G2a Jews

It’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and I’m thinking about Jews in Haplogroup G2a3b1 (P303). I’m specifically  thinking about the theory that G2a3b1 might have entered Europe, at least in part, with the Jewish Diaspora. Ray Banks, the Project Administrator for Family Tree DNA’s Haplogroup G Project has been flirting with this theory for some time now. And, I sometimes think there is no end to the number of people who contact me privately about it.

There are plenty of Jews among our distant cousins. Haplogroup G probably originated in the Middle East, perhaps in the area of Lake Van, south of the Caucasus Mountains, so it’s not surprising that Jews (and many other Middle Eastern ethnic groups) are represented. Men from Haplogroup G might have been among the founding populations of ancient Hebrews, or might have been assimilated through conversion and conquest at many later dates.

Most Jews in Haplogroup G are G2c. Approximately 7% of Ashkenazi Jews belong this group (Behar et al., 2004). G2c might (or might not) be a marker for paternal ancestry among the Khazars, a Turkic tribe that converted en masse to Judaism in the 8th century. There are also small clusters of Jews scattered throughout G1 and G2a. Probably most of them descend from converts during the Roman Empire. (See, e.g., Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People (2010)).

There is no mystery with any of these groups.

I’m thinking about a a different group — G2a3b1, the overwhelming majority of Haplogroup G in Europe.

Ray Banks recently advanced the theory that G2a spread through Europe, at least in part, with the Radhanites, Jewish merchants who plied the trade routes between the Muslim East and the Christian West about 500 to 1000 CE. A few years ago Ray’s Banks’ Banks DNA Project website speculated that his’ ancestor (in Haplogroup I-P109) might have lived about 600 BCE in Persia (now Iran). I suspect this theory influenced Ray’s later thinking.

The Radhanite theory is a modern incarnation of an older theory that members of Haplogroup G are descended from Jews deported from Judaea as slaves in 135 CE, who ended up in the slave markets of Rome and spread from there.

Why the Jews? A number of reasons. First, Haplogroup G apparently came to Europe from the Middle East. It is somewhat common among Jews, but is relatively rare in Europe. That’s the initial hook.

Second, some of the major European subgroups of G apparently date to about 600 BCE. The date is comfortably close to 538/7 BCE, when Cyrus the Great of Persia ended the Babylonian Captivity and allowed Jews to return to Judah. So we can imagine, if we choose, that our distant ancestors might have been Persian men with Jewish wives, who joined the Return.

Third, there seem to be slightly higher levels of G in the Rhine river valley, in Cologne and Mainz. Those are cities known to have Jewish populations from an early date.

Fourth, the highest concentration of Haplogroup G might be on the Spanish island of Ibiza, which is famous for being a center for the crypto-Jews of Spain.

But the Ibiza Jews are poorly typed, and it seems likely that they might descend from the unusually high number of Jewish converts in Roman Spain. Anecdotal evidence

Today, we find Haplogroup G at higher frequencies in those same areas, but a causal connection would be forced. The Radhanites, for example, are explicitly mentioned primarily in connection with the Rhône River valley, while G2 researchers have suggested a concentration in this Rhine River valley.

Dating by STR mutation rates is rapidly falling out of favor, but it has given us a framework of dates that will be hard to replace. P303, the mutation that defines G2a3b1, is thought to be about 5,000 years old. Coincidentally, that’s roughly the same age (5,000 to 6,100 years) as the Neolithic G2a skeletons found in Europe. This group is found in smaller numbers outside Europe, and might have originated somewhere in the Middle East.

L497 and L42, two significant subgroups of P303, are thought to be about 2,500 years old, which takes us (again) to 500 BCE. These groups almost certainly originated in Europe, judging from the rarity of samples from other areas.

Note: None of these older theories proved out. It’s now (2020) clear European G2a represents a population settled in European since Neolithic times–just as the academics said all along.

Edited to fix broken link.

Rhaetian Possibilities

Interesting news from Ray Banks, the administrator of Family Tree DNA’s Haplogroup G Project. He thinks the concentration of G in the area that was anciently called Rhaetia might be due to the Rhaetians.

The announcement comes seven years, almost to the day, after I first suggested it to him. I’ve renewed the conversation several times since then. Each time he has objected. He hears dozens of theories every week, he says; no reason to think the Rhaetians are anything worth looking at.

Let’s look at them anyway.


