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Michelle Obama's Genealogy

Michelle Obama

For most of us, family history is a kitchen table conversation. Personal. Private. And sometimes just a mystery.

When you’re First Lady — and the first African-American First Lady in the White House — it’s different.

Last week — page one, New York Times — new research on Michelle Obama’s family tree was laid out for the world, and for her.

A great, great, great grandmother traded away at six as a slave. A white father to that slave’s children, Michelle Obama’s family line.

This hour, On Point: Michelle Obama’s family tree, and the story it tells about our history, our country. 

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joining us from Philadelphia is Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist who worked with The New York Times to investigate Michelle Obama’s family tree. The result was the recent article, “In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery.” She is also president of RootsTelevision.com and author of several books, including “Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree.”

From Washington we’re joined by Edna Greene Medford, professor of history at Howard University and an expert in 19th-century African-American history. She’s co-author of “The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views.”

Also from Washington we’re joined by Sam Sanders. He’s an NPR Kroc Fellow, a program for aspiring public radio journalists, and a former intern for On Point. He blogs at “The Not So Angry Black Man.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Kash Hoffa

    How is her geneology relevant to any issues affecting us today? We all have a geneology…

  • Arnold

    Celebrity worship. This is all about the media’s love affair with everything Obama, so much for the fourth estate.

  • Elisabeth L. Daley

    Good Morning.

    I would like to suggest that Mr. Ashbrook and his guests stop calling people slaves, and use instead the terminology “enslaved.” To call someone a slave is to essentialize that condition to their very existence. No human being IS a slave. Too many now and in the past have been enslaved. It is a condition, not a characteristic or trait. Thank you.

  • MsMyTPen

    We’ve got a lot more going on in the country. She’s got the family tree that more than a few african americans in the country have. The racial background of what you look like is different than your bloodlines. I’d say a look at the native american side of things would make a great documentary down the road. Did we have researchers looking into the Bush or Clinton wives? I can’t say I remember such interest.

  • http://craftmother.blogspot.com/ Nakia

    Mrs. Obama’s personal genealogy isn’t particularly important per se, but it is an American story, and as such, is highly resonant.

  • Sara

    Interested, though it doesn’t seem completely appropriate to talk about something so personal with our Michelle Obama’s ok.

  • Andrea Barnes

    Earlier in your discussion, you asked if Michelle Obama was surprised by the NY Times Geneological Revelations. I doubt it. It was widely reported in Utah earlier this year that leaders of the Mormon Church were received at the White House and met with the Obamas. They delivered beautifully bound geneological records for both Barack and Michelle. Well known for their Genological research, the LDS Church traditionally offers this gift to new first families.

  • Todd

    Cult of personality also tells a story.

  • http://www.soaphoto.com/jaygresh John Gresham

    This program may have used Michelle Obama’s family tree to introduce the topic of genealogy. But, this is NOT simply Obama “Celeberty worship.” Shouldn’t we all know about who we are and where we came from? My mother-in-law encouraged me to research my family tree. By asking questions of my elder aunts and reading old census records, much of my heritage is a mixture of African, American Indian, and (I wouldn’t doubt) European. My wife also shares a similar ancestry. We are all mongrels. We should all come to terms with that.

  • Kwan Kew

    I volunteer and travel in Africa quite frequently and almost all the Africans have very short hair including the women. Many in South Africa especially tried to artificially lengthen their hair to emulate blacks in America. Many commented that African Americans are different from Africans because they are not pure Blacks. I think they do have a point. I do notice that hir length and textures of African Americans are quite different from those of African women.

  • pippi

    I am in the same court as Kash Hoffa.

    “How is her genealogy relevant to any issues affecting us today? We all have a genealogy…”

    This seems to me like a filler story. Too bad, when there are so many ‘Real’ and ‘Important’ issues facing us today; many of which could be discussed and brought to the publics attention.

  • Barbara Bubar

    I just wonder if any of the participants has read Douglas Blackmon’s book Slavery by Another Name. Slavery continued right up through a good half of the 20th century–most of it has been hidden. Just who built the railroads, worked in the mines and contributed their labors and lives for the “greatness” of this country’s early power. It makes you really question what “greatness” is all about.

