Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-06 > 1057027987

From: Steve Williamson <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Ancestry test - a must-read article URL
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 19:53:19 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <>

A truce is fine, since we are basically (I think) saying the same things. I'm sure you could be right about Alabama, and the other areas you've studied in detail, but I think we're talking about different times & places & peoples, so there's really no point in arguing. I'm not personally all that interested in the Deep South (Alabama, etc).

However, I just want to comment on one thing you wrote. I'm not sure at what exact census year it changed (but it was post-1900), but prior to then, people didn't get to "choose" their racial category. That was "imposed" on them by the observation of a census taker, tax collector, etc. The rules about how to categorize persons shifted from year to year, which is why some light-skinned mixed-race people in 19th century VA, NC, KY, etc, were variously "mulatto," "black," "white," and (rarely) "Indian." They weren't exactly being asked - someone was making a judgement call, and recording it. There are Indians listed as such in 18th century Virginia, for example, such as in Lunenburg County in the 1740s/50s, and in Pittsylvania Co in 1767. Their numbers are small compared to the numbers of "Negros" and very small compared to the number of whites. A white man couldn't usually "hide" his Indian or black wife, since he would be taken to court and fined if he was discovered. Childre!
n of
interracial unions were "bound out" by the court. There are many examples of such court cases, and they make it possible to trace mixed-race families as they migrated along the same migration paths as the British & Germans, etc, into Appalachia. There are 18th century accounts of whites bemoaning the fact that the chance to intermarry with the Indians, and thereby "civilize" them, had been lost, while marrying "Negros" was (in comparison) scandalously frequent. A hundred years earlier, the Indians were considered a threat, and the Virginia English did what they could to eradicate them. There were a great many barriers to interracial marriage, from both sides. And as you pointed out, mixed-blooods tended to be more accepted among the Indian relatives. That is why I maintain that the test results do not match history. Frequent, significant amounts of NA ancestry in the US white population, yet very little African can, I think, only be explained by 1) a massive, sustained cove!
r-up in
hundreds of years of records; 2) a problem inherent in the test; or 3) the "NA" is not post-Columbian, but something ancient in all European populations.

I don't buy the 1st, and I'm trying to keep an open mind about whether it's the 2nd or 3rd.

Steve W.

In a message dated 6/30/03 6:26:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time,

I'm talking about minority NA in the general US white population, not
> European ancestry in the American Indian population.

My felling is, first they lived in the NA culture, then when it became
advantageous -- like back about 1835 --they started denying that ancestry and
started passing for white. I've looked at this for a long time, primarly in Alabama.
I'm guessing you will find NA genes in the white population in those areas
where modern NA live.

When my parents married in Louisiana in 1939 interracial marriage was
illegal. However, both of my grandmothers and one grandfather came from families with
an oral tradition of being part-Indian. If my mother and father had gone into
the Parish Courthouse and claimed to be part-Indian the laws against
interracial marriage may have prevented them from getting a license. They did the
prudent thing and said they were White. When my grandparents were alive they
claimed to be White for similar reason.

I'm ready for a truce. All this writing gives me a pain in the back.

Grant Johnston

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