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Simon van der Stel, first governor of the Dutch Cape Colony. His maternal grandmother was an Indian slave

Simon van der Stel, first governor of the Dutch Cape Colony. His maternal grandmother was an Indian slave.

In the comments below a question was asked about the non-European admixture in white Canadians, New Zealanders, and Australians. It was prompted by the fact that low levels of non-European admixture do seem to be found in most whites in the Family Tree DNA database where both parents were born in South Africa (granted, a small sample). My hunch is that these individuals must be Afrikaner, because I have a hard time understanding how else one would detect Khoisan and Southeast Asian ancestry (West African and South Asian ancestry would be easier to explain). So what about other “white dominions,” those realms of the British Empire united by being either dominated or ruled by white people. I actually just looked at the data for Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The sample size for New Zealand was small. But, in these cases those individuals of preponderant European ancestry have no non-European ancestry, by and large. A few Canadians do have some fractions of Native American ancestry. This seems in line with the data on American whites from 23andMe. Only a small minority have non-European ancestry. Afrikaners are somewhat like many Latin American whites, in being visibly white European, but usually carrying some recent non-European ancestry because of the history of their people.

Addendum: Please recall that lack of genetic signal from ancestors 200-300 years back is not uncommon. Most Americans with colonial stock for example can probably trace a line of genealogical descent back to a Native American. But, because of the small fraction most of these genealogical descendants will not exhibit any genomic segments identical by descent with these individuals.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity, Science • Tags: Admixture 
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  1. You seem to have missed Australians – what do they show?

    I would hazard a guess, the proportion of nonwhite ancestry would be slightly higher than for Americans or Canadians, if only because among the initial convict population had relatively few women. Thus many men’s only option of having children was with an aboriginal spouse. And given what we know from Latin America, the genetic legacy of the first group of settlers is ultimately hard to erase.

    Of course, there was racial mixing among the early Quebecois according to history and genealogy, but there is essentially no genetic trace of this today, perhaps because their mixed-race offspring were less fit for immunological (or other) reasons. So a similar dynamic could have “whitened” the Australian population.

    Or it may just be that most of the “half-castes” kept folding back into the aboriginal population. Indeed, studies I have seen suggest the average modern aborigine is around 35% European in ancestry, with admixture proportions all over the map.

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    • Replies: @syonredux
    Karl Zimmerman:"You seem to have missed Australians – what do they show?"

    I don't think that he did elide the Australians. Here is the relevant section:

    " I actually just looked at the data for Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The sample size for New Zealand was small. But, in these cases those individuals of preponderant European ancestry have no non-European ancestry, by and large. A few Canadians do have some fractions of Native American ancestry. This seems in line with the data on American whites from 23andMe."

    The way that I read this, Razib is saying that the rates of admixture in the White Anglo settler nations (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ) are about the same, with each nation showing very little evidence of indigenous admixture, especially when compared to the Afrikaners.
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  2. syonredux says:
    @Karl Zimmerman
    You seem to have missed Australians - what do they show?

    I would hazard a guess, the proportion of nonwhite ancestry would be slightly higher than for Americans or Canadians, if only because among the initial convict population had relatively few women. Thus many men's only option of having children was with an aboriginal spouse. And given what we know from Latin America, the genetic legacy of the first group of settlers is ultimately hard to erase.

    Of course, there was racial mixing among the early Quebecois according to history and genealogy, but there is essentially no genetic trace of this today, perhaps because their mixed-race offspring were less fit for immunological (or other) reasons. So a similar dynamic could have "whitened" the Australian population.

    Or it may just be that most of the "half-castes" kept folding back into the aboriginal population. Indeed, studies I have seen suggest the average modern aborigine is around 35% European in ancestry, with admixture proportions all over the map.

    Karl Zimmerman:”You seem to have missed Australians – what do they show?”

    I don’t think that he did elide the Australians. Here is the relevant section:

    ” I actually just looked at the data for Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The sample size for New Zealand was small. But, in these cases those individuals of preponderant European ancestry have no non-European ancestry, by and large. A few Canadians do have some fractions of Native American ancestry. This seems in line with the data on American whites from 23andMe.”

    The way that I read this, Razib is saying that the rates of admixture in the White Anglo settler nations (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ) are about the same, with each nation showing very little evidence of indigenous admixture, especially when compared to the Afrikaners.

