Slavery In The US Southern Colonies/States and DNA

Accessory Tether Bonds Prison Shackles Lake Dusia

It’s a controversial topic, Slavery In The US Southern Colonies/States and DNA. Well, I don’t know if DNA is all that controversial but I don’t shy away from discussing it either. It is my heritage, slavery and slave ownership. That my family(s) were a part of this wide ranging, “it’s what they did back in the day”, thing is not something to be proud of, but I am also not hiding it away. My Family, most every limb, at one time or another owned slaves.

Resources, information and a listing of owners.

My part as the descendant of slave owners, is to add any information I find regarding the ownership, sale, gift of a human being to another, to the work I am doing. Mainly on WikiTree, where the US Southern Colonies has a Project on Slavery.  As WikiTreers add profiles of Slave owners, and transcriptions of wills or other documents to WikiTree, they can also add the category, Slave Owner. There are other categories for each state and one for all of the US. Searching these categories for the names given to Slaves is a boon to helping those searching for their ancestors. These categories create an incredible resource for people trying to find and identify the place where their ancestor lived and worked.

The DNA

Today I was looking into something we are working on in the DNA project regarding triangulation (using DNA from three matches that share DNA on the same segment of the same chromosome, used in confirming the genealogical paper trail). I drifted to my own DNA trail when I got an email from a Gaulding/Gaulden cousin in reference to the Y-DNA of her brother – which matches my dad back many, many, many generations to our MCRA.

The haplogroup that caught my attention

I headed over to the FTDNA Gaulding/Gaulden Portion of the Golding DNA project. The results page is cumbersome (a table within a table and two scroll bars) so the page often sits or takes a while to scroll. Sitting there waiting for the screen to catch up with my mouse I realized I was staring at people in the project who had a Nigerian/Camaroonian Hapogroup – E-M2.

I had been staring at it for so long that when it dawned on me who I was looking at I felt a burst of energy. Really. There in the midst of all these DNA results were people whose ancestors were, in all probability, slaves. They listed as their MDA (most distant ancestors) as people living in the US south prior to 1864.

Slavery DNA Project

My next question is, is there a DNA Project specifically designed to help identify people whose ancestors were slaves? Googling Slavery DNA Project returns hits with people. like me, writing articles or Blogs about Slave related DNA Projects. FTDNA has an African DNA Project and  23andMe has the African Genetics Project, but no one has a Slavery DNA Project.

Check your surname DNA project

Because of the way Slaves were named, very few carried their original name, they were given the name of a master, or of many masters. Then the masters listed them in the bills of sale or their wills by first name only or by the diminutive “boy” or “girl” or just “negro”.

I know there are Gaulden’s out there who are of African descent. Already done a shout out to try and connect with Lydia Gaulden (mother of Raven-Symoné – someone has to know how to get me in touch!). There’s a college football player with Gaulden emblazoned across his Jersey as well. I know that every single person out there with the name Gaulden is related to me to some degree, no matter the amount of melanin we have.

Find Your Surname DNA Project

Go check out all the DNA Projects associated with the name your family was given and look for the African haplogroups in the DNA. Better yet, get your DNA tested and add your results to a DNA project. Other people may find you and have some answers for you.

Great Canadian Genealogy Summit

I’ll be talking more about slavery as it relates to the US and Canada in my presentation, An African Canadian Family History Mystery on Sunday October 15th at the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit in Halifax. 

 

LiveCast on the 30th

The US Southern Colonies Project will be the focus of the the WikiTree LiveCast comping up on the 30th, live from the BIFHSGO Conference 2017.

Further Reading

Check out this in-depth article, Locating Afro-Diasporan haplogroups within Africa on African Slave DNA from Tracing African Roots Blog.

Give me a shout

If you ended up with my last name (any of my last names) or any derivative shoot me a note. I will gladly try to connect you further back along your in your heritage if I can.

Shout out from me

Thanks to my childhood friend Cynthia for sharing your finding of your heritage story with me. Your wonderful work and your family inspire me everyday.

WikiTree LiveCast – WikiTree and third Party DNA Sites

On Saturday May 27th at 3:00PM EDT, please join me (Mags),  WikiTree Leader Peter Roberts, DNA Project Coordinator Emma MacBeath, and Julie Ricketts for a live chat on “WikiTree and DNA – Third Party DNA Sites.

This is the sixth in the WikiTree and DNA Series and goes along with some of the changes going on with the DNA Project. Join the chat to ask us DNA Features questions.