Haplogroup G is rare in Europe. Its distribution follows a gradient from south to north. Maybe 2-3% of the population in the south, and less than 1% in the north. Looking at the area where it appears with the greatest diversity, we can guess that Haplogroup G originated somewhere in southwestern Asia, perhaps south of the Caucasus Mountains. If so, it must have been introduced into Europe at some unknown date in pre-history, perhaps through migrations from what is now Turkey.

As it turns out, there is a notable population said to have come into Europe from Turkey – the Etruscans. The Etruscans were a pre-Roman culture concentrated in what is now the Tuscan area of Italy. They seem to have emerged out of the Villanovan Culture about 700 BCE. From about 620 BCE to 500 BCE they controlled most Italy north of Campania, including Rome itself.

Etruscan origins have been debated for centuries. The Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BCE) claimed the Etruscans came to Italy from Lydia, in what is now Turkey. Four hundred years later, another Greek historian, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, thought Herodotus was wrong. Dionysius thought the Etruscans were indigenous to Italy. Italian historians are inclined to side with Dionysius: it just doesn’t look right for Rome’s illustrious predecessors to come from somewhere else.

Outside Italy, historians take a more balanced view. According to the Roman poet Virgil the Etruscans were descended from the Trojans. Many modern historians believe that Virgil’s story of Aeneas’ flight to Italy after the Fall of Troy might be a dim memory of an early migration.


Rhaetian origins are less contentious. The Rhaetians were a tribe that lived north of the Alps, in what is now Austria, Switzerland and southern Germany. Their language was related to Etruscan. Roman historians reported the Rhaetians as descendants of Etruscans who had fled north during the Celtic invasion of Italy in the 4th century BCE. Livy says, “The Alpine tribes are undoubtedly of the same [Etruscan] stock, especially the Raetii, who had through the nature of their country become so uncivilised that they retained no trace of their original condition except their language, and even this was not free from corruption.” (The Migrations of the Gauls into Italy, Book V, Chapter 33.)

Modern historians accept the connection between the Etruscans and the Rhaetians, but aren’t so sure of the date. Both the Etruscans and the Rhaetians might have been related more distantly; perhaps through a common descent from the neolithic population on both sides of the Alps.

Where does this leave us?

Genetic studies haven’t solved the question of Etruscan origins, but preliminary studies suggest that some component of the Etruscan population did indeed come from southwestern Asia, and probably from Turkey. And, there is little doubt that the Rhaetians were linguistically connected to the Etruscans, so perhaps genetically connected as well.

We are a long way from being able to prove that the concentration of Haplogroup G the area north of the Alps is due to the Rhaetians and Etruscans, but it makes a good working hypothesis.


My thanks to Jon Hildreth. A friendly debate in January 2005 led me to suggest that our Haplogroup G ancestor was more likely to have to been a Roman soldier retired near the Swiss frontier in the 1st century than a barbarian invader in the 4th cenutry.

Updating our information

I’ve neglected many interesting updates to our Hauri project over the past few years. Genetic genealogy is a fast-developing field, where new information quickly supersedes the old. I’m now re-doing the information here. If you have questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.

Genetic Adam to Haplogroup G

Genetic Adam

Once a particular marker appears by mutation in a man, all of his descendants will also carry that marker. If we compile information on a large set of markers and project them back in time using computer algorithms, we find that the trail of mutations coalesces in a single y chromosome whose owner lived, according to the genetic dating, some 60,000 years ago (~2,400 generations). The date is not certain, and could have been anywhere between 40,000 and 140,000 years ago. At that time, a mutation arose, which is now carried by every male on the planet. 

This man who carried this mutation has been dubbed “Genetic Adam”.

M201 — Founder of Haplogroup G

About 10,000 years ago (~400 generations) things began to change for the members of the four Haplogroups G-J. Prior to this time all humans were hunter-gatherers. The people of what was known as the Fertile Crescent developed agriculture and the world would never be the same again. Population could expand rapidly and farmers began moving out of the Middle East, through the islands and along the shores of the Mediterranean, through Turkey into the Balkans and the Caucasus Mountains.

It was once thought that the advancing farmers displaced or eliminated the hunter-gatherers of Europe. However the DNA studies have shown that the spread of agriculture involved the movement of some people into Europe who had not been there before (Haplogroups J2 and E3b), but the farming spread largely by cultural diffusion to existing Europeans. One hypothesis, gaining ground recently, is that these same people introduced the Indo-European language into northern India, the mid-East and Europe. Indo-European is the parent language for Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and German, and hence of most of the other languages of the Middle East, northern India and Europe. There have been many attempts to identify the original Indo-European culture and homeland. It is currently thought to have been the Sredy Stog culture in what is now eastern Ukraine.

