AJ McLean

LOS ANGELES - SEP 13:  A.J. McLean at the Voices On Point at Cen

McLean in 2014, photo by kathclick/Bigstock.com

Birth Name: Alexander James McLean

Place of Birth: West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.

Date of Birth: January 9, 1978

Ethnicity: Puerto Rican (maternal grandfather), German, Scottish, one sixteenth Ashkenazi Jewish, as well as Irish, English, and French

AJ McLean is an American musician, singer, dancer, actor, and entertainer. He is a member of the band Backstreet Boys, along with Nick Carter, Howie D., Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson.

AJ is the son of Denise Irma (Fernández) and Robert Blue “Bob” McLean. AJ is married to model and stylist Rochelle Karidis, with whom he has two children.

His father is of Scottish, and some Irish, English, and French, descent. His mother is of half Puerto Rican and half German ancestry.

A MyHeritage DNA test taken by AJ stated that his genetic ancestry is:

*39.8% Iberian
*19.5% East European
*19.1% Central & South America
*8.3% Nigerian
*6.8% Ashkenazi Jewish
*3.1% North & West European
*2.4% North African
*1% Middle Eastern

AJ has said that he is of one sixteenth Jewish ancestry, which dovetails with his DNA result.

Given his DNA result, it is likely that AJ’s Puerto Rican ancestry includes Spanish, Indigenous [Taíno], and African.

AJ’s paternal grandfather was Luther Irving McLean (the son of Alexander McLean and Flora Jane McDonald/MacDonald). Luther was born in Massachusetts. Alexander and Flora were born in Canada, to Scottish parents. Alexander was the son of John McLean and Catherine. Flora was the daughter of Alexander McDonald/MacDonald and Catharine/Catherine.

AJ’s paternal grandmother was Irene Frances/Francis Thompson (the daughter of Edwin Francis Thompson and Irene May Grant). A. J.’s grandmother Irene was born in Massachusetts. Edwin was the son of Nova Scotia-born parents, George Thompson, whose father was English, and Mary Jane Murphy, who had French, Irish, and English ancestry. AJ’s great-grandmother Irene was the daughter of Frederick “Fred” Grant and Mary Greer.

AJ’s maternal grandfather was Adolph Henry Fernández (the son of Adolfo/Adolph Fernández y Baria and Benedicta Rodriguez). A. J.’s grandfather Adolph was Puerto Rican. A. J.’s great-grandfather Adolfo was the son of Adolfo/Adolph Vicente Francisco Alfredo Ramon Maria de la Paz Fernández Rojas, who was from Algeciras, Andalusia, Spain, and had Cantabrian roots; and of Maria del Rosario Barea y Rodriguez.

AJ’s maternal grandmother was Ursula Margerat/Margaret Maier (the daughter of Wilhelm/William Maier and Kate Bubendey). Ursula was born in Germany, and moved to the U.S. around 1925.

Sources: Genealogy page of AJ’s paternal grandfather, Luther Irving McLean – https://www.wikitree.com

AJ’s paternal grandfather, Luther Irving McLean, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

AJ’s paternal grandmother, Irene Frances/Francis Thompson, on the 1940 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

AJ’s paternal great-grandfather, Edwin Francis Thompson, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Genealogy of AJ’s paternal great-great-grandmother, Mary Jane Murphy – http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com

AJ’s maternal grandfather, Adolph Henry Fernández, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Obituary of AJ’s maternal grandfather, Adolph Henry Fernández – http://www.legacy.com

AJ’s maternal great-grandfather, Adolfo/Adolph Fernández y Baria, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org

Marriage record of AJ’s maternal great-great-grandparents, Adolfo/Adolph Vicente Francisco Alfredo Ramon Maria de la Paz Fernández Rojas and Maria del Rosario Barea y Rodriguez – https://www.familysearch.org

AJ’s maternal grandmother, Ursula Margerat/Margaret Maier, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

48 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    When I was in secondary school, BSB members’ rating among my female classmates was:

    1 Nick Carter. Hands down
    2 Brian Littrell
    3-4 Richardson/McLean
    5 Howie D.

    • madman says:

      So your Finnish mates preferred the blond ones over the dark?

      • andrew says:

        why should have they preferred White/Latino mixed guys??

        • madman says:

          It was just interesting that the list coincided with their colouring.

          I actually wrote that just to mention your Finnish background and see if you objected to me mentioning it. Follers doesn’t believe you’re Finnish but I’ve thought it was true.

          • follers says:

            At this point, I don’t know if you’re being ironic or not, but I made up “Andrew” being “Finnish” a long time ago as a joke, whose point of humour has become increasingly less clear to me over the years. As with many things, what begins as a joke ends up as something else many years later when everyone has forgotten where it came from (probably the source for a lot of Cherokee, and other, ancestry, on this site).

          • madman says:

            Hmmm, okay. There was one particular exchange between andrew and fuzzybear that made me believe he was actually Finnish, but just obsessed with Italian culture.

          • andrew says:

            Who cares if I am Finnish or not, it’s a site about celebrities, not about me or you. It’s obvious Italian culture is more interesting than Finland’s one by far, arguably even for Finnish people themselves.

            Well, it’s obvious an Italian female teenager finds a blond guy like Carter or Littrell more attractive than exotic dudes like AJ or Howie, because they feel like they are estethically closer to them (I mean real Italian people not those who play Italian roles and are not even Italian).

  2. italiano90 says:

    He is still a white man and is systematically treated as such. Anyone claiming him “black” or “indigenous” are delusional and follow the expired (and racist) One Drop Rule or have some serious deep rooted self hatred.

