16 October 2006

Jewish Vikings? A DNA mystery

Let me preface this item by saying that I'm not a DNA expert. I leave that to the many brilliant people in the field.

However, as an entry in the food for thought category, click here for “Detective work solves a genetic mystery,” from the University of Sydney (Australia).

Researcher Marc Buhler believes he has tracked down the source of a genetic marker shared by individuals with Jewish and Viking ancestral origins. The marker in question is a mutation that may be an inherited shield against AIDS.

The question: How do people from such different regions carry this genetic inheritance? Where did their paths cross?

One in five Caucasians share a common ancestor who carried that marker, says Buhler, who believes the mutation's carrier lived around 800 CE, northeast of the Black Sea in the Khazars' neighborhood.

In Australia, he tested 807 Ashkenazi Jews and 311 non-Jews, and found the marker in one in four Ashkenazi Jews, and in one in three whose grandparents came from Russia, Poland, Austria or Czechoslovakia.

Buhler believes the genetic marker came to Scandinavia when Swedish Vikings visited the area between 800-1000 CE, and was distributed to Ashkenazi Jews when many of them left Germany after a 1350 bout of plague and traveled east, mingling with the Jews of the Khazar region.

He says that a previous study indicated the incidence of this marker in about one in three Ashkenazi Jews and one in four Icelanders.

Genealogists around the world are waiting anxiously for the development of a time-travel machine, so we'll finally be able to ask questions of our ancestors and resolve some of this speculation.


  1. Anonymous2:42 AM

    My name is Shlomo Schwartz and I am a student in the History school in the Hebrew University, Jerusalem
    I will be more then happy if you can refer me to some information abut that historical event

    1. Got my result at Ancestry DNA to find 4th-6th cousins are European Jews! 23% Scandinavia which had to do of Dad's heritage and more!

      My name is rsannashelton83 at Ancestry.com

    2. Anonymous3:55 AM

      I'm an American Jew who just learned that there's a farm in Norway called by my surname during the late 18th century and that a DNA test said that 1% of my ancestry is Norwegian.

  2. Hi, Shlomo
    If you send me an email via ASK SCHELLY I can give you information. You have not supplied an email here, so I cannot contact you.

    Best wishes,

  3. Anonymous4:37 AM

    This is very interesting due to the fact that there is information that vikings acctually were jews who after romans burned down jerusalem could not stay there so they rebeld and became pagans and fled to Euprope.
    This is another proof.
    Empress blessed

  4. Anonymous7:37 PM

    The Khazars represent the only nation that converted to Judaism around 800, prior to that they were either shamanists, christians or muslims.

    1. Anonymous1:59 AM

      There were many religions, Zoroastrians and Mithra's worshippers just to name a few

  5. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Hi I am a vicking re enactor and jewish, and have been trying to enlighten people in my socciety that jews and vikings crossed paths as at he moment a re enactor can choose christian or pagen to follow in character. do you have any more info that you could send me.


  6. Anonymous9:07 PM

    the vikings or 6 kings (after the 6 hebrew pharaohs of egypt were 100% Israelite. they named themselves the dan-ish after the tribe of dan. the lion on the british coat of arms symbolizes the tribe of judah, the unicorn symbolizes the tribe of joseph, and the harp symbolizes the king solomon. brit-ish means land of the covenant in hebrew! so the vikings named england great land of the covenant!!!

  7. Hi; I am a jewish re-enactor, writing a story about a Khazari jew who winds up in viking sweden. I have a fair amount of research, but it sounds like you have more still. I would love to compare notes and read some of your sources. (BTW, this story will be voiced as well as written)


  8. Anonymous7:13 PM

    my moms family was ukrainian jewish from near kiev, blonde blue and green eyed, some red heads too.One year ago she is tod she has a Scandinavian eye condition, so something happened way back, I guess we are Jewish Vikings!

  9. Anonymous7:51 AM

    Please can you tell me why the Khazar nation, as a whole, converted to Judaism?

  10. I am a Viking Jew by both mtDNA and autosomal STR genetic analysis. Though I am American, my top autosomal genetic match is Sweden and my mtDNA motherline result is filled with exact Ashkenazi Jewish matches in Iceland, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Russia, Germany, Greece, Spain, Poland, Germany and Iran. By oral family tradition, I knew of my Jewish roots, but Sweden coming out number 1 in my autosomal genetic test honestly stunned me - I had no idea of my extensive Scandinavian roots. I'd really like to find out more about Jewish Vikings.

  11. Anonymous12:44 PM

    my father had blue eyes and reddish hair, we know that we are levites from Levy tribe, My first born son didn't need redemption. So how come my father looked like blond Scandinavian with shape of Japanese eyes,no intermarriage in the family, I have light green eyes.

    1. Your father and I have a lot incoming I have blue eye's blond hair and I have oriental eye shape. My family are also levites from Levy tribe.

  12. Rebecca11:49 AM

    Hi, my name is Rebecca and I'm Jewish but my parents and family say I don't look Jewish because I have the blondest hair and blue eyes and I love Vikings. my dad actually said that my medieval ancestors might of actually been vikings. my family was born in the European part of Russia (ukraine) near Scandinavia and I have a Latvian/Lithuanian/Estonian last name. Or maybe a Swedish last name. I am convinced that I am related to a Viking.

  13. Anonymous9:13 AM

    Well, the vikings did pillage and rape around a lot.