Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1268504276

From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Who Do You Think You Are? --- Emmitt Smith Episode
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 13:17:56 -0500
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In-Reply-To: <>

I don't see that they've told us enough, in either episode, to really evaluate
their work, either with regard to paper genealogy or genetic genealogy. In both
episodes, I had little alarm bells ringing at quite a few statements seemingly
assumed as "proven," that I would call only "possible" or, at best, "probable."

For example, to assert that Emmitt descends from Samuel PURYEAR, his ancestor's
white owner, is only a possibility. Yes, many male slave owners impregnated
their female slaves, but they didn't all do so; and many a slave adopted their
owner's surname simply for want of any other name, not out of parentage.

I think we need to take these programs for what they are: infomercials for

If these programs stimulate a greater public interest in doing genealogy, I have
to be delighted at the prospect. I mean, what if doing your genealogy became a
*fad*? Hallelujah!

Some of us will, of course, be unhappy at the prospect of these new adherents
being DNA tested at Ancestry.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: On Behalf Of Jerry L. Ivey
> Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2010 12:44 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Who Do You Think You Are? --- Emmitt Smith Episode
> A comment about the Emmitt Smith episode, March 12:
> At about 37:13/42:45 into the Emmitt Smith show when he gets
> to Benin, Emmitt conveys the idea that he's visiting the
> possible homeland of his ancestress Mariah, based upon the
> DNA results conveyed to him by Megan Smolenyak. However,
> Megan has told him only that Benin is a possible homeland of
> his ancestors, not mentioning Mariah or any specific ancestor
> in this statement.
> Although not explicitly stated, such a statement from Megan
> would have to have been based upon maternal mtDNA
> (mitochondrial) testing.
> Any mtDNA results for Emmitt would not apply directly back to
> Mariah, because she is not in his direct maternal line of
> ancestry. The first break in his direct maternal line would
> occur from his mother, Mary Clements. It would be her direct
> maternal line (not known or reported) and not that of Erma
> Lee Watson, Emmitt's paternal grandmother, that would be
> reflected by the mtDNA results for Emmitt.
> A second break in the maternal line would have been after
> Victoria Puryear, whose mother was Bella. The line from
> Victoria to Mariah goes through Prince Albert Puryear, and
> not through her mother Bella.
> Any Y-DNA test results for Emmitt would apply only to his
> paternal Smith line, which wasn't researched for this show.
> It's interesting that Megan said that both Emmitt's maternal
> and paternal lines suggested Benin as a possible homeland.
> Personally I'm a bit cautious in accepting too literally such
> a statement, as Y-DNA haplogroups such as E1b1a (the most
> probable one for male African Americans) have a wide
> distribution throughout the coast of Western Africa. Yes,
> Benin might be a possibility but so also might be Senegal,
> Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, ....
> Can any of the testing companies really provide test result
> interpretations for E1b1a haplogroups that pinpoint one of
> these modern countries?

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