdom of Judea at the earliest. Perhaps the most decisive proof of this is the fact that we do not know the name of this kingdom.
Jehovah and his consort: How many gods, exactly, did Israel have? Together with the historical and political aspects, there are also doubts as to the credibility of the information about belief and worship. The question about the date at which monotheism was adopted by the kingdoms of Israel and Judea arose with the discovery of inscriptions in ancient Hebrew that mention a pair of gods: Jehovah and his Asherah. At two sites, Kuntiliet Ajrud in the southwestern part of the Negev hill region, and at Khirbet el-Kom in the Judea piedmont, Hebrew inscriptions have been found that mention “Jehovah and his Asherah,” “Jehovah Shomron and his Asherah, “Jehovah Teman and his Asherah.” The authors were familiar with a pair of gods, Jehovah and his consort Asherah, and send blessings in the couple’s name. These inscriptions, from the 8th century BCE, raise the possibility that monotheism, as a state religion, is actually an innovation of the period of the Kingdom of Judea, following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel.
The archaeology of the Land of Israel is completing a process that amounts to a scientific revolution in its field. It is ready to confront the findings of biblical scholarship and of ancient history. But at the same time, we are witnessing a fascinating phenomenon in which all this is simply ignored by the Israeli public. Many of the findings mentioned here have been known for decades. The professional literature in the spheres of archaeology, Bible and the history of the Jewish people has addressed them in dozens of books and hundreds of articles. Even if not all the scholars accept the individual arguments that inform the examples I cited, the majority have adopted their main points.
Nevertheless, these revolutionary views are not penetrating the public consciousness. About a year ago, my colleague, the historian Prof. Nadav Ne’eman, published an article in the Culture and Literature section of Ha’aretz entitled “To Remove the Bible from the Jewish Bookshelf,” but there was no public outcry. Any attempt to question the reliability of the biblical descriptions is perceived as an attempt to undermine “our historic right to the land” and as shattering the myth of the nation that is renewing the ancient Kingdom of Israel. These symbolic elements constitute such a critical component of the construction of the Israeli identity that any attempt to call their veracity into question encounters hostility or silence. It is of some interest that such tendencies within the Israeli secular society go hand-in-hand with the outlook among educated Christian groups. I have found a similar hostility in reaction to lectures I have delivered abroad to groups of Christian bible lovers, though what upset them was the challenge to the foundations of their fundamentalist religious belief.
It turns out that part of Israeli society is ready to recognize the injustice that was done to the Arab inhabitants of the country and is willing to accept the principle of equal rights for women – but is not up to adopting the archaeological facts that shatter the biblical myth. The blow to the mythical foundations of the Israeli identity is apparently too threatening, and it is more convenient to turn a blind eye.n
© copyright 1999 Ha’aretz. All Rights Reserved
Well I must say. Rogério Maciel, the information that you shared on “bible fiction” i question. It seems that it took a lot of time on your part trying to share your viewpoint and convince people of faith that most of what they have read and studied is just a myth, a tale of sorts and not a valid credible document or belief system. I’d question the sources that brought you to your conclusion myself. I personally use the bible in my genealogy to study history and culture from those time periods. And, I’m not that concerned if we haven’t figured out exactly which day or year Noah’s ark sailed. Was time even measured the same then, time in a day, a week, a month? Do we really know? We think we do…just like some people think they know whats fact and whats fiction. What about the religious artifiacts that have been unearthed? I think that is evidence enough that those cultures lived. The bottom line is this: we all are free to believe what we want.. you can believe in someone bigger than yourself or you can chalk it up as a myth or legend. Good luck in your search for truth!
King Selassie was a from the house of David.
Queen of Sheba. Menelik. Solomon.
Why no mention of this documented lineage?
I was just on Familysearch.org which can go way back on the family tree, i was amazed that it went all the way back to 4000 BC, and it showed that I was related to KING DAVID and a million other KINGS, queens, etc.. but KING DAVID? I was so excited but i’m starting to think it has to be full of it. The amt of famous kings and the like that i have found in my family Tree is just crazy. There was even a Noah, not sure if it’s THE noah, but also said i’m related to Juda
but then i zoom out and see just the branch from my Grandmother that leads to 4,000 BC, the amt of people that has went into creating me, all of us really.. I would venture to guess that each and everyone of us is related to these kings in some way or another.
and how does this family tree thing work anyway? cause it took zero research other than putting in myself, parents, grandparents, it found their parents, grandparents.. etc.. all the way back.. there has to be room for error there.
