December 12, 2007

James Watson and "passing"

The widely-repeated assertion by the Icelandic firm deCODE genetics that James Watson is 16% sub-Saharan black and 9% Asian (see, for instance, the new NY Times article "DNA Pioneer's Genome Blurs Race Lines") reminds me of one of the least understood contradictions in the conventional wisdom that Race Doesn't Exist:

- The existence of the One-Drop Rule shows that race is an arbitrary social construct.

- Therefore, lots of white Americans must have lots of black ancestors.

But when you stop and think about it, you realize the opposite is true: that the One-Drop Rule is the reason that so few self-identified white Americans have much black ancestry. As I wrote in 2001, when racial admixture testing via DNA was in its infancy:

Among self-identified whites in Shriver's sample, the average black admixture is only 0.7 percent. That's the equivalent of having among your 128 great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (who lived around two centuries ago), 127 whites and one black.

It appears that 70 percent of whites have no African ancestors. Among the 30 percent who do, the black admixture is around 2.3 percent, which would be like having about three black ancestors out of those 128.

In contrast, the lack of the One Drop Rule meant that Mexico's black minority has been almost completely absorbed into the general population.

As I've said, racial admixture testing is not always reliable for individuals, but for large sample sizes it works reasonably well. (If anybody has any more recent data than this on American whites, let me know.) As I pointed out in regard to IQ testing, people tend to make a 180 degree wrong assumption about testing in the human sciences: the unexpected reality is that it's much easier to be accurate about a group, whether IQ or racial admixture, than it is to be accurate about an individual.

The lesson that needs to be learned is that social constructs impact genetic reality. If your society cruelly sanctions people who marry across racial lines and won't let their children easily assert membership in the dominant race, as America long did, you'll end up with the white-identifying people of America being whiter genetically than the white-identifying people of, say, Brazil.

(That's why affirmative action benefits in America works are distributed largely on the honor system -- you just check whichever race box you want on the job or college application and they usually take your word for it, and there have been surprisingly few controversies, at least over people claiming to be black. In contrast, the new affirmative action system in Brazil for college admissions has set up boards to visually evaluate each candidate claiming to be black.)

It was fairly hard to pass visually, but the emotional toll of passing was particularly difficult. A 1953 study by anthropologist C. Stern estimated that 1/4 of people who were 1/4th black and 3/4th white could pass for white. (See Carleton Coon's Living Races of Man, p. 307).

The One-Drop Rule made it wrenchingly hard for even the whitest-looking person with socially-identified black relatives to pass into being socially-identified as white. To pass from black to white socially, an individual typically had to move to a new part of the country and cut himself off from his family because at least some of them would be visibly part-black.

For example, one of the best-known cases of passing is that of the late Anatole Broyard (1920-1990), the distinguished literary critic. His parents were New Orleans "creoles of color," but when he moved to New York to make his career in books, he more or less dropped the black part of his black identity (which, as a native of New Orleans, where the One Drop Rule was an alien Anglo imposition, presumably didn't mean that much to him) and let people assume he was white. His career probably would have been even more successful if he had been publicly black, but he wasn't interested in being pigeonholed as a "black critic."

But this liberation came at a human cost: he cut himself off from his family. His children never met his darker sister until his funeral.

Broyard championed the novelist Philip Roth, and after his death, Roth published a novel, The Human Stain, inspired by Broyard's life.

The 2003 movie version suffers from the casting of Anthony Hopkins as the protagonist, Professor of English Coleman Silk, because Sir Anthony, the laziest of actors, made no effort to appear even subliminally black (he didn't even use an American accent!). And the filmmakers didn't dare put any makeup on Sir Anthony to make him look a little black. But the flashbacks to Silk's life in Newark in the 1940s before passing, featuring the part-black Wentworth Miller of Prison Break as the young Silk, are excellent. (By the way, if anybody wants to make a movie of Broyard's life, Miller looks a lot like him. And, he's got star power.)

Roth's novel makes clear the emotional cost of passing, when the young Silk's clearly part-African mother's responds to his announcement with this moving soliloquy:

"'I’m never going to know my grandchildren,’ she said. ‘You're never going to let them see me,' she said. ‘You're never going to let them know who I am. "Mom," you'll tell me, "Ma, you come to the railroad station in New York, and you sit on the bench in the waiting room, and at eleven twenty-five A.M., I'll walk by with my kids in their Sunday best." That'll be my birthday present five years from now. "Sit there, Mom, say nothing, and I'll just walk them slowly by." And you know very well that I will be there. The railroad station. The zoo. Central Park. Wherever you say, of course, I'll do it. You tell me the only way I can ever touch my grandchildren is for you to hire me to come over as Mrs. Brown to baby-sit and put them to bed. I'll do it… I have no choice.'"

And then there was always the fear among individuals who were passing that they'd have a child who was clearly part-black. (Your child can inherit from you genes that aren't evident in your looks.)

But, if you can successfully pass, your descendants will tend to be increasingly white by ancestry, while the descendants of your siblings' who didn't pass will tend to get blacker because they will be in socially different gene pools for choosing spouses. (For example, there are, I believe, two lineages descended from Sally Hemings's 1/8th black sons: Madison's is socially identified as black and Eston's as white. That's because Eston moved to the Old Northwest and lived as a white man and married a while woman, while Madison lived as a black man.)

So, with a reasonable picture in our heads of just what was required of an individual to pass, let's see how credible the claim that James Dewey Watson Jr. is 25% nonwhite now sounds. I'm going to spend some time going over this because it might help people understand how to evaluate genetic claims (by seeing, for example, if they make sense in human terms of who marries whom), and because it explains a little about what America was like.

Not surprisingly, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA is very interested in his own genealogy, as he shows in the first chapter of his new autobiography Avoid Boring People, which is available as a five megabyte PDF file, complete with pictures of his parents and maternal grandmother.

On his mother's side, his grandfather was a Scottish immigrant, Lauchlin Alexander Mitchell (son of Robert Mitchell and Flora MacKinnon of Scotland), while his mother's mother (Lizzie Gleason - see picture to the right) was the daughter of Irish immigrants (Michael Gleeson and Mary Curtin) who initially took up farming in the Midwest. So, the search for blacks and Asians should concentrate on his father's side of the family, who were of old Anglo-American stock.

But that would mean his father would be 50% nonwhite, and one of his paternal grandparents might well be be 100% nonwhite.

How likely is that? One place to start is by looking at the photo (not online) on p. 265 of Watson's new autobiography, Avoid Boring People. It shows Watson at the 1967 wedding of his cousin Alice. Standing alongside him are his sister, his father, and his paternal grandfather.

In other words, the Watsons were not split up like the Broyards were by the brutal necessities of passing. Indeed, Watson lists the names of his father's three brothers and of his paternal grandfather's four brothers, so the Watsons were a very cohesive clan, quite proud of their genealogy. They were addicted to high-WASP practices of passing names down within the family, and converting prestigious last names to middle names. For instance, the scientist's full name is James Dewey Watson Jr., with his first name coming from his father James Sr. and his middle name from the maternal grandfather of his mother, Nellie Dewey Ford, who was descended from a Puritan named Thomas Dewey who arrived in Boston in 1633.

Further, just from looking at the wedding picture, I'd say these Watsons are just about the five whitest people in the whole world. If they are significantly non-white genetically, it sure doesn't show on any of them.

The reality is that the Watson family was way too socially fashionable for too long to be significantly black in a profoundly anti-black America. For example, Watson's paternal uncle William Weldon Watson IV was appointed chairman of the Yale Physics Department in 1940. If somebody who was one-third black was a Yale department chairman in 1940, it would be big news.

Watson's father (see picture to the left) started work at the Harris Trust Company in Chicago before WWI. Watson's paternal grandfather was a stockbroker and his paternal grandmother an heiress. The scientist's paternal great-grandfather was a hotelkeeper in ritzy Lake Geneva, WI and married a banker's daughter.

His paternal great-great-grandfather William Weldon Watson II was a friend of Abraham Lincoln. Watson writes: "With his wife and brother Ben, he later accompanied Lincoln on the inaugural train to Washington." I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect that Lincoln didn't invite a family of prosperous mulattoes from Springfield along on his train ride to take power in Southern-sympathizing Washington D.C., not while trying to head off Civil War as hotheads accused him of wanting to foster "miscegenation."

You could hypothesize, I suppose, that Watson was the product of an illicit affair between his mother and a man who was half nonwhite, or between his paternal grandmother and a man who was completely nonwhite, but the circumstantial evidence makes this unlikely. Watson was the first-born child, born three years after his parents wedding. His parents had his sister a couple of years later and stayed together for the rest of their lives. So, it doesn't sound like Mrs. Watson stuck Mr. Watson with a cuckoo's egg.

Similarly, Watson's father was the first-born of four sons, a couple of years after his parents' wedding. And he was born in northern Minnesota!

Or you could hypothesize that James Watson had several different ancestors who were all part non-white, but that's just pushing the passing problem back farther in time, and multiplying the improbability of it all.

Broyard came from a creole of color subcaste in New Orleans that had social institutions, such as debutante's balls, designed to foster marriages among lighter-skinned people. But that's a very public system -- if you are socially prominent within your subcaste, it's hard to claim to be all-white. At a minimum, the blacker people you discriminate against in your clubs will talk about how you aren't as white as you might look.

In contrast, the Watsons were prominent in Upper Midwest social circles for generations, and its extremely doubtful that they were involved in some sort of surreptitious subcaste of in-marrying white-looking mulattoes.

Now, it's quite possible that Watson's distant frontier-era ancestors include blacks and American Indians (I'm dubious about the 9% Asian figure). When people were moving around and communications were slow, it was easier to pass. But, their descendants would tend to get whiter because they had passed into the white marriage pool.

