Author Topic: Searching for African American ancestor  (Read 1065 times)

Offline aithne

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Searching for African American ancestor
« on: Saturday 05 June 21 12:33 BST (UK) »
Hello,
Iíve been searching for an ancestor of mine for a while though to be honest it was always in the too hard basket.
Iím not asking people here to look things up for me as i basically have nothing much to go on.
Due to the fact indigenous people in Australia didnít have official records everything i know has been passed on through word of mouth.
I was always told i had African heritage, something i always believed but of course had no proof. The family tree that got passed around from about 40 years ago had three men listed in different branches saying ďAmerican whalerĒ or ďAmerican sealerĒ. Some (though not directly linked to me say ďAmerican IndianĒ or ďMexican IndianĒ).
One particular ancestor for me said ďAmerican Negro or ďWest AfricanĒ.
My sisters and I have searched with the name we were given and havenít come up with anyone who this man could be, until i found an American whaler with a similar name (probably pronounced the same but different spelling) being in the right area at the right time. We canít seem to find anything on that man to rule him out. Weíve searched crew lists from New Bedford and New London etc and although thereís similar names none of them are the two names weíve been told or that i found on the whalerís index.
My dna matches connected with several people in the US, and one of them replied to my message saying it does look like weíre related 5 - 6 generations back which fits for this ancestor. They havenít replied to my last message so i guess i wonít be getting help from that angle.
Since would have been born around 1820, and on a ship in 1840s with his daughter born in Western Australia about 1850, and because of slavery iím guessing there probably werenít records for him anyway, or for his parents.
I donít know where else to look for information. If anyone can suggest where else to search that would be great but iím wondering if, in your experienced opinions, yous think i should just let this one go. I guess i would like to know what his name was, and where he originated from in the US.  maybe i should just be content with the dna test showing the word of mouth stories were true.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline brigidmac

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 05 June 21 14:16 BST (UK) »
Which DNA test did you do ? Did it show what percentage of African heritage you have and can you compare with ethnicity of your matches ?

What was the surname of your ancestor you believe to have African heritage ? Can you do a surname search among matches ?

Have you downloaded your results to gedmatch ?

There's always hope .!
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid smith jones,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson

Offline iluleah

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 05 June 21 14:24 BST (UK) »
Personally I would be researching the industry you think he was in and finding out what records there are and what information they contain below are a couple of US websites however I am unsure if you are looking for Austrialian or US records

https://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/slave-ship-manifests.html

https://www.whalingmuseum.org/sites/default/files/pdf/KWM%20Monograph%20Series%20No%206_African%20Americans.pdf


and Trove is always worth a look  for Austrialian information https://trove.nla.gov.au/
Leicestershire:Chamberlain, Dakin, Wilkinson, Moss, Cook, Welland, Dobson, Roper,Palfreman, Squires, Hames, Goddard, Topliss, Twells,Bacon.
Northamps:Sykes, Harris, Rice,Knowles.
Rutland:Clements, Dalby, Osbourne, Durance, Smith,Christian, Royce, Richardson,Oakham, Dewey,Newbold,Cox,Chamberlaine,Brow, Cooper, Bloodworth,Clarke
Durham/Yorks:Woodend, Watson,Parker, Dowser
Suffolk/Norfolk:Groom, Coleman, Kemp, Barnard, Alden,Blomfield,Smith,Howes,Knight,Kett,Fryston
Lincolnshire:Clements, Woodend


Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 06 June 21 03:57 BST (UK) »
Which DNA test did you do ? Did it show what percentage of African heritage you have and can you compare with ethnicity of your matches ?

What was the surname of your ancestor you believe to have African heritage ? Can you do a surname search among matches ?

Have you downloaded your results to gedmatch ?

There's always hope .!
I did the tests with MyHeritage and also Ancestry. Thereís a lady who contacted me while ago wanting to wrote about one of my ancestors and she works with DNA helping people find their biological families, she also looked at my results on gedmatch. So iím confident it is there (at 5%) and the other descendant agrees weíre related but looking their family tree it doesnít go far because their family is mostly all one name people being slaves. It was the same for all of those family trees so i couldnít work out anything from that.  And yes, i compared the ethnicity of my matches through gedmatch.  The woman who responded had 60% African heritage and so iím confident the match was that way and not through an English connection of which she had very little.

