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Of Sally Hemings's descendants, Foster collected blood from a male-line descendant of Eston, her youngest son, who was born in 1808 and is said to have borne a striking resemblance to Thomas Jefferson.

In addition he took samples from 5 male line descendants of Thomas Woodson. There is a strong oral tradition among long-separated branches of the Woodson family that Thomas was a son of Thomas Jefferson who was sent away from Monticello as a boy. There is one other reference, besides James Callender's, to a slave son of Jefferson named Tom. But there is no documentary evidence showing Thomas Woodson's presence at Monticello, nor is he named by Madison Hemings in his list of Sally's children.

Foster had his blood samples analyzed in the laboratory of Chris Tyler-Smith, the Y chromosome expert at Oxford University, with the following results:

• All 5 male-line descendants of Field Jefferson turned out to carry the same distinctive set of markings on their Y chromosome, making it highly probable that the same Y chromosome was carried by the third president.

• All 5 male descendants of Thomas Woodson carried non-Jeffersonian Y chromosomes, ruling out the idea that Jefferson was Thomas Woodson's i PdIih John

* Jelferson Cart

Thcmas Ovsnon Carr Carr

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• All three male-line Carr descendants carried the same Y chromosome, proving this was the true Carr family Y chromosome.

• The Y chromosome of Eston Hemings's male-line descendant was a perfect match to the Jefferson family Y chromosome, and differed from that of the Carrs.

The "simplest and most probable explanations for our molecular findings," Foster and his colleagues wrote, "are that Thomas Jefferson, rather than one of the Carr brothers, was the father of Eston Hemings Jefferson, and that Thomas Woodson was not Thomas Jefferson's son." They could not rule out the possibility that some male Jefferson other than Thomas had fathered Eston, they wrote. "But in the absence of historical evidence to support such possibilities,

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