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  3. syonredux says:

    Razib:Most Americans with colonial stock for example can probably trace a line of genealogical descent back to a Native American.

    I would tend to think that there would be a certain amount of geographical variation, though. New England, for example, probably has the lowest amount of intermarrying. Fischer, in ALBION’S SEED, notes how the NE colonies had good male to female ratios (I think that Massachusetts Bay was nearly 50%), which would tend to diminish the need for English boys to court Amerind girls.

    The South, in contrast, had a much more unfavorable sex ratio during the formative period (17th-early 18th centuries), with men outnumbering women to a much greater degree than was found in the North. Hence, I would tend to think that sheer necessity would prompt higher rates of Anglo-Amerind intermarriage.

    One other factor to bear in mind is that that Amerind nations persisted in the South for a longer period of time (cf the Creek, etc). That would have extended the window of opportunity for inter-racial courtship.

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  4. syon, right on both counts. i’d like bigger sample sizes, but with south africans that wasn’t needed.

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  5. Comparing Afrikaners to white Australians or white Canadians is comparing apples to oranges. White Australians and white Canadians are melting pots, while Afrikaners are an ethnicity, a very inbred and closed-off one at that, with a language and attitude isolating them from mixing extensively with more recent European arrivals (British, Portuguese, Greek), thus all of them having the majority of their roots in the same small number of original settlers. It only makes some amount of sense if you’re comparing them to white Aussies and Kiwis with colonial roots. Or if you’d compare white Aussies and Kiwis to English-speaking white Saffas.

    As for NZ, from what I’ve seen, it’s a bit different from Oz and Canada. The overwhelming majority of NZ whites have no Maori ancestry, but a sizable minority do. Of course, it’s a very different situation to the Afrikaners’ stable amount of admixture that entered the gene pool of a small group of settlers at an early point of colonization and is spread out evenly throughout the population and the knowledge of which is somewhat lost in the mists of time. Due to this different (and continuing) type of mixing in NZ and to the more recent date of colonization, unlike Afrikaners, most white Kiwis with Maori ancestry know exactly who their Maori ancestor was. I remember a study a few years ago showing the percentage of known Maori descendants in NZ as around 25% of the population – 10% more than the 15% of the population who claim any kind of Maori identity. Quite high considering more than 25% of NZ are recent immigrants. Off the top of my head, that would mean some 14% of NZ whites have some Maori ancestry. They’d be much more likely to be found in the North Island, I believe. The South Island, with its much colder climate, had only a small Maori population at contact, which had actually regressed from farming to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

    Speaking of NZ, it looks set to be the first Anglo settler colony other than the US to become minority-majority.

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  6. Curious Reader:

    Hawaii is a bit of the same way, yet very different. Most of the older generation of Portuguese and Chinese immigrants have mixed with Hawaiians to the point they identify as Hawaiian (myself included), despite the fact that the majority of their descent is not Hawaiian. Considering the social benefits of naming and claiming descent, I wonder if in many of these places people who would 50 years ago identify themselves as white would now identify themselves as natives in censuses.

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  7. iffen says:

    Can you further explain the addendum? You say that only a small minority show admixture, then you say that it is likely there in most but it is not detected. Thanks.

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  8. #7, if you have a single like of genealogical relationship to someone 250 years back, you are unlikely to have any segments of DNA from them due to random noise. many old stock americans can trace descent from famous individuals who are known to have a native american ancestor, but show no native american heritage. that’s because they didn’t inherit any DNA from that native american across the generations.

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  9. Sean says:

    During the latter stages of the Boer war, the natives attacked many Boer farms out on the veldt, which had only women and children on them. Also, the British armed tens of thousands of native scouts, and there was some taking advantage, according to a British documentery of a few years ago.

    Quite a few white American celebrities claim Native American ancestry. To my eyes, many who don’t claim it, have what looks like obvious traces. Sarah Palin for example .

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    Quite a few white American celebrities claim Native American ancestry. To my eyes, many who don’t claim it, have what looks like obvious traces. Sarah Palin for example .
     
