As many of you may know this fact about me and my Lee genealogy research is that for decades now a goal of mine has been to locate Lee descendants, as many as possible, and keep this information in my GEDCOM data files including all documentation and evidence of the correct Lee’s of Virginia lineages and ancestry because of the many disconnections and denials of the correct descendant and ancestral lines.
I have found unfortunately many of the descendants that have been told that they are not Lee’s of Virginia descendants in fact truly are yet have been purposefully discouraged and denied their rightful claim to their heritage by those who oversee the genealogy, history and specifically Lee Y-DNA projects knowing that they are promoting false science and misinformation in order to confuse the public research of the Lee lineages by elevating the capabilities of Y-DNA testing.
I have also found the most disturbing common denominator in the denial of these certain Lee’s of Virginia descendants and their Lee ancestor lines to Richard Lee and Anne Constable which is the mixed racial element from marriages or partnering in which came children resulting from our Lee ancestors.
Science does prove that there are limitations on male Y-DNA uses in genealogy and the overselling of what Y-DNA can or cannot do in the past decades, or what Y-DNA cannot tell us especially when the Y-DNA of the lineage progenitor is not obtainable – in these limited circumstances ancestor relationships to a descendant can be only determined by speculation, interpretation, and guesswork at its best, regardless of what anyone says or tries to sell.
All Y-DNA can do is show a male-to-male relationship if one exists, the similarities and differences in the DNA and assign Y-DNA haplogroups. And even with the Y-DNA haplogroups, multiple surnames can belong to one haplogroup.
Y-DNA cannot tell an all-male lineage relationship to an ascending male ancestor if that male ancestors Y-DNA is not present for comparison.
When this has been done it is primarily based on individual analysis and opinion-based interpretation of the common similarities or differences of the tested males Y-DNA and documentation of the lineages descending from the supposed common ancestor.
But then there is the BIG problem with this practice besides it being just plain wrong and deceitful.
What Y-DNA CANNOT DO, even in the most well-documented lineages, is tell us IF there is an NPE (A NON-PARENTAL EVENT) in the all-male line descent from the common ancestor(s). Basically, if there is a NPE, Y-DNA will not and cannot identify this fact - so the relationship to the common ancestor at that point is ASSUMED, as well as all other descendant relationships involved. AGAIN, REGARDLESS OF THE DOCUMENTED PEDIGREE.
I believe that Y-DNA has been oversold as it has become a big money-making business and it also has been mis-used in denying many their ancestry by assignment of haplogroups from male Y-DNA to common ancestors and lineages when the Y-DNA of the ascending common ancestors is non-existent such as the LEE Y-DNA Projects have been doing. That not only is my opinion but is also the factual science behind Y-DNA that they are not telling the public.
Y-DNA is not even used in paternity if the Y-DNA of the father or suspected parent is not acquired because it would be pure speculation even if a brother or grandparent Y-DNA is obtained because of the NPE factor. It comes down to the opinion of those who are doing the interpretation of the Y-DNA test analysis. The fact is that Autosomal DNA is what is used mostly in paternity if the male parent’s DNA cannot be obtained and only family members can because Autosomal DNA is reliable, and the results are factual and not based on opinion or interpretation.
The capabilities of Autosomal DNA in genealogy have been way undersold in the past and in family research. A birth certificate or any lineage documentation is never needed to determine the parentage of a child or the existence family relationships with Autosomal DNA, all you need is for Autosomal DNA to be obtained from relatives, and the more the merrier. Autosomal DNA does not and will not attach to non-related individuals, period. The more relative Autosomal DNA collected from family members and DNA donors who share common ancestry – or MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestors) – the more clarity one can get of their own family history and more DNA matches occur. Autosomal DNA can confirm ancestral lineage and common ancestry with or without well documented pedigrees.
Most importantly what Autosomal DNA CAN DO is Autosomal CAN tell if there has been a NPE or NON-PARENTAL EVENT in a lineage even when it is well documented – what Y-DNA cannot do. Autosomal DNA does not need documentation to prove relationships.
This can give one pause as to a possibility of why so many have spread misinformation in regard to Autosomal DNA and the value it can give in genealogy.
Many falsehoods such as Autosomal DNA can cross over to non-relatives or dilutes itself and gives false results are not true at all. Autosomal DNA will not and does not attach itself to individuals who do not have traces of the same Autosomal DNA. And the best fact of Autosomal DNA in genealogy is that it does not discriminate based on racial or sexual factors. I truly believe that all the rumors and fake information to promote bad genealogy was in an effort to continue confusion so that true lineages and family history would not be found out. Mostly these falsehoods were told long before the advancement on what Autosomal DNA capabilities improved and new ways through DNA tools have been developed, yet they have been continued and retold just to keep adding to confusion by creating argument on top of argument especially when it comes to the Lee’s of Virginia lineages and ancestry.
But these rumors have two sides, and some rumors are true.
Rumors of our Lee ancestors that were of Native American ancestry are being proven true.
The rumors of Lee males and the relationships they had with their slaves for one example as Lee descendants of black heritage are being proven true.
Recently I have been able to prove with using Autosomal DNA the Lee descendants of General Robert E Lee and his slave Nancy Ruffin, adding their lineage proudly to our Lee’s of Virginia descendancy from Col Richard Lee and Anne Constable.
After my on going battles for William Lee descendant lineages to be recognized and then coming across so many other Lee’s of Virginia ancestors and descendant lineages that have suffered the same fate as William and Alice Lee’s descendants, especially lines with mixed racial family members, I came across another line of denied Lee’s of Virginia descendants that they too were told their family history of descending from the Lee’s of Virginia but when they tried to find out the truth or seek acknowledgement were told they were not who they knew in their hearts they were.
More lies and more deceit were apparent as I had come across a website in which many professed of being descendants from General Robert E Lee and that they were told this all their lives. It sounded so familiar to me I had to reach out.
So, in 2017 I did reach out, and wrote a post on the website I found “Robert E. Lee's Black Family". It took almost 5 years to hear back from a couple of the descendants and to be able to help them find out the truth. I was finally able to prove 3 descendants from 2 of the 4 children of Robert E. Lee and his slave Nancy Ruffin, Peter and Mack Lee. I say 2 of 4 children as documentation shows the possibility of four total shared children of the General and Nancy, but I am still waiting for more possible descendants to come forward. But for the three descendants of Peter and Mack Lee, there is now DNA confirmation of their being Lee descendants of General Robert E Lee and Nancy Ruffin through DNA matching with multiple Lee descendants of European descent that have donated their DNA on GEDMatch.
I am forever grateful to my Lee cousins who came to me asking for my assistance and trusted me to help resolve this rumor and prove up the truth. Besides being my newly found Lee cousins, they are a beautiful addition to my family as I truly treasure their friendship.
How The Journey Began – The Website
Robert E. Lee’s Black Family
Published: December 23, 2011 34 comments
Kevin M. Levin
Historian, Educator, Public Speaker
Thank you, Kevin M. Levin, for making this possible by giving us all a way to connect!
My Original Post:
Jacqueli Finley Nov 5, 2017 @ 12:35
“I cannot tell you how important it is that we correct this and all Lee cousins know who they descend from. I am interested in helping ALL Lee descendants in becoming recognized regardless of color, race, etc.,, as I know the hurdles in doing this, for there are many Lee cousins that will do anything to keep their secrets safe, and even have gave false DNA results and manipulated test results to change the lines. It is time for the truth to be known and for all Lee cousins to know their heritage. I am trying hard to reach out to all impacted by this so we can right this wrongdoing by some of those Lee family members who will do anything to hide their secrets. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you, Jacqueli Finley”
The Response - Initial Contact
-------- Original Message --------
From: Darick Hendrix
Date: Fri, February 02, 2018 5:38 pm
I am curious, as I am on Ancestry.com and found information that was
somewhat surprising. You seem to have done your homework for sure, so
help me out a bit if you can....
I see that my Great-(2x) Grandfather was Peter Lee who was one of
Nancy Ruffins children by REL. My DNA came back with Irish and
Great-Britain lineage. Unfortunately that is as far as They go on
Ancestry. I was wondering if you had pictures or other information?
I spoke with a woman who told the story that It was actually a "Love
Affair" REL and Nancy had and that Nancy pretty much ruled the house
LOL and told REL to send the children away because they were starting
to look like him. As the story goes, Peter was sent to Texas and
served in the Colored army and had like 16 children by two wives!
Like I said it's just s story, but I was wondering if you heard
anything about this? I would love any information you may have. I came
across the attached letter that mentions Nancy and Sally Diggs. This
is odd as Nancy Ruffin is my Great (3x) grandmother on my moms father
side and Sally Diggs is my Great (3x) Grandmother on my moms mother's
side! How wild is that?
So any help would be greatly appreciated. I'd be happy to invite you
to my tree if you like.
Always in Gratitude,
Darick Hendrix, LCSW”
- Original Message --------
Subject: I am the 4th great grandson of General Robert E. Lee through my
enslaved grandmother Nancy Ruffin and their son Mack Lee.
From: jim harpe
Date: Wed, December 11, 2019 8:12 am
DNA Confirmation Reports below from GEDMatch Lee Descendants for the Lee-Ruffin Stratford Line DNA comparisions below:
Please see: President Jimmy Carter is my 3rd cousin as this has been proven by DNA and documentation. and why my Lee/Carter Ancestry help prove these DNA MRCA Matches and Confirmations for Stratford Lee's.
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