  • Larry Cates

    I have studied my own genealogy and that of others for almost 20 years now. I am Southern and of mixed race, certainly mostly white, part Indian, and perhaps even part African American (because of Lumbee and Redbone ancestors). When my father was going to marry my mother in the late 1960′s, his landlady warned against the nuptials on the basis on race. But I have to say, the question is not nearly so vexed today. It is mostly the oldest generation that has trouble acknowledging, even celebrating and seeking out diverse ancestry. Also, remember the possibility that some whites may have felt constrained by cross-racial prohibitions. Many poor whites had relationships with African Americans and Indians. One of my wealthy white ancestors lived with a slave (never married) and freed her and her children, giving them land on his death. Remember Alex Haley’s Queen. While acknowledge the prevalence of sexual violence, let’s not paint with such a broad brush. Humans are humans regardless of race and are often attracted by the other.

  • Rose Udics

    Fascinating conversation. Anybody interested in pursuing the idea of “race” and “racial purity” further should definitely watch the terrific PBC documentary “Race: The Power of an Illusion.” It powerfully describes how even the so-called scientific definitions of “the races” have changed to suit the needs of those in power over others, and it explores, through evidence from DNA, how very interconnected we all are, all over the world (e.g., there are “Asians” who definitely have “African” features, etc., etc.)

  • Abby Wolf

    Re triracialism and the Native American ancestry of Michelle Obama:

    Professor Medford cites Professor Gates’s figures about Native American ancestry in the African American community as too low, given the many anecdotal accounts of such ancestry among African Americans.

    Professor Gates has arrived at these figures (cited below) based on the research on Dr. Mark D. Shriver, a professor of biological anthropology at Pennsylvania State University and Morehouse College and one of the world’s leading experts on DNA admixture testing. In spite of the myth of the prevalence of triracialism among African Americans, Dr. Shriver’s research has shown that only 5% of African Americans have at least 12.5% Native American ancestry, which is the equivalent of one Native American great-grandparent.

    See Professor Gates’s essay on TheRoot.com (October 8, 2009) on Michelle Obama’s roots and a lengthier discussion of the myth of Native American ancestry in his book, In Search of Our Roots.

  • James

    Are white people colorless, since they aren’t referred to as people of color?

  • BHA

    I find Sam’s comments about no longer being able to ‘question’ someone else’s ‘blackness’ compared to his ‘blackness’ interesting. It sounds as racist as a white person thinking they are better than non white people BECAUSE they are white. Do people of other racial backgrounds consider themselves above people of the same race if they are more ‘pure’?

  • Jacqueline Lejeune

    With ref. to the HS teacher’s comment about the “rape” of millions black female slaves – I ask myself – what long term effect has this had on the BLACK MALE psyche?
    Being impotent in seeing your “wife”, sister, mother, aunt etc. raped with impunity, must have had terrible consequences.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    I am an ethnically diverse Filipino. My ancestries are Chinese,Filipino,Greek and Spanish.

    Not only me but thousands of Filipinos are mix race.
    From the Black Eyed Peas member Apl De Ap,Enrique Iglesias,Phoebe Cates,Lou Diamond Philips, Rob Schnieder and the list goes on.

    The Human Genome Project reported that 99% of Humans are alike no matter what color you are. the only difference is 1%. Probably that 1% is how human being think of each other.

    We are a Family, We live in a small world. If we can only love each other forever.

  • mark

    Thing I think is so sad is that people do not realize that the one piece of DNA that all people share, be they asian, european, south american is african dna. We are all african at our core.

    I am a white englishman living in canada

  • Tucker Cruikshank

    We are where we are. What would have happened without the violent act that transferred Michelle Obama’s genes? We wouldn’t have Michelle Obama. I’m not trying to justify this violence, but because of this, we know have a lovely powerful women who is the position the to influence the world in many positive ways. It’s funny how life works to bring us where we are today. I’m married to a woman of Japanese decent and we have three children. My father was a bombardier on a B-17 during WWII. He was schedule to drop bombs on the island of Tinian where my in-laws where living at the time. The war ended before his part in this mission took place. I always wonder if he had drop bombs would they have killed my in-laws and prevented the birth of the grandchildren he loves so much?

