Vanessa L. Williams

Birth Name: Vanessa Lynn Williams

Place of Birth: Tarrytown, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: March 18, 1963

Ethnicity: African-American, along with some English and Welsh, possibly Native American

Vanessa L. Williams is an American actress, singer, songwriter, producer, model, and television personality. She became famous by being the first African-American to win the Miss America Pageant, in 1983.

Vanessa is the daughter of Helen L. (Tinch) and Milton Augustine Williams, Jr. Her parents were both black. Her brother is actor and comedian Chris Williams. Vanessa grew up in a the mainly white middle-class suburb of Millwood, New York. Vanessa is married to businessperson Jim Skrip. She has three children, including dancer and singer Jillian Hervey, with her former husband, public relations specialist Ramon Hervey II; and a daughter with her former husband, Canadian basketball player and actor Rick Fox.

In an interview, a journalist stated that Vanessa’s mixed heritage includes African American, Welsh, and Native American. It is not clear if this Native American ancestry has been verified/documented. Vanessa appeared on the program Who Do You Think You Are? (2011), where she discovered that her great-great-grandfather, David Carll, was a “mulatto” (mixed race) man who avoided slavery and married a white woman (her great-great-grandmother).

Vanessa’s ancestry is at least 1/32nd English. One of her maternal great-great-great-grandfathers, George Appleford, was born in Surrey, England, in 1802.

Vanessa’s paternal grandfather was Milton Augustine/Abner Williams (the son of John Hill Williams and Mary L. Fields). Milton was born in Tennessee. John was the son of George Williams and Mollie/Molly Turner. Mary L. was the daughter of William A. Fields and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Fields.

Vanessa’s paternal grandmother was Iris Agnes Carl/Carll (the daughter of Frank S. Carl/Carll and Imogene Jackson). Iris was born in New York. Frank was the son of David Carll and Mary Louisa Appleford, who was white, and whose own father was English. Imogene was the daughter of Henry Titus Jackson and Emiline/Emmaline G. Russell.

Vanessa’s maternal grandfather was Edward James Tinch (the son of John Wilbur Tinch and Helen Elizabeth Fitzgerald). Edward was born in New Jersey. John was the son of John Tinch. Helen was the daughter of William Fitzgerald and Margaret.

Vanessa’s maternal grandmother was Doris Catherine Griffen/Griffin (the daughter of Moses George Wilson and Elvira Viola Johnson). Doris was born in New York. Moses George was the son of George Wilson and Frances Duson. Elvira was the daughter of Waldo/Walter Johnson and Fannie/Fanny Cavel/Calvin.

An Ancestry.com DNA test stated that Vanessa’s genetic ancestry is:

*56% African
——–*23% Ghana
——–*15% Cameroon/Congo
——–*7% Togo
——–*6% Benin
——–*5% Senegal
*44% European
——–*17% British Isles
——–*12% Finnish/Ural/Volga
——–*11% Southern European
——–*4% Spain/Portugal

Vanessa has said:

Now, I can’t wait to go to Ghana and Cameroon and Togo and Senegal — it’s a great opportunity to see why the customs resonate with you. I love to travel and I love to explore, and I have to admit that I was always jealous of people who knew their cultural background. Both my family and myself came out with light eyes, so obviously there is a recessive gene here. Not knowing what that was just made me very curious.

Sources: Genealogies of Vanessa L. Williams – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com
http://www.geni.com

Genealogy of Vanessa’s father (focusing on his mother’s side) – https://www.findagrave.com

Vanessa’s paternal grandmother, Iris Agnes Carl/Carll, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

kathclick/bigstock.com

ethnic

Curious about ethnicity

315 Responses

  1. abbracci says:

    Every Black person who has blue eyes and light skin obviously have some white in them from rape. No offense.

    • fuzzybear44 says:

      @abbracci

      That’s not true, there’s lots of reasons why black people have blue eyes, European blood is only one of them.

      • Jordan says:

        No Fuzzybear, that’s incorrect. Non-Caucasian people don’t have to genes for light eyes. So either the black person is mixed (which all African Americans are) or a super, super rare mutation happened. But her facial features is obviously very non-African.

