Ethnicity vs. skin tone

Genetic genealogy is the application of genetics to traditional genealogy. Genetic genealogy involves the use of genealogical DNA testing to determine the level and type of the genetic relationship between individuals.
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MarcuccioV
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 06 Nov 2021, 22:53 What about Signor Abbandando in GF Part II?

The grocer who lets Vito go (the father, not the son).

The son Genco appears more stereotype olivey to me.

Could the father be considered more brownish than olive-skinned?

One reason I ask is that his complexion reminds me of my grandfather's.

The lightning in the scene isn't very good for telling skin tone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeDV0rxBq9E
True about the lighting (and who knows how much of it is makeup), but I think it gets harder to decipher the 'greenish' highlights of the olive as the skin is darker.

I know where my grandfather was concerned, at his lightest (which was still dark), I'd call it more "olive" -- once he tanned (very dark) it was just a dark bronze. My father's skin tone did the same. I'd say that's pretty common for the olive skin type...
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

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I've noted that it's rare to find skin complexion recorded as "olive" on old Italian passports and ship manifests, presumably completed by native Italians.

I guess olive skin was so common among Italians that it was just considered natural.

My grandfather is recorded as bruno on his passport (October) and as natural on his ship manifest (November). I believe Pippo wrote that he thinks bruno refers to dark, not to brown.

I'm not sure I'd call him olive, as from what I recall,and see in photos, he was brownish all year round. Perhaps an olive tone in younger years though. I can't be sure. The only color likeness of him is a short video (February) and it's hard to tell but he certainly stands out as darker-colored than all the others. My father and grandmother appear a little more olive to me. At about age 5, I appear lighter.
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

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If Pippo's comment is accurate, then my grandfather would likely have been considered 'bruno' (at least in summer).

I know our word for dark is "scurro", but I've never heard that in reference to skin tone.

I don't think the term "olive" was really used until more modern times. As noted in other posts, Italians were more commonly referred to back then as "dark-skinned" or "swarthy", at least here in the US.

Yet on ship manifests they were indicated as "white" -- go figure...
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

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I rechecked my grandfather's ship manifest from 1910 -- for complexion, it simply states "good" as it does on everyone on the list. I guess "good" refers to healthy (not sallow, pale, affected by roseacea, etc) rather than tone or color...

His hair is listed as "chestnut"...
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

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You should check his passport for his "colorito", probably the most accurate.

At least among Sicilians on passenger lists arriving in NY "white" wasn't a commonly recorded classification for "complexion". I'm sure the terms used varied widely by ship, trip, and who was recording it - hardly scientific.

I searched exact matches for birth, lived in, and departure Sicilia, Italy.

I can't tell how many had blank entries. I suspect there were a lot.

I'll let someone else search all of Italy.

White 276
Brown 3672
Olive 7
Black 99
Natural 25473
Sallow 17
Yellow 1
Pale 1989
Dark 38891
Light 131
Medium 191
Red 25
Ruddy 3415
Pink 922
Normal 49
Chestnut 94
Brunette 4
Good 63
Fair 36082
Excellent 42
Total 143650
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

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darkerhorse wrote: 07 Nov 2021, 03:46 You should check his passport for his "colorito", probably the most accurate.
Here's your answer (page 2 of his 1920 passport application):

Notice the date of Sept, so coming off of summer...
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

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I meant his Italian passport.
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 07 Nov 2021, 13:00 I meant his Italian passport.
No link to it that I've found -- but this indicates "dark". I don't see why the Italian passport would be any different.

Note that in your Sicilian list above, "dark" is the most common description.

You've seen the other pics of him I've posted -- no one could accuse him of being "fair-skinned"...
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

Post by darkerhorse »

It's all relative, what's "dark" complexion to an American clerk completing a passport application may appear "natural" to an Italian clerk completing a passport application.

That's why I wanted the comparison.

I don't doubt he had dark skin from our American perspective but it'd be interesting to know how a native Italian would describe it

My grandfather's complexion was recorded as "bruno" on his Italian passport and "natural" on his ship manifest. You could argue that "dark" was "natural". He had no American passport to compare with.
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

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I'm not suggesting your ancestor was fair-skinned, I'm just wondering how his complexion was perceived in Italy.
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 07 Nov 2021, 18:10 I'm not suggesting your ancestor was fair-skinned, I'm just wondering how his complexion was perceived in Italy.
I can't speak for them but...

For contrast, the house in the background was mustard yellow, the cinderblock wall was rose pink, and the dark checks on the shirt were almost a midnight blue (I remember the day this pic was taken, despite being only about 9 or 10)...
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

Post by darkerhorse »

How about Sicily Tyson?
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

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darkerhorse wrote: 06 Dec 2021, 17:48 How about Sicily Tyson?
I think we're getting lost in the weeds here... :roll:
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

Post by darkerhorse »

Dan Bongino seems to have the Italian skin complexion I was talking about, which is brownish or ruddy rather than olive.
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Re: Ethnicity vs. skin tone

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 07 Dec 2021, 04:19 Dan Bongino seems to have the Italian skin complexion I was talking about, which is brownish or ruddy rather than olive.
I've seen ruddy Italians. Not as commonly, but they do exist.
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