Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-10 > 1130799908

From: "Denise" <>
Subject: RE: [DNA]
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2005 18:05:08 -0500
In-Reply-To: <001101c5dd88$d4d72f10$47edfea9@denisebndh1av9>

Hi Pam,

Because my peri-menopausal brain is even more neurotic than I was before I
wanted to make sure you wouldn't be wasting your money if you got your
brother tested. I asked the members (some of whom are geneticists) of the
DNA listserv I belong to whether or not testing your brother would be of any
value in proving your Welsh connection. Being scientists there was no
definitive answer but here what they said...

My question to the listserv...

Does anyone know if testing a black male to determine if he was a descendant
of a white slave owner in the late 1700s of any value. In other words,
would European ancestry, in this case from Wales, show up in a present day
black male if he were tested for Y-DNA?



The responses:

Assuming that it were uninterrupted straight male line, quite probably. (In
other words, it would have to be father's father's father's ..., all the
way down. Any connection through a mother would break it.) Also, there
is no absolutely definitive connection between haplogroup and race (an
example being our ongoing E3b argument). There are some high probability
associations; if you see a 'black' (over-general term that I don't like)
male with haplogroup I or R1b - both basically 'white' Western European -
you might well be able to speculate that such is the case. It is
speculation, though. You would need to build a better case, such as - as
in one case that was discussed here a while back - a close genetic match to
a European family line that was known to be the line of an overseer on the
plantation where the African ancestor was a slave.


Glenn is correct. If it is a direct male line all the way back to the
plantation owner/master, it could provide supporting evidence to an oral
history of such an event. This simple chart may help show how the Y
chromosome is passed down through the all male line since it is the Y
chromosome that determines that the child will be male. The second chart
shows how mtDNA is passed down via the all female direct line. See my
introduction to Genetic Genealogy in the DNA Info page below my
signature for more details and basics regarding using Genetic Genealogy.

Charles Kerchner


We have one person of African-American descent (surname WEST) in our WEST

project. One question that was answered was the origin of the surname for a
former slave. We know that many freed slaves took the surname of the slave
owner, but that was not a universal practice. The haplogroup of our AA
participant is R1b, and he matches one of our WEST family groups.

We speculate that a slave owner/overseer was the father of his ancestor.
We haven't been able to identify anything more specific, but this person
can focus his search to plantations associated with the surname WEST in
Virginia around 1800. It isn't much, but it is more than he had prior to
the DNA test. We have identified a couple of slave owners among the
ancestors of this family group.

Dennis West

We've had two African-Americans tested in our projects, one in the
Bachmann/Baughman project (with the surname Baughhman) and one in the
Ritter project (with the surname Ritter). The Ritter male had been told
his Ritter ancestor was a slave-owning Ritter from one of the families
already in our project. In both cases, the male tested typical E3a
values. The Ritter participant (tested by FTDNA) had their closest most
recent-ethnic origin matches and haplogroup matches to Senegal, Gambia,
Africa (in general), Jamaica and African American. In these cases it is
clear the individuals' partilineal anceators were African not European (the
story about the slave-owner paternity might still be true but with a
non-paternal intervening event). As Glen points out, if the participants
had had more typical European haplotypes (R1a, R1b or I) then it would have
been helpful to have the test of a descendant of the putative European
(slave owner) ancestor of the line to compare with. Thus may answer would
be, if you have an unbroken male line from the suspected son of the
putative ancestor then a test would likely provide evidence one way or
another but may not be conclusive.

Phil Ritter


Here is another chart from the living descendant's perspective looking
back at his/her Pedigree Chart which I enhanced a bit from the original
chart found on's webpage for a presentation on Genetic
Genealogy I gave several years ago. It shows where we get our various
types of DNA, i.e., Y-DNA, mtDNA, and atDNA.

For more details and a basic explanation, for beginners to Genetic
Genealogy, of the different types of DNA in our cells, see my
introductory report:

Charles Kerchner

You could also do the DNA Print and see if there is any Indo-European
present. That wouldn't tell you which line, but the two tests in
combination might be somewhat useful.

Roberta Estes

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