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Skin Tone Descriptions

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Skin Tone Descriptions

Postby MeganButel » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:55 pm

In my various researches of mostly convict ancestors I've seen many physical descriptions of Skin tone - fair, ruddy, freckled, sallow - even pockmarked. What I would like to know is this - what constitutes a description of "dark"? I know there is a common assumption that all convicts were of English or Irish genealogy - but in reality as the British Empire expanded there were many who may have been (at least in part) Indian, African, West Indian etc.
I am curious to know whether "dark" could hint at a different genetic mix? The particular ancestor in question is Barnet/Barney/Barnabas Chaney - a butcher born in Islington and tried at the Old Bailey for stealing a horse. He had dark brown eyes and black hair as well as a "dark" complexion. I've not been able to trace further back with Barney so don't know anything of his forebears.
Would love to know whether others have come upon this physical description before.
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Re: Skin Tone Descriptions

Postby IrishAmeican » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:29 pm

Possibly similar to the "Black Irish", generally referring to the black hair inherited from the Gallic tribes?
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Re: Skin Tone Descriptions

Postby Georgina S » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:14 pm

I recently had a heated discussion about King Charles II, who was described as the "Black Boy" (half Portuguese, with black hair and eyes but not particularly brown-skinned) - and apparently the Daily Mail had implied that he was secretly of black origin. Usually the colour of hair was used as a description, like the nut-brown maid. I believe "dark" probably covers all the shades of skin we call black nowadays, from cafe au lait to African.
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Re: Skin Tone Descriptions

Postby MeganButel » Tue May 08, 2018 2:01 pm

In convict records they list eye colour and hair colour separately - so to me complexion is directly related to skin tone and not hair and eye colour. Might be a question answered only by DNA Analysis!
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Skin Tone Descriptions

Postby brunes08 » Thu May 10, 2018 4:09 pm

Using Charles II as an example here is not useful regarding skin colouring. Firstly, he was not half Portuguese. It was his wife who was Portuguese. His mother, Henrietta Maria was French. One of his grandmothers was Danish. He was also descended from a long line of Scottish monarchs albeit with some French and English marriages. There was some Italian ancestry on his mother's side which may have led to Charles' dark hair and complexion. I have recently seen a major exhibition of paintings at the Royal Academy in London where Charles can be seen in paintings as a child with his siblings. There is nothing to suggest in those paintings that he was 'out of the ordinary'. What I am trying to say is that descriptions of physical features and skin tones are a mix of genes that often belie their ancestry.
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