  • William Toth

    Mrs. Obama and you and I have sixteen great great great grandmothers and sixteen great great great grandfathers.
    One divided by thirty-two is 0.0312.

  • CBR

    As an African American of ancestry that includes New Orleans Creole (an aftermath of the Rum Triangle), American Indian and Swedish i hardly believe that this is news the Obama family. Once again, i think we have a platform to bring the issue further to light. None of this is news to most African Americans. My mothers side of the family tracked her maiden name to a Swedish family that came to american around 1794. They were recently found by our Louisiana relative and asked to join the family re-union program, which they declined. I’m amazed that more people don’t reconginze that when your surname and religion and language are stripped, that we don’t have the “American Express” commercial moments of saying i’m going to some European country and find my relatives or a town named after me. Names were changed depending on who we belonged to an eventually adopted. The church was as complicit in coverup as any other institution. I have often thought about giving my childeren (natural and adopted) their true DNA family tree as gifts as they get older and continue to reconsile these issues of identity and sense of place. Our history books give no credit to African American inventors, medical professionals and others as being anything significant. Thus, our generations always have to “fight” for our place in history, to the disbelief of many around us. I read more about Black History around the world after i graduated college than was ever presented along the way, even with involved and educated parents. This sense of belonging , contribution, and value is very strong table to set, other than just sports figures, which has created a whole other set of stereotypes.

  • ej

    Read Edward E.Baptiste’s ‘Cuffy’,’Fancy Maids’ and ‘One-eyed Men’: Rape, Commodification, and the Domestic Slave Trade in the United States. An eye opener to say the least.

  • Ann

    Everybody!! I suggest gettinging a free or subscription genealogy site and looking into your genealogy!! WHY?? Because HISTORY IS IN THE SPECIFICS!!!!! As you do the research, you will find yourself looking for the most current scholarly understanding of your particular place or time, BUT, YOUR FAMILY’S role there can underscore OR negate that academic understanding!!!

    I cannot BELIEVE what I’ve been able to find out about my African-American side of my family. My east coast Native American side has been harder to label accurately, but that is BECAUSE of the historical forces at work back from the early Seventeenth Century, but even KNOWING what I found out about why that proof of Natv-Am ancestry is so hard to prove is interesting.

    Then, if you do NPR’s STORYCORPS, as I did — I used the FULL 40 minutes to tell as much of my family’s history as I knew at that point – your family’s history goes to the Library of Congress (I THINK it’s the LOC; it’s someplace like that in D.C.); it gets indexed; and researchers will use THOSE files to refine and/or completely RE-define their sense of American history.

    We spend so much time speaking about the very broad topic of “race”. It IS an interesting topic, but it leads us into GENERALITIES. YOUR family’s history leads us into SPECIFICS!!!! AND, in my opinion, history is lived out by specific individuals in specific places in specific times.

    To look at me, you would think I was completely European. The research I have been doing is into my father’s completely black/mulatto/family oral history claims Native American/and to be mulatto, you must have some white ancestry. But, when I look at the primary source materials that have been available to me thru family papers and my subscription genealogy site, I have learned that THAT PARTICULAR MIX of bloodlines, in America, going back to probably the early to mid-1600′s for our family means you were CULTURALLY AND LEGALLY AND POLITICALLY AFRICAN/AMERICAN. The thing you learn is that whatever smidge of white blood was in there, did NOT change your status. My father’s side (his mother’s and his father’s; both from Virginia) were culturally, politically, religiously, and legally African-American until my grandparents decided to “pass” when my father was born. Had my father been born darker, that probably would have been impossible. NONE of the brothers or sisters of my grandparents passed. I believe my grandparents passed so that they could start their own business. They worked VERY hard at it, but eventually lost it all when the mortgage got called in the day after the Crash of 1928 or 1929 (I forget which it was). They accessed “white privilege” for my father and his children; BUT– DID MY GRANDPARENTS ACTUALLY HAVE WHITE PRIVILEGE THEMSELVES BY PASSING? I do NOT think so, because I wonder: were they EVER able to see their brothers and sisters again? Could they ever go to their old church again? Certainly NOT easy to do so with Jim Crow laws around everyone’s necks!!!! AND, that white privilege part is where the discussion will get stalled if we only talk about the philosophy of race. I HAVE chronicled here in the past, on these pages, some of the tragic and brave incidents that happened to my family in the centuries BEFORE two of my relatives passed. I did this by ADDING genealogical research to my grandmother’s stories, right here in my house!!!!! I URGE everyone to try it! I would ESPECIALLY love to see more people whose families passed FIND their African-American ancestors!
    I am COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH THE ANCESTORS I HAVE FOUND!! They were brave, free people of color AND enslaved people of color, from Virginia, as I said; they were here from about the mid-1600′s probably, and my grandparents didn’t pass until 1912. Finding out about my relatives AND ABOUT THE REAL FABRIC OF HISTORY THAT THEIR LIVES WERE PART OF has been an incredible journey!!!

