The Jews of Frankfurt DNA Project

Because Frankfurt was home to a well-documented Jewish population with somewhat stable surnames as early as the Middle Ages, it’s good place to begin a study of the ancestry of the modern Ashkenazi population. Using Y-DNA test results from men who have documented lineages back to Frankfurt or Worms in the 16th century or earlier, we hope to discover the DNA “signatures” for the corresponding surnames, enabling those with the surname and matching DNA who don’t have documentation to connect to their deeper pedigrees.

This is both a regional and a surname Y-DNA project. The goal is to determine the Y-DNA markers of the more than 40 families of the Judengasse whose family trees can be traced back at least to the 16th Century. Many of these families are also related to the rabbinical and merchant families of Hesse, Prague, Vienna, and elsewhere in Europe.   As most Jews hit a brick wall in their genealogy in the 18th-19th centuries, a match with any of these families will help them connect to ancestors born 200-300 years earlier than their oldest known ancestor. While the paper trail may be missing a few generations, a close Y-DNA match is proof of a connection.

In order to participate, you must:

  • Be male
  • Have one of the surnames found in Frankfurt/Worms in the 16th century (or know that your patrilineal surname was changed from one of those names).
  • Have a documented pedigree back to a male ancestor in the 16th century or earlier living in Frankfurt, Worms, Mainz, Alsace, Prague, Vienna or another major Jewish center
  • Do a Y DNA test at Family Tree DNA.  We recommend the 37 marker kit.  This ONLY tests the direct male line (to your father, paternal grandfather, etc).  It can’t tell you about any other line in your pedigree.  You will need to find male cousins to help document other lines.

If you qualify, and you have already done Y-DNA testing at Family Tree DNA, you will need to first log in to your FTDNA account, click on this link to our project join page and tell us about your “Y” (direct male) lineage.  If you do not have a kit, please contact us first so we can provide more assistance in determining if you are eligible for our project, getting the best test price, or even helping you locate a relative to test if you don’t have the surname Y-DNA for your ancestral line.

Our project includes the following surnames (there may be alternate spellings or additional families not included here):

Adler, Ammersweiler, Amorsweiler, Aschaffenburg, Auerbach, Bacharach, Bachrach, Bikrach, Bakhrach, Bacher, Ballin, Bamberger, Bauer, Beer, Beifus, Beyfus, Bing, Bingen, Birnbaum, Bischofsheim, Blun, Bonn, Boppard, Borgenicht, Brandeis, Brill, Brillin, Bruell, Buchsbaum, Cahen, Cahn, Dann, Dannhausen, de Vries, Deutz, Doctor, Drach, Dreher, Dreyfus, Elissen, Emden, Eppstein, Epstein, Eskeles, Ettingen, Falcke, Flasche, Flersheim, Flesche, Floersheim, Florsheim, Flursheim, Fraenkel, Frankel, Frankfurt, Frankfurter, Fuld, Fulda, Fuldauer, Gans,  Geismar, Gelhausen, Gelhauser, Gelnhausen, Getz. Gotz. Gunz, Ginz, Goldschmidt, Goldsmith, Gradwohl, Grotwohl, Gruenhut, Grunhut, Grunebaum, Gugenheimer, Guggenheim, Guggenheimer, Gumpertz, Gunzburg, Haas, Hahn, Hammel, Hameln, Heilbronn, Heimendinger, Heimerdinger, Hemedinger, Hemmerdinger, Hildesheim, Hirsch, Hochberg, Homburg, Honig, Horovice, Horovitz, Horowitz, Isserles, Kaiser, Kann, Katz, Katzenellenbogen, Katzenellenpogen, Kayn, Kulp, Landau, Leiter, Linz, Loans, Lorie, Löwe, Lorie, Luria, Lurie, Maas, Mainz, Meise, Merton, Metz, Moses, Nassau, Neugass, Ochs, Oppenheim, Oppenheimer, Ottingen, Rapp, Rappen, Reis, Reiss, Reuss, Rindskopf, Rost, Rothschild, Sacke, Schames, Scheuer, Schiff, Schloss, Schnapper, Schuh, Schuster, Schwab, Schwarzschild, Schwelm, Shapiro, Sichel, Spanier, Speyer, Spier, Stern, Spira, Spiro, Stiebel, Stiefel, Straus, Strauss. Spiegel, Trenel,  Treves, Trier, Ulm, Waage, Wachenheim, Wage, Wahl, Warburg, Weil, Weill, Wertheim, Wertheimber, Wertheimer, Wetzlar, Wimphen, Windmuhle, Windmuller, Winig, Wohl, Woog, Worms, Wormser, Zak, Zinz, Zonz, Zunz