        • fuzzybear44 says:

          @ Jordan

          No Jordan, you’re the one who is mistaken. All human have the same genes, and same potential for mutation. The light eye gene as you call it, precedes the pale skin mutation, that is responsible for white Europeans by at least 3000 yrs. It’s also a fact that some of the ancient black Europeans had blue eyes, when there were no white people around(if you follow the latest information on the subject). Brown is said to be the primary eye colors, so all other colors outside that are mutations. Africans today have (Blue, green, hazel, red, grey etc) without Europe help, some have physical problems, while others function normally. Now yes, the avg African American is said to be of mixed ancestry(either first generation or mutli generation). However not all AA’s are mixed. My niece was diagnose with ocular albinism, her blue eyes don’t come from her European heritage(she has to wear shades outside, but she’s ok). Now while light eyes in Africa are much less common(ok much less) than they are in Europe, they do happen. Her facial features are not uncommon in Africa, lot of Africans have the a Caucasoid phenotype(Fulani,Wodaabe etc)

          • fuzzybear44 says:

            PS.

            To the First generation people who read this, me calling you African American was not meant as an insult. I see you as black people, but that’s how I see you.I am not trying to force my will on you, by all means Identify yourself the way you want

          • bablah says:

            It is rather obvious when people are talking about blue eyes they are not talking about the effects of albinism or waardenberg syndrome. These people still have genes for brown eyes, but the genes for their illness overrides them. It’s like saying that europeans can have epicanthic folds without asian ancestry because people with down syndrome have them.
            About blue eyes in africa. Yes there are blue eyes in Africa. North Africa! That has been in contact with eurasian people for millenia.
            (Seriously, Fulanis? Isn’t their culture heavily influenced by Arab culture. That means they had some type of contact).
            Fact is the genes for blue eyes came about in the area around Black Sea. I’ll let you guess where the Black Sea is located. Hint: starts with eur- ends with -asia.
            For instance the blond hair in Europe and blond hair in the Melanesia is caused by different genes and they mutated separately. If there is a person with blue eyes in africa his ”blue eye gene” is the same one as in an european person.

            To correct abracci (I actually can’t stand that person, they write a lot of ignorant stuff here):
            99,99% of black people with blue eyes have them because of eurasian ancestry, even if it’s very distant.

            I also have a problem with this sentence of yours:
            ”Brown is said to be the primary eye colors, so all other colors outside that are mutations.”

            Brown eye colour is also a mutation. Or in other words, having an iris itself was a mutation. It just happens so that the first iris was brown. Well, I actually don’t know if they were, but at least when we evolved into humans at that point our irises were brown. I think.

          • fuzzybear44 says:

            @bablah

            Quote:
            (It is rather obvious when people are talking about blue eyes they are not talking about the effects of albinism or waardenberg syndrome. These people still have genes for brown eyes, but the genes for their illness overrides them)

            It’s also rather obvious that most people have a very narrow view of how they see things. Most people probably don’t give Africa a second thought, much less care about the mutations that go on there. They’re taught from childhood( by cartoons, movies etc), that only white people can have blue eyes . Also the only form of albinism they’re taught, if taught at all, are albinos that look like this:
            http://asb4.com/bike/fiets/media/albino.jpg

            Now as for people with albinism or waardenberg still having the brown gene, So do blue eyed white people. Which explains why two blue eyed white people can still have a brown eyed child:
            http://genetics.thetech.org/how-blue-eyed-parents-can-have-brown-eyed-children
            Also we have no idea what kind of problems that person 10,000 yrs had, he could have been blind for all we know. The article said everyone had brown eyes, which mean he had the brown eye gene, that got turned off
            Quote:
            (About blue eyes in africa. Yes there are blue eyes in Africa. North Africa! That has been in contact with eurasian people for millenia.)

            North African, well that’s a place with plenty of visitors from Europe(which is probably where their blue eyes come from). Now for the Eurasian heritage a number of African groups if not most(both North and Sub-Saharan), have Eurasian ancestry, from back migration and other means. Those Eurasian people today, are not like the ones from the past

            Quote:
            (Fact is the genes for blue eyes came about in the area around Black Sea. I’ll let you guess where the Black Sea is located. Hint: starts with eur- ends with -asia.
            For instance the blond hair in Europe and blond hair in the Melanesia is caused by different genes and they mutated separately. If there is a person with blue eyes in africa his ”blue eye gene” is the same one as in an european person.)

            Fact, the person who had those blue eyes 10,000 years ago was not a white. Fact, when people migrated out of Africa, they spread all over the place. So the man being up in the Black sea area means nothing,(he was still dark brown to black). Fact, he could have just migrated there, and then died shortly afterwards, the article doesn’t say where he was born. Fact, these dark skin people were moving all over the place for at-least 3000 years before the pale skin mutation came about.