So, what likely happened is that Watson had a few nonwhite ancestors fairly well back in the past, and their versions of the genes used as genetic markers in deCODE's analysis , via the luck of the draw in the sexual reproduction shuffle, kept turning up in Watson's ancestors, greatly exaggerating his overall nonwhite ancestry. But the great majority of his functional genes were inherited from his white ancestors.

Enough detail. The point is that when you think about genes, you need to think about genealogy.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

80 comments:

homeboy ghetto watson said...

"So, the search for blacks and Asians should concentrate on his father's side of the family, who were of English stock."

Steve, are you just stubborn or is there a cognitive problem here? You have to stop assuming that level "X" admixture has to be of recent vintage and found within only one parental line. What if there are low-moderate levels of such admixture in several of Watson's ancestral lines, and they have become concentrated in Watson due to the mechanisms described by "Mary Pat" in the other thread?

Why must you continue to fixate on a narrow view of inheritance in which a person who is "12% X" must have an "X greatgrandparent", rather than having levels of "X" distributed throughout their ancestral line - perhaps because low levels of "X" are systemically found in certain ethnic groups or families?

And, no, this is not "out of Africa", but "admixture" taking place *after* racial differentiation.

Rain And said...

Further, just from looking at the picture, I'd say these are just about the five whitest people in the whole world.

Do you have a scanner or a digital camera? Can you post the pictures?

ghetto watson said...

"As I've said, racial admixture testing is not always reliable for individuals.."

Because you say so, it's true.

"...but for large sample sizes it works reasonably well. (If anybody has any more recent data than this on American whites, let me know.)"

If you believe such tests work "reasonably well" (i.e., match your subjective preconceptions) for "large sample sizes", then check out the data on DNAPrint's ancestrybydna website. That is, if you can do so without being consumed with rage at Shriver for "fooling" you.

"Further, just from looking at the picture, I'd say these are just about the five whitest people in the whole world."

I understand that's what passes for "racial evidence" for you, Steve, but can we first see some evidence of Decode's faulty methodology and a second opinion of Watson by another company.

Important: Decode may very well be wrong, and their estimates of Watson way off. I'm skeptical also about this 16%, seems way too high.

But your "arguments" about it are, in my opinion, even more damaging than Decode's possible error.

Without the right methodological analysis, you are going to reject even true results, because you simply don't understand what these tests are measuring.

Rain And said...

Nevermind. I left my comment before you linked the 1st chapter.

If you zoom in on Watson's father, you'll see that it's clearly his real father.

walloon said...

Watson's mother and maternal grandmother have definite mulatto features.

Rain And said...

Good post. Just like with Obama, even a little bit of readily available reading on the subject proves to be too much work for almost all journalists, who are more interested in promoting their biases.

The scientist's paternal great-grandfather was a hotelkeeper in ritzy Lake Geneva, WI and married a banker's daughter. His paternal great-great-grandfather was a friend and prominent supporter of Abraham Lincoln.

Wow. Such a detailed genealogy. This was the wrong guy to try a pull a fast one on. This reflects rather poorly on deCODE genetics, not only for their poor methodology and credulity, but for their eagerness to use their data as a social weapon. Four strikes: 1. Poor science 2. Unethical science 3. Poor business 4. Unethical business.

It also reflects poorly on the New York Times, who just a ran an article on the weaknesses of this kind of data.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/business/25dna.html

But all this skepticism goes out the window so they can make more biased attacks on James Watson and racial realists.

Now when is the New York Times going to allow the equally distinguished psychologist Arthur Jensen an op-ed, like Nisbett, to promote the genetic POV?

Steve Sailer said...

Ghetto Watson: You have smart things to say, but you'll get a better hearing for them if you don't insult me so much.

Morris Minor said...

These kind of tests give a whole new meaning to the expression black sheep of the family.

Hoosier Comrade said...

One possibility that would explain three variables in one stroke is that one of these ancestors is a Sephardi Jew. If one of his ancestors is a (perhaps Sephardi) Jew, then he or she would have the partial African admixture and the partial Asian admixture from an Afro-Asiatic population that has integrated into Euro-American society.

This could also explain why his paternal ancestry seems so consistently successful. They weren't deviating to the gentile European norm.

I could see how the right partially Jewish ancestry could be clumsily misconstrued or deliberately reinterpreted as part African and part Asian.

G said...

"- The existence of the One-Drop Rule shows that race is an arbitrary social construct.

- Therefore, lots of white Americans must have lots of black ancestors."

I don't think people link the two together (no "Therefore"). I think they just accept both of those separately and don't ever think about whether they make sense when taken together.

Proofreader said...

Steve, I agree with your take on Watson's alleged African ancestry. It either goes way back or it could just be statistical "noise".

As for Broyard, I wonder how he got away with it, judging by the picture.
He looked like a regular quadroon.

Anonymous said...

One beneficial effect of America's increasing Hispanic population is that we finally may see the weakening of the odious One Drop Rule. As you noted with respect to Mexico, Hispanic countries have never accepted the Rule.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

Crom said...

I think that we should be celebrating these results instead of questioning them since they are an admission by deCODE that race exists. After all, how can they say that Watson is 16% black and 9% Asian unless there are biological differences between blacks, whites and Asians?

RKU said...

I must say that our friend "Ghetto Watson" seems a pretty touchy fellow...

In the preceding thread, I'd said that purely based upon appearance, I was rather doubtful that Watson was really 16% black African. So G-W then insults me for not having performed a major genetic analysis before making my causal blog-comment...

Then, immediately afterwards G-W says exactly the same thing, namely that based upon appearance (plus perhaps a little divine inspiration) he's also quite skeptical about the 16% claim, guessing that it's probably off by a factor of several!

It seems that G-W just likes to go around insulting himself...

On the other hand, I'd guess it's just as possible that Watson's likely sliver of non-European ancestry derives from his mother as from his father. I've sometimes heard speculation that the "black Irish" (i.e. darker Irish) phenotype might derive from some North African admixture, and the photos of Watson's maternal relatives are just too small for me to judge whether this might be a factor.

But maybe I should devote six weeks to detailed genetic research before making any such speculative and casual blog comments...

ann on said...

Is Ghetto Watson the Steve Sailer to Steve's Malcolm Gladwell?

Mark said...

If one of his ancestors is a (perhaps Sephardi) Jew, then he or she would have the partial African admixture and the partial Asian admixture from an Afro-Asiatic population that has integrated into Euro-American society. This could also explain why his paternal ancestry seems so consistently successful. They weren't deviating to the gentile European norm.

Because his paternal ancestors were partial Jews who kept marrying other partial Jews? Are there places where one can go to meet partial non-practicing Jews - maybe a coffee house or deli somewhere?

It seems more likely that his paternal ancestors happened to be successful people who married other successful people, because that's the kind of people that successful people tend to marry. They don't tend to marry sanitation workers.

Steve Sailer said...

"Are there places where one can go to meet partial non-practicing Jews?"

Harvard?

Mark said...

Do you think deCODE genetics has just shot itself in the wallet?

If they're wrong, then they've made world famous fools of themselves.

If they're right, then potential customers all over will be asking "Do I really want to know if I'm part black?"

Mark said...

Harvard?

Well, yes - or perhaps a Unitarian Church somewhere.

But do people consciously go out looking for a mate thinking "What I really want to find is a good one-quarter non-practicing Jew, just like me."

Ohhhhh - now I get it. That's what the "Jewish Quarter" refers to!

Steve Sailer said...

Message to commenter Lucius:

If you want to post that long Quentin Tarantino soliloquy about the ancestry of Sicilians, put in asterisks in the place of Tarantino's racial epithets. Also, though, you might want to Google for the population genetics results first -- I think it mostly turns out that Tarantino was wrong.

Steve Sailer said...

As John Hawks points out, deCODE has also raised the specter of privacy violations by genetics testing firms. Your genes don't just belong to you, they belong in part to your relatives. There are lots of skeletons in lots of family's closets that could come up and cause turmoil -- e.g., if it turns out, say, that you and your sister are only half-siblings, Mom might have to have a long talk with a very irate Dad.

tommy said...

Watson's mother and maternal grandmother have definite mulatto features.

Definite? You would really be straining it to recognize any visible black admixture in any of those pictures.

Maybe some of Watson's ancestors are somehow tied up with the weird "Southerners with thalassemia" mystery. The point in Watson's history to investigate that would be here:

The Watson side of my family can be traced back to the New
Jersey–born William Weldon Watson (born 1794), who would become
minister of the first Baptist church established west of the Appalachians, in Nashville, Tennessee.


Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee seem to be the center of this phenomena. Did William Weldon Watson or a descendant marry a Southerner? Perhaps one with an unlikely tale of Indian ancestry?

Let me make one other wild prediction: scientists may find some recognizably (North) "African" genes in the forlorn parts of Ireland, Scotland, and/or Wales at some point in the future.

Svigor said...

Yeah, starting with the silly assumption that the Moors were blacks.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: Among self-identified whites in Shriver's sample, the average black admixture is only 0.7 percent. That's the equivalent of having among your 128 great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (who lived around two centuries ago), 127 whites and one black.

It appears that 70 percent of whites have no African ancestors. Among the 30 percent who do, the black admixture is around 2.3 percent, which would be like having about three black ancestors out of those 128.


First of all, I don't think that the figure of "30%" bears any resemblance to reality.

But if there's any truth to it, then it brings to mind the now infamous soliloquy of Dennis Hopper, in True Romance, which was apparently written by Quentin Tarantino, of all people.

