The origin of Ashkenazic Jews according to GPSOrigins


Recently, we completed development of GPS2, an extension of the GPS tool (see FAQ here) that predicts the geographic origins of two-ways mixed individuals (e.g., an individual with British and Chinese parents). The genetics company DDC (conflict of interest statement: I consult DDC) incorporated the GPS2 engine into their new website and tool called GPSOrigins ( GPSOrigins not only reports the most recent origins of an individual (like GPS/GPS2), but also traces the two DNA migration routes, their directions, and the dates when the most recent migrations took place.

The website opened up to the public couple of weeks ago and results are pouring in. A few people shared their results with me and gave me permission to post them online.I hope I will get a chance to publish their stories. The results for Ashkenazic Jews (AJs) are fascinating and, thus far, seem to support the Irano-Turk-Slavic hypothesis we proposed in our recent paper. The AJs I have seen so far have a split Israelite and Near Eastern origins and gravitate towards “ancient Ashkenaz” in Northeastern Turkey, a site we discovered in our recent study (see below).


Below are the results of an Ashkenazic Jew of Russian origins whose parents spoke Yiddish. The results show a split Israelite/Turkish origin, a stop around Ashkenaz, and onwards towards Khazaria, stopping close to Samandar, the Khazar southern city. Circles represent uncertainty in the estimation.


How to interpret these results? Like GPS1, GPS2 reports the average location of one’s ancestors, but GPS2 splits them into the two most likely origins. These may correspond to one’s two parents or two parental populations. We do not know who the populations are so for simplicity let us term them by their modern names. The two parent option is romantic in this case: individuals representing Israelite and Greco-Turkish populations get together in Ashkenaz and march to Khazaria. However provided the Ashkenazic Jewish background, I feel much more comfortable with the second option: an Israelite (tribe/clan/individual) that migrates towards Ashkenaz in Turkey (that resided in a hub of trade routes) and mingles with other migrants. Adjacent to them, are migrants from a Greco-Roman background who appear to have a propensity to shores, probably for maritime trading purposes. The blue population couldn’t care less about the sea, the only sea they know is made of sand. At some point both populations migrate to Khazaria and later on Russia (as we know from the known origins). This interpretation is also supported by the large circles indicating a heterogeneous spot where people of multiple origins mixed together (this is why GPS cannot call their exact origins). GPSOrigins also dates the last point and reports the historical events that occurred in each point, however these were not provided to me.

Note that Jews were NOT used to calibrate the GPS tools (unlike other tools that force Jews to Israel and then if you share genetic similarity to them you will be placed in Israel too surprise…. surprise….). In other words, the GPS Origins results are not biased towards any country for any individual. The results of this individual, thereby, support the model we proposed according to which Ashkenazic Jews emerged in Turkey from a mixed Israelite-Greco-Turko-Irano-Slavo population sometime between the first and sixth centuries, until they migrated to Khazaria or Europe.

Watch a neat GPS Origins video 

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14 Responses to The origin of Ashkenazic Jews according to GPSOrigins

  1. Zaid says:

    Did you run DNA samples used in your previous report (or other samples you have), or do you only have the results that Individuals sent to you.

  2. eelhaik says:

    Unlikely, these samples are from a different company…

  3. Froy says:

    These results seem to validate the old claim that Ashkenazi Jews are, after all, direct descendants of the ancient Israelites, even if they have intermarried a good deal along the way, and that they are not, as some like Prof. Shlomo Sand had suggested, descendants of unrelated converts that at some point adopted Judaism as their religion. Do you agree with this assessment?

    • eelhaik says:

      Keep in mind that these results are for a single individual and that only half of its origins are from Israel (we don’t know the ethnicity) the rest are from non-Israelites. You may look at the the half full glass, but I suggest waiting for more results to decide…

    • Zaid says:


      Maybe Shlomo Sand Ideas are not very clear to you. Sand believes the following:

      1-The Exile never happened and Jews remained in Palestine after the destruction of the temple.

      2-The Bulk of Jews became Christians and later Muslims and they are part of the fabric of modern day Palestinians .

      3-Most of the Jews are of Khazar Origin with maybe a minor Israelite Element.

      No rational man would claim that not a single Ashkenazi Jew have some Judean roots just like no rational man would claim that not a single Khazar remained a jew after the decline of Khazaria and that none of the Ashkenazi Jews have Khazar Roots .

      The whole discussion is about the weight (Bulk) of the Ashkenazi Jews and their origins and whether the Exile happened or not.

      Eran’s work including the results for the individual in this article still points to Khazaria/Anatolia.

      • Froy says:

        The individual in this article does point to Israel/Palestine too, though. So either this individual is an exception as a descendant of the few Israelites whose offspring made it to Europe through Khazaria, or either he is representative of the majority of Ashkenazi Jews. I agree with Dr. Elhaik that the sample is not large enough to draw conclusions yet.

  4. T says:

    How do you know the AJ probably/maybe mixed with the ancient Judeans/USA elites when the ancient Judeans DNA has never been sequenced? Sounds like a reach.

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