            Now I check that article on blue eyes again, because it always bothered me. He got his results by only testing 155 Europeans, 5 from turkey and 2 from Jordan. Yet I don’t see where he tested any Africans. Now I did say that many African groups Have Eurasian ancestry, for whatever reason. and if we go back far enough, everyone is related. However there is yet no proof that the blue eye of these Africans has anything to do with that guy 10k years ago. As you said, the pale skin mutation happen twice, the blond hair mutation happen more than once. So who’s to say blue eyes wouldn’t happen more than once? Green eyes happen more often:
            http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0qff8YCFy1r4137ho1_500.jpg
            http://s.plurielles.fr/mmdia/i/88/1/le-chanteur-lemar-10545881pdvxa_123.jpg?v=1

            Quote:
            (I also have a problem with this sentence of yours:
            ”Brown is said to be the primary eye colors, so all other colors outside that are mutations.”

            Brown eye colour is also a mutation. Or in other words, having an iris itself was a mutation. It just happens so that the first iris was brown. Well, I actually don’t know if they were, but at least when we evolved into humans at that point our irises were brown. I think.

            Well you considering brown as a mutation to is fine. However for all these colors to be mutations, there had to be a primary. Also basically, humans are nothing but walking mutations. Us talking instead of grunting is probably a mutation.

          • passingtime85 says:

            Didn’t human/neanderthal crossbreeding cause the influx of genes causing the separation of phenotype in modern humanity’s “races”? Isn’t that why sub-Saharan Africans not only have neanderthal dna absent from their genome, unlike Caucasians and Mongoloids, but also why they don’t have light features?

          • fuzzybear44 says:

            @passingtime85

            That’s incorrect, it seems Almost if not all Sub-Saharan Africans have Neanderthal dna or Eurasian DNA:
            http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34479905

          • passingtime85 says:

            That’s states that Eurasians, human/neanderthals hybrids, brought in Neanderthal dna back to Africa about 3000 ago. Caucasoids can trace 1-4% their dna, to neanderthal dna contributions, and mongoloids can have more than that. However the majority of Sub-Saharan Africans have less than 1/10th of a percent.

            It also states that the remains of remains of an Ethiopian from 4500 years showed absolutely no admixture with Eurasians, or that his dna was void a neanderthal genetic contribution.

            It basically confirms again what I said, light features are from neanderthal/human crossbreeding. Sub-Saharan Africans have the least genetic influence from neanderthals in the modern humans. I’m not denying modern sub-Saharans can have light features, but originally they would not have, not without neanderthal influence.

          • passingtime85 says:

            Whoops, should have said 7/10ths of a percent.

          • fuzzybear44 says:

            @passingtime85
            Quote:
            ( Isn’t that why sub-Saharan Africans not only have neanderthal dna absent from their genome)

            The point was, that you stated they had no Neanderthal DNA. I was showing that they do have it. I’m sure they would be more than happy to be without it.

            Quote:
            (It basically confirms again what I said, light features are from neanderthal/human crossbreeding. Sub-Saharan Africans have the least genetic influence from neanderthals in the modern humans.)

            From what I’ve read, human mutations, such as ( light features)evolved independently from Neanderthals in different genes. Plus seeing how those said mutations in Humans came about well after Neanderthals were gone . I seriously doubt the Neanderthal contribution had anything to do with it

            Quote:
            (I’m not denying modern sub-Saharans can have light features, but originally they would not have, not without neanderthal
            influence.)

            That’s pure speculation on your part. Don’t people from Papua New Guinea, have more of that ancient Dna than euro’s do, yet look at them. They’re not blue eyes, or full of pale skin people. Melanesians have blond hair, and it is said they got a contribution from The Denisovans. However the The Denisovans are said to have had brown hair and skin, and eyes

          • passingtime85 says:

            I was wrong sub-Saharan Africans do have a small percentage of neanderthal dna. Sorry?

            Light skin and certain hair colors have been associated with neanderthals influence. I’ve only heard that human eye color developed independently. I imagine the data will eventually reflect more of a neanderthal influence on human eye color though. As neanderthals did have a greater variance of eye color than humans, and they did cross pollinate with humans over the course of several thousand years, how could we not inherit any of those genes?

            It may be pure speculation, but you yourself have stated that light genes come from Eurasia. Eurasians inherited lighter skin tones from neanderthals. So exactly how would sub-Saharan’s exhibit those traits without, at least an indirect, influence from neanderthals?