Okay, here we go with take two:


Cliff: Now, wait a minute and listen. I haven't seen Clarence in three years. Yesterday he shows up here with a girl, sayin' he got married. He told me he needed some quick cash for a honeymoon, so he asked if he could borrow five hundred dollars. I wanted to help him out so I wrote out a check. We went to breakfast and that's the last I saw of him. So help me God. They never thought to tell me where they were goin'. And I never thought to ask.

Coccotti: Sicilians are great liars. The best in the world. I'm a Sicilian. And my old man was the world heavyweight champion of Sicilian liars. And from growin' up with him I learned the pantomime. Now there are seventeen different things a guy can do when he lies to give him away. A guy has seventeen pantomimes. A woman's got twenty, but a guy's got seventeen. And if you know 'em like ya know your own face, they beat lie detectors to hell. What we got here is a little game of show and tell. You don't wanna show me nothin'. But you're tellin' me everything. Now I know you know where they are. So tell me, before I do some damage you won't walk away from.

Cliff: Could I have one of those Chesterfields now?

Coccotti: Sure.

Cliff: Got a match? Oh, don't bother. I got one. So you're a Sicilian, huh?

Coccotti: Uh-huh.

Cliff: You know I read a lot. Especially things that have to do with history. I find that shit fascinating. In fact, I don't know if you know this or not, Sicilians were spawned by [PLURAL OF "N-WORD" CENSORED HERE].

Coccotti: Come again?

Cliff: It's a fact. Sicilians have ["N-WORD" CENSORED HERE] blood pumpin' through their hearts. If you don't believe me, look it up. You see, hundreds and hundreds of years ago the Moors conquered Sicily. And Moors are [PLURAL OF "N-WORD" CENSORED HERE]. Way back then, Sicilians were like the wops in northern Italy. Blond hair, blue eyes. But, once the Moors moved in there, they changed the whole country. They did so much fuckin' with the Sicilian women, they changed the blood-line for ever, from blond hair and blue eyes to black hair and dark skin. I find it absolutely amazing to think that to this day, hundreds of years later, Sicilians still carry that ["N-WORD" CENSORED HERE] gene. I'm just quotin' history. It's a fact. It's written. Your ancestors were [PLURAL OF "N-WORD" CENSORED HERE]. Your great, great, great, great, great-grandmother was fucked by a ["N-WORD" CENSORED HERE], and had a half-["N-WORD" CENSORED HERE] kid. That is a fact. Now tell me, am I lyin'?

Isabella & Ferdinand didn't retake Spain until the victory in Grenada, in 1492, and Sobieski didn't vanquish the Turks from Vienna until 1683, so it's possible that if either Moorish or Turkish blood shows up as "Negroid" on these tests, then that's what you're seeing in [nominally] Caucasian people from the South & Southeast of Europe.

Of course, there's also some new research indicating that as many as one million Europeans may have been captured & enlaved by the Barbary Coast slave traders, and their confinement could also have been an entry vector for miscegenation & the introduction of a "Negroid" gene.

But I doubt that [at least statistically speaking] any northern Europeans have so much as a drop of Negroid blood in them.

By the way, my Dad is a genealogy lunatic, and it turns out that if you can trace your ancestry back to Spanish nobility [which he has], then from there you get an apocryphal line going all the way back to Mohammed.

Of course, it's entirely possible that Mohammed was merely a myth to begin with, but, at least "technically speaking", I'm descended from him.

Steve Sailer said...

Tommy rightly suggests the most likely recent point of entry for sub-Saharan African genes into the Watson family was the scientist's great-great-great-grandfather's wife. Assume she was half black and was passing as white in Tennessee. That would make Watson 1/64th black.

Of course, it was hard for 1/2 black people to pass as white, so if she was 1/4th black, that would make him 1/128th black.

Now, some of his maternal line ancestors on the Watson side could have been black too, but considering how prosperous they tended to be, it's hard to see them all adding up to more than, say, 4/128th or 5/128 black in Watson's ancestry, as opposed to the roughly 20/128th black claimed by deCODE.

And then there's the 11/128th Asian, which seems inexplicable.

joshrandall said...

Interesting comment in his book,Avoid Boring People:(BTW how do i do that when I am alone??) "While it was all right for me to know more about a topic than my 6th grade teacher ever learned,questioning her facts could only lead to trouble...Save flights of rebellion for when authority does not have you by the throat." Hmmmm...

Rob said...


Maybe some of Watson's ancestors are somehow tied up with the weird "Southerners with thalassemia" mystery. The point in Watson's history to investigate that would be here:


Tommy, do you mean Melungeons? I'd love to see a genetic study of them. Or a Sailer take on them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melungeon

Michael Blowhard said...

FWIW, I know a couple of people who were friendly with Anatole Broyard. A white guy who knew him told me that many people suspected that Anatole had an exotic (as in not-purely-white) background, but that no one ever asked about it. A black guy who knew Anatole told me that Anatole wasn't in any way conflicted or wrought-up about his racial identity, he just didn't want to live a life that was heavily defined by racial identity. He just wanted to be Anatole Broyard, great writer, free thinker, rake, and downtown personality. Besides, as far as Anatole was concerned, he wasn't black and he wasn't white; he was Creole, and that was something different.

This choice of his may or may not have been such a great idea so far as his kids or family were concerned, but it apparently worked out pretty well for him.

A propos of nothing, I also hear that Anatole did mighty well with the ladies. He was a heckuva writer: "Kafka Was the Rage" is one of the best books I've read about Greenwich Village during its 1950s arty apogee.

tommy said...

Here is a record for a black William Watson who was born in Tennessee and moved to Illinois. He gives his birth year as 1820. (Which would be old enough for William Weldon Watson II.) He lists both parents as being born in Tennessee (rather than listing his father as born in NJ, but not knowing a parent's state of birth and just listing the location their parent has always lived is a common error.) The census location was Grand Tower, Jackson, Illinois which is quite a distance from Springfield, but he was 60 years old at the time of this census. He lists his occupation as wagonmaker.

I used to have a primo ancestry.com account, but I never made much use of it and it expired a few months ago. (Ancestry.com usually has free limited time offers where you have to call and cancel before they bill you, but I'm waiting for a new debit card to arrive and you probably need a credit card number to sign up.) It would be interesting to get a look at the old census records from this period and search around for other possible ancestors of James Watson. The census image might provide the name of his parents and his wife or give other information that would allow us to include or exclude him as a possible ancestor of James Watson.

Here is the full information. Unfortunately, Family Search won't let me link directly to the record, but you can query it.

William Watson

Birth Year [1820]
Birthplace TN
Age 60
Occupation Wagonmaker
Marital Status M [Married]
Race B [Black]
Head of Household William WATSON
Relation Self
Father's Birthplace TN
Mother's Birthplace TN
Census Place Grand Tower, Jackson, Illinois

Watson is such a common surname that it would probably take a lot of sleuthing to figure out Watson's ancestors.

dearieme said...

1) You may well be right, Steve. But
2) The "One-Drop Rule" is particularly American: what if some of his British ancestors brought back a "touch of the tar brush" from the Caribbean?
3) After all, three of our Prime Ministers were of partially Indian descent - no "one drop" problem there.

Evil Neocon said...

One tangent. American Blacks seem also obsessed with the "one drop" rule and have many social controls that are obvious about cross-racial reproduction.

"Acting white" and "not Black enough" sound familiar? IMHO American Blacks see the total disappearance of Mexican Blacks, culturally, racially, and so on, and are determined not to see the same happen in America.

Given the struggle and sacrifice of previous generations, it's not hard to see why that acquiescing to cultural and racial disappearance would be taken as a "betrayal" of past generations.

As for "non-practising Jews" a good place would be Hollywood. The pattern generally has been inter-marriage and cultural absorption. As it has been with Italians and Irish.

tommy said...

Tommy, do you mean Melungeons? I'd love to see a genetic study of them. Or a Sailer take on them.

In trying to figure out where thalassemia comes from on my mother's side, I've heard various theories involving the Melungeons. The problem is that many of those Melungeon theories sound too off the wall to be taken seriously. For example, some of these "Melungeonites" attribute the presence of thalassemia (and other Mediterranean-type diseases) to Phoenician explorers who made it to the New World. A more reasonable (though still extremely unlikely) hypothesis is that Melungeons are mixed-breed descendants of Indians and Spanish or Portuguese colonists from pre-Jamestown settlements who are otherwise presumed to have perished. Some of the genetic diseases reported by Melungeons include things like Familiar Mediterrean Fever (FMF) so many presume there must have been a Sephardic component to this Iberian population. I've even heard unconfirmed reports that some Melungeon descendants have been diagnosed with Machado-Joseph Disease. However, the FMF that Melungeons report doesn't seem to match with identified variants among Sephardic Jews. (Admittedly, only around half of such FMF variants in Sephardic Jews have been identified and can be tested for genetically at present.)

There are other theories that involve marooned Ottoman Turkish sailors that were reportedly present in the Caribbean region in early colonial times. Some people also claim that there was an influx of manual laborers from the Ottoman Empire (Turks, Armenians, Circassians) to the early English colonies in the Southwest such as Jamestown that, I would have to presume if true, is poorly documented.

Finally, most authorities have simply assumed Melungeons to be a mix between whites, blacks, and some Indians (i.e. a tri-racial isolate) and that the number of people descended from this small group in recent years is greatly exaggerated. The fact that the term "Melungeon" has emerged as a sort of catch-all for various other tri-racial isolates - in much the manner that "Cherokee" serves as a catch-all for any alleged Southern Indian ancestry - hasn't helped clarify matters, either.

I'm just not sure what to make of all these claims since many of them seem to be dubiously documented and very hypothetical. The fact that proponents seem willing to entertain even far-fetched theories doesn't instill much confidence in their deductive abilities. I'm not even convinced Melungeons have much to do with anything. I just don't know.

Cold Springs Harbor Watson said...

