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Old 02-18-2013, 03:19 AM
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,230 posts, read 12,828,437 times
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Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Are you sure? I'm pretty certain the one drop rule would have applied, particularly since they were in VA. If you were any percentage black you weren't considered white. Whites wouldn't have been slaves and I'm guessing after they gained their freedom they'd have been considered freedmen, but not white.
The one drop rule was more of a social concept than the law.

Here's an essay that discusses it and is properly cited: Essays on the U.S. Color Line » Blog Archive » How the Law Decided if You Were Black or White: The Early 1800s

On March 4, 1815, Jefferson wrote a chatty 4-page letter in reply.2 He explained that slavery and endogamous group membership were unrelated in Virginia law. On the one hand, mulattos were legally Black and the law defined “mulatto” as anyone with one or more “negro” grandparents. Jefferson thereupon filled two pages with mathematical equations to show that anyone with less that 1/4 African admixture was legally White.3 On the other hand, slavery passed through the mother with no diminution regardless of ancestry, and had nothing to do with the color line.
It does go on to say courts would take appearance and association into consideration but discusses the pitfalls of relying on this alone. Very interesting article all around.

Originally Posted by historyfan
Madison Hemings was identified as Mulatto on 1850, 1860, & 1870 Ohio census records. On the 1870 census the census taker noted this is Thomas Jeffetson's son.
I know one of the children did not live their life as a white person, it may have been Madison.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:37 AM
Location: 5,400 feet
2,210 posts, read 2,278,381 times
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Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
Madison Hemings was identified as Mulatto on 1850, 1860, & 1870 Ohio census records. On the 1870 census the census taker noted this is Thomas Jeffetson's son.
And some scholars have concluded that the likely candidate is Randolph Jefferson, Thomas' brother.
Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: A Brief Account « Thomas Jefferson
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:48 AM
3,186 posts, read 5,463,294 times
Reputation: 1818
Originally Posted by workaholics View Post
Last year I joined a genealogy site and began doing some research about my family ancestry. I didn't really have any preconceived notions about my "stock" so I kept an open mind.

On my mother's side of the family I found out that pretty much the majority of my mother's ancestors came to America as poor immigrants. I have g-g-g grandparents who came to America from Ireland during the potato famine, poor Italian ancestors from the south of Italy (one was a stowaway) and Germans who came to the US to farm. Well, my assumption is that they came to the US for economic opportunity, leading to my belief that they were likely underclass in their home country. I mean, they didn't come to America to be an ambassador. I was excited to find all this great data and told my parents. My mom already knew some of the info and was happy that I had done the research. My father seemed to bristle at the idea of most of my mother's ancestors being poor. "Why would you be proud to be related to European peasants?" he said. I told him that they likely came over to escape poverty, as most immigrants have. He told me that it was wrong to assume that they were poor, that it's insulting to them and it's not something I should admit to people.

Then on to his own family ancestry: His family has pretty much lived in the south for centuries and there was only so far back I could go. I never found any countries of origin or immigration records. I was still impressed with what I had found. They had been prominent members of southern communities for centuries, although a few had been slave owners. During my research I ran across an article that posited evidence that a large percentage of white southerners have traces of black and native American ancestry. I innocently asked my father if he thought there might be any black ancestry on his side of the family. His s**t hit the fan. He said absolutely not and I shouldn't assume that or tell people anything of the sort. I showed him the article and the genetic evidence and he just got angrier. We finally just dropped the subject. A few weeks later I mentioned that you can buy a DNA kit that tests your ethnic and racial makeup. He said I shouldn't buy it, because he'd prefer not to know if his side of the family has any black ancestry- so he clearly doesn't completely refute the idea.

Basically the whole experience uncovered some prejudices that my dad holds and has made me question his values. My dad is a self professed liberal, loves Barack Obama and has always taught me not to discriminate, so his anger doesn't line up. 1) I'm proud of the fact that my mother's ancestors came with very little and worked hard to build a life in America. I have lived a privileged life and I have the relatives who came before me to thank for that. Why would he not share the same pride in our American dream? 2) I have no idea if my father's family has any black ancestry and I'm certainly not pretending that they do, but if that's the case, then so what? Does that somehow diminish their sense of whiteness? I mean, it might have been scandalous 50 years ago when my father was growing up in the south, but I doubt many would care these days.

So do you guys think my father is being overly prejudiced and elitist? Was he hoping that we would be related to kings and queens? And have you ever come across ancestors or ancestries that you were ashamed of? And how can I talk to my dad about this without creating more tension?

