Genetic genealogist Donald Neal Panther-Yates' contention of a living Elvis

Started by Private User on Thursday, December 9, 2010

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Private User
12/9/2010 at 11:55 PM

I've been kicked off of management of George Sizemore by Private User because I questioned some hoax photographs and the work of Donald Neal Panther-Yates of DNA Consultants. He is a genetic genealogist who testified for the plaintiff in the probate case of "Eliza Presley" who claimed to be the daughter of Vernon Presley and therefore Elvis' half-sister. Panther-Yates has stated that he believes the DNA sample he was asked to analyze was that of Elvis--and that Elvis is still alive.

Since it became a Geni position that Donald Neal Panther-Yates' work is so beyond contest that to do so means removal and censorship, should we not amend the profiles here to include these new facts? (sarcasm)

Don't take me at my word about this claim...here is the news story from the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/oct/11/dna-lab-owner-elvi...

Personally I think I should be restored as a profile manager and given an apology for simply trying to keep the facts straight. What do you think?

Private User
12/10/2010 at 12:58 AM

I did not kick Adam Hirschhorn off management of George All Sizemore.

Private User
12/10/2010 at 1:46 AM

Nonsense and irrelevant.

You are the curator there and I hold you responsible for what happens there. I have not been restored, there has been no apology, and the topic here is whether we accept the work of Donald Neal Panther-Yates or not. Is it valid or isn't it? If it is, let's add Eliza Presley and de-zombie this Elvis profile. If it is questionable then the profiles you and Private User curate should be amended.

12/10/2010 at 2:25 AM

Adam, users cannot be removed as managers. and if you think a photgraph is a hoax, you can find a different photo and make that the profile photo instead. curators cant delete peoples photos...

Private User
12/10/2010 at 3:03 AM

Maria, we know you didn't. There's no way for us to remove someone of management. All we can do as Curators is edit, lock profiles, make profiles master profiles, merge outside profiles into the big tree, write curator notes on top of profiles, make ancestral profiles that are marked private as public, and "kill zombies." We have no special delete manager priviledge.

Private User
12/10/2010 at 11:34 PM

The last time I had access to the profile, there was an ongoing discussion "Sephardic Jew?" concerning Agnes "Aggie" Sizemore and I stated clearly my stance about the needfulness of resolving the idiosyncrasies surrounding our disposition towards Dr. Yates' work. I set down a proposal about what should happen based on the results of a consensus decision about that, including a possible contingency (based of course on inquiry) that his work might ought to be removed. I had recently put a warning in bold letters about the lack of educational value of photographs attributed to the George All profile at 8:25 AM. That response to Maria at 1:33 PM was the last time I did anything before work. When I got home I was locked out and my edits reverted. Evidently someone didn't like seeing that I was giving these facts so much scrutiny. Or maybe my manners stink. If I am falsely accusing the wrong person, please forgive me, but nothing can dissuade me from the belief that I was being punished for bringing up that topic, sticking to it, and aggressively pursuing a reckoning with the facts.

Perhaps it's a moot point. So far I have no proof that anyone here can compose a complete sentence on the subject of genetic genealogy or DNA forensics. It seems to be relevant to the Elvis profile because of the Eliza Presley case at which Dr. Yates testified and that's why I am posting at this profile.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to how Dr. Yates may have been able to analyze DNA sample "X", attribute it to Elvis, and testify under oath that it proved that this lady who started going by "Eliza Presley" was his half-sister. No source has mentioned, and I got no sense that any DNA had been compelled from the living Presleys with which to compare to "X". Isn't there a logical fallacy there somewhere? Maybe I'm reading the case wrong.

12/11/2010 at 3:45 AM

Adam i cant fathom what George Sizemore and the genetics of Vernon Presley have to do with one another and i dont know why you think you would be "punished" for bringing up a valid point, but 99.999999% of us have no idea who doctor yates is. myself included.

Private User
12/11/2010 at 5:00 AM

Jason, thank you for that.

Several Sizemore family master profiles contain the verbatim work of Dr. Yates, which is what brought it to my attention. In the case of the Sizemore family, Dr. Yates found that this Appalachian family was of Native American and Sephardic Jewish descent. I found this claim to be a exceptional one which required further review. Unable to obtain any information on who the DNA test subjects were, or verifiable proof of his findings, I began to research his work in general and discovered his involvement in the Eliza Presley case. I hope this serves to illuminate the connection.

Dr. Yates is a Ph.D. whose background is actually in History, not in any hard science. He is a founder of DNA Consultants, as well as having been a professor. One may review a few of his published works at Google Books. His essays with Elizabeth C. Hirschman in the compilation "Consumer culture theory" concern the marketing of genetic genealogy among other things. They wrote a book together, published by McFarland called "When Scotland Was Jewish"

Thanks for pointing out how little is known about Dr. Yates. I had assumed that with how prominently his work figures into the Sizemore profiles that I was just being ignorant of a field everyone else was quite engaged in.

I feel that what little I've found sofar represents an honest attempt to engage his work with minimal bias, yet has turned up very little in the way of science which may be verified or duplicated. Very unusual for an expert witness in a probate case concerning a family of very high profile (The Presleys) Perhaps someone else might share something they know of him. I am, after all, awash in a sea of researchers.

12/11/2010 at 9:45 AM

Anyone who has ever done any Melungeon research will be very familiar with Donald Yates. I first encountered him about 8 or 9 years ago when I was researching some families in southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee. For those who don't know, the Melungeons are a "mixed race" culture. Dr. Yates was one of the first to notice a pattern in the original records and modern family traditions that suggested something more significant than scattered miscegenation. Any summary of his findings is risky, but I venture to say the basic idea is that a community of mixed black-white people emerged in earliest Virginia, and was later augmented by intermarriage with Indians and other other marginalized people, including Jews.

In my opinion (and it's only my opinion), Dr. Yates almost single-handedly created a new ethnic identity among the people he was studying, then personally torpedoed it by making some unwarranted leaps. His was such a strong voice, dominating the field, that no one else has emerged who can re-vision the field and put it back on sounder ground. There is strong circumstantial evidence for the core elements of Dr. Yates' theories about ethnic minorities in colonial Virginia, but it often gets submerged by his credulity in other areas.

I suggest that the most productive approach to take about the ethnicity of the Sizemores at this point would be to accept the ambiguity that actually exists, instead of trying to force a definitive answer beyond the evidence. In short, Dr. Yates has suggested a Jewish origin, but his work in that area is "not fully accepted by other scholars."

Anyone who is interested in the subject will find a wealth of information. A starter:
http://boards.ancestry.com/topics.religious.jewish.sephardic/37/mb....

Private User
12/11/2010 at 1:01 PM

Justin, you clearly *are* a scholar. Thank you for submitting this politely worded and salient account of that body of work. Under my current time constraints, it would have taken me weeks to find the discussion you quickly pointed out.

More to follow....

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