I don't doubt that the paternal side of Watson's family tree, which in the case of Watson's paternal grandmother goes back to a Thomas Dewey who landed in Boston in 1633, could include some blacks and American Indians.

Anyone's ancestry "could" contain nonwhites (and no doubt does, if you go back far enough -- genealogically, anyway; you'll have inherited no actual DNA from most of your distant ancestors). I'm aware of no research demonstrating white Americans have higher levels of nonwhite admixture than Europeans, regardless of what ignorant people "know". Regarding New England specifically:

The high percentage of intact families in the Puritan migration to America meant that they engaged in a much lower incidence of exogamy with the native Amerindian population (as was the case in the Spanish and especially the Portuguese colonies in the Americas), or with Black slaves (as in the Southern states), or even other European ethnic and religious groups (as in the Mid-Atlantic states). The leading Puritan families of East Anglia "intermarried with such frequency" that one historian dubbed them "a prosopograher's dream" (Fischer 1989, 39)


(If anybody has any more recent data than this on American whites, let me know.)

Subsequent to the claim that 30% of white Americans have detectable black ancestry, Shriver lowered his estimate to 10%. His boss, Tony Frudakis, later claimed the number was 5%. All this goes to show you can't trust DNAprint's numbers.

A study on a sample which included 628 European-American Y chromosomes and mtDNA from 922 European-Americans determined the "African-American genetic contribution to European-Americans is below the limits of detection" with the techniques used.

(References here.)

A 2005 study by Hammer found among "European-American" Y chromosomes:

Admixture is notably low in all samples surveyed [i.e., AZ, CT, FL, NC, OH, SD, VA, and VT], except in our NYC sample, which has 10% African-derived Y chrosomes.


[Probably not coincidentally:

Samples are reported to derive from individuals of self-described
ancestry in all cases except those from New
York City
. These latter samples are from deceased individuals
whose ethnicity was identified either by a family
member or a medical examiner who made the determination
of ethnicity
based on the appearance of the decedent.

I'm thinking a significant fraction of the NYC "European-American" sample is Puerto Rican or Dominican.]


You have to stop assuming that level "X" admixture has to be of recent vintage and found within only one parental line. What if there are low-moderate levels of such admixture in several of Watson's ancestral lines, and they have become concentrated in Watson due to the mechanisms described by "Mary Pat" in the other thread?

If we're going to play "what if": what if there is no significant admixture in any of Watson's ancestral lines (which is much more likely than your scenario)? Then is it appropriate to model his ancestry in terms of mixing between Yorubans, East Asians, and Utah whites?

For those who are unaware, here is how tests like this work:

The researcher chooses "parental" populations. The researcher determines the frequency of various SNPs in those populations and genotypes the individual of interest at these SNPs. The researcher then uses an algorithm to estimate which combination of the "parental" populations is "most likely" to lead to the genotype observed in the individual.

A SNP is a difference in a single base at a given location, such as ACCTGACT vs. ACCAGACT. Both versions of almost every SNP we're concerned with here are found in multiple population -- just at different frequencies. When a white person has the version of a SNP that happens to be more common in blacks, this does not mean he has "black genes". However, string enough SNPs together, and you can estimate admixture. The meaningfulness of this estimate will depend on the appropriateness of the "parental" populations, the number of markers examined (and the delta between populations on those markers), the correctness of the algorithm, and data quality (both on the parental populations and the individual tested).

One thing to keep in mind: chances are typically overwhelmingly against the "Maximum Likelihood Estimate" being the "correct" ancestral breakdown. The MLE is merely the peak of a probability distribution. The confidence intervals will be wider or narrower depending on the factors mentioned above. It's entirely possible for someone who is "pure white" to have a genotype suggestive of admixture purely through chance. In fact, we should expect half of whites to have genotypes more similar to blacks or Asians than average. This has nothing necessarily to do with "ancient admixture". It's just statistics. Most of these individuals will tend only slightly in the nonwhite direction, but at the tail, you'll have some who look "significantly" nonwhite on a given set of SNPs -- again, purely due to chance, irrespective of any "real" admixture.

Decode's numbers are meaningless without more information on their methodology.

How many markers did they look at? We don't know. One would hope they took full advantage of the millions of HapMap SNPs and the availibility of Watson's entire genome. However, if they got lazy and merely grabbed one hundred or so "AIMs" out of the literature, they could be as bad as or worse than ABD on this metric.

The other big question mark is data quality. How accurate is the assembled Watson sequence? Is it properly aligned everywhere with the reference sequence? Did whoever extracted the SNP genotypes know/care what they were doing?

Finally, ghetto watson:

This entire discussion about Watson is a perfect illustration of why the scientifically illiterate should stay far away from individual admixture testing for the time being. Most have no idea how tests like this work. They have no sense of probability/statistics. They will latch onto the "MLE" and run with it wherever their imaginations take them, whether it be "passing" Negroes, "Sephardi Jews", or "North African Irish" (incidentally, the Irish have among the lowest levels in Europe of {ancient} North African ancestry -- essentially none; and Watson's grandmother has a typical primitive, lantern-jawed Irish {not mullato} look).

Far from Steve being "consumed with rage" at Shriver, he merely offered some background and admitted he was wrong. That's called intellectual honesty. You should try it, instead of lashing out at anyone who would dare call into question the meaningfulness of your "100% IE" certificate.

SFG said...

If somebody who was one-third black was a Yale department chairman in 1940, it would be big news.
If somebody who was one-third anything was a Yale department chairman, it would rewrite the rules of biology. :)

Now back to your serious discussion...

Steve Sailer said...

A friend suggests, "How do we even know that the published genome is actually from James Watson? How many people in the genetics business has Watson been rude to over the last 60 years? How many people might think it funny to substitute somebody else's cheek swab for Watson's as revenge?"

Sounds like a long shot to me, but it's worth tossing out there.

CSH Watson said...

Why must you continue to fixate on a narrow view of inheritance in which a person who is "12% X" must have an "X greatgrandparent", rather than having levels of "X" distributed throughout their ancestral line - perhaps because low levels of "X" are systemically found in certain ethnic groups or families?

And, no, this is not "out of Africa", but "admixture" taking place *after* racial differentiation.


"Racial differentiation" isn't something that just happened and then stopped. Evolution is ongoing. See the Hawks papers.

Nor does waving your hands and saying "ancient" or "systemic" admixture mean anything. Watson is apparently a bit more similar to a sample of Africans and a sample or Asians than the average of a white sample on a particular set of markers. This proves absolutely nothing about "admixture". deCODE, by assuming Watson is a priori equally likely to descend from Europeans, Africans, and East Asians, can come up with an admixture estimate. But a white man who can trace half his ancestry to Scotland and Ireland and half his ancestry to colonial New England and the Mid-Atlantic is not equally likely to descend from these groups. It's entirely appropriate to weigh deCODE's estimate against genealogical data and physical appearance. Actually, deCODE's estimate should be ignored entirely until they explain their methodology and give confidence intervals.

If somebody who was one-third anything was a Yale department chairman, it would rewrite the rules of biology. :)

No, it wouldn't.

Reg C├Žsar said...

And then there was always the fear among individuals who were passing that they’d have a child who was clearly part-black. (Your child can inherit from you genes that aren’t evident in your looks.)

A ship with a mostly African crew wrecked near the village of Ulcinj on the Montenegran coast about 400 years ago. The crew dispersed into the area and eventually into the gene pool. I asked a well-known author familiar with the area about this incident, and he said that to this day white couples will occasionally produce a black-looking child, leaving the poor mother having to defend herself.

Anonymous said...

Re: Melungeons

There is a group of tri-racial isolates along the border between NJ and NY in the Ramapo Mountains. Most of them look like Puerto Ricans, more of less, but some could pass for white.

ghetto watson said...

"Racial differentiation" isn't something that just happened and then stopped. Evolution is ongoing. See the Hawks papers."

That's true but it doesn't alter the fact that particular gene frequencies are associated with certain ancestries for current populations.

"Nor does waving your hands and saying "ancient" or "systemic" admixture mean anything."

It means that a particular "admixture" measurement doesn't have to be of "recent" genealogical origin as Sailer originally proposed.

"Watson is apparently a bit more similar to a sample of Africans and a sample or Asians than the average of a white sample on a particular set of markers."

According to Decode, considerably more than a bit.

"This proves absolutely nothing about "admixture".

What would? [Assuming for the moment (which of course may not be true) that Decode's methodology is sound.]

"deCODE, by assuming Watson is a priori equally likely to descend from Europeans, Africans, and East Asians, can come up with an admixture estimate."

I don't understand this. Shouldn't no a priori assumptions be made at all? Why should Decode assume a priori that Watson couldn't descend from these groups, equally or otherwise?

"But a white man who can trace half his ancestry to Scotland and Ireland and half his ancestry to colonial New England and the Mid-Atlantic is not equally likely to descend from these groups."

Assumptions about equal likelihood won't alter the raw data in the genetic analysis. Stefansson's premature, political, and malicious intepretation of the data is another story.

"It's entirely appropriate to weigh deCODE's estimate against genealogical data and physical appearance."

To an extent, yes, which is why I'm skeptical that the Decode measures are accurate. But while genealogical data (which cannot be complete going back further in time than a certain level) and physical appearance (which has a subjective factor and cannot be determinative) can suggest a certain level of skepticism, it's not strong evidence one way or the other. Ultimately, the issue has to be resolved genetically.

"Actually, deCODE's estimate should be ignored entirely until they explain their methodology and give confidence intervals."

I'll agree with this entirely. If Decode is going to publicly "expose" Watson in this manner, they themselves should be equally transparent about their methodology (and their motivations).

ghetto watson said...

