Chris Haley is the Research Director for the Legacy of Slavery Project at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, Maryland. He is also an expert genealogist, historian and researcher. Finally, he is also the nephew of the late Alex Haley who wrote the famous book and television mini-series called Roots. I have written about Chris before and interviewed him a couple of months ago. That interview is available at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/08/interview-with-.html.
Haley's family had long suspected that the paternal line descends from an Irishman. Now there’s some proof, and Haley hopes to fill the gaps left by his late uncle, whose historical novel traced a maternal line to Africa. Chris Haley said that, because of his uncle's work, many people assume his family knows everything about its history. He then points out that “Roots” mixed fiction with history of one branch of the family. Chris is using DNA in hopes of verifying family rumors.
“It will be a shortcut for many people,” said Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for Provo, Utah-based Ancestry.com and author of “Trace Your Roots with DNA.”
You can watch Chris Haley perform the cheek swab at http://www.rootstelevision.com/blogs/megans-rootsworld/2007/10/those_of_you_who_were.html. It is a funny video, I think you will enjoy it.
Salt Lake City's KUTV Television also has a story about this at http://tinyurl.com/39uuzn.