    Most White celebrities who boast of Amerind ancestry are just repeating family legends. In most cases, these legends are completely lacking in any kind of genealogical support. Cf, for example, Elizabeth Warren's bogus claims to Amerind ancestry. Johnny Depp is another good example of a celebrity who loves to talk about Amerind ancestry but who has never produced any evidence to back it up:

    In a 2002 interview, Depp stated that he believed he has Native American ancestry;[111] in 2011, he specified, "I guess I have some Native American [in me] somewhere down the line. My great-grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek."[112] He has also stated that he "apparently" has Native American ancestry, and that "There are so many different things you're told [growing up] in Kentucky" [about his heritage].[113] His Native ancestry came under question when Indian Country Today Media Network stated that Depp has never inquired about his heritage nor does the Cherokee Nation recognize him as a member.[114]
     
    (WIKIPEDIA)

    RE: Sarah Palin,

    I'm not sure what you are talking about. Her appearance looks quite Caucasoid/West Eurasian to me.
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  10. TGGP says: • Website

    “Most Americans with colonial stock for example can probably trace a line of genealogical descent back to a Native American”
    I was surprised by that remark, but I suppose since the number of ancestors can multiply with each generation it could be plausible.

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  11. #9, it’s not that. the % are too small, and the segments are not long. this is older. probably the late 17th and 18th centuries when people of mixed race were part of the dutch speaking settler population.

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  12. syonredux says:
    @Sean
    During the latter stages of the Boer war, the natives attacked many Boer farms out on the veldt, which had only women and children on them. Also, the British armed tens of thousands of native scouts, and there was some taking advantage, according to a British documentery of a few years ago.

    Quite a few white American celebrities claim Native American ancestry. To my eyes, many who don't claim it, have what looks like obvious traces. Sarah Palin for example .

    Quite a few white American celebrities claim Native American ancestry. To my eyes, many who don’t claim it, have what looks like obvious traces. Sarah Palin for example .

    Most White celebrities who boast of Amerind ancestry are just repeating family legends. In most cases, these legends are completely lacking in any kind of genealogical support. Cf, for example, Elizabeth Warren’s bogus claims to Amerind ancestry. Johnny Depp is another good example of a celebrity who loves to talk about Amerind ancestry but who has never produced any evidence to back it up:

    In a 2002 interview, Depp stated that he believed he has Native American ancestry;[111] in 2011, he specified, “I guess I have some Native American [in me] somewhere down the line. My great-grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek.”[112] He has also stated that he “apparently” has Native American ancestry, and that “There are so many different things you’re told [growing up] in Kentucky” [about his heritage].[113] His Native ancestry came under question when Indian Country Today Media Network stated that Depp has never inquired about his heritage nor does the Cherokee Nation recognize him as a member.[114]

    (WIKIPEDIA)

    RE: Sarah Palin,

    I’m not sure what you are talking about. Her appearance looks quite Caucasoid/West Eurasian to me.

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  13. With respect to Canada at least, I’d just second #5 and point out that particularly outside Quebec and small parts of Ontario, most of the population immigrated here pretty recently. So there hasn’t been the same time for admixture. Most came here after the numbered treaties were already signed and the First Nations largely segregated into reserves.

    That’s changing fast though. The fastest growing demographic in Canada is people of mixed ethnicity. The second fastest is aboriginal people. My generation may not be particularly admixed, but that will not be true of future generations.

    Razib – re your comment #8, my understanding was that with such a short timeline it was actually pretty unlikely to have such ancestry completely lost to genetic drift. Isn’t the issue more that having 1 ancestor out of 1,000 belong to a specific ethnicity is still really hard to detect? IE the issue is more that the signal is really really small, not that these people actually have lost all of their aboriginal ancestry. Or am I mistaken?

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  14. iffen says:

    CupofSoup

    I took him to mean that is was not there as opposed to it being there and not detected.
    I just thought that I received genetic material in approximately appropriate numbers from my ancestors.
    If I did my math correctly I should have about 1/712 genetic material from that ancestor from 250 years ago.
    So, I echo your comment. Could I have lost 1/712 or is just not detectable?

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  15. Anthony says:

    Karl Z: Of course, there was racial mixing among the early Quebecois according to history and genealogy, but there is essentially no genetic trace of this today, perhaps because their mixed-race offspring were less fit for immunological (or other) reasons.

    Alternate hypothesis: many (most?) mixed French/Indian children ended up outside Quebecois society – the Métis are considered their own ethnic group now.

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