Tuesday, April 23, 2013

If you're a redhead, we're related

ginger hair


There's no question I'm a carrier of the redhead gene: my hair is auburn, my brother has carrot red hair, my paternal grandmother and her siblings all had red hair, and their Scottish grandfather certainly looks as though he could be a redhead in pictures. And while my father has dark hair, his facial hair, when it grows, is bright red!

My husband's family, however, was a mystery, but when I popped out a redhead, it became evident my husband was a gene carrier for red hair. (Since the redhead gene is recessive, both parents must be carriers for its expression.) Since O was born, I've found out that my husband's ancestors hail from Yorkshire in northern England, where red hair is fairly common.

I just read about a DNA test from ScotlandsDNA that will tell you if you carry the red hair gene. They say every person who carries the recessive gene is a direct descendant of the first person to ever have red hair. Which means my husband and I are distantly related, I guess. ;-) Six to 18 million people in the U.S. have red hair, more than any other country on earth, and there are more gene carriers here, too. I guess that's a good thing since people here don't seem to mind red hair as much as they do in other countries, where redheads are often bullied. I know my brother hated people commenting on his hair all the time ("Hey big red!" or "Where'd you get that hair?") but that was the extent of it. O was a strawberry blonde when he was younger, but now it has gotten darker and more red. People don't call him "Red" or anything like that ... they mostly tell me they wish they could get that color out of a bottle.

And boy, so do I!

Additional reading here.


  1. Well nice to meet you many-times-removed cousin! :)

    I'm the only redhead in my family although my brother does have a big red beard, with blonde hair!

  2. Hey cos! I've always wondered why some people have red body hair. Hmmm.

  3. I know this is a very late reply, however on a mission to find out more about my Viking ancestry i discovered this! :) I am a red head as well as my sister, mother and great grandmother. I am from Yorkshire in England, and it is not unusual. Your husband may having Viking ancestry also, seeing as the city of York was populated by the danes (then named Jorvik)! If not then Celtic, seeing as both of these had a high population of redheads :)


I love comments!