They Considered Themselves White, but DNA Tests Told a More Complex Story

How well do you know your ancestry? As more Americans take advantage of genetic testing to pinpoint the makeup of their DNA, the technology is coming head to head with the country’s deep-rooted obsession with race and racial myths. This is perhaps no more true than for the growing number of self-identified European Americans who learn they are actually part African.

An article by Tara Bahrampour in the Washington Post points out that many Americans are unaware of their own racial heritage. The article states, “…a 2014 study of 23andMe customers found that around 5,200, or roughly 3.5 percent, of 148,789 self-identified European Americans had 1 percent or more African ancestry, meaning they had a probable black ancestor going back about six generations or less.”

In a country with a history of slavery and racism, these facts had serious implications. It is no surprise that many families tried to hide their mixed-race heritage. Later generations were never told about the ethnicity of the earlier generations. The result is that many of today’s American’s are unaware of their true heritage.

You can read the full story at:



While doing my research on my direct male line I found census records in North Carolina that listed my great grandfather and his father as muloto. This was news to me and my father. I have done DNA tests with two different companies and both show between one and two percent African ancesty. This might explain the brick wall on my direct male line as no one wanted to pass down the truth about who was who back then.


Last June my younger sister passed away and while talking to my nephews and nieces they said that on their fathers side was a rumor of African American. When I returned home I looked into that subject. It took me about 4 hours to trace back to 1829 in
Tennessee their heritage. Their 3 X great grandmother was an emancipated slave in the 1860 census of Ohio. She was born in Arkansas or Texas or Missouri. One of her sons became a Doctor and moved to California. The Doctor was born in Tennessee. Raised in Ohio and went to Minnesota before California. He left two sons in Minnesota. One became prominent Minister the other an attorney and judge who committed suicide. I have wondered if the congregation of the 1920 – 30 church knew if he were a muloto what they would have done. Both his parents were at one time, in census, listed as such.


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