If you want to discover your genetic history and where you came from... you’ve found the right place!


review of scientific and news articles on dna testing and popular genetics

Abraham Lincoln's Jewish Roots

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is interested in their namesake's Jewish ancestry. Do a Google Search and you'll get numerous hits under "Abraham Lincoln Jewish Ancestry." They can all be traced back to the work of Rutgers University professor Elizabeth C. Hirschman, who published her findings in The Melungeons:  The Last Lost Tribe in America in 2005 (Mercer University Press). Melungeons.com immediately reported the news in an article on Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks, in March 2005.

Actually, the revelation goes back to Abraham Lincoln's own lifetime. In 1909 a book was written by Isaac Markens titled Abraham Lincoln and the Jews. In it is the germ of the controversy. Rabbi Isaac Wise of Cincinnati wrote in 1865, "Abraham Lincoln believed himself to be bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He supposed himself to be of Hebrew parentage, he said so in my presence, and indeed he possessed the common features of the Hebrew race both in countenance and features."


Sketch of young Lincoln shows typical Sephardic Jewish looks:  dark features, bony skull, lanky build, big nose, craggy brow.

Lincoln's son Robert later denied the admission of Hebrew ancestry. He told Markens that he had "never before heard that his father supposed he had any Jewish ancestry." Markens dismissed the exchange between Lincoln and the rabbi as a "pleasantry."

Pleasantry or not, the rumor seems to reflect historical truth. "The Lincoln material in my book traces his family's arrival from England into the New Hingham Colony in Massachusetts and their migration down to the Appalachian area," Elizabeth Hirschman told the curator of the Lincoln Collection, James M. Cornelius, who contacted her in September. "I use genealogies, marriage practices, wills and cemetery inscriptions to build the case for his Jewish--and likely Sephardic--ancestry."

Now that Lincoln is beginning to be seen as having Jewish ancestry, what about his status as a Melungeon? That has now slipped into jeopardy, it seems. Jewish and Melungeon ancestry go hand in glove, except in the eyes of those who don't believe Melungeons are a distinct ethnic group at all. They are opposed to finding any unwanted ethnicity in people claiming to be Melungeon. We predict Lincoln's Jewishness will rapidly be disposed of by these devotees of the received standard version of American history.

More information about Melungeons
Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Southern Appalachia
Melungeon Studies
Melungeon Match


turqwind commented on 17-Sep-2010 01:05 PM

After I read your post, I remembered my mother mentioned her Glasscock relatives were related to Abraham Lincoln. I still have a male cousin who is direct line, but I haven't talked to him about this. Anyway, Nancy Hanks' mother or grandmother or somebody was the daughter of Thomas Glasscock of Virginia. You have my and my mother's DNA. I have Jewish ancestry on both sides and some family members come from the right part of the country for Melungeon ancestry. I have some documented genealogy (DAR, UDC) and some "shady" lines I have no idea about and people went to great lengths to hide. Actually, I do have an idea about and that is why I came to use your service! Also, is the various Asia ancestry that shows up in my DNA possibly Creek or Choctaw? Going by family history, I guess it is. I am assuming the Michigan NA is Cherokee. "Nancy" is a very common name on both sides of my family. Food for thought. Thanks.

Anonymous commented on 17-Sep-2010 01:11 PM

That's interesting about the Glasscocks. Most surnames (e.g. Hitchcock) ending that way, also Cock and Cox, originated as Hebrew names according to Joseph Jacobs. No, I think your Asian is not related to Native American. It is either a "false positive" or has to do with Gypsy heritage.

Lynda Estrella commented on 14-Mar-2011 03:41 PM

I am related to Abe Lincoln, through his mother's family. My Grandfather was related to Abe Lincoln through the Ray side of our family. My Grandmother would taunt my Grandfather about his heritage when she and he were fighting. She went blind for that...I hadn't heard Jewish, I heard "dark skinned", "non-white", "black people". Jewish would have fit into that in my Grandfather's eyes. Someday I will have my DNA checked, my father could have Jewish blood also.

