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An article in the November 5, 1998, edition of Nature provides DNA evidence that Thomas Jefferson or some other male Jefferson such as Randolph, the brother of Thomas, could have been the father of one of the sons of Sally Hemings, who was a slave at Jefferson's Monticello. The technique relies on the fact that the human Y-chromosome is handed down directly from father to son and that all paternally related males will have the same Y-chromosome. Although Thomas Jefferson did not have any sons who survived to produce children, his father's brother, Field Jefferson, did have sons and it has been possible to locate 5 descendants of Field Jefferson who are in a direct male-line of descent. Thus, these individuals (descendants of Field Jefferson) should have the same Y-chromosome DNA as the Y-chromosome DNA of Thomas Jefferson and any male-line descendant of his.

The male-line descendants of two of Sally Hemmings sons were located and their Y-chromosome DNA was examined for comparison to the Y-chromosome DNA of Field Jefferson's descendants. The DNA from the five male-line descendants of Thomas Woodson, oldest son of Sally Hemings, did not match the Jefferson DNA. In fact, one of Woodson's descendants did not match well with the other four. However, the DNA from the one descendant of Eston Hemings, youngest son of Sally Hemings, did match the Jefferson DNA.

This lends credence to the supposition that Thomas Jefferson may have been the father of Eston Hemings. However, historian Williard S. Randall, notes, "There were 25 men within 20 miles of Monticello who were all Jeffersons and had the same Y chromosome. And 23 of them were younger than Jefferson, who was 65 years old when Eston was conceived." Randall, wrote a 1993 biography of Jefferson, titled, Thomas Jefferson: A Life. More detailed information is available. Three different authors provide some perspective on Jefferson and Hemings in The Nation. Finally, the The Jefferson-Hemings Scholars Commission concluded that Randolph Jefferson, Thomas' brother, was more likely to have fathered Eston Hemings.

43 posted on 09/14/2003 4:14:05 PM PDT by I_Love_My_Husband
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Defining the Possible Link Between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings:
Lineages and DNA Markers

In order to answer the question of whether or not Thomas Jefferson could have been the father of any of Sally Hemings' sons it is necessary to compare the Y-chromosome DNA from the living male-line descendants of Jefferson and Hemmings. Is has been possible to locate male-line descendants of two of Sally Hemings' sons, Thomas Woodson (the oldest) and Eston Hemings the (youngest), but not Madison Hemings whose male-line descendants did not survive the Civil War. Shown in the figure to the right is the lineage of the one male-line descendant (H21) of Eston Hemmings and the five male-line descendants (W55, W56, W69, W70, and W61) of Thomas Woodson whose DNA was analyzed as part of the study.
Furthermore, Thomas Jefferson did not have a son survive to reproduce so it was necessary to locate the male-line descendants of Thomas Jefferson's paternal uncle, Field Jefferson. Five such descendants (J41, J42, J47, J49, and J50) were located and their DNA was analyzed.
It was also possible to locate three male-line descendants (C27, C29, and C31) of Samuel and Peter Carr -- the sons of Thomas Jefferson's sister -- whom some consider as the possible fathers of Sally Hemings' children.
In the table below are the results of an examination of the Y-chromosome DNA of the 14 male-line descendants described above. Where an individual differs from the other members of his cohort, the allele difference is shown in bold face. The five descendants of Field Jefferson (and proxies for Thomas Jefferson) have identical Y-chromosome DNA alleles except for one microsatellite DNA from J50. This difference is most reasonably accounted for by assuming that a mutation occured.
The lone descendant of Eston Hemings has the same set of Y-chromosome DNA alleles as the descendants of Field Jefferson. This supports the claim that Thomas Jefferson could have been the father of Eston Hemings although it does not prove it since the father could have been any male who had the same Y-chromosome as Thomas Jefferson and was in the immediate vicinity of Sally Hemings nine months before the birth of Eston Hemings. In fact, historical evidence implicates Randolph Jefferson, Thomas' brother, as the more likely father of Eston Hemings. The Carr descendants have similar DNA among themselves but are clearly different from either the Jefferson or Hemings descendants.
Four of the descendants of Thomas Woodson are quite similar among themselves but different from Jefferson and Hemings although they do have similarities to the descendants of the Carr line. One of the Woodson descendants is quite different from all of the other individuals which suggests that one of the genetic ancestors was not in the direct line from Thomas Woodson.

Family Pedigree
Bi Allelic Markers Microsatellite STR Mini Satellite MSY1

Jefferson J41 0000001 15,12,4,11,3,9,11,10,15,13,7 (3)5, (1)14, (3)32, (4)16
J42 0000001 15,12,4,11,3,9,11,10,15,13,7 (3)5, (1)14, (3)32, (4)16
J47 0000001 15,12,4,11,3,9,11,10,15,13,7 (3)5, (1)14, (3)32, (4)16
J49 0000001 15,12,4,11,3,9,11,10,15,13,7 (3)5, (1)14, (3)32, (4)16
J50 0000001 15,12,4,11,3,9,11,10,16,13,7 (3)5, (1)14, (3)32, (4)16

Hemings H21 0000001 15,12,4,11,3,9,11,10,15,13,7 (3)5, (1)14, (3)32, (4)16

Carr C27 0000011 14,12,5,12,3,10,11,10,13,13,7 (1)17, (3)36, (4)21
C29 0000011 14,12,5,11,3,10,11,10,13,13,7 (1)17, (3)37, (4)21
C31 0000011 14,12,5,12,3,10,11,10,13,13,7 (1)17, (3)36, (4)21

Woodson W55 0000011 14,12,5,11,3,10,11,13,13,13,7 (1)16, (3)27, (4)21
W56 0000011 14,12,5,11,3,10,11,13,13,13,7 (1)16, (3)27, (4)21
W69 0000011 14,12,5,11,3,10,11,13,13,13,7 (1)16, (3)27, (4)21
W70 1110001 17,12,6,11,3,11,8,10,11,14,6 (0)1, (3a)3, (1a)11,
(3a)30, (4a)14, (4)2
W61 0000011 14,12,5,11,3,10,11,13,13,13,7 (1)16, (3)28, (4)20

Other Sites of Interest

This document maintained by Robert J. Huskey Last updated on February 25, 2003.

45 posted on 09/14/2003 4:21:04 PM PDT by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
Nice concise post.
55 posted on 09/14/2003 5:40:15 PM PDT by wardaddy (Roland will be missed by me.)
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