The descendants of M201 who went east have very small numbers of living male-line descendant members in China, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines and the Polynesian Islands.Those that went north have small numbers of living male-line descendant G-folk in Syria (Arab), Russia (Adygeans), Uzbekistan (Tartars and Karakalpaks), Mongolia, and western China Uygurs).Those that went west and north live today in Italy, Sicily, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France, Norway and Sweden. In the Republic of Georgia (Caucasus Mountains, south of Russia and north of Turkey ) members of G make up as much as 30% of the population. There are 14% on the island of Sardinia, 10% in north central Italy, 8% in northern Spain, almost 7% in Turkey, and lesser percentages in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Ukraine, Lebanon, Greece, Hungary, Albania, Croatia, and Ethiopia. G is still represented in the Middle East — some of these are Arab, some are Jews, many are neither. Across northwestern Europe, G haplotypes occur at a low frequency, 1-3%.

M201 has relatively few descendants. Only about 1-2% of modern-day people of European ancestry are in Haplogroup G, with a gradient from southeast (most common) to northwest (least common). Most geneticists currently believe that when Haplogroup G, J and E3b are found in Europe, they are markers for the spread of farmers from the Middle East into Europe 6,000-8,000 years ago. Worldwide, Haplogroup G is most common in the Caucasus region, especially the Republic of Georgia where the prevalence approaches 30%. It is also fairly common in Turkey (10%).

The mutations M52, M170, and 12f2.1 gave rise to Haplogroups H, I, and J, which are brother haplogroups of G. Haplogroup H is largely confined to the Indian subcontinent. Haplogroup I spread up through central Europe and into Scandinavia, where it is well represented today. Haplogroup J is very common in the Middle East, where many Jews, Arabs, and others belong to it. These three haplogroups probably arose between 20 and 30,000 years ago.  

Haplogroup G2

The G2 branch of Haplogroup G is defined by a mutation at P287. This mutation seems to have originated in Anatolia (modern Turkey), but the date is uncertain. It is found most often in the Caucasus and Middle East. One distribution map of this haplogroup shows a concentration in central Italy, diffusing north into the Swiss Alps.

Subgroup G2a

G2 has two subgroups, G2a and G2b, defined by mutations at P15 and M286, respectively. 

Subgroup G2a3b

This subgroup of G2 is defined by a mutation at P303. Ray Banks says, “The latest thinking is that G2a3b persons originated in the general area of western Iran sometime perhaps around 500 BC.” (Banks Families and other closely related persons within Haplgroup G2a3b). However, this group includes the Rangaswamy family, a high-caste Indian family, whose common ancestor with P303 and DYS=13 is estimated to have lived 3,000 years ago.


One of the — probably ancient — divisions within Haplogroup G2 is between those who have 13 repeats at DYS388, and those who have 12 repeats. Ray Banks estimates this mutation at 2500 years ago. Europeans are more likely to have 13, and Middle Eastern men are more likely to have 12. There are exceptions, however. Some Iranian men, those just south of the Caspian Sea, are more similar to men south of the Caucasus Mountains (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) than to other Iranians. In addition, there are many indications that some Iranians have a closer relationship to Welshmen, Englishmen, Swiss and southern Germans than to Turks, Russians and Ossetians. Such results suggest ancient migration patterns.

Subgroup G2a3b2 

This subgroup of G2 is defined by mutations at S146 and S147 (also know as L42 and L43). All members of G2a3b2 have 13 repeats at DYS388, so this mutation must have been later, but it must have occurred almost immediately after, because the two mutations are approximately the same age.

Perhaps Jewish

Haplogroup G is a Middle Eastern Group. One of the striking things about it is how intertwined all of its subgroups are with Jews. Ray Banks has recently suggested that the spread of G2 in Europe could be explained by the spread of Jewish merchants, who are known to have settled heavily in Switzerland and Flanders, two areas with a high concentration of G2 in modern times. See Haplogroup G and Migration Patterns for more information.

Deep Clade Test

One of the members of the Hauri DNA Project ordered a deep clade test. His results came back a few days ago. Because they apply to the rest of us with the same Hauri haplotype, the results are worth going over.

The deep clade test looks for the SNP markers that define haplogroups and subgroups. From my test a few years ago, we know that the descendants of Jacob Howry of Howrytown belong to Haplogroup G2. My test result showed P15+, meaning that I have the P15 marker. That’s the marker that defines Haplogroup G2.