We will also be running down the Saturday Sourcing Sprint numbers and WikiPeeps who are involved in the sprints.  

Pull up a chair to watch or ask questions in the LiveCast chat, either way we promise an hour of WikiTree fun! If you want to see a complete list of past and future LiveCasts click the graphic below or follow this link

Mags

P.S. Do you have someone you would like us to interview? Post some answers with your picks for LiveCast Guests – it can even be yourself!

Betty Jeans Adoption Search – The DNA

Betty Jean had her DNA tested with 23andMe in an attempt to find out if she had any medical issues which she may have passed along to her children. Along with her health test, she was also was in 23andMe’s Genetic pool of genes. Having her genes in DNA gene Pools will help us in her adoption search.

23andMe

On first look, Betty Jean’s information included some fairly close cousin’s. The closest was a predicted 2nd cousin sharing 1.76% of their DNA. There were 12, 2nd to fourth cousin matches. I sent notes to all of them via 23andMe’s internal messaging system.

I also took some time to look to see if there were any common surnames in these matches. There were – Brotherton and Howard. At the time 23andMe had no DNA analytical tools, so I immediately downloaded Betty Jean’s raw DNA Data file (to download a DNA Data File from 23andMe see this help information) and uploaded it to GEDmatch (you must register for GEDmatch to be able to upload) via the Generic Upload Fast New, Beta.

NOTE: 23andMe has recently added DNA analysis tools which lets it’s users do chromosome mapping and comparisons to other matches. This is great news for anyone who has their DNA tested with 23andMe. It does not preclude a tester from uploading data to GEDmatch, because a tester would want to have their DNA in GEDmatch’s large Gene pool along with people (anyone who uploaded their raw data to GEDmatch) from all the testing companies.

Betty Jean’s GEDmatch Matches

After uploading Betty Jean’s Raw data file from 23andMe we found Betty Jean’s genes swimming in the pool with many of her close cousins – the big one was a 1st cousin once removed at 342.8 total cM.

GEDmatch Matches
Betty Jean’s top GEDmatch matches.

What do we know from this list? Not much for this search since we don’t have any family line we can identify in the matches at face value, without being able to correlate the information with her matches family trees. GEDmatch does have a GEDCOM upload function, but not many of Betty Jean’s matches had their family trees on GEDmatch.

Gathering Family Trees

Again, using the emails for the matches on GEDMatch I sent emails explaining that Betty Jean Matched them and asking if they have family tree’s online or available for access in some other way. I also contacted Jane to discuss the matches. Jane and I spent a bit of time exchanging emails and connecting the dots of Betty Jean’s matches to Jane’s tree.

Remember the 20 foot tree I printed of Jane’s Ancestry Tree? At first I started trying to jump around that monster to mark where the matches landed in the tree. It was cumbersome and frustrating and I had to come up with a better way to be able to see ALL of it at once, and…

There was one more thing about Jane’s tree that needed some space to work-out. It seemed from a quick scan that the Howard and Brotherton lines, as well as other lines that married into them, were a product of Endogamy.

Endogemy Defintition
Google Search

Endogamy is not uncommon in the US colonies as our social spheres were limited by small communities and vast distance between them. This occurred in Appalachia to an extent that one often hears jokes about “my cousin is my wife”. Jokes aside, the area of North Carolina where the Howard’s and Brotherton’s lived is on the outside edge of Appalachia.

Why should Endogamy be something we need to look into carefully and closely? Simply put, it skews the numbers. If cousins marry, then the DNA mix is a mix from one family rather than two. So there is a double infusion of Genes.

My Map of Betty Jean’s Family

It started with one single 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. In the middle of that first sheet of the paper I wrote a list of Betty Jean’s top matches, the 12 Jane had in her tree and a few more. Then I started adding lines back. Creating pedigree charts from the DNA matches for each of the family lines identified by the DNA and Jane’s tree. As I went I added more blank sheets to fill in as I added family. At this point the Howard’s and Brotherton’s were extending to the right, radially from the DNA matches circle in the middle. I added papers to the map so that it was 3 sheets long and 3 sheets wide. Thankfully Jane’s tree was now easy to see, even with all the complicated connections within the Howard and Brotherton families.

For each person added to my map, I added or connected them to WikiTree to create Betty Jeans birth/mirror tree. It was a great help having WikiTree’s relationship tools at the ready to help me define how these people might be connected to Betty Jean. It also helped me when trying to decipher Jane’s voluminous emails on family connections.