The New Genealogy: It's Leading Americans to Discover Their Multiracial Roots

By Roach, Ronald | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, February 21, 2008 | Go to article overview

The New Genealogy: It's Leading Americans to Discover Their Multiracial Roots


Roach, Ronald, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

While Patti Heinegg, a retired engineer in Collegeville, Pa., neither labels himself a genealogist nor has sought recognition as a historian, both genealogists and historians have lavished praise on the research he's done to document the history of free families of African descent in colonial-era America. His Web site, www.freeafricanamericans.com, contains more than 2,000 pages of family histories taken from colonial court records from Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Dr. Ira Berlin, a leading scholar of colonial America and slavery and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, has written that "Heinegg's work has been of inestimable value to genealogists eager to trace their family roots and to historians equally desirous of mapping the design of colonial society."

Published to mostly positive reviews in major U.S. newspapers this past November, Bliss Broyard's One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life--A Story of Race and Family Secrets captures more than a decade of research and family meetings to recount the life of Broyard's late father and literary critic, Anatole Broyard. In addition to examining her father's decision to withhold from his children knowledge of their Black roots, the author documents nearly 300 years of family history. One Drop takes an intimate look at a Creole family whose mixed race identity has been embraced by some family members while others, like Anatole Broyard, have kept quiet about their ties to Black ancestors.

To those who have closely followed his entrepreneurial exploits in addition to his scholarly pursuits, the news that Dr. Henry Louis Gates, the director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University, is launching a company to help African-Americans learn about their ancestry through DNA tracing in combination with rigorous genealogical research may not come as a major surprise. Gates is well-known publicly as the narrator and producer of the "African-American Lives" series, the second installment of which aired this month on PBS. The series explores and highlights the ancestral roots of Black celebrities. The show has highlighted DNA tracing, a controversial scientific innovation that has grown popular among Americans seeking information about their ancestors.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"I see myself as doing a service for a field that's deeply problematic because of the reluctance of some companies to reveal the complexity of the results" Gates told The Associated Press in November.

Observers have noted that developments such as the Free African Americans Web site and the genetic ancestry tracing point to what can be called the "new genealogy" Encouraged by the Internet's unlimited capacity as an accessible publishing space, the new genealogy has seen the unprecedented growth of genealogical research generated by many thousands of Americans who research their family's ancestry and publish their results online. In the mainstream media spotlight, talented authors such as Bliss Broyard and Thulani Davis have turned rigorous research and compelling family histories into provocative and informative books.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Genealogy has clearly undergone an explosion of multifold increase and frequency. It seems that many people all over the place with all kinds of backgrounds are trying to trace their family roots and connections, and they're making extensive use of sources on the Internet," says Dr. J. Douglas Deal, the chair of the history department at the State University of New York at Oswego.

"There's no question that in 2008 people of moderate means have available to them resources to trace their past only specialized researchers and persons of much more significant means were able to tap in the past. Part of that is the Internet and the government's putting records--immigration and other records--online.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The New Genealogy: It's Leading Americans to Discover Their Multiracial Roots
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.