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How Can I Find Out Which Hebrew Tribe I'm From?

How Can I Find Out Which Hebrew Tribe I'm From?


For the most part, tribal identities have been lost through the generations, and the majority of Jews do not know which tribe they are from.

There are a number of people whose families have passed down their identity as Kohanim (Priests) or Levites, which means they descend from the tribe of Levi. There are also a handful of non-Levite families who can trace their ancestry to a particular tribe, but these are few and far between.

When the Messiah comes, we will all find out which tribes we are from. So if this bit of information is important to you, do your best to hasten his arrival! For more on that, check out our Moshiach and the Future Redemption section.

Malkie Janowski is an accomplished educator who lives in Coral Springs, Florida. Mrs. Janowski is also a responder on's Ask the Rabbi team.
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Deborah Harper December 21, 2016

Where can I find out where to get a DNA test to see what tribe I might be from Reply

Bonnie Durst Lafayette Hill, PA August 31, 2016

My maiden name is Zeitlyn. What tribe do I come from Reply

Glenn meshorer Usa February 26, 2016

To all the people asking if they are Levites by the source of their last names I am afraid most of you will never know. Historicly Jews never used last names and neither did Gentiles until later in history. early in name history Jews last names were from their father for instance Ben or bar meaning son or daughter followed by the first name of the father. Last names were forced upon Jews by the rulers of the lands or governments of latter history. Many Jews picked as last names names that they liked or occupations they had. This is why the names derive from German or Russian ect however Levites wanted their last names to be identifiers of their Levite origins . They picked true Hebrew names for instance Cohen signifiying that they we're rom the Levite priest clan of kohanim which in Hebrew means priest. Or simply Levi or levy that they were from the Levite tribe. My own last name is meshorer which is Hebrew for poet / singer. Which would signify that it is Levite in origin. Reply

Christian Montana October 29, 2015

Desendent of Abraham
I did a search on my family. I was lucky enough to come over a very very very long line of royalty low and behold I traced my family history all the way back to Abraham and then from there traced back all the way to Adam and Eve. I know sounds crazy but true.

Amber, How did you figure this out? what resources were used? My Grandfather was born in Israel and he recently passed and I never thought to ask him about lineage. I tried ancestry but they didn't find anything. I really want to find what tribe I am from. If you could help, please give me some pointers on where to look. Thank you! Reply

Lize South Africa April 5, 2017
in response to Christian:

Hi Amber

I would also like to know how you were able to do this. My great grandfather was a jew, and i really want to trace back from which tribe i'm from. I live in South Africa. Reply

Amber Oregon April 23, 2017
in response to Christian:

I used a genealogical website I'm just really lucky that my family history is really well preserve due to royal blood line on my dads side. Now I can't find anything past my grandparents on my mom's side. Reply

Destinae USA June 18, 2015

I'm not a Jew yet, but I'm still debating myself on if I want to convert or not. But, right now I'm look into my Jewish Ancestry.
Both me and my brother took a DNA test, since we are different Genders, it was easy to figure out which DNA is paternal and which one is maternal.
On my brother's results he was the only one that matched up with the Cochin Jews, the oldest Jewish community in India, dating back to biblical times said to be sent by King Solomon to trade with the Indians. The Cochin Jews are descendants of Sephardic Jews and another Jewish group I forgot. But since it only showed up for my brother,so I know it's paternal, the Cochin Jews Y-DNA is middle eastern while the X-DNA is Indian.
Both me and my brother however also match up with the Ethiopian Jews, who has a couple of Jewish Ancestors dating back to before the destruction of the temple I can't really tell if it's paternal, maternal or possible both.But I am going to test my parents.
So, I also have a west African tribe that my parents already know about. Apparently this west African tribe has a Jewish Origin-theory but no DNA test has been done to confirm that, but the theory is they're from The tribe of Gad via Eri, so, adding it all up I have three possible tribal ancestry, which are the tribe of Judah (coming from the Cochin Jews, and also Ethiopian Jews), tribe of Gad (igbo jews), tribe of Dan (coming again from the Ethiopian jews)
But it seems that Judah would be the one since it has confirmed to be paternal via the Cochin Jews through DNA testing, because the igbo-Jewish theory has not been confirmed yet. Reply

Brandon Dallas, Tx April 20, 2017
in response to Destinae:

How did you find out? Reply

Anonymous May 19, 2015

Yes. I visited my local synagogue and found out that I am of the tribe of Levi. Reply

G. A. Malone Georgia May 18, 2015

My name is Stephen Gelb. What tribe do I come from. Reply

Amber Oregon March 6, 2015

I did a search on my family. I was lucky enough to come over a very very very long line of royalty low and behold I traced my family history all the way back to Abraham and then from there traced back all the way to Adam and Eve. I know sounds crazy but true. Reply

Dan Texas January 19, 2015

Is it important (today) or was there a time, that a person of Jewish descent, always knew his connection to the 12 tribes ? Reply

Melissa November 19, 2014

I just found out I got Jewish in me,my father's family came from Caldas de Reyes, Spain. I would like to know what tribe I come from in Israel. Reply

Cristobal Campos Horizon City October 2, 2014

My family lineage is from Spain & Mexico; Campos is the last name. What tribe do I belong to? Reply

Anonymous September 14, 2014

If the Messiah must come from the tribe of Judah how will he be able to prove it if all the genealogical records have been lost? Weren't they destroyed in 70AD by the Romans? And if so wouldn't it mean that the Messiah would have had to be identified before then? And if so, can we all think of someone who foots the bill? Reply

Julie Stearns Illinois June 16, 2014

My Surname is Stearns , the family lineage came out of Germany, I have been researching this and have found that more then likely they have Hebrew roots and may in fact come from the Lost Tribe of Dan. Does anyone else have knowledge on this surname out of Germany. Reply

Jill Norman Denver CO June 11, 2014

I've been doing some research into my family history and I believe I belong to the Tribe of Benjamin. Although I don't believe that my family really knows that we derive from the Jewish heritage. Reply

Anonymous June 11, 2014

Last name is Hammerstein. What tribe would this be from. Reply

Adonister UK April 20, 2014

My surname is Rubins, was Rubino, before that Rueben, Also Goldsacks in the family! I also have 100% tribal Celtic ancestry.I do believe in a supreme being, and worship god through my actions in life, It is hard but I live for the common good of the tribe, will work hard for it, protect it, and would kill for it, to easy, anyone who crosses me had bad luck, anyone who is good to me has good luck, I do have bad moments but never end up in the gutter? I think a man can pick a good dog from a litter! And god can pick a bad dog from man Reply

Sarah davis, ca February 17, 2014

First, I am not anti-Semitic. My family is part Jewish, as well as my husband. I am a student of history though. Historically there is little evidence that the majority of Jews are descended from Hebrews/ of diaspora. There was a kingdom in Russia that converted of Judaism, and most European Jews, who coincidentally look nothing like middle easterners,are Russians...over centuries Russia pushed out Jews to other countries, as Russia has a history of anti-Semitism which continues to this day. That's why Jews spoke Yiddish and not Hebrew. Many Jewish historians corroborate this, and it was accepted amongst Jewish leaders and intellectuals before the creation of the state of israel. Now, the message is that Jews are Hebrews returning home...but history proves otherwise. Reply