This new test shows that our buddy has M201+ P15+ M285- M286- M287- M342- M377- P20-. That is, he has the M201 marker that defines Haplogroup G, and the P15 marker that defines subgroup G2. He doesn’t have the markers M285 (for G1), M286 (for G2b), M287 (for G3), M342 (for G1), M377 (for G5) or P20 (for G1a).

Bottom line, the Hauris from our branch are G2, and more precisely G2*. Family Tree DNA is not currently testing for G2a (P16+), G2a1 (P17+ or P18+) or G2b (M286+). Doesn’t matter. Ray Banks has identified the Hauris as being part of his U8* star cluster, and there has been some discussion that this cluster might soon be classified as G2c. In the meantime, there are no more known SNPs, so no opportunity for further refinement of our Hauri haplogroup.

Family History: Going Way Back via DNA

by Sarah Brown, Columbia News Service (Feb. 27, 2007)

All they had in common was a name.

Two strangers from different states sent away swabs of their DNA to be tested. The results came back: They were related.

But what does that mean? For Justin Swanstrom of Denver, it meant he could be confident in the genealogy he had compiled through years of meticulous research. For others, the answer is not so clear.

Genealogies used to stop at the end of a trail of yellowed documents. Now, genealogical DNA testing can fill in the gaps where court records and birth certificates fall short. Since the advent of the technology at the turn of the century, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have looked for keys to their ancestry through documenting their genetic code. The testing can be a tool for genealogical research or give clues to ancient history, but sometimes the paper trail is still more telling than the double helix.

Swanstrom, 51, began studying his genealogy 35 years ago the old fashioned way–he sent a letter. According to family tradition, his great grandfather ran away from home at age 12 and joined the Mormons. He wrote to the Family History Library of the Latter Day Saints to see if the story was true. A letter came back that debunked the family myth but hooked him on genealogy.

“This wonderful woman at the LDS library” helped him begin his lasting pursuit by “taking the time to actually write a long letter to me and talk about what she found,” he said.

Since then, Swanstrom has traced dozens of branches of his family tree. Online resources, like RootsWeb.com, have made it easier for genealogists to connect and share information, he said, and he now does most of his research on the Internet. Still, the records could not clarify if someone along his father’s line–the Howerys–had been a stepfather, as his grandfather thought. Just as DNA technology was becoming available to the public, he decided to test his grandfather’s theory in 2000, he said.

To find out if he really was descended from Howerys, he had to compare his genes with a member of that family. He found a Howery through RootsWeb who sent a genetic sample to Family Tree DNA, a testing agency. The results showed that Swanstrom was part of the Howery family. He said the test was only useful because he was testing a specific hypothesis about his family history.

“I think it really depends on whether you’re framing the right question,” he said. The tests can clarify points of history, but they need context and a point of comparison.

The convenience of the Internet and DNA testing have drawn more people to the study of genealogy, Swanstrom said, but their understanding of what the results mean is superficial. People have begun to abandon older, more effective methods of studying family history.

“DNA is not genealogy,” said Tony Burroughs, author of “Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree.” “People need to know it’s not genealogy and it’s not a substitute for genealogy.”

Using the tests may be appealing for blacks because the traditional routes of tracing family history are complicated by a past of discrimination and slavery. Because of segregation, old marriage records of blacks may be filed separately from the records of whites, and black cemeteries may be separate and less well documented, Burroughs said. Black slaves were often listed as property of landowners and only by a first name, he added, making it nearly impossible to trace an ancestry back to Africa.

But DNA offers the possibility of looking further back. As databases have grown over the past several years, a person can get a general sense of one line of ancestry back 60,000 years. The Genographic Project, a five-year research effort by National Geographic and IBM, has attracted more than 190,000 participants since it began in 2005, according to Glynnis Breen, a spokeswoman for the project. The project offers to track the deep ancestry of participants to a common ancient root in Africa.

Participants send in a cheek swab and receive back a map of their “genetic journey,” the migration of one direct line of descent over thousands of years. The database still leaves millennia-long gaps in the history, painting man’s journey with broad strokes. It is not a genealogy, but it offers insight into migration patterns and ancient history.

