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DNA and Oral History

By Sady Sullivan

Posted on December 2, 2008

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote a really interesting piece in this week’s New Yorker about tracing his family genealogy using oral histories, sometimes the only source of family history for Americans of African descent since civic records, such as the Federal Census, often didn’t include African-Americans until after the Civil War.  Now, developments in DNA testing are challenging the verity of some family stories which leads to interesting questions about which holds more truth: what generations pass on or what science demonstrates?

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