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Using DNA to Explore the Scottish Roots of the Haley Family

Ancestry Magazine has a new article by Megan Smolenyak about the use of Y-DNA testing to examine the origins of the Haley maternal line.

Chris Haley, nephew of Roots author Alex Haley, underwent Y-DNA testing.  After receiving the results which showed European origin (Haplogroup R1b), the results sat in the database for 18 months before a match was found.  Many of us have similar experience; our results are recorded and available but are waiting for the day we find a match.

Haley was lucky, however, and he was soon in contact with the family.  From the article:

Thomas [Baff, the individual that Haley tried to contact] turned out to be June Baff Black, Thomas’s daughter, who responded (she was thrilled!). June’s parents had researched the family back in the 1980s; June’s own involvement had started while watching an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? She’d been fascinated by Colin Jackson’s DNA test, ordered a test for her father, her Y-DNA stand-in, and mailed if off only a few weeks before hearing back from Chris.

This is just one example of the successes that the popular WDYTYA series has prompted.  I’ve heard a number of other stories about people gaining an appreciation for and interest in genealogy after watching the show.

The Ancestry Magazine article has much more about Chris Haley’s “reunion” with this family, and RootsTelevision has a video: “Haley-Baff Genetic Family Reunion.”

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

2 Comments

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