Sorry about the novel! I would just love to know the root of my father's attitudes on the subject.
I think you are completely wasting your time wondering about what might or might not of been several hundred years ago...You are in a dream land ....TODAY IS WHAT MATTERS MY MAN
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:45 AM
Location: Georgia, USA
21,540 posts, read 26,155,710 times
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Originally Posted by crestliner View Post
I think you are completely wasting your time wondering about what might or might not of been several hundred years ago...You are in a dream land ....TODAY IS WHAT MATTERS MY MAN
Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. - Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:20 PM
1,446 posts, read 3,942,456 times
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Originally Posted by Bluesmama View Post
To the OP: It sounds to me like he is an elitist. He must have had romantic hopes that his early-American background of ancestors played a prominent role in his background's early settlement. Unfortunately, few early settlers were of "regal" background. Sounds like he isn't going to change his feelings at this point. I know that a lot of Americans are feeling guilty and embarrassed over ancestral history that they don't like, but I don't agree with that line of thinking.

You may still find a DNA for yourself interesting, though.
There may be something else going on. I have no idea. I do not know the OP's father. However, I find it hard to believe that a left-of-center person in 2013 would flip out to find out they had small drops of African-American heritage. Flipping out over a small amount of African-American heritage...that sounds like something that some extreme right-winger living off the land in Montana may do. It does not make any sense to flip out over that. Is there something else that the OP's father does not want him or her to find?! That is my hunch!
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:33 PM
693 posts, read 757,373 times
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Got to agree with you there on that one. Really crazy to get so upset. I don't have that problem.if through dna I found I had asiatic and maybe semetic blood I would not be surprised since my mother's people were hungarians.They came from the east and you also had the turks who invaded Hungary,Romania,etc.raping and pillaging and killing as they went.
Dad's side is german and his great grandparents on both sides came from the old country in the 1880s.
There again is a mix of mainly bavarian but possibly other peoples like the visogoth,lombards,etc. maybe even some roman if one went back far enough.Maybe there's something that the OP's father doesn't want him or her to know.Like maybe he had a relationship with an african american woman or his father or grandfather did and a child was the result.Or maybe great grandma was a mix or something. If someone mentioned that business of having a black ancestor I'd laugh in their face.I know where I came from and my ancestory even if i don't know all the family trees. The OP should drop it for now.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:24 PM
1,097 posts, read 1,660,448 times
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Perhaps he's more upset at the OP for being an expert after 1 year and making assumptions than he would be if the assumptions themselves were true. I think I might bristle too if someone got all hyped up with some of the stuff you can run across on the 'internets' and lept to conclusions or applied generalities to specifics. Each family is unique with its own set of circumstances and relationships set in a time and place. You can only start to know them by doing the detailed research with as little leaping to conclusions or reading things into things as possible.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:24 PM
32,538 posts, read 29,362,165 times
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Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
My parents seemed to be concerned that if people knew about their humble family backgrounds people would think we were dust bowl people,
Were they? I'd take pride in that. Those people were survivors.

You are right, though. I can remember hearing a lot of negative talk about "Okies" when I was growing up in So Cal. My mother was once in a department store (in the 50's) and they refused to take her personal check because they thought she was an Okie. She wasn't. But her best friend had migrated to CA during the dust bowl and she considered it an insult to perfectly decent people. She never set foot in that store again. Her own personal boycott against prejudice.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:26 PM
7,282 posts, read 8,396,626 times
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Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. - Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
Not true. A lot of sayings were just that, sayings someone dreamed up and thought meant something. Some did, many did not. More often than not, those sayings are taken out of context or without the benefit of the intention when first spoken.

Knowing history does little to stop anyone from repeating it. Every dictator in history knew the history of previous dictators, where do you think they got their ideas? Many high profile criminals know history, probably better than most. They study other criminal behavior and seem to repeat it quite often.

Even knowing the history of the successful is mostly irrelevant. The conditions that foster success are usually unique and can't be replicated just because you know the history of the previous success. It is the same with failure. What did not work in history can work in the future because something minor changed in the circumstances.

The future is not dependent upon knowing the past but upon looking forward and accepting that new challenges might need new answers. Often, history gets in the way of doing something a new way or looking at something from a new perspective.

There is the "this is how we've always done it" syndrome. That too is history but it can often get in the way of progress.

Knowing history can often provide a look into what people did at the time but to think those times have correlations to the present so much that we need to be guided by them doesn't make a lot of sense. One can appreciate history without being restricted by it.

No one can know for sure what someone was thinking when they did something or came to be in a certain situation. You can guess but even with detailed records you can't really know. Few people write self deprecating entries in journals and you always read them from the perspective of how the writer thought things were, not always how they really were.

What is usually certain is that if you spend too much time in history, you'll probably never see the future
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:06 PM
Location: Canada
3,675 posts, read 2,489,398 times
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Originally Posted by Mack Knife View Post
Not true.
I disagree. Human nature has not changed over the centuries. Past events were shaped by human nature. You can learn from that.
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