GENEALOGY-DNA-L Archives

Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-04 > 1114367946


From: ellen Levy <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Haplogroup E3a SNP P1+
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 11:39:06 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: 6667


I do agree with your sentiments here, but I think the
results reveal something far more complex that can
potentially have a very big impact on a person's
self-identity. I'm not saying this is necessarily a
bad thing, but can be quite a "shock."

For instance, in the surname project I am
coordinating, the person in question can only trace
their ancestry back to a male ancestor from about the
1830's who was orphaned and adopted (the surname given
to him, then, was from the adopted family). There was
no indication that this orphaned child was anything
other than Caucasian, though from the DNA results, a
mulatto child was much more likely.

So this person had no reason to suspect any fairly
recent African ancestry. Clearly, something much more
recent than 25,000 years ago. And let me tell you,
the news was received with quite a bit of discomfort.

As for those who are Caucasian, have E3a ancestry
within the British Isles and can trace their lineages
hundreds of years back to England, I again think the
results are much more complicated (and the reactions
to those results) than depicted. The most likely
scenario is that an African soldier was part of the
Roman legions in Britain - again, this is much more
recent than 25,000 years ago. It indicates an African
ancestor from as recent as 1500 years ago.
Additionally, these people are generally receiving
result matches in Senegal, Herero South Africa,
Gambia, not the expected British Isles, Germany,
France - this can have a rather speculator impact on a
person's self-perception (however fragile and
imprecise that perception actually is).

And for African-Americans, it can come as a big shock
as well for those with no direct historical or
documentary history of Caucasian ancestors. And no, I
don't need a history lesson regarding the degree of
forced and unforced sex between African-American
slaves and their white slave-owners. The question is
really about people's expectations and
self-perception.

Ellen Coffman

--- Garland Boyette <> wrote:
> Ellen:
>
> I agree, African-Americans often react in a similar
> fashion upon discovery
> of an atypical Y-DNA or mDNA haplogroup assignment.
> See the following
> comments from a poster at the Afrigenias DNA Board:
>
> http://afrigeneas.com/forum-dna/index.cgi?read=30
>
> And no discussion is necessary as to whether
> physical traits should be used
> to define us. Our physical appearance is indeed a
> part of our identity.


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