    I was in the line to speak, but I said I wanted to talk about something different, and, of course, as the discussion went on, I wished I’d said that I wanted to talk about THIS stuff! So here it is!!!

    By the way, a FULL subscription to the genealogy site that I use is ONLY a dollar a day. There are free sites, too. Libraries have access to things from other states thru interlibrary loan. LET’S ALL GIVE THE HISTORIANS MORE INFORMATION TO WORK WITH!!!!!! AND LET’S LET THE PRIMARY SOURCE MATERIALS TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BRAVERY AND ENDURANCE OF PEOPLE WHO WERE HERE SINCE 1619, but who did not have a Voting Rights Act until 1965!!!!! And, let’s read about the VICIOUS laws that were on the books of the federal and state governments that TROUNCED on people of color and Native Americans. When people reminisce about “the Founding Fathers”, READ their actual words and read about their actual deeds. Many, so many, African-Americans had a clearer sense of the promise of America; they spoke up in word and deed; these things are SO interesting to read about, and you MIGHT find out that YOUR relatives were amongst those who spoke out or rebelled or served in the Continental Army. I found several African-American, early (1870) civil rights activists in my family. If you find white ancestry, even in the South, you might find supporters of black freedom. Focusing on the broad brush of “white privilege” is not nearly as interesting as seeing your relatives’ lives in primary source materials and reading related materials that help you understand the larger context; OR which help you understand that the story has not YET been understood correctly!!!!!!!

    If your relatives HAD white privilege, you can see HISTORICALLY just what that MEANT!!!! I have not been able to find the white people who made us mulatto; they may have been on the scene before slavery was even “sewn up” as a legal institution; but I DO take a perverse joy in following one of the distant cousins of someone who almost certainly “owned” us. This cousin’s position as a Virginia judge before and after the Civil War is appallingly interesting to me. I have even seen the house that he lived in (it’s now a bed and breakfast). Those kind of SPECIFICS are SO satisfying to anyone who is really interested in the history (not the philosophy) of this country!!!!

    Thanks to all!!! GREAT show and great calls into the show!!!!

  • Amanda

    I wish I’d caught the whole show – I was driving when I tuned in to the last 15 minutes. I’ll go back and listen to the podcast, but I wanted to say:

    Of course the 1st lady’s lineage is a relevant topic for discussion. I note that an earlier commenter reflected that similar stories weren’t done about the 1st ladies of the Bush and Clinton administrations – they should have been! Wouldn’t that have been an interesting conversation about this country’s many cultures and communities and how race and class and the privileges accorded to each have influenced everyone’s story?

    I’m an African American mother of 3, married to a White man of German, Russian, and Scotch-Irish Canadian descent. Our daughters are beautiful and varied in appearance – our youngest is blond-haired and blue eyed and very fair, her middle sister is brunette and fair skinned, and her older sister has golden hair and honey-brown skin. The two younger girls could pass for white, and when out with their father I’m sure nobody thinks twice about them. When I take them somewhere, I get asked who I work for (because people assume I’m the nanny!). So, I guess I’m whiter than you’d think upon first meeting me.

    The very existence and appearance of my family, of my girls, causes people to rethink their assumptions about race and its role in our culture in the same way that the story about Mrs. Obama’s heritage does, and that’s wonderful.

