A friend of mine is having difficulty obtaining documents confirming the jewishness of their maternal line and thus they cannot confirm they are jewish.

Mitochondrial DNA is only passed down the maternal line, so I'm lead to think this test might be an alternative to documents.

This means that if the mitochondrial DNA can be identified as having come uniquely from a Jewish woman, then every woman in that maternal line from then on can be defined as Jewish (from mother to daughter).

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    for background: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Oct 21, 2017 at 23:53
  • @DonielF That question involves DNA in general. This involvess mitochondrial DNA which is solely in the female line. However, the answer is the same. It is not good enough evidence. Oct 22, 2017 at 1:58
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    "No! No, no. When I took your father's name I took everything that came with it, including DNA!"
    – Loewian
    Oct 22, 2017 at 3:11
  • @sabbahillel Why should the type of DNA make a difference? Barring such an explanation being included in the OP, I don’t see how it isn’t a dupe.
    – DonielF
    Oct 22, 2017 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


Mitochondrial DNA could only, at best, identify a common maternal ancestor, not whether that ancestor was Jewish. (Even assuming all the original direct maternal lines of Israel were known to have distinct mitochondrial DNA from their non-Jewish relatives, no one today has a record demonstrating that their ancestresses do not include any converts who would have the same mitochondrial DNA as their non-Jewish relatives and there is no record of the DNA of the ancestors of Israel.)

  • You can give the example of Ruth and Orpah (if they were sisters). Thus David Hamelech and Golyas would have shared mitochondrial DNA from the common female ancestor (who was not Jewish). Oct 22, 2017 at 12:39

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