Several other organizations of this sort can give clues to what region someone’s ancestors came from, but tracking one’s history to a tribe in Africa is overly optimistic, said Dr. Bruce Jackson of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

“Anybody that tells you they’re matching you to some group is just bilking you,” said Jackson, who is a head of the African-American DNA Roots Project, a molecular anthropology project whose goal is to match lineages of blacks and Caribbean people of African ancestry to West African tribes and ethnic groups that were the sources of slaves. He said so far the databases can only match people to a region; matching to an ethnic group may be a possibility 20 years down the line, as databases improve.

“I think most Americans want to be connected to somebody,” he said. “I think it’s a very American thing to want to know where your roots are.”

After decades of research, Swanstrom still occasionally turns to the envelope and stamp to unlock keys to his history. He recently found what might be additional information about his ancestors in Utah and mailed a form to a historical society requesting additional information. It felt bizarre to use mail again, he said.

Still, an even older method may be the key to finding one’s history.

“The things that would come the closest to being some part of me are the things that I learned not by looking at genealogy but by listening to my grandmother’s stories about her ancestors,” Swanstrom said.

Join Us

We invite interested Hauri males, of whatever spelling, to have a yDNA test and share their results with us. The Hauri yDNA project uses Family Tree DNA, which will do the test, report the results, and notify us (with your permission). Family Tree DNA uses the lab of Dr. Michael Hammer at the University of Arizona, who has done pioneering work in the field of genetic genealogy.

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  • We are looking for paternal descendants of the Swiss Hauris and German and French Haurys. Most Swiss and German Hauri and Haury men, as well as French Haurys from Alsace, should have the same y chromosome. A positive match would strengthen the evidence that all branches of this Hauri family have a common ancestor.
  • We are looking for paternal descendants of Hans Howry, the 18th century Mennonite immigrant to Pennsylvania. The results will help us confirm the close relationship between the Virginia and Pennsylvania Howry families.
  • We are looking for male members of Beromünster’s historic families (Baumli, Brandstetter, Dangel, Dolder, Ernst, Estermann, Frey, Herzog, Kopp, Lüthert, Maier, Röthelin, Schlee, Schumacher, Stauffer, Suter, Troxler, Vonarburg, and Weber). Some of those families probably belong to the same male line but adopted different surnames in the 13th century. The results could show whether the Hauris were one of a group of local families, or whether they came from elsewhere in Switzerland (such as Steffisburg or Jegenstorf) or Germany (such as Baden-Württemberg).
  • We are looking for male members of the Scottish (Orcadian) Horrie, Horry, Hourie, Houry and Howrie families. The results will show whether there is a relationship with the Swiss Hauri family. The Scottish and Swiss families probably belong to different male lineages.
  • We are looking for male members of the French (Béarnese) Haurie, Haury, Horry and Hourie families, including the South Carolina Horry family. The results will show whether there is a relationship with the Swiss Hauris. The French and Swiss families probably belong to different male lineages.

Testing is Easy

Testing is easy. When you join the Hauri DNA project, Family Tree DNA will send you a test kit. A DNA sample consists of human cells. A decade ago, DNA tests required a blood sample. Today, the most common method of taking a sample is to use a plastic swab to brush the inside of a person’s cheek. Some labs use mouth wash or chewing gum. The sample is then sent to the lab. You will be notified by email when your results are ready, typically just a few weeks.

Testing is Safe

DNA testing is different from both paternity testing and forensic testing. Insurance companies are prohibited by law from using genetic information to make health care decisions. Therefore, your STR and SNP test results cannot be used in any way other than you intend.

How to Join

You can join the Hauri DNA Project at Family Tree DNACurrent pricing (June 2020) is:

  • 37-marker test $119
  • 111-marker test $249
  • Big Y 700 $449

You should test as many markers as you can afford. The more markers you have tested, the higher the quality of the result. If you order a lower number of markers now, you can upgrade later. The 37-marker test is sufficient to confirm a connection to any of the Hauris already tested. A 111-marker test is the best option if you want to begin exploring the origins of your paternal line.

For more information, see Hauri DNA Project at Family Tree DNA.

Related Families

We need to re-visit the information on this page. It has been long superseded by additional research.

When surnames were adopted (about 1250-1300 in Switzerland), members of the same paternal line will have have adopted different surnames. So, the Swiss Hauris should be paternally related to dozens of other German and Swiss families with different surnames. DNA test results can reveal these connections.

Because genetic testing for genealogy is still in its infancy, most families do not have a yDNA project. So, we find only a few possible connections.