Iosef von Kastro commented on 25-Jun-2011 06:02 PM

Sadly, the real concept of Sephardic has been deformed, in the interests of who knows who. You hear people nowadays calling Moroccan, Yemenite, Lebanese, Ethipian!!, Syrian, Iraqui, Jordanian, etc. Jews as Sephardic. In other words, they call the Jews
from Arabic countries as "Sephardic Jews". This is totally wrong. The correct name for them is "Mizrachi Jews", the same as saying orientsl jews. These arabic jews communities do not speak spanish, nor ladino, and have no connection whatsoever to spain!!!
sepharadi indeed means "Spanish" in Hebrew. The only REAL sephardic Jews are those from Portugal and Spain. That said, yes, Lincoln looks EXTREMELY sephardic, as the original jews that settled in England in 1492. I myself am a Sephardic Jews, and Lincoln looks
a lot like me. Also, i would like to make notice that Edgar Allan Poe looks extremely Sephardic as well!!! I would like to hear opinions regarding this. Thanks.

Dan commented on 02-Jun-2012 06:26 AM

Great, he got a lot of his "own" countrymen killed then. It explains much of his hostity to AngloSaxons.

It doesn't matter commented on 23-Jul-2013 11:07 PM

Many of our family are related to Lincoln through his Ancestors on his Father's side. Two words were whispered that may or may not have anything to do with his line. They were Pennsylvania Dutch and Black Irish. High Cheekbones, Tall Height, Large Ears, and multi-ethnic hair are things that I see showing up in relatives. Brilliant colored eyes also show up. Not every person nor every generation. Besides his appearance and possible multi-ethnic background other things show up as well, a way with words, wisdom, kindness, melancholy as well as humor.

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.

