Timeline of Full Y-DNA Testing by R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites

On December 17, 2013, Siiri Rootsi, Doron M. Behar, and their colleagues published a paper on R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites. S. Rootsi & D. Behar, et al., Phylogenetic Applications of Whole Y-Chromosome Sequences and the Near Eastern Origin of Ashkenazi Levites, Nature Communications 4, Article No. 2928 (2013). That paper included a figure that identified, below the R1a-Z2122 level, six SNPs that were found both in two Ashkenazi samples (one identified as "Ashkenazi Levite 16207" and one identified as "Ashkenazi Jew P3") and in an Iberian sample (identified as "Iberian HG01617"). That figure also identified 13 SNPs that were found in both of the Ashkenazi samples but not in the Iberian sample. Finally, the figure identified seven SNPs that were found in "Ashkenazi Levite 16207" but not "Ashkenazi Jew P3," and 14 SNPs that were present in "Ashkenazi Jew P3" but not "Ashkenazi Levite 16207."

Soon thereafter, Vladimir Tagankin, who ran the Semargl Y-DNA website and is one of the members of the YFull team, prepared and posted a table identifying most of these SNPs by name. (The Y prefix on most of the SNPs on the R1a-Y2619 level and a number of the SNPs in the R1a-Y2630 cluster reflect the fact that YFull named those SNPs.)

P3 and 16207 shared R1a-Y2619 - the SNP now known to be characteristic of R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites - along with nine other SNPs that continue to define the R1a-Y2619 level (that is, testing to date has not shown any further branching in that level). P3 was positive for R1a-Y2630 - the SNP that defines the R1a-Y2630 branch of R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites - but 16207 did not share that SNP; this testing evidenced the first identified branching among R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites.

In 2013, not long before publication of the Rootsi & Behar paper, Full Genomes Corporation and Family Tree DNA first offered for sale to the public next generation Y-DNA sequencing for genealogical purposes. In spring 2014, two sets of results were reported from FTDNA's Big Y test (for R1a-Y2630 men) and a set of results was reported from FGC's Y Elite test (for an R1a-Y2630 man). In June 2014, FGC reported the first set of results for an R1a-FGC18215 man. (The FGC prefix on a number of the SNPs in the R1a-FGC18215 branch of R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites reflects the fact that FGC named those SNPs.)

Since then, all of the reported full Y-DNA results for R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites have come from FTDNA testing - the Big Y test (later called the Big Y-500 test) and the subsequently offered Big Y-700 test. 

Dr. Behar's 2017 paper, D. Behar et al., The genetic variation in the R1a clade among the Ashkenazi Levites’ Y chromosome, SREP-17-37687 (2017), included Big Y results for six R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levite men whose DNA had originally been collected for the 2013 Rootsi & Behar paper (those men do not appear on FTDNA's Big Y-700 match lists), along with the results for 74 R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites who had previously done Big Y testing or were tested specifically for inclusion in that paper. 

The table below shows, in approximately six-month intervals, the number of R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites who had received full Y-DNA test results as of that time and the number of branches in the R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levite tree. (Both of the R1a-Y2619 men who had tested through FGC subsequently did Big Y testing, and each is included only once in the table below; starting on December 2, 2017, the table below includes the six men whose results were reported in the 2017 Behar paper but are not included on FTDNA match lists.)

Date No. of Tested Men No. of Branches

2014.04.30       5     6

2014.07.01       6     7

2014.11.04       7     8

2016.01.23   45       ?

2016.07.12   85   42

2016.12.21   90   44

2017.05.19 100   47

2017.12.02 116   54

2018.03.02 130   56

2018.09.29 140   60

2019.03.10 162   69

2019.12.22 189   79

2020.05.23 209   91

2020.11.22 229 109

2021.05.22 260 126

2021.12.24 268 137

2022.07.01 282 144

2022.12.31 295 150

2023.07.23 313 163

2024.02.18 324 170

Because FTDNA reports Big Y-tested men as matches only if they differ by 30 or fewer SNPs from a tested man, the match lists for most Big Y-tested men will include only a fraction of R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites who have received Big Y results. This is particularly true of men who have done Big Y-700 testing, given that such testing covers a broader region of the Y chromosome and therefore results in the reporting of more SNPs than did Big Y-500 testing; the problem is compounded as to men who have both done Big Y-700 testing.  Big Y-500 tested men might, on average, match with 75% to 95% of Big Y-tested R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites, depending on their cluster and their number of Big Y-reported SNPs  (which depends in part on their number of SNPs and in part on the portions of the Y chromosome tested by Big Y-500 on their sample); for the same reasons, Big Y-700 men might, on average, match with only 50% to 75% of Big Y-tested R1a-Y2619 Ashkenazi Levites.