JEWS OF RHODES PROJECT
April 3, 2013:
As reported before, the SCIARCON and SHAHON families turned out to have genetically distinct Y DNA. This means that they do not share a common ancestor along the male line (SCIARCON / SHAHON) of their families. What was thought to be spelling variations of the same family surname, was found not to be the case.
We recently had a member with the surname CHARHON join the Jews of Rhodes Project, and he performed a Y DNA analysis. This member was found to be of the same paternal lineage as the SCIARCON member. Therefore, SCIARCON and CHARHON are from the same family. Thus, in this case, these are spelling variations of the same family surname.
January 16, 2011:
From Y DNA analysis, it appears that the MOUSSAFIR and BENVENISTE families of Rhodes were once the same family. Their most recent common ancestor lived around the year, 1400 (plus or minus about 150 years).
June 17, 2010:
There are two individuals in the Jews of Rhodes Project, one with the surname SHAHON and the other with the surname SCIARCON. They did not match along the paternal lines of their families. Therefore, what I had thought to be a spelling variation of the surname may actually be two entirely different families. I do not want to draw a conclusion just based on two individuals. We need more people with the surnames SCIARCON, SHAHON, SHARHON, CHAHON, and CHARHON, to see if this is, indeed, the case.
It was also discovered that there were at least two different ISRAEL families that had lived in Rhodes. One family was from the ISRAEL Rabbinical Dynasty. Thus, it is now possible for men with the surname ISRAEL to determine if they had ancestors from this Rabbinical Dynasty along the paternal lines of their families.
December 11, 2009:
In 1997, a study was published in the Journal Nature, which demonstrated that a startling percentage of Jewish males who shared an oral tradition of being Cohanim, also shared the same Y chromosome signature. The males that matched this "Cohen Modal Haplotype" are found within Haplogroup J on the Tree of Homo Sapiens. Haplogroup J is commonly referred to as 'Semitic' or 'Mediterranean' because of its elevated percentage in those areas. However Haplogroup J is found at its highest frequency (and greatest diversity) in Iraq, or possibly in the Zagros mountain range found in Western Iran.
There are a few BENVENISTEs who enrolled in the Jews of Rhodes Project. Their Y DNA suggest that they share this "Cohen Modal Haplotype". Therefore, they may likely be descendants of the brother of Moses, Aaron, or most probably, at least descendants of one of Aaron´s cousins.
In today´s age of genetic testing, it would be interesting what the orthodox Rabbis would say about these BENVENISTEs following the traditions of the COHANIM, for example on Yom Kippur.
November 21, 2007:
Although this study just began 4 weeks ago, we have discovered 4 genetic matches in the MAYO/DeMAYO families, 2 genetic matches in the HANAN families, and 2 genetic matches in the ALHADEFF families. Both ALHADEFF families were unaware that they were cousins. One ALHADEFF is upgrading his Y-DNA to 67 markers, to improve the probability of knowing when the two ALHADEFFs had a common ancestor.
Another discovery made is that the two HANANs matched a FRANCO (a common surname in Rhodes), who was not a member of the Jews of Rhodes project. This FRANCO is from southwestern Greece and does not know about any relatives living in Rhodes. The families are probably related. The difference in their surnames may suggest that an ancestor was adopted, had a change of surname, was an illegitimate child, or had a common ancestor prior to the time when surnames existed. Then, one family chose the surname, FRANCO, and the other family chose the surname, HANAN. We have a FRANCO whose ancestors were from Rhodes in our project. It will be interesting to see if his results match that of the HANANs.