"This entire discussion about Watson is a perfect illustration of why the scientifically illiterate should stay far away from individual admixture testing for the time being. Most have no idea how tests like this work."

I'll agree with this, but see below. The problem is two sided. It's not only that "false positives" are going to be accepted; real positives are going to be rejected, based on a priori assumptions.

"Far from Steve being "consumed with rage" at Shriver, he merely offered some background and admitted he was wrong. That's called intellectual honesty. You should try it..."

No, from Sailer's onsite comments, repeated for years every time this issue comes up (never mind offsite comments) he seems personally offended by Shriver's nonsense and goes too far in the other direction.

Actually, as stated above, this whole episode underscores another problem. It's one thing to be skeptical about genetic tests and to question data such as that for Watson, which does seem unusual.

However, I think the longer range problem with these tests will be the opposite: regardless of how accurate any admixture test is, if the results go against people's preconceptions of what the data should be, they are going to reject it.

Both Type I and Type II errors are going to be a problem for interpretation of these tests, as Sailer's posts and comments threads make clear.

ghetto watson said...

"All this goes to show you can't trust DNAprint's numbers."

No, it means that you can't trust Shriver's numbers.

As Steve lets us know at every opportunity.

ghetto watson said...

"One thing to keep in mind: chances are typically overwhelmingly against the "Maximum Likelihood Estimate" being the "correct" ancestral breakdown"

True enough; which is why responsible companies, unlike Decode, give error bars and measures of statistical significance for "admixture."

That Decode doesn't do that is a problem for Decode specifically.

ghetto watson said...

"If we're going to play "what if": what if there is no significant admixture in any of Watson's ancestral lines (which is much more likely than your scenario)? Then is it appropriate to model his ancestry in terms of mixing between Yorubans, East Asians, and Utah whites?"

The difference is that my "what if" was in response to Decode's data, not an a priori assumption that Watson's ancestry can or cannot be modeled in a manner, based upon assumptions about his ancestry.

It was also in response to Sailer's initial post (subsequently rewritten, apparently before he posted my comments), which put forth the novel idea that a person's genealogy goes back only 3-4 generations, and no further.

I agree that Decode's three population model is overly simplistic, and that they haven't even defined what these populations actually represent - and I've already stated that.

I don't agree that first assumptions should be made on a subject's ancestry and then a test designed to match what we think the ancestry is. Any such test should be designed that it works equally well for those with, or without, observable admixture in their familial lines.

If Decode fails in this, then their test needs to be reworked for everyone, not just for people that we will assume in advance have no admixture based on ethnicity, appearance, genealogy, etc.

Steve Sailer said...

Ghetto Watson,

Thanks for improving the tone of your posts. As I said, you have a lot worth hearing, and insulting me so much was only hurting getting your message across.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: A friend suggests, "How do we even know that the published genome is actually from James Watson? How many people in the genetics business has Watson been rude to over the last 60 years? How many people might think it funny to substitute somebody else's cheek swab for Watson's as revenge?"

That reminds me of the case of the little boy, Danny Williams, whose mother was a [black] prostitute in Arkansas & had alleged that Bill Clinton was the boy's father.

As I recall the case, Ken Starr had published [in his report] some DNA sequences proving that Clinton's semen was on the blue dress, and some enterprising tabloids sought to use that sequence to prove paternity.

When the results came back negative, people then wondered if maybe Starr might have intentionally published a false sequence - probably at the behest of the Secret Service.

[I guess that when you get right down to it, in this day and age, knowledge of the president's DNA is about the only tool that the Secret Service has to prevent a Manchurian-Candidate switcheroo.]

Of course, I wouldn't put it past the Clintons to intercept & alter the sample, or bribe some lab workers to falsify the results, but, admittedly, that's getting into tinfoil hat territory.

ash said...

There may have *historically* been a "one drop rule" that some white Americans believed in.

Nowadays, the only people who still hold to the "one-drop rule" are black Americans. The "one-drop rule" is a black thing now.

Among white Americans, the current rule is the "modified duck rule":

If it looks like a duck (i.e., if a person looks white), it's a duck (white), UNLESS it tells you that it is in fact a swan (black), in which case you're a stupid racist for mistaking it for a duck, and should hang your head in shame.

Examples of swans that look like ducks but you're racist if you accidentally misclassify them include as Nicole Ritchie, Jennifer Beals, etc.

cshw said...

That's true but it doesn't alter the fact that particular gene frequencies are associated with certain ancestries for current populations.

It does mean that as we go farther back in time, modern "parental" populations become less useful as proxies.

To try to sum up my position:

Individuals within populations vary. Populations within macroraces vary. I consider claims to the effect that anomalous results on, e.g., DNAprint's tests are "real" and must represent "ancient" connections (as opposed to chance or selection-driven convergence on a particular set of SNPs) baseless. I'm not saying it's not possible to develop techniques to detect "real" ancient admixture events; I'm saying DNAprint have not done so, and the ad hoc rationalizations they have created for angry customers should not be accepted as scientific fact.

It means that a particular "admixture" measurement doesn't have to be of "recent" genealogical origin as Sailer originally proposed.

But the people buying these tests generally want to determine "recent" admixture. They want to find out if they're part-Cherokee, not park-Greek. The full picture of genetic variation is important. That may include the fact that Greeks are in some respects more similar to Amerindians than Northwestern Europeans are. But that's not the information someone trying to determine if some of their ancestors were isolated on a different continent on the other side of the world for ten or fifteen thousand years is looking for.

Now think of someone all of whose ancestors were in Ireland in 1492. How meaningful would a DNAprint-style test be for this person? Do you accept that some "pure" Irishmen will resemble Nigerians more than the typical Irishman on a given set of SNPs, purely by chance? One could speculate that an unusual resemblance is due to "ancient" or "systemic" admixture recombining in an improbable way in one particular Irishman. But there's no need for that sort of speculation, and no basis for it without supporting research. Purely by chance, we expect some Irishmen will draw unusual sets of SNPs. Increase the number/power of SNPs, and the fraction of Irishmen falsely testing with "significant" nonwhite admixture will decrease. But whether it's 1 in 20 or 1 in 1000, we may continue to expect false positives. At some point, the test may be "good enough"; but I don't think deCODE is there yet -- unless the bizarre Watson result is attributable entirely to bad sequencing data. (In the NYT article, Stefansson hints he doesn't fully trust the data or the result, which raises the question of why he would stoop to DNAprint levels of sensationalism and release the result anyway.)

Nor do I think it would be all that useful to tell an Irishman he has a somewhat improbable (yet expected in the grand scheme of things) genotype. What would be gained by this? An opportunity for a race-denier to say, "See, everybody's mixed"? The ability for his fellow Irishmen to exclude him, "just in case"? I'm not sure the latter is a good idea. If races/ethnies are defined by allele frequencies, when you start excluding outliers, you are changing the population. And if you're going to do that, I'm sure there are better traits to select on than "admixture" as determined by a relatively crude test. (This is not to say admixture testing won't eventually be useful for those who wish to opt out of Alon Ziv's ideal future.)

What would [prove admixture]?

Increasing the number/power of markers to a level where absence of admixture could be shown to be fleetingly impropable would be one option, I suppose. Preferably, this would be done in conjunction with a broader examination of genetic variability in Europe (and the rest of the world). But, first, the issue of data quality would need to be addressed.

I suspect that eventually, with the availability of large numbers of full genome sequences, we will be able to "prove" (and perhaps date) admixture to a much higher level of certainty, using rarer and more population-distinctive variants.

I don't understand this. Shouldn't no a priori assumptions be made at all? Why should Decode assume a priori that Watson couldn't descend from these groups, equally or otherwise?

I'm not arguing testing companies should start taking into account non-genetic information. Clearly this would make the tests less objective and less repeatable.

I am saying we need to be aware of the assumption that is being made -- that someone of Watson's appearance and ancestry is just as likely to have ancestors hailing from Nigeria and China/Japan as from Europe -- particularly when interpreting results. Clearly the assumption is wrong, or races wouldn't exist in the first place. This is not a minor point. It suggests admixture may be systematically overstated in unmixed individuals and is another reason we shouldn't simply accept (still relatively primitive) "scientific" DNA analysis as trumping all other sources of knowledge.

Assumptions about equal likelihood won't alter the raw data in the genetic analysis.

Yes, the sampled markers are what they are. But what of the rest of the genome?

FY(null) in a Sicilian most likely doesn't mean the same thing it does in a Dominican. That's an extreme example, but it holds even more strongly for markers with smaller deltas between populations. A good admixture test will look at more than one marker, but, at any given level of precision, a given set of markers probably should not predict identical results at untested sites in two different populations.

Ultimately, the issue has to be resolved genetically.