  • saint james

    I heard the entire show and was very interested in the story aspect of the subject. This should really be no real surprise to most Blacks of African decent. Most of “us” have mixed ancestry.
    To the initial poster: RAPE is relevant to issues we face today and that is exactly what happened to Michelle Obama’s great grandmother! The fact that this was routinely done in the history of America and it was not condsidered a crime is a worthy topic. Michelle Obama’s story is an American story and as worthy as a retelling of the Holocaust, 9/11, The Great Depression or any other historical event in this great country.

  • Wsir

    At he end of the day….all human folks as we know it (through science etc) have origins of a African mother…from the continet of Africa…

  • http://WBURandNPROnPoint Douglas Shane

    Any discussion which furthers the understanding that we are all related – whether via enslaved and slave-holder, through ethnic or inter-racial marriage or, more fundamentally, that we are all “out of Africa” – is good. I celebrate diversity and would miss the cultural differences, should Homo sapiens survive and reach a time when we all look alike. I remember when, as a 17-year-old country boy, I first rode the New York City subway: the beauty of the many different kinds of people brought me to tears of joy! My own genetic background is Eastern European Jew (of course we were just passing through); I am second generation American. Yet, photographs of my paternal great-grandfather show a man who looked distinctively Cossack who passed his almond-shaped eyes onto his descendents. I cling to Martin Luther King Jr’s notion that we should be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin – or ethnic background. And finally, I hope that the lack of racial importance that many young people today seem to hold is a wave that will grow until people will marvel that race was ever an issue.

  • Walter Fox

    Again, I am writing this not having heard it, since it won’t be broadcast here in the St. Louis area until 9 p.m. central time. However, I’m sorry Mr. Kash Hoffa, this IS an AMERICAN story. As an African American, I know I have African slave ancestors, white non-slave ancestors and non-slave African ancestors. I find genealogy fascinating and I am on a constant genealogical quest. I will be listening with great interest tonight!

  • J. Carter

    The ignorance that abounds in our discussion of race is unending. This silly notion that humanity is divided into all these groups based on skin color, hair texture and eye color misses the whole purpose of the beauty of the human body’s ability to adapt to various environments. May I suggest that in order to have a better understanding of the ridiculous idea of human races that On Point invite someone like Spencer Wells and/or Nina Jablonski to address DNA and the purposes of skin and skin color.

  • Natalie

    Yes, it was an interesting show. Maybe not worth an hour, but worth some time.

    At the same time, if we’re going to shed a little light on Mrs. Obama, then I would like to know how she justifies her first lady staff of over 100 personnel and a budget of tens of millions of dollars. This is just for her!

  • T Casey

    I am an immigrant to this country and I have never considered the United States to be a “white” country. I have travelled to northern Europe and I see the difference between the “whites” in Europe and the ones here. It is not only African-Americans who are of mixed race, but most “white” Americans also have African and/or Native American ancestry. There is too much emphasis placed on the concept of racial purity when the focus should be on our shared humanity.

  • Dave

    To prevent the possibility of Revolution, which would be insanely horrendous, what is needed is a reinvigoration of, and new role models and public speakers about, Pragmatism and Rational thought about our shared Reality. We have suffered greatly from the media driven ultra-partisan, left – right divide, that makes idealogical bullet points more important than understanding facts and how to make progress, as well as all the religious fundamentalist influence that has undermined rational thought and a scientific, realistic world view.

    If we continue to ignore reality, and practical progress, then yes, perhaps we will suffer the hell of revolution… a Revolution based on nonsense, instead of progressive principles.

  • Alan

    As the scholar the late Joseph Campbell said, “You are every ancestor you have ever had.” I would suggest that this applies not only to individuals but to our nation. This story is significant not because it focuses on celebrity, but rather because it reminds us of the struggles of Americans through history to be free and rise above difficult circumstances. Anyone who has read Kenneth Stamp’s study of slavery, entitled “The Peculiar Institution,” understands that African-Americans have had a particularly brutal, difficult road. As long as we hold on to the evil social construct of “race,” we as a nation will not realize our full potential. I must respectfully disagree with Professor Medford on one key point. What we must have to overcome racism is not anger but cool decisiveness. No, Mrs. Obama is not a celebrity. She is the First Lady and a role model. Regardless of one’s political views, as citizens we should have the decency to respect her place in our history.