Anyway, the ancestor was listed with a single name on the family tree i inherited - Mullane or Mullaney is all it says. The biographical index of whalers for the area he was has a whaler named Molaney and since many people at the time couldnít read and write too well iíve always kept an open mind on spellings of names.
Edit: i should add that another relative posted a scan of the same family tree document i had, with some things written in pen and above Mullane/y is says ďnan called him LouĒ. So iíve also played with various spellings of Lou/louis/lewis.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 06 June 21 04:04 BST (UK) »
Personally I would be researching the industry you think he was in and finding out what records there are and what information they contain below are a couple of US websites however I am unsure if you are looking for Austrialian or US records

https://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/slave-ship-manifests.html

https://www.whalingmuseum.org/sites/default/files/pdf/KWM%20Monograph%20Series%20No%206_African%20Americans.pdf


and Trove is always worth a look  for Austrialian information https://trove.nla.gov.au/

Thanks. Iíve searched Trove and whaling Museum site, plus a few others. Thereís a few similar names but nothing i can say is him without big doubts.
What would be helpful is if that information existed in Australia. Whaling ships are listed here but not crew lists. Thereís one document, a Biographical index of whalers but itís basically just a name and location.

I donít think slave ship registers will tell me much since i donít know if the name i have is accurate, or whether he was born in Africa or US. Iím assuming he was in the US since my DNA matches are there.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Online Ruskie

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 06 June 21 04:21 BST (UK) »
Ethnicity results are generally to be taken with a pinch of salt, however in this case they may be helpful. I imagine there would be also a large sample population for African American heritage, so the accuracy may be better.

You say you have matches with people in the USA. I think most of us do due to more Americans taking tests that other populations. It does not follow that we all have African heritage as Iím sure you know.

What percentage African heritage do Ancestry and My Heritage say you have? Is it 5%? Do both sites agrees with that estimate?

Family stories can often have some truth to them, though not always, and they can miss a generation or relate to the other side of the family than the one you expect, so it is worth looking at both branches. :)




Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 06 June 21 09:19 BST (UK) »
Ethnicity results are generally to be taken with a pinch of salt, however in this case they may be helpful. I imagine there would be also a large sample population for African American heritage, so the accuracy may be better.

You say you have matches with people in the USA. I think most of us do due to more Americans taking tests that other populations. It does not follow that we all have African heritage as Iím sure you know.

What percentage African heritage do Ancestry and My Heritage say you have? Is it 5%? Do both sites agrees with that estimate?

Family stories can often have some truth to them, though not always, and they can miss a generation or relate to the other side of the family than the one you expect, so it is worth looking at both branches. :)

Point is, we know that itís there and that the family story was true. And also because the Chief Protector of Aborigines (the man who was determined to breed the black out of us aka committing genocide) was pretty annoyed a century ago when he realised my family had African heritage because the black can still come out in a later generation and all their work would be undone. So itís not a question as to whether African is there, and the matches iím talking about all have Nigerian and/or Sierra Leone as the ethnic match. Also, their profile pictures show them to be black. So i donít really see a point in questioning whether thatís accurate. Itís getting off track now and thatís not what i was here asking for.

Iím wanting to know if itís worth trying to pursue this ancestor with so many obstacles or if i should give up.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline iluleah

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 06 June 21 10:38 BST (UK) »
The National Archives holds a significant number of records about Aboriginal people including individuals https://www.naa.gov.au/explore-collection/first-australians
Leicestershire:Chamberlain, Dakin, Wilkinson, Moss, Cook, Welland, Dobson, Roper,Palfreman, Squires, Hames, Goddard, Topliss, Twells,Bacon.
Northamps:Sykes, Harris, Rice,Knowles.
Rutland:Clements, Dalby, Osbourne, Durance, Smith,Christian, Royce, Richardson,Oakham, Dewey,Newbold,Cox,Chamberlaine,Brow, Cooper, Bloodworth,Clarke
Durham/Yorks:Woodend, Watson,Parker, Dowser
Suffolk/Norfolk:Groom, Coleman, Kemp, Barnard, Alden,Blomfield,Smith,Howes,Knight,Kett,Fryston
Lincolnshire:Clements, Woodend

Offline aghadowey

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 06 June 21 11:14 BST (UK) »
Quote
Anyway, the ancestor was listed with a single name on the family tree i inherited - Mullane or Mullaney is all it says. The biographical index of whalers for the area he was has a whaler named Molaney and since many people at the time couldnít read and write too well iíve always kept an open mind on spellings of names.
What 'biographical index'? what 'area'? Can you post a link to this?
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!