Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

by ethnic on July 23, 2009

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Place of Birth: Keyser, West Virginia, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 16, 1950

Ethnicity: African-American (including Yoruba Nigerian), with some English and Irish

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is an American scholar and professor at Harvard University. He is also known for hosting the television series African American Lives, African American Lives 2, Faces of America, and Finding Your Roots, where he helps notable people find their ancestry.

He is the son of Paulina/Pauline Augusta (Coleman) and Henry Louis Gates, Sr. Among his ancestors are the Yoruba people of Nigeria. He also has Irish ancestry through his direct matrilineal line.

Henry has two children with his former wife, Sharon Lynn Adams.

Henry’s paternal grandfather was Edward St. Lawrence Gates (the son of Edward L. Gates and Maudaline/Maude E. Scott). Henry’s great-grandfather Edward was the son of Jane Gates. Maudaline was the daughter of Thomas Campbell and Mary Byrd.

Henry’s paternal grandmother was Helen Gertrude Redman (the daughter of Charles W. Redman and Sarah Susan Bruce or Hamilton). Charles was the son of David Redman and Elizabeth Bruce. Sarah was the daughter of Joseph Bruce and Sarah Bruce.

Henry’s maternal grandfather was Paul Abraham Coleman (the son of Charles A./C. Coleman and Martha Pogue). Martha was the daughter of George Pogue and Martha.

Henry’s maternal grandmother was Marguerite/Margaret Elizabeth Howard (the daughter of Samuel James Howard and Lucy Ellen Clifford). Lucy was the daughter of Lou Isaac Clifford and Elizabeth Jane Redman.

In his 2016 book, Finding Your Roots, Season 2: The Official Companion to the PBS Series, and in an article at The Huffington Post, Henry wrote that his 23andme DNA test results state him to be:

*50.1% European
*48.6% Sub-Saharan African
——–*17% Cameroon/Congo
——–*13% Benin/Togo
——–*8% Ivory Coast/Ghana
——–*7% Nigeria
*0.9% Native American

In his book The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader (2012), he wrote:

A number of exact matches turned up, leading straight back to that African Kingdom called Northern Europe, to the genes (among others) a female Ashkenazi Jew. Maybe it was time to start listening to ‘My Yiddish Mama.’

Sources: Genealogies of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – http://www.geni.com

Genealogies of Henry’s parents – https://www.findagrave.com

Obituary of Henry’s father – http://www.legacy.com

photo by Prphotos

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew July 22, 2017 at 4:21 pm
andrew July 22, 2017 at 4:17 pm
andrew July 22, 2017 at 9:30 am
bearboy March 29, 2016 at 12:10 am

I was reading one of Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s books online and he wrote the following. “A number of exact matches turned up, leading straight back to that African Kingdom called Northern Europe, to the genes (among others) a female Ashkenazi Jew. Maybe it was time to start listening to ‘My Yiddish Mama.” https://books.google.com/books?id=EKI3g79yYswC&pg=PA388&lpg=PA388&dq=Henry+Louis+Gates+Jr.+Ashkenazi&source=bl&ots=nKgATyDjEn&sig=UnOA9kkpFysY8n-R-bzLZBBDEi4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjXv_20p-XLAhXCeSYKHdSVCDsQ6AEIQjAJ#v=onepage&q=Henry%20Louis%20Gates%20Jr.%20Ashkenazi&f=false page 15

bearboy March 29, 2016 at 12:27 am

If that’s accurate please add that quote to his profile.

maestro November 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

I have a hard time believing he’s predominately European in terms of his DNA.

Mulatto? Perhaps.

fuzzybear44 November 28, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Quote-(Henry has said that a DNA test showed him to be of 56% European, 37% African, and 7% “Asian/Native American” descent.)

I have on a number of occasions heard Gates refer to his DNA as being 50/50(black and White) both video and print. When did these new amounts come out?

cdonorab November 8, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Correction. Hon faces of America he says that he is 7% Asian as well. When doing Finding your roots he found out that he was a descendent of Wilmore Mayle who had children with a woman who was part African and part native American which might explain the Asian.

follers November 8, 2015 at 11:46 pm

Where does he say that a DNA test showed him to be 7% Asian? I don’t think he mentioned having verified Cherokee ancestry on any of his shows.

cdonorab November 9, 2015 at 12:16 pm

In the episode Know thyself in his show Faces of America. He was showing Yo Yo Ma his admixture test and Yo Yo said jokingly because it said he was 100% Asian if that ment they weren’t bros anymore. Gates replied that they were symbolic bros and that he had 7% Native American ancestry did there was a connection there.

cwm85 August 2, 2015 at 12:20 pm

He must hate his European side lol

DA X mann April 11, 2012 at 12:33 am

I bet he’s happy that he is half Irish. ha ha ha

nemo June 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm

he should do a Lumbee special and show Lumbee black roots in north carolina!!

Gabe April 27, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Gates is exactly 50% white 50% black. His DNA test revealed this in African American Lives.

ms keri baby fan April 16, 2010 at 6:25 am

i think she is fully black if she was mixed race she would say i mean who lies about where they come from

ps. keri hilson rules i reccomend that you buy her album in a perfect world

Fuzzybear March 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I don’t know,I saw a little piece of his show,and he seem to stay in sub-sahara when it comes to black people over here.However I already show that many black people were brought from north Africa as slaves also,but he doesn’t even look up there

ethnic March 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm


kira:D March 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm

his show is tha shit!

BlackMON February 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

That Show African American lives is awesome you should all watch it when it comes on PBS its the best show ever if you are into ethnicities like i am

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