Hierholzer Family

The Swiss Hauris exactly match a southern German family, the Hierholzers, at 12 markers. This match suggests that the Hauris and Hierholzers share a common paternal origin. The Hierholzer family apparently originated in and took their name from the village of Hierholz in Waldshut, Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, just across the border from Switzerland. Both the Hauris and the Hierholzers might have originated there, say about 1200.

Lehmann Family

DNA testing shows that the Swiss Hauris are relatively closely related to the Lehmann family. Both are members of subgroup L42. The early history of both families is speculative, but some genealogists in each family put their remote origin in Steffisburg (Berne). It is possible that the two families share a common origin there.

Other Swiss Families

The Hauris will be distantly related in the male line to local families with other surnames. If the Hauris were already an old family at Beromünster in 1300, they would have been paternally related to local families. On the other hand, if the Hauris came to Beromünster from Jegenstorf or Steffisburg about 1300, they should be paternally related to other families in those areas. We currently have no information that would connect us to any of those families.

The following list shows the villages where the Hauris lived or might have originated, and the families who were citizens of those villages before 1800 (Emil Meier, Familiennamenbuch der Schweiz (Zürich 1968-71)):

  • Beromünster (Luzern): Baumli, Brandstetter, Dangel, Dolder, Ernst, Estermann, Frey, Herzog, Kopp, Lüthert, Maier, Röthelin, Schlee, Schumacher, Stauffer, Suter, Troxler, Vonarburg, and Weber.
  • Hirschthal (Aargau): Bösch, Brugger, Gall, Hauri, Klauenbösch, Kleiner, Lüscher, Müller, and Weber.
  • Jegenstorf (Bern): Aeberhard, Dürig, Eberhard, Glauser, Hubmann, Iseli, Junker, Käch, Knuchel, Kohler, Niklaus, Rufer, Stäussi, Uhlmann, Witschi, Zweiacher.
  • Reinach (Aargau): Aeschbach, Bauhofer, Buchhofer, Buhofer, Burger, Eichenberger, Engel, Erismann, Fischer, Fuchs, Gautschi, Haller, Hauri, Hediger, Heitz, Heiz, Huber, Keller, Leutwiler, Leutwyler, Lüscher, Merz, Soland, and Wildi.
  • Schöftland (Aargau): Bachmann, Bolliger, Buchser, Christen, Dätwyler, Dutly, Ernst, Fäs, Gall, Gloor, Haller, Hochuli, Hunziker, Knechtli, Lüthy, Morach, Müller, Suter, Wälty, Wellenberg, and Zehnder.
  • Staffelbach (Aargau): Basler, Basler, Berchdolf, Bolliger, Dätwyler, Fehlmann, Fehlmann, Gugelmann, Hauri, Hübscher, Hunziker, Kleiner, Knechtli, Kömeter, Leuenberger, Lüscher, Morgenthaler, Müller, Ries, Scheuzger, Stamm, and Wacker.
  • Steffisburg (Bern): Aeberhard, Bächer, Becher, Berger, Blank, Blaser, Braun, Breit, Büchler, Dummermuth, Eberhard, Eymann, Fahrni, Frank, Frey, Fues, Fuss, Gerber, Howald, Ingold, Joder, Jung, Kaufmann, Küng, Lehmann, Linder, Mäder, Matthys, Maurer, Meder, Megert, Meyer, Moser, Pfister, Portmann, Reusser, Reust, Ruchti, Rüfenacht, Rupp, Schiffmann, Schlapbach, Schneider, Schüpbach, Schütz, Schweizer, Spring, Stauffer, Tschabold, Walter, Walther, Wyttenbach, Zeller, and Zimmermann.
  • Sursee (Luzern): Aebi, Amlehn, Attenhofer, Auer, Beck, Bossart, Brütschlin, Eggli, Furrer, Galliker, Gassmann, Göldlin, Hinker, Hollenwäger, Imbach, Kämpf, Kappeler, Mengis, Meyer, Muggli, Mugglin, Rüttiman, Schnyder, Schnyder von Wartensee, Schwyzer, Staffelbach, Thowe, Tschupp, Wagemann, Winiger, Zülly, and Zust.

Note: This list shows the families who were citizens in each village. Therefore, it does not include every family that lived in the village.

The only DNA project for any of these families I have found to date is Joder of Steffisburg. The family belongs to Haplogroup I1c, so is not paternally related to the Swiss Hauris.

Other G2a Families

Continuing back in time, we can widen the search for distant cousins by looking for families with test results that are close to the Swiss Hauris. As a Germanic family in central Europe, the Hauris should have results similar to hundreds of other German and German-Swiss families with different surnames. Here, we are looking for geographic patterns over thousands of years, not genealogical origins.

