The Cohen haplotype

December 2014.

Last week i had a look at the Cohen haplotypes and looked if we can deduce something from the origin of the Cohen haplotypes. I had a look to see if we can deduce something from the numbers. I chose to take the people of Cohen page of ftdna. This probably gives a representative impression of the people that call themselves Cohen. I determined from each person that has more than 12 markers to see what distance (using McGee) they have to the modals as i found for the different Ashkenazi groups. For each person i determined to which Ashkenazi group they are closest; in case their distance is more than 1500 years, i disregard the association to a Ashkenazi group. 

So i got numbers of Cohen people for each group. I subsequently divided the numbers by the number of Ashkenazim that i found in my collection on my website (for each group). In case Cohen was a noise detection (not related to any group) these ratios should be constant (with some statistical noise). In case all Cohen descended from one person, those group should have equal numbers, and they should have a tmrca less than 3000 ybp. 

I omitted the tiny groups (at least 10 in my collection), since the statistical noise is too large. I required that at least persons were found in the ftdna Cohen project. The distribution is shown in the diagram.

The result is that eight groups had Cohen presence:
J1-ZS227-S12192: 0.88 (101/114)
J1-ZS227-2762310: 0.80 (16/20)
J1-ZS227-1st: 0.47 (9/19)
J2a-L70-2nd: 0.53 (8/15)
J2a-L25-a: 0.92 (12/13)
J2a-L25-b: 0.44 (15/34)
J2b-L283: 1.11 (20/18)
R1b-U152: 0.60 (6/10)

All other large groups had low Cohen numbers:
R1a-M582: 3/192
J2a-L556: 0/171
G-M377: 3/170
Q1-Y2200: 5/158
E1b-L791: 9/125
E1b-M84-1st: 6/89
J2a-L210: 4/89
J1-L817-L816: 3/73 
R1b-Z159-Ivanhoe: 3/66

Notice: on the ftdna project page were 92 persons that were not close (as defined above) to any of the Ashkenazim groups. A first impression suggests that they belong to other Jewish groups.

My conclusions: it is clear that the Cohen tradition was strong and was (to large degree) maintained for the Ashkenazi period. Given the numbers and diagram it seems reasonable that the Cohen tradition is strong in 8 Ashkenazi branches. These 8 groups have 5 ancestors at the start of Judaism: the three groups above of J1 have one ancestor at the start of Judaism (and are the majority of Cohen Ashkenazim). The two J2a-L25 groups have one ancestor at the start of Judaism. J2a-L70-2nd, J2b-L283 and R1b-U152 have their own ancestor at start of Judaism. The R1b-U152 ancestor was probably not in Judea at the start of Judaism.

It is well possible that four out of the five ancestors were in Judea at the start of Judaism (J1-ZS227, J2a-L70, J2a-L25 and J2b-L283). There is no reason why one branch is more likely to be the original Cohen branch than the others. A shared ancestors of these four branches was long before the start of Judaism.

A similar analysis is not possible for the Levi haplotype. The majority of Levi are member of R1a-M582. No ftdna project of the Levi group exists that has members of other haplotypes. Ashkenazi Levite is only for R1a-M582 members.