            Asians in general have more neanderthal influence genetically than Euros. So why aren’t they more fair? Because their environments don’t call for it seems to be the simplest explanation. As for blondes with denisovans dna, the simplest explanation is that the human dna dominated the denisovan dna. Or maybe I’m making stuff up.

          • fuzzybear44 says:

            @passingtime85

            Quote:
            (Light skin and certain hair colors have been associated with neanderthals influence. I’ve only heard that human eye color developed independently)

            This is what it said in the article I read , I can provide page if needed:
            Neanderthals had a mutation in this receptor gene that has not been found in modern humans. The mutation changes an amino acid, making the resulting protein less efficient. Modern humans have other MCR1 variants that are also less active resulting in red hair and pale skin. The less active Neanderthal mutation probably also resulted in red hair and pale skin, as in modern humans.

            The specific MCR1 mutation in Neanderthals has not found in modern humans (or occurs extremely rarely in modern humans). This indicates that the two mutations for red hair and pale skin occurred independently and does not support the idea of gene flow between Neanderthals and modern humans.

            Quote:
            ( but you yourself have stated that light genes come from Eurasia. )

            This doesn’t sound like something I would say, please show me where I made this comment.

            Quote:
            (Eurasians inherited lighter skin tones from neanderthals. So exactly how would sub-Saharan’s exhibit those traits without, at least an indirect, influence from neanderthals?)

            Until about 5.5 to maybe 7,000 yrs ago, there were no light skin people in Eurasia or anywhere else. So seeing how Neanderthals died out about 20,000 years before that happen, I don’t think their genes had anything to do with it . Now to answer your other question, I believe nature was the culprit. Africa is not one big oven, it has different environments(including cool ones). Plus nature loves a variety of color. It does it to other animals, so why would we be any different. The Andaman Islands people probably have more Neanderthals or Denisovans DNA than any African, and as you can see, they’re still black and have remained unchanged by that DNA.

            Well I do believe that each version of the pale skin mutation(both Asian and euro), was pass on by sexual conquest. However why things like blond hair and blue eyes are not very common over there in Asians, I can truly say IDK

          • passingtime85 says:

            I thought I posted this but I guess it didn’t go through, so here it is again.

            The genes BNC2 and POU2F3 were inherited from neanderthals and most likely the reason Europeans and Asians have lighter complexions. Not sure about hair color, it seems to be still in dispute.

            I guess I misunderstood this paragraph – North African, well that’s a place with plenty of visitors from Europe(which is probably where their blue eyes come from). Now for the Eurasian heritage a number of African groups if not most(both North and Sub-Saharan), have Eurasian ancestry, from back migration and other means. Those Eurasian people today, are not like the ones from the past

            Overall I’ll say I don’t know anything really, but here are some informative links –

            http://www.eupedia.com/europe/neanderthal_facts_and_myths.shtml

            http://www.dailytech.com/NeanderthalHuman+Breeding+Was+Hard+But+Yielded+Benefits/article34236.htm

          • fuzzybear44 says:

            @ passingtime

            Quote:
            (The genes BNC2 and POU2F3 were inherited from neanderthals and most likely the reason Europeans and Asians have lighter complexions)

            I saw the pages, but they seem to be from 2014. The information I’ve been looking at is from late 2015. However I don’t know, I don’t profess to be that knowledgeable about Neanderthals, they’re not my normal area of focus. What bothers me about this , is that for humans to have inherited those genes, that it would take about 35,000 yrs for them to work. I find that very difficult to agree with. Like I said, I believe the pale skin mutation was spread thru sexual conquest, and even that took thousand of years to do. To me, I still think nature is the culprit more than those genes

          • passingtime85 says:

            Neanderthals were nearly completely gone by 29,000 years ago. I’ve heard that the genes effecting human skin pigmentation developed between 11,000-19,000 years ago. That would leave a 10,000 year gap, at the absolute very best, between the extinction of neanderthals and humans starting to develop lighter features. So the dates don’t really align.

            This all has to be taken with a grain of salt though. Very few remains, suitable for genetic testing, have survived to the present. The earliest example of human/neanderthal cross breeding, so far proven by dna analysis, was from the remains of a male that lived 40,000 years ago in Romania.

            At that time neanderthals had been out of Africa for around 160,000 years by conservative estimates. That’s more than enough to time to adapt to the different diets and environments of Eurasia. So any cross breeding would lead to the influx of neanderthal genes that were not present in the ancient human genome. Genes that included paler skin and various eye colors.