  3. follers says:

    In this case, the DNA result really is more consistent with McLean being well more than 25% Hispanic. There are also almost no indicators of what should be almost 50% British Isles ancestry. Is it possible that he really does have a different biological father, who was Hispanic? His parents married in 1972 and were married for a little over five years before he was born. And McLean has said that he didn’t really meet his father Bob McLean until he was an adult.

    • bablah says:

      Assuming that East Europe and Ashkenazi Jewish is from his German grandmother (because it does kinda match up, and German often comes up as E. European on many of these tests), and even if the Iberian is wrongly classified and isn’t all Iberian, that leaves 27.5% of African and Indigenous. Since maternal grandfather is listed as White everywhere and even has very recent ancestry from Spain, I doubt it’s all from that one grandparent. You’re right, it looks like he’s more Latin American than he thinks. Unfortunately, they didn’t put anything about their family matches (even though 2 of the band members are cousins, so that’s an odd thing to omit).

    • madman says:

      Yes, this whole thing looks very strange with the DNA test. On paper I think his family situation looks like a normal “father leaves family, mother raises the children by herself”-situation. His parents divorced when he was five, so his father certainly intended to raise him if everything had worked out between his parents. Perhaps there’s something we don’t know about his background (and may never know).

  4. Oaken05 says:

    As someone who has done some of these tests, I’ll second that MyHeritage is among the poorer ones. For one, they haven’t seemed to have fixed their “Scandinavian problem,” like Ancestry did. So much of “Scandinavia” for most people taking the test is actually British DNA, specifically the old Anglo-Saxon DNA.

    The other big problem with ALL of the current popular tests is them trying to seperate Wales and Scotland out from England. Ireland is really genetically distinct and easy to differentiate, but the others are so mixed that it’s ridiculous to add them in with Ireland. Most of my European ancestry is English, and I scored 0% English on MyHeritage, whereas Ancestry pretty much nailed it from what I’ve been able to gather from geneaological records.

    As someone else said, all of the test nail things at the continent level. But anything below that is a crap-shoot and guesswork, largely. MyHeritage in particular needs A LOT of work at the regional levels.

    • jackson9 says:

      Oaken05, wanted to say well said. I agree with everything you said there. I slightly disagree with the last part though about “all of the test nail thing at the continent level. But anything below that is a crap-shoot and guesswork, largely.”
      While I agree that the more specific a geographic region any test tries to determine becomes less accurate I have to give 23andme and ancestry DNA A LOT of credit. I am half Irish from Cork and Kerry and some how 23andme had those two cities narrowed down as my closest cities in my Irish ethnicity. Same With Ancestry DNA with their specific sub regions. Only 23andme could talk about my Scandinavia ancestry in much further detail. But I 100% agree myheritage DNA is still by far the least accurate/useful. The only reason I could see preferring myheritage is if you’re ethnically Jewish (non-Ashkenazi) they have 5 Jewish categories.

      • Oaken05 says:

        Yes, I guess it depends on how mixed you are, too. I imagine with people with very deep roots in a county or community, Ancestry and 23andMe can be VERY accurate even down to the sub-regional level. For more mixed people like myself, though, things get much more difficult for them.

        AncestryDNA’s most recent update, for instance, was terrible for people of sub-Saharan African descent. I’ve heard 23andMe is much more accurate for Africans and thos descended from them. AncestryDNA seems to have gotten very accurate with Europe, on the other hand. I want to do 23andMe, but they are more expensive than the others.

  5. andrew says:

    Either that DNA test is wrong or his supposed ancestry on paper is fake, because as it is now it is a total mess.

    • madman says:

      I think every DNA test of the Backstreet Boys looks kind of strange, showing pretty large components from groups which aren’t very close to the countries where their ancestors were actually from. Of course everyone gets some small percentage of ancestry from a country they have no recent ancestors from, but 9.7% Balkan amounts to an ancestor that could be listed in the profile. Maybe these tests just aren’t very reliable.

      • andrew says:

        I would not put too much attention to those regional sections. You know they are literally meaningless when testing companies group together Germany&France and Italy&Greece. Clear.

        In this case, AJ it’s supposed to be 25% Cuban, but if you sum Central&South American and Nigerian the score is 27,4, so what the hell in goin’ on?

        • madman says:

          His Scottish grandfather was likely 100% Iberian. After all, we’ve learned from gel that Scottish people also has African, Arabian, south-east Asian, and Siberian ancestry, so maybe some of the Nigerian is from him as well.

          • andrew says:

            You exactly wrote what a “The Guardian” article reported.

          • madman says:

            That’s because I copied it.

            If you break it down, the average Scottish person is:
            31% Arabian
            28% South-East Asian
            19% African
            12% Scottish
            10% Siberian

          • andrew says:

            Some researchers found that 1% (sic) of Scots have “Berber” heritage. That is literally genetic noise and it does not mean that much, but press was very excited about that. Similarly a certain Austrian/German dictator was labelled as having “African” or “Jewish” blood, but it turns out a consistent minority of his fellow countrymen carry that haplogroup too. Big deal.

      • andrew says:

        It’s also weird that Littrell and Richardson score an identical result (like they would be brothers), despite sharing only two grandparents.

    • bablah says:

      It’s myheritage. Everybody gets random Balkan and Nigerian on myheritage. I don’t really trust any of these tests on a sub-continental level, but when it comes to myheritage, I’ve seen so many 1-2% Nigerian on people who absolutely have no Nigerian ancestry, and they don’t get any African on 23&me and ancestry. Their Asian results are a complete mess. Their only upside is that, since it’s an Israeli company, it actually recognises Sephardi ancestry (ancestry just puts it down as Middle Eastern).

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