Tests will have to get a hell of a lot better first. But, I agree, in that I see no reason genetic tests won't eventually be able to assess population affinities more accurately than genealogy/appearance.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm qualified to opine about Watson's ancestry because of my own case, which is why I think this is a bunch of malarkey and possibly the genes they say they are finding refer to some distant lineage or something undefined. Don't place too much faith in these tests.
My fathers parents both came from the'mulattos' of Mobile, Al. I have the genealogy, I have pictures, and I met all my dad's brothers. Of the 8 boys, my father had blondish hair and no features that would strike one as negroid. Neither did 6 of his brothers, who ranged in color, but none of whom looked darker than "Italian" in type. One brother was decidedly "something else" and people did question his race sometimes. One of his kids inherited the very dark coloring and curly hair and apparently went through a lot of hazing because of it. None of the other 2 dozen cousins and siblings were strikingly dark and my family was classic celtic white looking and not just because my mom was Irish. There was red hair in the "mulatto" family.
My grandfather was probably octoroon (1/8 black) but he was not dark, just black haired. I always thought his features look kind of Indian, high cheekboned.
My grandmother's lineage is very well documented, going back to common law unions, even legal marriages, between French and Spanish with black and mulatto women. This was common in Mobile, as the white French ladies preferred to marry men from France. I have a picture of my g-g-g-grandmother who I'd always thought was French. She was very beautiful, like an Renaissance madonna. Her ancestry was 20% black--quadroon mother, octoroon father.
So. I had a DNA test done and you know what? No black African ancestry showed up at ALL. NADA. I look like my father and he looks like his parents, blah blah. So yes, I am really descended from some black people yet I am the whitest person around. My DNA showed up as 99% European and 1% American Indian. I have no idea where the Indian ancestry came from, but possibly my grandfather's white family had it which predisposed them to marrying with 'mulattos.'
Because of my own clear history of mixed blood not showing up at all, I am VERY skeptical about Watson. The DNA testers themselves warn that when the percentage of ancestry goes below 5%, it may not be represented. I figure my father was about 16% black, me about 8%. Doesn't show up at all in the DNA. It's gone.
I think the people who are claiming this about Watson are pulling a fast one--the powers that be decided to do this to squash facts about racial differences.

lloyd1927 said...

Redbone Heritage Foundation Conference – 2007
http://backintyme.com/essays/?p=41


The most memorable moment of revelation came when Stacey Webb showed the map of America’s triracial communities (above). By that point in the conference, it had become clear to everyone that there is really only one large triracial community in the southern United States. The families of this community migrated freely among regions, seeking only to be left in peace. The many different labels (Redbone, Dominicker, Brass Ankle, etc.) are merely different derogatory local terms for the same widespread people. The map’s revelation was that the different local names align along the borders of states. Everywhere that they migrated, triracial families clustered along political boundaries so that they could easily slip back and forth across the border to avoid persecution.


During one of the breakout sessions, a genealogist remarked that what most frustrated her was not learning that she had multiracial ancestry. By then, she had concluded that all Redbones are mixed to some extent. What most frustrated her was that her own relatives actively discouraged her search. Apparently, her own kin felt that there were some things in the past that are best left hidden, an attitude that simply made the genealogist more determined than ever to uncover her roots. The ensuing break-out discussion was thought-provoking because it revealed that triracial heritage organizations suffer from two extra obstacles (in addition to power struggles between leaders that all organizations face). The first challenge unique to such groups is that their own relatives often try to prevent their research. The second is that academia, especially sociology and humanities departments, is so deeply committed to the U.S. racialist Black/White dichotomy that, instead of helping triracial researchers, it often ridicules their efforts, insisting that American triracials are not a “real ethnicity” at all.




Personal Observations on Bliss Broyard’s One Drop
http://backintyme.com/essays/?p=40


Any molecular anthropologist can explain that as many as 30 percent of White Americans have detectable sub-Saharan DNA markers from slave ancestors who crossed the color line. (See Afro-European Genetic Admixture in the United States.) And it is easy enough to compute that about 35,000 European-looking Americans every year switch from calling themselves “Black” to “White” when they leave high school. (See The Rate of Black-to-White “Passing”.) The good news is that this book will educate readers at a personal family level just how this happens. The bad news is that its author inadvertently reifies Americans’ false dichotomy because she is apparently still struggling with the realization that mixed Afro-Euro-Native American ancestry is the norm in this hemisphere, and that the obviously counterfactual U.S. myth of White “racial” purity is the strange pathological exception.

lloyd1927 said...

Contrary to popular belief, the white race isn't the genetic weakling of the human species. A white plus a non-white often equals a white.

Lots of photos here, including some Nordic quadroons:

http://onedroprule.org/viewtopic.php?t=1567&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0&sid=65c80d64fd5d1b625b5633f5bf33979

lloyd1927 said...

More on Melungeon DNA

http://www.melungeon.org/index.cgi?BISKIT=2263649628&CONTEXT=cat&cat=10073

lloyd1927 said...

Here are comments from an American friend of mine who lives in Sweden:


Subject: Re: DNA pioneer James Watson is blacker than he thought -


Jonathan Leake, Science Editor

JAMES WATSON, the DNA pioneer who claimed Africans are less intelligent than whites, has been found to have 16 times more genes of black origin than the average white European.

An analysis of his genome shows that 16% of his genes are likely to have come from a black ancestor of African descent. By contrast, most people of European descent would have no more than 1%.

"No more than1%. That's pure nonsense. Ever since the Fall of the Roman Empire, the Crusades, the purging by Spain and Italy of the Moors, African genes have been rampant all over Europe. As for the present, when the British and French Colonial Empires dissolved, tens of thousands of the former "colonials" came "home" to the Mother Country. They propogated with the indigenous populations, thus their children and granschildren are considered Europeans. In other words, the One-drop Rule doesn't apply here, any more than it does in South America! The Queen of England formally acknowledged a black ancestor on her ascension to the throne in 1952 (I think it was). I know how hard it is to discuss this subject with Americans. My best friend here in Sweden lived 24 years in the USA. Drring her time there she had a son with a black man . She insists her son is "black". However, she's backing down from her position now, since her son, Eric, married a Japanese girl. They have a gorgeous little son, Leo,who is a five-year-old muttiracial phenomenon, talented at everything including his three languages (Japanese,English and Swedish)! When I ask her if Leo's "black" she now goes all quiet and tries to change the subject. Gotcha!"

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks, Lloyd1927. Interesting stuff.

Are there any celebrities from a triracial background that would help us who come from other parts of the country to put some well-known faces to the group?

ghetto watson said...

I'll begin to agree more with cshw's latest post. However, a few points of where there is some difference:

1. I agree that many people will misunderstand the results of the current tests, and that, yes, a typical Greek taking a DNA test is not going to be interested in, or understand, a "Native American" result.

However, if the result is stat sig. (point 2), it is saying something about ancestry of interest to people with a deeper understanding. For example: "That may include the fact that Greeks are in some respects more similar to Amerindians than Northwestern Europeans are."

Once again, I certainly agree that's not what the typical customer is interested in. However, I am interested in such information and until the tests improve, will take the data as it comes, interpreting it reasonably conservatively.

2. It's true that SNPs can be shared as a matter of chance, but that's why DNAP - with all their faults, which are many - give confidence intervals and evaluations of statistical significance for their tests. Of course, even "statistical significant" data could be chance, at P at 0.05, that's still 1 chance in 20.

However, for example, let's take Ari the Greek who gets 4% NAM on the test, and Greco the Greek who gets, say, 20% NAM (the latest ABD2.5).

Ari's is below the P <0.05 level, and can be error. It *could* be real as well, but with the confidence intervals overlapping zero, not much credence can be given.

Greco's measurement is above the level for P < 0.05. So, we'll say that there is a 95%+ chance that it is "real" rather than chance (DNAP's stat. measurements take into account both exp. error and chance due to continuously distributed alleles).

In fact, 20% may be at the P < 0.01 level....

Of course, that doesn't mean the *actual* level of NAM affiliation is 20%, only that it is likely "real", the *actual* may be in a range, with the 20% being the modal value for the possibilities.

That's not what the average genealogy customer is looking for, and, agreed, that's not where we want to be eventually. But I'll take that data until someone improves the methodology. I had hoped that Decode will have done so, and spurred needed competition. As cshw says, they are not there yet. There "outing" of Watson also suggests serious ethical issues as well.

3. Does this mean that Greco is part Amerindian? Certainly not, but it may (note: may) suggest some degree of affiliation with a common Central Asian genepool. It does seem very likely that there are differences between the deep ancestry of Ari and Greco, despite both being "Greek", and, possibly, looking similar as well.

ghetto watson disease profile said...

One more point that I don't think anyone else had made yet (I apologize if I missed a comment). Not only was Watson's ancestral data (real or false) publicized. but also his "disease risk profile!"

I realize that Watson made his genome public, but here is one instance that I agree with John Hawks. I can't express in sufficient terms my disgust with Decode, esp. given that Stefansson has made clear his opinion, quoted in the newspaper articles, that Watson's initial statements about Africans were not "appropriate" and that Stefansson is "smiling" over the data.

I hope people remember all of this when they read the "your privacy is paramount" section of the Decode site.

Question: could someone like David Duke be a customer without having to worry about being "watsoned?" Or how about Steve Sailer?

Didn't Decode pause to consider the implications before they so eagerly went after their "gotcha!" moment against James Watson.

Personally, I've lost all respect for Stefansson, who should offer a public apology to Watson.

Again, for once in his life, Hawks is correct.

ghetto watson said...

No "smile on his face" here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYxO61Vp-Wc&NR=1

Question: why hasn't Stefansson made his own ancestral profile and disease risk profile public?

Concerned about privacy?

Anonymous said...

Ava Gardner and Elvis Presley were both said to be of Melungeon ancestry.

cshw said...

Here's the report about problems with the Watson data I was thinking of:


Release 47 News (23rd October 2007)
Data updates
Problems with Venter and Watson data

We have identified a number of problems with the Watson and Venter resequencing data stored in the variation database, which we would like to bring to your attention.

These errors include several hundred thousand Watson SNPs that are wrong and will be removed in future releases, in addition to erroneously low SNP coverage on several Watson chromosomes. For Venter, there were a number of cases where two SNPs were at the same position with different alleles, and others that should be heterozygous but are identified as homozygous.

Unfortunately by the time these errors were discovered, it was too late to remove them from Ensembl without holding up the rest of the release. We therefore recommend that you do not use any of the Watson or Venter data from the current release of Ensembl.

We expect to be able to release the corrected Watson data in December 2007, but we are less confident about the Venter data; it may have to be omitted entirely from the December release and brought back in the following release. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.


The problems with the Watson sequence have supposedly been fixed in the December release. Which release did deCODE use for their analysis?

lloyd1927 said...