But, i’m happy saying that i have royal Blood 🙂
I have taken my geneology from the United States through Scoland and England to Lusignan. From there, I have taken it through Sulpice de Charroux, Geoffroy de Charroux, Geoffroy Godfred de Turenne, Geoffroy I de Turrene, Radulf de Quercy, and Emenon (Immo) de Quercy, to Natronai de Septimania (Makhir / Theodoric) of Narbonne from Babalonia. His father was Habiba Ben Natronia ha David. I would like to find out if I am of the line of David.
Have you tested on family tree dna y37
The author of this column stated that King David had at least 22 sons, Obviously he chose Solomon to succeed him. Did all kings choose their successor or was/is there a specific formula for that selection?
According to GENI the yDNA haplogroup of Moshe Abraham Shaltiel is J-M267. Does anybody know if more advanced testing has been done, producing a more detailed sub-haplogroup?
This is basic propaganda and conjecture well rooted in many years of lies and conspiracy perpetuated by multiple governmental agencies including the US. Give 95% untruth and 5% truth twisting European history and removing the actual lineage of another culture but this is the behavior of evil.
I have just traced my family pedigree line back to the Maharal, (he is my 14 x great grandad) does this mean I am related to king David?
I must be there in terms of people who have descendants identify with an Jewish heritage in a world that has not yet been totally aware or. Don’t care to knowledge the people who we’re kept in fort Judah in Mauritania, in north west Africa, these people were Jews of color who were insalved in the American and parts of the Caribbean. I am malahki Yehuda prince titile Grand Duke of a Royal House in luitivina and German descendants identify Jews of color , My family crest and my name is of the Jewish heritage in luitivina sold into slavery by either Arab slave trade or
a Africa ,king of Togo. Eventually sold to the American continent.
I have found a ancestry path from Brown/Browne through the Lusignans of France back to Immo Comte of Quercy. Many are saying he is one of Natronai’s sons born in Babylonia before coming to Narbonne. Are there any known records of Makhir/Natronai’s contingent from Babylon to Narbonne?
I hope this note finds you well. My name is Edward Clinton Spearman Jr. born David Anthony Dvorak. This is a great article Ms. Epstein. If I may earn your attention, I’ve discovered compelling evidence through a series of genetic tests (23andme, Promothease and Sequencing), a powerful religious experience, physical traits and personality assessments; that I am a descendant of King David of Israel. Please let me know if we can discuss further as I prepare to meet with Theologians in Chicago, IL. I would like to gather your thoughts.
Be well and be blessed,
Eddie Spearman (David Anthony Dvorak)
When I received my direct, paternal line Y-Dna results at 12 markers, in about 2009, I was intrigued by a sizable number Sephardic and Ashkenazi male matches, numbering about two dozen. These matches were from Aleppo, Syria, Morocco, Mexico, and some other locations in Latin America. With some research I discovered these were destinations for many Sephardim following the Alhambra Decree. They had predicted our family’s Y haplogroup would be R1b, but it was E3b, which was relabeled E1b some years later. This prediction was based on our paternal line’s origin from a village midway between Hamburg and Bremen in northern Germany. Since the Davidic line is in haplogroup J1 our paternal line has no connection with ancient Israel’s royal lineage.
A few years later I discovered that Lutheran church records for our paternal line went all the way back to the birth of a 5th gr-grandfather, Johann Schroeder, in “about” 1705, beyond which there were no records. Having the test run for most-recent-common-ancestor with two of our family’s closest Y matches I was quite surprised to discover that it was 20 generations ago. However, that would coincide with the time of the Alhambra Decree. Working with one of these matches we tentatively concluded that there was a possibility that we both descended from a Sephardic ancestor with the surname Cordova, who moved to the Provence region of southern France about 5 months after the implementation of the Alhambra Decree. But with both of our families being from common folk there would be no way to trace that many generations back in time to confirm, or refute, our hypothesis.