Author Profile

Dr. Jeffrey Mark Paull

Jeffrey Mark Paull holds a Bachelor and Master of Science degree (1974; 1976) from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master and Doctorate in Public Health (1986; 1997) from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Paull is a member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, and is the author of several pioneering autosomal and Y-DNA studies of rabbinical lineages. His book, A Noble Heritage: The History and Legacy of the Polonsky and Paull Family in America (2013), traces his family’s ancestry over a millennium of history, to the famed biblical commentator, Rashi (1050-1105).

Recent Posts

Y-DNA Genetic Signature of the Savran-Bendery Chassidic Dynasty

Connecting to the Great Rabbinic Families through Y-DNA

Thumbnail map of Hassidic Court sites in 19th century Eastern Europe.

Genetic genealogy study focused on the Y-DNA pedigree of the Savran-Bendery Chassidic dynasty from Ukraine and Bessarabia during the nineteenth century. Genealogical and Y chromosome genetic data are presented. All patrilineal descendants of the Wertheim-Giterman rabbinical lineage share the L117 SNP of Y-DNA haplogroup E, previously described as E-M35, E-M35.1 and E1b1b1 in the literature.

History, Adoption, and Regulation of Jewish Surnames in the Russian Empire

A Review

Image of 1784 Jewish Census for the town of Slutsk

Analysis of the formation of surnames by the Jewish population of the 19th century Russian Empire. Description of the cultural and legal context of Ashkenazi Jewish surnames in Russia with examples taken from census records. Provides insight to genealogists on the legally mandated creation of different surnames within individual families followed by a period of relative surname stability into the 20th century. Surname derivation from toponyms with the “sky” suffix were most common followed by patronymics with the “vich” suffix and then derivation from occupations or nicknames.

Differences in Autosomal DNA Characteristics between Jewish and Non-Jewish Populations

Mixed table and color-graph of Portion of ADSA Triangulation Report for a Non-Jewish Individual

The purpose of this autosomal DNA research study is to investigate whether the shared autosomal DNA that is reported for members of an endogamous population is inherently different from that of a heterogeneous population, and if so, to identify and characterize the qualitative and quantitative differences. As part of this study, we identify, describe, and quantify observed differences in autosomal DNA test results for Jewish, non-Jewish, and interfaith populations, and investigate the possible explanations for these observed differences.

This study analyzes data from Family Tree DNA’s (FTDNA’s) Family Finder test for 100 study participants, divided into Jewish, non-Jewish, and interfaith study groups. It examines how reported autosomal DNA test values, such as the size and number of shared DNA segments, the number of genetic matches, and the distribution of predicted relationships, varies between study groups. The study also investigates how shared autosomal DNA, and longest block values vary by strength-of-relationship for each study group.

The results of this investigation shed light on the differences in autosomal DNA characteristics for Jewish and non-Jewish populations. The authors suggest several refinements to FTDNA’s Family Finder test algorithm and reporting methods to increase their specificity, precision, and relevance for highly endogamous populations such as the Ashkenazi Jewish population.