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Berber Jewish Ancestry

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Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:54 pm

Berber Jewish Ancestry

Postby Shari » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:01 pm

A constant amazement to me are the many clues, links and connections to our family history that have been revealed by my mother’s and my DNA tests - in this case, ancient Berber Jewish ancestry.

How prevalent were descendants of Berber Jews in early Scotland? What were their origins before their ancient settlements in North Africa? What was their migration route to Scotland? Can DNA supply answers?

One of our mother’s ancestor surnames, AITKEN, which is common in Scotland, originated from the Berber Jews. A footnote (number 33, page 245) within chapter nine, “The Judaic Colony of Aberdeen,” from WHEN SCOTLAND WAS JEWISH by Donald Yates and Elizabeth Hirschman, lists - (1) French city of Agincourt, (2) Berber clan Agoun, (3) Charlemagne’s capital at Aix/Aachen (or Aix-en-Provence in the South of France), as being relevant to the Aitkens.

Mom’s map shows green dots for (1) and (3) above in her 2010 Fingerprint Plus test. I am theorizing that these are places where later generations of our ancient AITKEN Berber Jewish ancestors likely lived after they left Morocco and Iberia. Mom had no green dot for Aix-en-Provence in the South of France.

The areas of (1) French city of Agincourt and (3) Charlemagne’s capital at Aix/Aachen are somewhat near each other, located across the Strait of Dover from England. This could have been part of the migration route of the Aitkens centuries ago. See the Agincourt and Paris locations in http://www.emersonkent.com/wars_and_bat ... rs_war.htm.

(1) Agincourt, France is located north of Paris and west of (3) Aachen, Germany. See the Aachen red marker location in http://www.worldeasyguides.com/europe/g ... p-germany/. The three locations - Aachen, Agincourt and Paris - roughly form a right angle with Agincourt at its point.

When Googling (2) “Berber clan Agoun” and “Agoun definition,” I found nothing. Mom has green dots in the Morocco, North Africa which is where Berber Jews lived. See http://www.yourchildlearns.com/online-a ... ra-map.htm.

Other than Morocco, Mom’s map shows green dots in Algeria, Tunisia (weak dot), Libya and Egypt. A cluster of green dots show in the Israel-Turkey area. Various World Population Match rankings of Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia are on charts in both of her DNA tests - 2010 (Fingerprint Plus) and 2014 (Cherokee).

Mom’s Rank 27 on her Cherokee test is “Spanish/Moroccan - Moroccan Arabs” and her Rank 31 is “Moroccan Berber - Bouhria. A Google map showed Bouhria located in the far northeast corner of Morocco about 30 miles from the Alboran Sea and near the Algerian border.

Online websites discuss the origins of the Berber Jews through history and DNA results. Read “Morocco’s Jewish Berber History” in - https://zwww.journeybeyondtravel.com/bl ... story.html: “...There are two theories regarding the existence of a distinctly Jewish subgroup of Berbers. Whether indigenous Moroccan Berbers adopted the Jewish faith and culture, and/or Jews migrated to North Africa and adopted the Berber language and culture, the layers of Morocco’s cultural patchwork probably pre-date the Roman era...”

Of course, we know from history that Jews were forced to leave homelands through the centuries because of being Jewish. This website gives background for guessing the migrations paths of our Aitkens - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sephardi_Jews. Scroll down to the chart section and see the left green box - “Iberian Exile in the late 15th century.” Then read the notes in the next left box below - “North African Sephardim” - “Those Jews fleeing from Iberia as Jews in the late 15th century at the issuance of Spain and Portugal's decrees of expulsion. Initially settled in North Africa.” 

Mom’s World Population Match chart (2014 Cherokee test) lists eight Portuguese, six Spanish, one Iberian Peninsula, five Brazilian and one Columbian indicating that many of her ancient ancestors lived on the Iberian Peninsula. She has green dots on her map located on the Iberian Peninsula. I would assume some represent our ancient ancestors, the Berber Jews. 

After their difficult history, we can guess that the Aitkens probably fled north to France and Germany at some point. After this, it seems logical that they migrated to England and eventually to Scotland. At some time in their history our Aitken ancestors converted to Christianity.

This map showing the historic border area between England and Scotland may give more clues as to the ancient Aitken migration route - http://www.trp.dundee.ac.uk/data/councils/nc5.html.

This Borders (or Scottish Borders) website contains the Aitken surname as well as those of most of our other Scottish ancestors - http://www.bordersfhs.org.uk/BFHSIntere ... Search.asp. Are any of our other Scottish ancestors of Berber Jewish ancestry? See http://www.bordersfhs.org.uk/counties.asp. My guess is that the Borders area was another early home of our Aitken ancestors before they migrated north to Scotland. 

The U.K. counties in the area of “The Borders” were Berwickshire, Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire. This is from https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/ ... _Genealogy for the county Roxburghshire: “...The county was invaded by the Romans, and following their departure, was often the scene of border warfare between the English and the Scots, which fostered a warlike spirit in the inhabitants...”

See “Israelis Still Attached to Their Jewish-Berber Identity” in - http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... be-1.html#.

Besides our ancient Jewish Berber Atkins, both of Mom’s parents possessed Ashkenazi Jewish DNA as shown on her 2010 “Eighteen Marker Ethnic Panel” chart.

Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:54 pm

“Moroccan | Berber | Middle East”

Postby Shari » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:58 pm

Just found this very informative post in DNA Consultants - http://dnaconsultants.com/Default.aspx? ... jectType=1.

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