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  • Writer's pictureRachel Feit

Who was Henry Louis Gates' Great-Grandfather?

We are so excited to have been invited to to help Oxbow Cultural Research and the Allegany County Historical Society with excavations at the Jane Gates Heritage House in Cumberland, Maryland next week. For those who don't know Jane Gates was the great grandmother of the host of 'Finding Your Roots,' and Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates. Jane was born to Susanna Gates in Maryland, on the Prather Farm around 1819 or 1820 and eventually came to be among the enslaved on the neighboring Brady farm, from which she was eventually manumitted. By 1870 she worked as a nurse and a laundress, and lived with two daughters and two grandchildren. More details about Jane Gates can be found here.

Although archival research and existing records have managed to follow Jane Gates through time, one of the big questions remaining is who was the father of her children. Although family lore always maintained that the father of her children was slaveholder Samuel Brady or his brother, genetic testing has found that the Gates descendants share no relations with the Brady family. Perhaps archaeology can help! If you who are in the neighborhood, come out and visit on Saturday or Sunday September 7-8, 2019. Also, follow @Acaciaheritage on Facebook or Instagram for updates during the week.

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