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The People of the EyeDeaf Ethnicity and Ancestry$
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Harlan Lane, Richard C. Pillard, and Ulf Hedberg

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199759293

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199759293.001.0001

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Context: Settling the New World

Context: Settling the New World

(p.81) 4 Context: Settling the New World
The People of the Eye

Harlan Lane (Contributor Webpage)

Richard C. Pillard

Ulf Hedberg (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Three Deaf enclaves that flourished in the nineteenth century stand out in an analysis of how the Deaf-World was founded in New England: Henniker, New Hampshire, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and southern Maine. Deaf ancestry in America has its roots in the English settlers of the seventeenth century. What the settlers found and created together is the backdrop for a consideration of the individual Deaf families. The homogeneity of the small population of settlers made it more likely that marriages would be among people with similar genetic backgrounds, favoring the birth of Deaf children. Nearly everyone was engaged in farming in the early years of the new republic. Each farmer was highly dependent on his neighbors, and this no doubt reinforced the importance for Deaf people of finding one another and of forming small enclaves. The practice of marrying kin yielded more opportunities for children to be hereditarily Deaf.

Keywords:   Deaf ancestry, English settlers, Deaf marriage, Lives of the settlers, farming

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