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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Their Forebears' Forelocks

The Springer family of Hettinger, North Dakota, has inherited a curious genetic trait. A large proportion of them are born with a white patch of hair on their foreheads. Known as piebaldism, it's a dominant trait found in every generation of the family.

The white lock gene traveled from England with the Stowell family. Three of the Stowell family girls married three of the Springer family boys way back in the late 1800s and early 1900s when it was fairly common for groups of brothers to marry groups of sisters. The three Springer-Stowell unions were prolific, with the brothers, wives and their 17 children settling in North Dakota, Minnesota and Colorado.

Kaye McIntyre said she was amazed when she attended a Springer family reunion in Minnesota a few years back.

"I could not get over all the white locks," she said. "Wherever I looked, I kept seeing my own children." [Link]

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