The Real Da Vinci Code decoded

Secrets of Mayoffs across three millenia

by Bernie Mayoff

(Note to the reader: If you are planning on reading the novel The Da Vinci Code you may prefer to read the book before reading the thesis below. The Da Vinci Code is a mystery, and while this thesis does not reveal the mysteries of the novel, it does build upon some of the ideas that unfold during the course of the novel. If you have no current plans to read the novel, or if you have already read it, then I hope you will find these further revelations exciting and that you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them ­ and that no one takes offense.)

Hebrew ancient seal

In Origins of Family Name Discovered in Middle-East, we explored possible origins of the Mayoff family name, tracing the name back almost three millennia to approximately 800 B.C.E.  Even more entrancing, in the footnotes to that article we were able to trace our lineage back even further, to Benjamin and Abraham, and then even further back than that.  All the way back to the original father and mother.  Now additional information about a branch of our family, a branch long hidden, must be revealed to Mayoffs, Mayoff-wannabe’s, and to those we love and who love us!

Da Vinci Code coverIn the early 1980’s, publication of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, (ISBN: 0-440-13648-2) began to reveal our secret to the modern world.  In 2003, publication of The Da Vinci Code (ISBN: 0-385-50420-9) further expose our family secret.  If you’ve read The Da Vinci Code you know that it unravels secrets hidden within secrets hidden within secrets.  But even with all of those secrets unraveled, there are still more secrets that the book continues to hide.  Secrets that are apparent to a Mayoff, but still hidden in plain sight from the rest of an unsuspecting world.  Here, for the first time, another layer of secrets is untangled.

As documented in Origins of Family Name Discovered in Middle-East, the earliest traceable form of our family name is Mayrov (variant Merov).  A variation of the name Merov appears in western Europe as early as the 5th century C.E.  The first family to unite what is now modern-day France is well documented to be the Merovingians, and Merovingians made Paris their capitol in the 5th century C.E.,  The Merovingians take their name from their progenitor, the semi-legendary Mérovée (aka Merovech, Merovius).  We can’t be sure how the family name traveled from ancient Israel to France, but we can explore an intriguing possibility.

Merovingian artifact with Star of David

Merovingian archaeological artifact from Rennes-le-Château, France

Cousin Mary Magdalene?

Mary (Miriam) Magdalene is a name familiar to us because of her major, but contested, role in the foundation of Christianity.  Less well-known is that suddenly, in the 13th century, it was claimed that Mary (Miriam) Magdalene is a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin.  It is very difficult to find any substance for this claim, but it is possible that the claim is true.  Virtually all the Jews at the time that Miriam Magdalene lived were descendants of either the tribe of Judah or the tribe of Benjamin.  In Origins of Family Name Discovered in Middle-East we have already demonstrated that Mayoffs are descendants of the tribe of Benjamin, so presumably Miriam holds a place as a cousin on our family tree.  Pregnant at the time of the crucifixion of her husband, Miriam left Israel after the crucifixion.  The Greek Orthodox church argues that she emigrated to Ephesus, located in modern day western Turkey.  But is more widely believed that she fled further and settled in Gaul, which later became France.

Why is that important to the Mayoff legends?  Because it is also claimed by some authorities that Mérovée, the founding Merovingian, is a descendant of Mary (Miriam) Magdalene!  It is at this point, in the 5th century, where the blood lines joined. An unknown descendant of Merov married an unknown descendant of Mary (Miriam) Magdalene and her husband who was crucified.  The couple had a son, Mérovée, ruler of France, with Paris as its capital.


A large painting of a seder, by a 15th century artist named Leonardo Da Vinci, is discussed at length in The Da Vinci Code.  The book points out the large, unmistakable M formed by the central characters in the painting.  You can view an image of the painting at  The book suggests an interpretation for the letter as a reference to Mary (Miriam) Magdalene.  Wisely it stops there — to preserve our family secret.  But like so many things in the Code, we know there is more than one meaning to the image so carefully and subtly crafted by the skilled artist.  It is among the most prominent examples of one of our family legends (or myths) being acknowledged and proclaimed, while remaining hidden in plain sight!

Unresolved questions

  • Is it simply coincidence that so many Mayoffs settled in French speaking Canada, or was it an instinctive affinity for groundwork laid by our 5th century cousins as they founded France?
  • Is it coincidence that there is an M at top of every page on this website?
  • Is there an M in the tab in your browser?
  • Is there a relationship between the ideas that make up the entire last half of chapter 61 of The Da Vinci Code, and the interior of the home of contemporary family member Denise?
  • If you are married to a Mayoff, or are a close friend of a Mayoff, the next time that they seem to be acting holier than thou, could it be because. . .

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