Friday, June 12, 2009

African American Descendants of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia

Many of the descendants of Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia, have carefully documented their line back to Joseph. One group of descendants may not find it so easy to document their descent from Joseph or even be aware that they are descendants of Joseph. This group is the African American descendants of Joseph.

Appendix I “Enslaved Africans [and] Free Persons of Color Surnamed Vick” in “Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants” by John D. Beatty and Di Ann Vick lists some of the slaves owned by Joseph’s descendants. What cannot be gleaned from the appendix is if any of these slaves are also Joseph’s descendants or are the mothers of descendants of Joseph.

Two African American men who have been Y-DNA tested have Y-DNA signatures that match Joseph’s Y-DNA signature. One of these men matches the proven descendants of Richard3, Richard2, Joseph1. The other man has not tested enough of his Y-DNA to place him in one of Joseph1’s son’s lines. Because the second man’s Y-DNA signature does not have a change shared by all of the tested descendants of Joseph’s son Richard, it is more likely that he is a descendant of one of Joseph’s other four sons.

While Y-DNA can help in identifying whether an African American man is a descendant of Joseph, finding records to prove descent may be impossible. Harder still will be identifying African American female descendants of Joseph and African American men who are descendants of Joseph but who are not patrilineal descendants of Joseph. Since Y-DNA is only passed from father to son, females and men who are not patrilineal descendants of Joseph will not have the advantage of being able to use Y-DNA to discover their Vick ancestry.