            We haven’t found the evidence yet, I surmise we will eventually. Overall I’ll concede for now, until more data is collected. Humans seem to have not picked up many phenotypical traits from their ancient cousins, at least not as much as I originally thought.

          • Samiiraa says:

            The comparison with Fulani people is not a good one since they carry West Eurasian dna.
            Vanessa Williams is obviously mixed, I don’t even know why you are still debating on this.

          • passingtime85 says:

            Samiiraa…no one has commented on this profile in more than a year, besides you.

        • midori29 says:

          @Jordan and Abracci NOT TRUE. There are PURE black Africans with blue and greene eyes its just a recessive gene so anyone can develop it if thier genes change. Just use google and you will find links of 100% black Africans with these traits. Humans developed out of Africa so any African can get these eye colors. And MOST blacks carry this gene both from being African and from slavery. My moms eyes changed from brown to Blue when she turned 70 yrs old because of eye pigment loss I am sure. There is NO excuse for anyone not to use google these days its easy to research this stuff.

          Black Africans carry the worlds gene pool all of it. With loss of dna and climate change humans began to look different. Links to pure black Africans with blue, grey and green eyes. http://afritorial.com/black-people-with-blue-eyes/

          • passingtime85 says:

            Just to throw in my 2 cents back into this discussion. Humanity’s history is sloppy. DNA has been swapped around back and forth for tens of thousands of years.

            Africans have more foreign DNA than most people realize. Not only that but, Africans themselves are not as purely human as many people think. Like the humans of Europe and Asia who bred with Neanderthals and Denisovans, Africans too bred with archaic Sub-Saharan African hominins, species we cannot yet accurately identify, but their traces are in the DNA, and they’re decidedly not human.

            More to the point though, most scientists believe currently that blue eyes popped up in the Black Sea region 10000+ years ago. Between 4000 and 3000 years ago a huge migration of Eurasians flooded back into Africa.
            This migration brought new DNA. 25% of Africa’s current population are descended from these Eurasians. Even West African or South Africans have 5-6% of their genome that directly descends from western Eurasian farmers.

            Traces of Neanderthal heritage that are in sub-Saharan populations, in the range of 0.3-0.7%, are present because of the reentry of the Eurasians. More importantly however, the genes brought by the Eurasian contained DNA for more variations for phenotypical features.

            Side not though, DNA studies also show the migration was not only one way. Middle east populations received a huge influx of sub-Saharan DNA during that time, that is shown in traces in most modern middle eastern gene pools.

            But that’s not the only time non-Africans have had a large influence on African DNA. You have to take in account that for the past 1500 years or so, East Africa has traded goods AND DNA with the Middle East and India, in a more fluid fashion than simple mass migration.

            I’m not saying Africans do not, or cannot have light eyes and light skin. I’m just saying that it is likely those features, when present in large numbers as to reflect inherited familial traits rather than genetic disease like Waardenburg syndrome, were probably derived from breeding with people that had been out of Africa for a while.

            Really though the whole discussion is sort of moot. We’re talking about traits inherited thousands of years ago. Unless we build a time machine and go back and take some snap shots of people and get DNA samples we may never know how people developed into what they look like today. This website is about recent genealogy, it shouldn’t really be a place to question who is what, and why,”pure black people cannot have blue eyes, they have to be mixed with white for that to happen” and/or if it makes anyone more or less than, ex. “black women are the most beautiful, no mestiza women are” etc, that’s how people get offended and comments get heated.

  2. jlchilds says:

    vanessa williams

    “My DNA breaks down as follows: I’m 23% from Ghana, 17% from the British Isles, 15% from Cameroon, 12% Finnish, 11% Southern European, 7% Togo, 6% Benin, 5% Senegal and 4% Portuguese. Now, I can’t wait to go to Ghana and Cameroon and Togo and Senegal — it’s a great opportunity to see why the customs resonate with you. I love to travel and I love to explore, and I have to admit that I was always jealous of people who knew their cultural background. Both my family and myself came out with light eyes, so obviously there is a recessive gene here. Not knowing what that was just made me very curious”

    http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2013/05/14/actress-vanessa-williams-explains-how-dna-powers-her-family-tree/

  3. midori29 says:

    Vanessa Williams as a little girl and family picture. Her brother is alot darker than her.
    http://www.arogundade.com/Resources/family-vanessa-w.jpeg

  4. Alice says:

    Her DNA test is definitely not from 23andMe as stated above. It looks like an Ancestry.com test.

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