Captcha Image

Recent Posts


occipital bun Khoisan haplogroup X Sinti Bureau of Indian Affairs European DNA Ashkenazi Jews haplogroup R statistics Harold Goodwin American history Harry Ostrer BATWING Denisovans Valparaiso University Constantine Rafinesque Jim Bentley aliyah Chauvet cave paintings Tifaneg Population genetics Austro-Hungary genetic determinism Israel Havasupai Indians Keros First Peoples Gregory Mendel medicine Columbia University haplogroup N London Etruscans Middle Ages Mary Kugler archeology horizontal inheritance climate change Chuetas Hohokam Indians university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Douglas Preston IntegenX rapid DNA testing Zizmer art history megapopulations origins of art Leicester CODIS markers Jewish GenWeb Sinaloa New York Academy of Sciences Victor Hugo Barack Obama population genetics Rutgers University haplogroup U New York Review of Books Current Anthropology North Carolina John Butler Romania Caucasian private allele Plato mental foramen India Ripan Malhi Muslims in American history ISOGG forensics Alabama Cajuns phenotype Lithuania Pima Indians Abenaki Indians Barnard College EURO DNA Fingerprint Test Nikola Tesla Phillipe Charlier Anglo-Saxons Asiatic Fathers of America alleles Epigraphic Society Greeks Stacy Schiff Algonquian Indians seafaring health and medicine Charles Perou Walter Plecker When Scotland Was Jewish human leukocyte testing Sasquatch Ron Janke Chromosomal Labs Bode Technology INORA Cleopatra Europe El Castillo cave paintings Douglas Owsley Majorca National Geographic Daily News Nature Genetics Bryan Sykes DNA databases Washington D.C. Mary Settegast Charles Darwin Harold Sterling Gladwin Bulgaria ethnic markers Bering Land Bridge oncology Neanderthals Zuni Indians HapMap Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act North African DNA Lebanon Kari Schroeder evolution mummies Maya cannibalism mitochondrial DNA BBCNews genealogy haplogroup T Cooper surname Anasazi Y chromosomal haplogroups Moundbuilders ethics DNA Fingerprint Test Early Jews of England and Wales personal genomics Melungeons DNA Fingerprint Test Promega Bradshaw Foundation Iran ENFSI Robinson Crusoe Sea Peoples Tucson Stone Age Cohen Modal Haplotype Gunnar Thompson Wendy Roth giants Wikipedia Y chromosome DNA Marie Cheng Russia Ancient Giantns Who Ruled America Israel, Shlomo Sand prehistoric art Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America Virginia DeMarce Scotland Stony Creek Baptist Church haplogroup L Monya Baker M. J. Harper Jalisco Middle Eastern DNA Rafael Falk University of Leicester Monica Sanowar Bill Tiffee Gila River Slovakia FBI Patagonia Bode Technology Sizemore surname Cave art research Richard Buckley Chris Tyler-Smith Scientific American Genome Sciences Building Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies Ireland New York Times Jewish genetics rock art Maronites NPR Olmec African DNA Daily News and Analysis hominids Phoenicians single nucleotide polymorphism human migrations Micmac Indians Isabel Allende Sonora Richard III Les Miserables French DNA Amy Harmon Wendell Paulson familial Mediterranean fever human leukocyte antigens Erika Chek Hayden King Arthur Rush Limbaugh haplogroup H Irish DNA DNA testing companies Philippa Langley Holocaust Nayarit Choctaw Indians Arizona State University epigenetics Beringia crypto-Jews Old Souls in a New World anthropology Alec Jeffreys Miguel Gonzalez haplogroup M Jack Goins Kari Carpenter Louis XVI Peter Parham GlobalFiler Elizabeth C. Hirschman Navajo Colima Arizona Marija Gimbutas Albert Einstein College of Medicine peopling of the Americas Bigfoot Roberta Estes Native American DNA Irish Central DNA magazine Shlomo Sand Austronesian, Filipinos, Australoid corn Phoenix Phyllis Starnes Michael Grant Tutankamun polydactylism Stan Steiner National Museum of Natural History Panther's Lodge Publishers Richard Lewontin Holocaust Database Dienekes Anthropology Blog Freemont Indians Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales (book) Hertfordshire Charlotte Harris Reese Jewish contribution to world literature Neolithic Revolution King Arthur, Tintagel, The Earliest Jews and Muslims of England and Wales Eric Wayner autosomal DNA Horatio Cushman Kennewick Man Stephen Oppenheimer Mark Thomas Elvis Presley DNA David Cornish myths Oxford Journal of Evolution MHC race Nadia Abu El-Haj Sarmatians Italy Russell Belk Roma People linguistics Basques Jews Arabic Teresa Panther-Yates DNA security China Ari Plost Arabia The Nation magazine prehistory Texas A&M University England genetics N. Brent Kennedy FOX News Pomponia Graecina bar mitzvah Joseph Jacobs Sorbs andrew solomon Jewish novelists Melungeon Union New Mexico powwows haplogroup B haplogroup E history of science Native American DNA Test Michoacan Grim Sleeper Peter Martyr haplogroup Z bloviators Gravettian culture Cismaru Normans Pueblo Indians Melba Ketchum Britain Indo-Europeans Ukraine Asian DNA Telltown Colin Pitchfork palatal tori genetic memory Smithsonian Magazine Johnny Depp Pueblo Grande Museum Patrick Henry Tom Martin Scroft ancient DNA Tennessee cancer Smithsonian Institution Fritz Zimmerman Cismar DNA Forums Colin Renfrew surnames Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute population isolates William Byrd Secret History of the Cherokee Indians Magdalenian culture breast cancer Belgium news Altai Turks far from the tree religion ethnicity B'nai Abraham Black Dutch Abraham Lincoln Lab Corp Timothy Bestor Tintagel methylation Hohokam Penny Ferguson haplogroup J Akhenaten Sizemore Indians Celts Acadians Rare Genes Applied Epistemology Theodore Steinberg 23andme Egyptians Janet Lewis Crain Kate Wong Black Irish Finnish people Discover magazine Oxford Nanopore Daniel Defoe Comanche Indians Sam Kean Carl Zimmer Salt River Waynesboro Pennsylvania Irish history National Health Laboratories Yates surname Science Daily, Genome Biol. Evol., Eran Elhaik, Khazarian Hypothesis, Rhineland Hypothesis Bentley surname research Richard Dewhurst Paleolithic Age Melungeon Heritage Association Henry IV family history Luca Pagani Anacostia Indians admixture Life Technologies Germany George van der Merwede Solutreans consanguinity Discovery Channel Helladic art Ziesmer, Zizmor George Starr-Bresette Nature Communications Chris Stringer Panther's Lodge PNAS Nephilim, Fritz Zimmerman Wales Svante Paabo Science magazine Anne Marie Fine Turkic DNA Ananya Mandal Bryony Jones French Canadians Jone Entine clan symbols education genomics labs Donald N. Yates District of Columbia Khazars immunology Henry VII James Shoemaker Riane Eisler Melungeon Movement Kurgan Culture Michael Schwartz Gypsies mutation rate Rich Crankshaw clinical chemistry Clovis Terry Gross Jon Entine Thuya Kentucky Zionism Great Goddess Cherokee DNA FDA microsatellites John Wilwol pheromones Mexico X chromosome American Journal of Human Genetics Henriette Mertz AP Hopi Indians Melanesians Cornwall Elzina Grimwood hoaxes Nova Scotia Virginia genealogy Cancer Genome Atlas