Sailer said: Thanks, Lloyd1927. Interesting stuff.

Are there any celebrities from a triracial background that would help us who come from other parts of the country to put some well-known faces to the group?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/secret/famous/locklear.html


Another family whose name is a giveaway for their African heritage is that of Locklear - yes, the same one that Heather, the blond bombshell of the TV series, "Melrose Place," claims as her own. Although as Anglo Saxon sounding as you can make it, the name is, in fact, an Indian one and in the language of the Tuscarora tribes means "hold fast." Indeed, it would appear that Ms. Locklear's family, at least on her father's side, once belonged to a segment of the population which in academic terminology is referred to as a tri-racial isolate - a community of individuals whose ancestry is a mixture of European, Indian and Black and who intermarried only with each other.

For much of our history the particular group with which her surname is so definitively identified has enigmatically been designated as "Lumbee." Numbering nearly forty thousand today and centering in Robeson Co., North Carolina, the Lumbees are the largest of these tri-racial groups. The official ideology of its members today, however, is that they are 100 percent Indian. A similar group known as the Melungeons originated in Tennesee while the Brass Ankle, Red Bone and Turk populations all developed in the Carolinas.

It should be noted that the modern ethnological word for such groups - isolates- is misleading. It reflects the restrictive social conditions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since the "one drop" rule defining an African American would not be legally instituted anywhere in the nation until after Reconstruction, this definition does not take into account the fact that throughout the seventeen and early eighteen hundreds free people of black and white ancestry intermarried not only among themselves but with families of Indian and white ancestry. Furthermore, members of mixed race families intermarried with the surrounding whites, despite the fact that many states had passed laws outlawing such unions.

Virginia Easley Demarce, a specialist in this area of research points out, that one of the major contentions of tri-racial Americans is that they were more likely bi-racial or Indian and white. As she point out, "The reason why tri-racial ancestry has been downplayed is clear. Throughout most of American history the legal, social, educational, and economic disadvantages of being African -American were so great that it was preferable for a person to be considered almost anything else."

Few of these groups have a tribal identification that can be traced back to the colonial period. Over the years, through acculturation and assimilation, they have lost whatever Indian languages and traditions they might have descended from. Many have worked very hard to attain legal recognition as Indian tribes over the last few years but some are still not recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Indian adoption during the colonial period of English surnames such as Blunt, Tucker, Revels and Harris only adds to the difficulty of tracing Indian forbears. Thanks, however, to the contribution of an anthropologist with some linguistic expertise, the Locklears can point to their own name as one instance of the Lumbee group's Native American origins.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Researched and Written by Mario de Valdes y Cocom


Families of Blurred Racial Lines (some famous)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/secret/famous/


Notable Lumbees
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famous_Lumbees

http://www.vistaheads.com/forums/security-news/49800-up-close-david-maynor.html

History of Lumbees
http://linux.library.appstate.edu/lumbee/2/STIL007.htm


Melungeons


Kinfolks: Falling Off the Family Tree - The Search for My Melungeon Ancestors (Hardcover)
by Lisa Alther (Author)

http://www.lisaalther.com/kinfolks.html

http://www.amazon.com/Kinfolks-Falling-Family-Melungeon-Ancestors/dp/1559708328/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197650711&sr=1-1

Mixing in the Mountains
by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures
The Melungeons prove to be more than just another of the South’s “little races” for the author. (Reed discovers he is of Melungeon descent)
http://www.ahc.umn.edu/bioethics/genetics_and_identity/reed.html
http://www.unc.edu/depts/csas/southern_cultures/contentsvol3.html
http://genforum.genealogy.com/melungeon/messages/18931.html

http://www.amazon.com/Kinfolks-Falling-Family-Melungeon-Ancestors/dp/1559708328/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197650711&sr=1-1

http://www.melungeon.org/index.cgi?&CONTEXT=cat&cat=10113


http://melungeon_music.tripod.com/melungeonmusic/id4.html

lloyd1927 said...

RE: Watson's infamous 16%:

According to Bliss Broyard's book, ONE DROP (page 473)

Todd Broyard, 18% African (very Nordic phenotype like his maternal Norwegian ancestors)
http://www.blacklabalarm.com/contactus.html

Bliss Broyard, 13% African (More brunet like her father, but still "pass-for-a-WASP" white
http://www.blissbroyard.com/

Check out Ms. Broyard's book.
The pictures of the Broyard grandparents and great-grandparents also show Caucasian phenotypes. The mixed-blood Creoles usually practiced endogamy and, until recently, avoided intermarriages with blacks..

lloyd1927 said...

More black ancestry in whites than you know

In the Jim Crow South, courts understood that rigidly enforcing the rules against mixed marriage would have been a disaster­ for whites.

http://www.legalaffairs.org/issues/September-October-2003/story_sharfstein_sepoct03.msp

Photo of white antebellum slaves
http://multiracial.com/site/content/view/460/27/

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, Peter Brimelow mentioned Heather Locklear as having a famously tri-racial surname in the explanation of VDARE.com's logo:

http://www.vdare.com/why_vdare.htm

Any other celebrities?

fifi said...

"A more reasonable (though still extremely unlikely) hypothesis is that Melungeons are mixed-breed descendants of Indians and Spanish or Portuguese colonists from pre-Jamestown settlements who are otherwise presumed to have perished."

I think Tommy is on the right track here at least regarding some groups of nonwhites who have been here since colonial days. I have two uncles - one by marriage the other a half-uncle (is there such a thing) who both look very Spanish/Italian/Turkish but who don't know themselves to be anything but white.

Part of the problem with discussing tri-racial isolates is that black had different meanings in the past. Moors/Arabs, Africans were all considered to be black at one time. Maybe Melungians are people of white, Indian, African descent, maybe white, Indian, Turkish, maybe all of the above. There's no way to tell. Although I do like the theory that sailors who survived shipwrecks or deserted made their way into the gene pool long before their ethnic groups were recognized as part of the population.

There's also the possibility of having mixed ancestry before immigrating to the US i.e. black Irish and black Dutch. This gets even more muddled b/c supposedly biracial and tri-racial Americans borrowed such terms to explain their dark hair or swarthy complexion.

People with an agenda often like to use evidence of purportedly caucasian Americans being racially mixed to claim that many of us are part African. No doubt some of us are but just as many with nonwhite forebears might be part Indian or part Turkish sailor or even Roman soldier from way back.

ghetto watson said...

"The problems with the Watson sequence have supposedly been fixed in the December release. Which release did deCODE use for their analysis?"

That's a good question. Perhaps Stefansson can answer it, at the same time he decides to publicize his own ancestral data and disease risk.

"Lloyd1927", you seem to have a strong emotional interest in this question. Do you have a confirmed black genealogy?

Anonymous said...

Lloyd 1927--

There are no Africans in the English Royal Family's lineage. The current Royal Family is not English, but from an area of Germany known as Hanover and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha--where most or Europe's Royal houses hailed from at the time of the first world war. I'd love to see this supposed quote as well as an image of this supposed ancestor.

You can read their genealogy here:
http://www.royal.gov.uk/files/pdf/Windsor%20family%20tree.pdf

For a Royal in line of the throne to marry anyone other than a Royal of equal or greater "caste" was to withdraw from the line. All marriages were for political advantage--not love. As for the prior Royal dynasties of England, they are just as well documented--there are no Africans.

The only blacks in European courts where there, for a time in the 18th century, as curiosities wearing the house livery. NO ONE would have married one or had a child by one--NO ONE.

I can't believe the nonsense people espouse these days about Europeans--seems everyone wants credit for something they didn't do.

Anonymous said...

Lloyd 1927--

I went to your "onedroprule" site and looked at the pictures. Except in the case where the father is a nordic blond and the mother is at most 1/8th African, they do not look like "white" people to me--but then I grew up and live in Minnesota. Minnesota was almost entirely settled by Nordics prior to a smattering of Italians arriving round 1910. Even as a child 40 years ago, the Italians did not look white to "us"--we called them, literally, "ethnics".

People who live on the East coast are prone to calling non-white phenotypes "white" when those of us who live in decidedly "white" areas do not see them that way. One only need look at the busts of Greeks before the Islamic invasion to see the difference and the effects of gene mixing. The Greeks of today look nothing like the Greeks of antiquity. The same is true of southern Italians versus northern Italians. Gibbon pointed this out in his great book "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"--replete with before and after busts. There were no Romans left in Rome when it was sacked--they had all moved to Gaul or Ravenna by then. The people of Ravenna are the people who founded Venice. Those who remained in Rome and southern Italy were 90% Syrian slave stock.

My ancestry is English, Dutch and German. My wife is German and 1/8th French. All four of our children were born with blond hair (easily 70% of the population when we were kids) and two have blue eyes like their mother and her family (as well as my father) and two have light brown/hazel eyes like myself.

Those children on those pages do not look like "Minnesota" children at all.

This is what a "white" child looks like to us:
http://mystpaul.net/family/1bobbyage3.jpg

Note the angular face, aquiline nose, symmetrical eyes and ears. None of those children on those pages have that.

Anonymous said...

My comment:
People who have significant amounts of "opposing" ancestry in their genepool (i.e. white and black) tend to show wide differentials of appearence among their family members.

If we cannot establish that one of his recent relatives was black or asian, we should be able to determine from his family if there are any tendencies towards the asiatic or negro direction. We clearly do not see this evident in his family's characteristics.


@Hoosier Comrade:

Jews are not really integrated into White society. Sure, there is some level of intermarriage, but its the exception rather than the norm. Jews generally eschew outside marriages.

@Peter:

The one drop rule is a social norm amongst Whites, not hispanics.