The anonymous samples below are from the YHRD database. The named samples are largely from the ySearch and yBase databases. The Hierholzer sample is from the Family Tree DNA data, and the Jensen sample is from the Sorenson database. Family Tree DNA’s Recent Ethnic Origins database shows no exact matches for Hauri, but there is a Mexican family with a two-step mutation from the Hauris. Because of the nature of the database, no details are available. It seems possible that this Mexican family is descended from the Asturian family shown below.

The search for other families with similar test results has one significant caveat — because of a process called convergence, unrelated families can have the same or similar results. One way to avoid comparing apples and oranges is to compare only families that belong to the same haplogroup. The haplogroup of the Swiss Hauris is G2a, so a comparison of STR values is only significant if the other family is also known or predicted to be G2a. One of the most common examples of convergence is between G2a and I2b, two groups that often have very similar values. To minimize this problem, I have used Whit Athey’s Haplogroup Predictor to derive projections for families with an unknown haplogroup.

The numbers across the top of the table below (393, 390, etc.) are numbered locations (DYS) on the y chromosome. The numbers in the body of the chart show the number of times the pattern of nucleotides repeats at that location. The values shown in red indicate differences from the Swiss Hauris. Confirmed haplogroups are shown in green. Predicted haplogroups are shown in red. Remembering that mutations on the y chromosome take the form of adding repeats (alleles) at a particular location, and that the mutation rate is very slow, a single difference would put the common ancestor with the Hauris back some 50 generations.


The table above shows a clear geographic focus on central Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Hungary), with outlying matches in Latium (Italy) and Asturias (Spain). There are no similar results reported in Russia, which tends to disprove the assertion that the Hauris came to Switzerland from Russia in the 13th century. A simple theory would be that the Italian family put out branches in Spain and southern Germany, and that the Swiss Hauris, unknown Hungarian family, and the Danish Jensens are part of the German family. The reality is certainly much more complex, and the timescales involved span many thousands of years.

Revised Jan. 27, 2022.

Hauri Test Results

All male Hauris and Haurys in Switzerland, France and Germany, and their Howery, Howry and Howrey cousins in America, theoretically should have nearly identical y chromosomes, because they almost certainly belong to the same male line, originating in Beromünster, Switzerland in the early 1300s. There hasn’t been time for many mutations in our y chromosomes.

The Hauries in France, the Haurys in Poland, and the Howries in Scotland should have different y chromosomes, because they almost certainly originated independently. And, that’s what our results show.

Justin Howery and Fred Haury launched the Hauri yDNA project in October 2000, when they had yDNA tests. The results were surprising. They matched exactly on 12 out of 12 markers, proving that they belong to the same male lineage. Current genealogical research suggests they probably share a common male-line ancestor who lived about 1400, perhaps in Reinach, Aargau, Switzerland.

STR Tests

The initial results have since been supplemented with additional tests. The chart below shows the reported results as of March 2010.

Modal G2*Central EuropeG2*142215101314111311121129
In the chart above, haplogroups in green show tested results. Haplogroups in red show predicted results. 
The numbers across the top (393, 390, etc.) are numbered locations (DYS) on the y chromosome. The numbers in the body of the chart show the number of times the pattern of nucleotides repeats at that location.

* The modal G2 values are for the Central European Modal G2 Haplotype (as defined at ysearch.org). This haplotype is found primarily in Germany, Sweden and Finland. There are different G2 modal haplotypes for the Southern European, Eastern Britannic, Southern Britannic, Indian (Brahmin), and Arabic (al-Quraishi) groups.

Some participants have had extended tests for 25 markers and 67 markers. Additional data is available at Family Tree DNA.

Virginia Howerys and Howrys

Samples number 140, 1799 and 2522 in the chart above represent the Virginia Howerys and Howrys, descended from Jacob Howry, of Howrytown. This family has been traced to the hamlet of Ruedi in the Aargau, Switzerland. The family probably originated in Reinach. Jacob Howry, the immigrant, came to Pennsylvania in 1737. His descendant Jacob Howry founded Howrytown, Virginia about 1784.

Bavarian Haurys

Sample number 152 in the chart above represents the Bavarian Haurys, who claim descent from Jakob Haury, son of Hans Hauri the Woolweaver, a Mennonite refugee. He left Schöftland in the Aargau, Switzerland in the early 18th century, and settled in Bavaria in Germany. His descendants came to America in the mid-19th century. This result probably also represents the Mennonite Howrys in Pennsylvania. They claim descent from Hans and Ulrich Hauri, early immigrants to Pennsylvania, who were probably sons of Hans Hauri the Woolweaver.

