The Alanic Origin of the Shapiro Rabbinical Lineage

The potential Alan/Khazar of the Shapiro Rabbinical Lineage is discussed in a draft manuscript by Paull, J.M, Briskman, J., and Steeble, S.K.

This is their abstract:

The goal of this Y-DNA research study is to utilize both traditional genealogical and current DNA methods and technology to identify the unique Y-DNA genetic signature of the renowned Shapiro rabbinical lineage descending from Rabbi Pinchas Shapira1 of Korets (1726–1791).

Traditional genealogical methods provided the foundation for our study. We researched the history and genealogy of the Shapiro rabbinical lineage, and we identified and tested three pedigreed patrilineal descendants of three different sons of Rabbi Pinchas Shapira of Korets. We then utilized genetic genealogical methods to compare the Y-DNA genetic profiles of these three pedigreed descendants.

We initially determined that all three descendants genetically matched at 37 short tandem repeat (STR) markers. Their lineage-specific haplotype, in conjunction with their G-M201 haplogroup/G-FGC1160 subclade designation, comprises the Y-DNA genetic signature of their patrilineal line, back to their most recent common ancestor, Rabbi Pinchas Shapira of Korets. Next steps in the research study include upgrading the Y-DNA analysis to 67 STR markers, and additional single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping through the Family Tree DNA Big Y-500 test.

This Y-DNA research study validates historical lines of descent from the Shapiro rabbinical lineage using genealogical research methods, establishes a Y-DNA genetic signature that can be utilized to identify previously unknown or unrecognized descendants of the lineage, and demonstrates a pioneering methodology that can be applied to studies of other rabbinical lineages and their descendants.

The Alan connection was deduced from the Y haplogroup association with ancient samples:

One possibility may be linked to the Alans – Khazars connections. G2a1a samples have been found in recent paleo DNA studies of the Alans and one of them was from the Saltovo-Mayaki Culture closely associated with the Khazar Khaganate.

The finding is not surprising and neither is the conclusion. G2a1a is found in high frequency among the North Ossetians who claim descent from the Caucasus Alans (an Iranian group related to the Sarmatians and the Khazars) who migrated to Eastern Europe around the 4th century AD. G2a1a is usually traced to the south or the north Caucasus (see Wikipedia for more detailed information). This haplogroup is found among 3% of the Ashkenazic Jewish males analyzed by Das et al. (2016).

The potential Alan link is thereby reasonable and should be further explored, however, this is exactly what the authors chose NOT to do. Rather than follow up on their finding in light of the proper literature, like Das et al. (2016) or Paul Wexler’s book: The Ashkenazic Jews: A Slavo-Turkic People in Search of a Jewish Identity who found support for the Alanic origin of Ashkenazic Jews via linguistics, the authors preferred to pay lip service to Bennett Greenspan, whose platform at FamilyTreeDNA (Houston, TX) was used to facilitate the study, and remind us that Jews have a Middle Eastern origin –  just in case y’all forgot – 

Bennett Greenspan stated that about 10% of Ashkenazi Jews are in haplogroup G, and that the percentage for Sephardic Jews and Arabs is about the same; in contrast, only about 3% of Ukrainians are in haplogroup G.75 This would appear to support a Middle Eastern ethnic origin for the Jewish G2a1a cluster.


Since Greenspan lacks any and all academic credentials in genetics nor published a research paper that supports his claims, it is unclear what his numbers are based on, not to mention that his logic is entirely flawed. Just because 3% of Ukrainians are in the same high haplogroup G compared to Ashkenazic Jews than Jews have a Middle Eastern origin for a small subgroup of G? What? How did Ukrainians get into the Alan ploy? Why are we talking about G instead of G2a1a? Since when G2a1a is of Middle Eastern origin? I have no doubt that Bennett Greenspan can sell ice cubes to Eskimos, but the authors should really try a little harder.

The next awkward statement is that there is no evidence of a Khazarian origin in the entire literature and that the Alanic Ashkenazic Jews (according to the authors), are actually from the Middle East (the terms “Near East” and “Middle East” are both used as a synonymous to “Israel” in Jewish studies):

Genetic studies on Jews have found no substantive evidence of a Khazar origin among Ashkenazi Jews, as opposed to evidence they have mixed Near Eastern/Mediterranean and Southern European origins.

Amazingly, the authors cite here a 2013 paper written by Shaul Stampfer who explains why he doesn’t like my genetics findings (more about Stampfer’s tactics here).

The outcome is another typical meaningless, self-conflicting, and self-refuting paper in the long history of Jewish genetic studies. It adds no support to a Levantine origin for Ashkenazic Jews and damages the credibility of the pro-Judaean school. The only point worth taking form this paper is how nervous Greenspan must be in this new aDNA era. Who would have thought 20 years ago that aDNA would allow testing all the stories that he sold people about their Jewish origins? That paleogenomics would rise to such prominence sufficient to refute his fairytales? I explained before how aDNA evidence refuted the “Four Jewish mtDNA mothers” (see here):

Due to the many population replacements that the area experienced, we can see a diverse range of mitochondrial haplogroups that vary over time. Among the most common lineages are J2, K1a, and T. An analysis of Judaeans from the first century AD confirmed the prevalence of the T haplogroup (Matheson et al. 2009), found today in less than 10% of Ashkenazic Jews. Unsurprisingly, not a single skeleton matches the alleged four Ashkenazic Jewish mothers, whose origin is in prehistoric Europe (Costa et al. 2013). As expected, an exact match with one of those “mothers” was found in Neolithic Spain (Haak et al. 2015).


In other words, based on ancient DNA at least one of the “Four Jewish mtDNA mothers” is from Europe, as predicted by Costa et al. (2013). I agree with the authors that it is unlikely that the remaining haplogroups are from the Middle East. This work was made possible using ancient mtDNA and the construction of ancient mtDNA databases. We are working to map ancient Y chromosomes to create an equivalent resource.

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4 Responses to The Alanic Origin of the Shapiro Rabbinical Lineage

  1. Jim W. Dean says:

    This ongoing battle to hunt down and expose fake history, including lineages to lay claim to ancient homelands will be with us for some time. But the genome evidence will win out in the end. When that happens some one will set up a company to do fake genome tests on special request.

    • Steve says:

      Of course if you think that one must be a descendant of Israelites to lay claim to Israel, that would make Arabs land thieves and imposters, too…
      Being a “Semite” no more makes Arabs into Israelites than being fellow Indo Europeans makes a Greek a German.
      Also, Ashkenazim are a minority of the Israeli Jewish population so this talking point doesn’t even apply to Mizrahi Jews.
      Arabs invaded the Levant in the 7th century A.D. and have no ancestral claim to that land going back to the ancient Israelites.
      Jews reconquered their stolen lands in the 20th century.

  2. Steve says:

    Bennett Greenspan is also a liar and deceiver that without consent gave his Family Tree DNA customers genetic profiles to the FBI.

    I’m a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being …
    Feb 1, 2019 – Comment Some would argue he has broken every ethical and moral rule of his in his profession, but genealogist Bennett Greenspan prefers to …

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