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Genomics Reveals Connection Of Enslaved Iron Workers To 40,000 Descendants

Researchers have utilized DNA obtained from the remains of 27 individuals buried in a cemetery for enslaved people at Catoctin Furnace, a historical iron forge near Camp David, to gain insights into African American history.

The study reveals the ancestral backgrounds of some of the enslaved individuals who worked at Catoctin Furnace in the early years of the United States, identifying genetic ties to specific African populations such as the Wolof, Mandinka, and Kongo peoples.

These genetic connections extend to present-day populations in countries like Senegal, Gambia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The research underscores the potential of genomics in reconstructing historical narratives, especially given the lack of documentation related to the transatlantic slave trade and its lasting impact on African American heritage.

The study aims to shed light on the familial backgrounds of descendants and deepen understanding of their connections to the past.

“The experiences of African Americans within the early industrial complex of the United States are not completely understood and their labors in this system have not been thoroughly explored or acknowledged,” Smithsonian anthropologist and study co-author Kathryn Barca said.

Link: NBC News


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