Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2004-10 > 1098542604

From: Patrick Guinness <>
Subject: Jefferson-Hemings DNA
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 15:41:21 +0000

Thank you, Mr. Barger, for your welcome comments.

At 12:17 pm -0400 22/10/04, Herbert Barger wrote:
>DNA only offers a scientific finding and UNLESS used in conjunction
>with ACCURATE family history, etc. The truth may not be assessed
"This happened with the Jefferson-Hemings DNA Study. Nature Journal
was not made aware of other Jefferson DNA possibilities and the media
had a "field day" finding Jefferson guilty of fathering Hemings
children. DNA did not prove this! Please check web pages: and for details of
the study."

I suppose the past (pre-1998) blanket dismissal by some
Jefferson historians of Eston Hemings' family claim meant that the
Press then went overboard when their DNA similarity was found.

The Nature article headline was badly worded, considering
that Dr. Foster had qualified:

"We cannot completely rule out other
explanations of our findings based on illegitimacy
in various lines of descent."

As you say, the similarity is between Jeffersons-as-a-group
and Eston, not particularly Thomas himself. As the historical expert,
and given what you know of the two men's characters, are you naming
Randolph Jefferson as the likelier father, even if on a 51-49 basis?
I quote:

The Jefferson-Hemings DNA Study as told by Herbert Barger, Jefferson Family
Historian February 12, 1999 Revised August 30, 2000:
"Randolph was invited by Thomas to come to Monticello to visit him and
Randolph's twin sister, who had arrived one day earlier. This was in August
1807, exactly nine months prior to Eston's birth. Randolph was also present at
Monticello on May 27, 1808, exactly six days after Eston's birth on May 21,
1808. He may have come to see his son, Eston and Thomas even drafted Randolph's
will on that date."

There were other Jeffersons or Jefferson-fathered slaves who
could have been Eston's father. Until a specialist historian tells us
which is the most likely, then Thomas must remain a possible, and to
some the putative, father.

Patrick Guinness

Reply to:

This thread: