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Stranger Than Fiction: Gates and Crowley Related!

Tonight when Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley sit down over a beer with President Obama, they can avoid talking about that awkward thing that happened last week. Instead, the Harvard professor and his arresting officer can discuss how they're related!

The pair at the center of a debate about racial profiling both trace their heritage back to Niall of the Nine Hostages, a fourth century Irish warlord. Gates discovered that he descended from an Irish immigrant and a slave girl when he hosted a PBS series on African-American ancestry last year. He went to Ireland to find out more about his line of ancestry, a line he shares with Sgt. Crowley.

What's a little misunderstanding among family?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
Caterpillar girl. Your picture is spooky. I have some history on paper that my Grandmother did a long time ago. Almost all German both sides. But I don't put too much stock in that. It seems like everyone wants to brag about heritage. I think its because Americans think their boring. And we are. Like a plain baked potato.
ren_kr ren_kr 8 years
that is crazy and kind of funny/ironic - fate led them to meet lol. I really want to trace my family tree as well, but my mother said she had tried when she was younger on her side with no luck and it seems much less complicated than my father's side (orphaned family). Good luck guys! Now, if only I can figure out a way to start.
sontaikle sontaikle 8 years
Wow! that's crazy! I would love to get a DNA analysis done on myself though, that can really pinpoint where you come from.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Thanks for the tip Symphonee, I have been through the census, it seems so hard to find that door but I'm not giving up.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I have it easy, both of my parents are from norway and thats where the lineage ends.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
We got back 7 generations on my father's side and about 5 on my mother's side. It takes time and patience. Trying checking census reports because an address with a similar name can open doors. I have found links to Native Americans, German and Scottish on both sides
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
telane, could maybe your family changed their name? I know its so hard, it's like a wall. I haven't even gotten that far back just 2 generations. It's frustrating.
telane telane 8 years
bellaressa, I'm having the exact same problem.... The sad thing is that I haven't even made it past 4 generations! There is literally nothing on my family. I have even looked for similarly spelled names and phonetically similar names and there is still nothing.... I am still working at it, but it's getting frustrating!!!
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Very interesting. That is why I don't understand why a lot of people do not believe decedents of slaves have a mixture of blood lines that run through them. This is so cool that they are related. I am in the process of tracing my family tree and I have hit a road block due to lack of paperwork not being kept and whatnot.
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