PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Redheads: Now You See'em; Now ..?

That fiery mane of red hair shared by notables Nicole Kidman, Queen Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, Lucille Ball and my father may soon fade into a brunette future.

The shocking genetic warning is that redheads, and their alleged tempers, could entirely disappear within the next 50-100 years. The problem: only about five percent of the population has red hair and perhaps less than that carry the gene. It’s a recessive gene so red hair may or may not show up in the offspring of a redhead/non-redhead union. The cause, they say, is globalization. There are more genes out there for dark hair, and flame-haired folks are marrying them.

My father was a handsome redhead with a thick head of hair that never thinned. It just turned delightfully silver. His petite Irish mom was a redhead by both hair and temperament, but his father was not – proving that a redhead can emerge from that partnering.

Daddy married my lovely dark-haired mother and looked forward to a redhead daughter. During mother’s pregnancy, my dad clipped a magazine photo depicting a little freckle-faced, redheaded girl with pigtails attempting to eat a piece of corn on the cob despite the absence of her two front teeth. He loved that little girl and taped the picture to mother’s mirror in hopes that looking at it every day would produce the carrot-top he wanted. Guess he never took biology.

Well, as you know, I didn’t inherit Daddy’s red hair – only his ability to sunburn before you can say SPF. So that’s the challenge facing the future of redheadedness.

Where there’s a problem, there’s sometimes a possibility for solution. I saw an enterprising fellow interviewed recently who has created an international (remember, there aren’t many of them) redhead-only dating service. The goal: redheads marrying redheads, producing redhead babies, and ensuring the future of redheadedness.

Genetic selection at its most practical. Go forth and propagate, Rd.

1 comment:

Zehr_Family said...

I love the photo of your Mom and Dad. I can see so much of Granny in her face. It is so amazing how much two sisters can look alike and not be twins....LOL!! You bring back so many wonderful memories with your stories and photos. Thanks cuz!!