  • Craig

    Wow, I’m surprised to see so many negative comments about this story. I think this story is both fascinating and important, and I think that for a lot of people the history of African-American families is not well-known. I don’t think knowing Mrs. Obama’s particular story changes anything, but her story is very effective as a vehicle for telling a broader story. Plus, any story that increases Americans’ knowledge of our collective past has got to be a good thing.

  • Ann

    Hi, again,

    I realize that part of what I said earlier (Oct. 13, 12:45 p.m.) may not have been clear enough. The concept of white privilege is indeed extremely important; I believe, however, that it can BEST be understood in the context of SPECIFIC historic circumstances and events. The MOST basic unit of history, I believe, is what happens to INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE. The MORE genealogical research that people are able to contribute to PUBLIC sites and libraries and other repositories, the more we can understand history, AWAY from the phrases that MAY sometimes hijack the conversation, if not enough examples and stories are given to stop the polarization we witness so often lately in our public dialogue, especially about socio-political issues. SPECIFIC histories and stories, instead REVEAL the collection of individual pasts, otherwise known as our shared history.

    African-American genealogy is VERY difficult to do, because slaves were considered to be property, not people. BUT, when you start doing the genealogical work, you realize that there ARE ways to FIND YOUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN relatives to a greater degree than you might have imagined if you are new to this & don’t know others who have undertaken it. AND, sometimes, all you need is ONE relative who somehow received or achieved their freedom from slavery to PERHAPS link you to parts of your family history that may appear in court records, etc. There IS the added problem of “the burned communities” — cities/towns/counties where the records were burned by the military on either side of the Civil War. I was told that I would NEVER find anything on my grandmother’s side because Williamsburg, VA, was a burned community; YET, there WAS a record out there somewhere; it’s public info; and I found the oldest people (Free People of Color) in my family Bible in it. The Wmsbg records helped confirm the existence of an uncle; and HIS later records include his application to the Freedman Savings & Trust Bureau’s Bank for an account, just after the Civil War. THOSE records led me to two other sisters he had, and ONE of his sisters had NOT been free at the start of the War. Her Bank application named her OWNER! HE is then listed in the Slave Owner censuses. Later census records (decades later) have our distant uncle and his sisters living in Georgetown, confirming that these people were INDEED the family members I took them to be. Eventually I found the records where the OWNER of our slave relative applied to the Federal Southern Claims Commission; he was hoping to be repaid for the use the Union Army made of his horses, wagons, chickens, logs, etc., during the Civil War. To be eligible, he had to prove he’d been a “Union man”. That he WAS able to do; yet, how “Union” was he when he owned slaves up until the very START of the War??? His application form showed a MAP of his property, just across the Potomac from…Georgetown; and the map shows the main house and a small building where our ancestor, the slave, MAY have spent so many of her years. Meanwhile, in D.C. itself, my great grandmother’s husband had just become one of the first African-American attorneys in U.S. history.

    As I said, these are the kind of HISTORICAL STORIES there are to be found thru genealogical research!!! I was extraordinarily lucky to find distant cousins who had done parallel work; and one of my newly-found cousins is a historian, working with primary source materials that have been on the records since the early 1600′s, and she is an author and publisher of these splendid materials!!!

    As I wrote earlier, I would especially love it if the families of ancestors who “passed as white” found their African-American relatives (who MAY be related to people who ARE aware of them; yet this is not ALWAYS true, your research MAY be “returning” them to their family!!!).

    Thank you On Point for ALL your wonderful shows!!! Thank you anybody who reads my VERY LONG letters!!!!!

  • http://cogsciandtheworld.blogspot.com/ Human Project

    There is genetic evidence that white males’ power in the U.S. let them exploit black female’s fecundity:

    “The Y-chromosome can be a particularly revealing signature of the past when compared to other kinds of genetic data. Among African Americans in the United States, for example, Y-chromosomes are about 33 percent European, he says, though the proportion varies from city to city. But those same African Americans’ mitochondrial DNA, which comes from the female line, is only about 6 percent European… [This] tells you about the history of this country, in which men contributed about three-fourths of the European ancestry that is present in the African-American population data. ”

    From an interesting articles that begins with the story of how genes from Anglo-Saxon males out replaced native males in 8th century Britain, http://harvardmagazine.com/2009/07/who-killed-the-men-england

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