@Crom:

Faulty science is still faulty. We shouldn't champion groups that take advantage of our increasing knowledge in the field of genetics by promoting false science.

@Svigor:

Moors were at least nominally black. The populations of Arabia and North Africa *do* have some negro tendencies.

@dearieme:

Race mixing was frowned upon in most of Europe. The acceptence of miscegentation today is largely a modern phonenemon.

@ghetto watson:

The fact that Watson does not look anything at all black or Asian and that none of his relatives do either really closes the door on this discussion. Watson may very well have very nominal amounts of non-white DNA, but there is not a significant contribution of either of these groups to make any meaningful effect.

re: error bars

What would be the typical error for this sort of result? if 25% is a median, what would be the margin of error to suggest that this is even a remotely plausible result? If they gave numbers in the low single digits, we probably would have a hard time making a convincing argument against the results because such nominal levels of admixture would be sufficently suppressed by the dominant genotype, even across many generations.

@anonymous (re: dna test):

I don't trust these DNA tests at all. I'm aware of a Norwegian fellow who took one of these tests and came back as being 5% black. These tests are silly and unreliable. If any group of people are NOT going to have contact with Africans, it would definitely be those from the extremes of Northern Europe.

@lloyd1927:

Rubbish. Prove it. Its amazing how the stories of occasional race-mixing turn into everyone does it and everyone is significantly black as a result.

Anonymous said...

I see this topic come up a lot on the discussions of racial admixture.

It is suggested that Whites all have varying amounts of non-white ancestry. While I cannot seriously entertain the suggestion that Dr. Watson of nobel-prize winning fame is really 25% non-white (because such a significant amount would be quite easy to tell from appearance), I do not try to deny the reality of history and its genetic implications.

I am not interested in having any discussions on specific historical events (those can be argued by students of history), however I am interested in making the following points:

1. I do not make the claim of "pure white" heritage or that all whites are "pure". such an argument does not need to be made.

2. those with significant amounts of "different" lineages tend to show those characteristics. even quadroons and octoroons are fairly distinguishable from people who are considered "pure white".

3. family members of people with significant amounts of mixed lineages tend to have a wider variety of characteristics due to the way genes express themselves and produce a "more white" or "more black" appearance between births. We see a lack of this in both the European white population and the American white population

4. nominal amounts of admixture does not make someone equal to that of another race. people who are 25% black and 75% white, for example, will on average exhibit tendencies more towards the white direction, not the black direction. If you were to make the case that an otherwise white looking person is 2% black, you would have a very tough time getting them to assimilate into black culture and drawing any similarities between him and the average black.

Most of the arguments I see are attempts to weaken the social lines that people of different races draw for themselves. Unfortunately, it is a fallacious and weak attempt at doing so.
Regardless of our perceived awareness of who we may be and what we really are, we are still going to differentiate ourselves from others. It is a long way from a few percentage points of black to being 95-98% black!

ghetto watson said...

"The fact that Watson does not look anything at all black or Asian and that none of his relatives do either really closes the door on this discussion."

Right. Because you don't think that Watson looks "anything at all" black or Asian therefore "closes the door" on the discussion. I see. How about first we find out exactly what's going on with the Decode test and their methodology? How about a second opinion from another test? Or, perhaps we should dispense with population genetics, and just have you tell us what you think people "look at all like."

"Watson may very well have very nominal amounts of non-white DNA, but there is not a significant contribution of either of these groups to make any meaningful effect."

What is a "significant contribution" and a "meaningful effect?" Whether or not you think he looks at all black?

"re: error bars

What would be the typical error for this sort of result? if 25% is a median, what would be the margin of error to suggest that this is even a remotely plausible result?"

Ask Decode.

"I don't trust these DNA tests at all."

Which means nothing.

"I'm aware of a Norwegian fellow who took one of these tests and came back as being 5% black."

Anecdotal. Who? What test? Just because you claim to know such a person means nothing.

"These tests are silly and unreliable."

Because you say so.

"If any group of people are NOT going to have contact with Africans, it would definitely be those from the extremes of Northern Europe."

True enough, in general, but why should we take your word with respect to this person? Can we actually see the results? How about reproducing the data here? We still won't know whether it is really someone from Norway, but at least we can see what the data are and make some conclusions about them.

lloyd1927 said...

Anonymous said:
I went to your "onedroprule" site and looked at the pictures. Except in the case where the father is a nordic blond and the mother is at most 1/8th African, they do not look like "white" people to me--but then I grew up and live in Minnesota. Minnesota was almost entirely settled by Nordics prior to a smattering of Italians arriving round 1910. Even as a child 40 years ago, the Italians did not look white to "us"--we called them, literally, "ethnics".

http://onedroprule.org/viewtopic.php?p=33731#33731

I guess the vast majority of whites don't look "white" to you. There are five pages of pictures, including white children of mulatto mothers and white fathers who look Nordic enough to be "Aryan" models on Third Reich posters.

ghetto watson said...

And then we have the Anonymous/Lloyd (*) argument. Essentially this illustrates the core of my argument, which is NOT to argue whether Watson is or is not 16% black (I already said I'm skeptical), but rather, that the issue needs ultimately to be settled scientifically via genetic assay.

Here we have people arguing whether they think people "look white" to them, or whether these people who "look white" could be on "Third Reich posters." It's obvious that Anonymous and Lloyd are going to continue to disagree on this - just like I disagree with many other comments on this thread that I haven't even bothered to address up to this point.

But, statements of opinions are just that - statements of opinions. Things written in books 50,100, or 200 years ago do not substitute for genetic data; on the other hand, LLoyd's continued attempts to show that "everyone's part black" do not convince either.

*Why was my previous comment on LLoyd censored? Steve, it's your blog, but it'll be best to either have no comments section at all (like you did in the past and what MacDonald has now) OR don't censor like GNXP does.

lloyd1927 said...

Ghetto Watson said:
LLoyd's continued attempts to show that "everyone's part black" do not convince either.


I did NOT say that. Don't attribute strawman arguments to me.

I have provided evidence (here and in the "famous people who were significantly black" section) that black ancestry in white Americans has to be far more widespread than most people realize.

lloyd1927 said...

"Subliminally black"? What is THAT? Most of the critics who attacked the casting of Anthony Hopkins in the very racist film, "The Human Stain," were ridiculous. They were claiming that the man could play any role in the world except one in which the character is "tainted" with partial black ancestry. Such people are still white. By the way, why are Americans taught to pretend that Hispanics and Arabs DON'T have the same dreaded genes?

Mark Shriver, the white DNA scientist who upset Steve, claimed no more than 11% African DNA. That's not much.

Watson ought to have DNA tests done by other companies to make sure that the Icelandic company is not in error. Besides that, it is not unheard of for white Americans to be promiment and yet have some recent black ancestry that is either unknown to the public or an open secret to a select few.

Anonymous said...

Driggers and the Grinsteads are passing for white is the biggest example. Judy Canova is related to the Driggers, while Laurence Herman "Gus" Versluis, Johnny Depp and Kristen Allen is related to the Grinstead family. Versluis, Depp, Allen's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather is William Grinstead, a Caucasian, while his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Grinstead, an African-Caucasian.

Anonymous said...

Laurence Herman "Gus" Versluis, a truck driver made national news, was possibly a Melungeon.

Anonymous said...

Clarification:
Kristen Allen should be Krista Allen. Kristen Allen is pure white while Krista Allen is part African-American. I apologize for the inconvience of information.

Anonymous said...

Here is an explanation of the several descendants of Grinsteads:

Krista Allen:
William Grinstead marriage to Elizabeth Kay (Key), an African-European American-William Grinstead II-William Grinstead III-John Grinstead-Richard Grinstead-Richard Grinstead II-Elizabeth Grinstead-Elizabeth Jane King-Bertha Blanche Simmons-Mary Elizabeth Nolan-Katherine Mary Raposa-Krista Allen

Johnny Depp:
William Grinstead marriage to Elizabeth Kay (Key), an African-European American.-William Grinstead II-William Grinstead III-John Grinstead-Philip Grinstead-Philip Wade Grinstead-Christopher Tompkins Grinstead-Roy Grinstead-Violet Grinstead-John Christopher Depp-John Christopher Depp II

Laurence Herman "Gus" Versluis:
William Grinstead marriage to Elizabeth Kay (Key), an African-European American.-William Grinstead II-William Grinstead III-John Grinstead-Jesse Boles Grinstead-Jesse Boles Grinstead II-Jesse Boles Grinstead III-John Thomas Grinstead-Clara May Grinstead-Bonnie Bell Martin-Laurence Herman "Gus" Versluis

insane mixedfolks.com denizen said...

Just in case it's not clear: yes, the previous poster is claiming that 1 part in 2048 of Johnny Depp's ancestry is black and Depp therefore is "passing for white".

Anonymous said...

Clarification:
Jesse Boles Grinstead-Jesse Boles Grinstead II-Jesse Boles Grinstead III should have been just Jesse Grinstead-Jesse Grinstead II-Jesse Boles Grinstead.

Ponto said...

Lots of assumptions here. Having 16% sub Saharan type dna means nothing and doesn't affect appearance. Why is that? Because the dna that is labelled sub Saharan, black to you folks, are alleles or SNPs which do not have any outward physical affect on appearance. It could be proteins on Watson's cell walls. Very few genes or coding dna have anything to do with appearance, probably 1% of the entire genome and most of the genome of every human is identical. Remember standard Chimpanzees share 98% of their dna with humans. Watson may be an asshole but he is not a chimpanzee.
Also those "African" and Asian SNPs are probably located on chromosomes which don't exchange dna with their homologous pair and are passed down totally unchanged from generation to generation. Watson's defective son probably is 16% sub Saharan too, and his son would be also if anyone was foolish enough to let that defective man breed.