German Howerys

Sample number 23374 in the chart above is a descendant of Rudolph Howery, who was born in Germany about 1842 and later came to America. His ancestry is unknown, but the test results show he belongs to the same male lineage as the Swiss Hauris.

French Haurys

Sample number 26560 in the chart above is a descendant of the Swiss family and has the Haury surname, but his line descends from a man in the 17th century who took his mother’s maiden name. As expected, his results show that he belongs to a separate male lineage. He has not had a haplogroup test, and his test results have not been predicted by Family Tree DNA. However, Whit Athey’s haplogroup predictor shows 100% probability he belongs to R1b. No matches have been found to other families.

Polish Haurys

Sample number 123506 is a Haury from a Polish family. Test results show that this family belongs to a separate male lineage from the Swiss Hauris, and even to a different haplogroup (E1b1b1). He is an exact match for an Ortega Salazar family, but no further information is available.

Other Howerys

Sample number 92939 in the chart above was thought to be a descendant of the Virginia Howerys, but his test result does not match. He belongs to a different male lineage from the Swiss Hauris, and even to a different haplogroup (I2a). The reason for the mismatch is not known. No matches have been found to other families.

What the Hauri Tests Tell Us

The test results show that the Virginia family, Bavarian family, and German family match on 12 of the 12 loci in the basic test. Therefore, they all belong to the same male lineage, and are all descended from a relatively recent common paternal ancestor, who probably lived after about 1250 to 1300, with a 50 percent chance that the ancestor lived after about 1550 to 1625. In short, the results confirm our genealogical research, which apparently shows that our common male ancestor lived about 1400.

Based on these results, these men almost certainly belong to the same male lineage. None of them are likely to have a “non-paternal event” (undiscovered adoption or illegitimacy) in the direct paternal line, unless that event involved another male Hauri. Genealogical research shows that the apparent male-line ancestors of the Bavarian and Virginia families have not lived in the same localities since at least 1700, so there is almost no chance that they are related paternally in any way other than the records show.

The mutation rate in the y chromosome is relatively slow. A single difference in results would indicate that the closest common ancestor probably lived 25 to 40 generations ago. However, because mutations are random, they can happen any time and even two brothers might have a difference at one locus. Therefore, we cannot be sure how long the Hauri y chromosome has remained unchanged or how long ago our common ancestor lived.

Statistically, the most likely estimate (MLE) for their most recent common ancestor (MRCA) is 15 generations ago. There is 50 percent probability that they share a common ancestor within the past 15 generations, and a 90 percent probability that they share a common ancestor within the past 50 generations. Genealogists typically estimate a generation as 25 to 30 years, so there is a 50 percent chance that their common ancestor lived within the past 375 to 450 years, and a 90 percent chance that  their common ancestor lived within the past 1,250 to 1,500 years. Because they share the same surname, their common ancestor almost certainly lived after about 1250 to 1300, when the Swiss began to adopt surnames.

We will include information here about the families who do not match the Swiss Hauris as it becomes available.

SNP Tests

  • Members 140, 2522, 26560 and 92939 have had SNP tests, which confirm their haplogroups, both for themselves personally and for all their male-line cousins in the same lineage.
  • Members 140 and 2522 both tested positive for P15, a mutation that allows them (and by extension their Hauri cousins) to be classified as haplogroup G2a.
  • Member number 140 tested positive for the P303 mutation, showing that he (and by extension his Hauri cousins) belong to Haplogroup G2a3b2.
  • Member number 140 tested positive for the L43 and L42 mutations, showing that he (and by extension his Hauri cousins) belong to Haplogroup G2a3b1a2a1.

Dr. Rudolf Hauri-Bionda, a forensic scientist at the Institut für Rechtsmedizin at Universität Zürich-Irchel in Zürich, Switzerland, has agreed to be tested, probably in his own lab. We originally became aware of Dr. Hauri as a possible candidate for the Hauri yDNA project when he appeared as a forensic expert on a NOVA program about the Siberian Ice Maiden in 1998. Dr. Hauri’s ancestors belong the family at Reitnau in the Aargau, Switzerland. This family came from Staffelbach in the 16th century.

Widening the Search

See Related Families for information about the Hauris in a wider context.