Two days ago I posted a lengthy excerpt of an 1893 address from the founder of the De Santo Claro Society, Thomas Sinclair, in which that Victorian explained that he advocated recognition of Henry II Sinclair, Earl of Orkney and Baron of Roslin as the true discoverer of America because of his intense dislike for Italians and his concern that America was losing its racial identity to a swarm of “Latin” peoples. Thomas Sinclair specifically claimed that Henry II had sexual relations with Native Americans/First Nations people, thus improving their genes and raising them up from savagery to barbarism.
In so doing, I very briefly noted that individuals like Steve St. Clair of the Sinclair/St. Clair DNA Project are investigating this claim even today, albeit with Henry I Sinclair, not Henry II: “We need to continue to identify living descendents of the Mi’kmaq tribe who we can test to prove/disprove a connection to Jarl Henry and his crew,” St. Clair wrote on his website. I interpreted this sentence as meaning that St. Clair was investigating whether Henry had sexual relationships with Native peoples. I’m not sure I see another way to interpret that. This sentence also stood behind my first mention of Steve St. Clair in my review of America Unearthed S01E13. Specifically, I said he was “attempting to prove that Henry Sinclair spread his DNA throughout North America in the Middle Ages, hybridizing the Native American population.” I later amended this after St. Clair objected.
Steve St. Clair has taken great offense to how I have characterized his research because he feels that “investigating” and “attempting to prove” are not comparable, and he also claims that he does not believe there is any evidence for the ideas he investigates. So I feel I owe it to him to place the information together to paint a more complete picture of his views.
In the episode of America Unearthed in which he appears, St. Clair is described as “skeptical” but having an “open mind” about the Henry Sinclair story. But the edited comments make him sound as though he has agreed with Wolter’s view: “It’s interesting that Prince Henry has just disappeared out of the records. There were no monuments to his death, so where was he?” he asks. St. Clair does not answer his own the question and instead states that he is “probably” a distant cousin of Prince Henry (on-screen he is labeled a “relative”), a claim that has generated a great deal of controversy from opponents who feel he is not actually related at all.
When Wolter lists his elaborate Templar-Sinclair-Bloodline theory, St. Clair replies, “I’m open-minded to the story. I’m here to find all the facts.” In the comments presented on the show—obviously edited—he does not present any contradictory narrative. He later expresses glee at the thought of the “treasure” buried at the New Ross “castle” site. At the end of the episode, he brings up the Da Vinci Code to explain why the treasure wasn’t there, and he never disagrees openly with Wolter in the comments presented on the show.
As we’ve seen with several of those appearing on the show, America Unearthed has taken great liberties with the material presented, and has edited comments sharply. When I initially discussed St. Clair, it was in the context of the comments as presented on America Unearthed, which show a man who came to agree with Wolter’s interpretation. I’m willing to believe that St. Clair was taken out of context and made to look more credulous than he is. It’s a problem with America Unearthed and a challenge in reviewing the character “Steve St. Clair” versus that actual person so caricatured.
But that’s where things got difficult for me.
St. Clair asked me to review the Sinclair/St. Clair DNA Project website in order to understand his actual position. The majority of the DNA Project’s work is involved in constructing a lineage for the St. Clair/Sinclair family back to the “Last Glacial Maximum” in an attempt to determine how closely related various modern people with Sinclair or St. Clair names are. However, St. Clair also identified a second area of study, the legends of the family:
I immediately find many of these stories doubtful but, approaching this scientifically, this new science of genetics for genealogy might help to shed some light on whether or not these stories have any basis in reality. […] My hypothesis is that, when enough myths persist, there may be a grain of truth in them. There may be some basis in reality to the legends of our association with the Templars, a Holy Bloodline, the Prince Henry St. Clair stories about early voyaging to the New World, and more.
From this, I concluded that St. Clair was studying whether there was a “basis in reality” to the various legends listed. This seemed to be confirmed by St. Clair’s further statements about the DNA Project’s desire to test Native Americans/First Nations peoples for Sinclair DNA:
Few people have been more loyal in their support of our project than Niven Sinclair of the UK. Niven is the one who has pressed, more than any other, for testing of Native North Americans, the Losna family and others who may help us better understand our complex ancient history. […] Since beginning this DNA study, I've had no choice but to focus on the study of Native populations, on finding better ways to analyze the Jarl Henry St. Clair story, on the mystery of the Newport Tower, on the crusades, on ancient navigation, on population statistics, on heraldry, and more. One result of this focus was the Atlantic Conference of August 2008, described as 'the definitive gathering of world experts on early trans-Atlantic voyaging.' Clearly this is an area that affects the history of our family, but I wanted to approach it from a more scientific perspective, examining the actual proofs and reasonable likelihoods that such voyaging was possible. This was not a 'Prince Henry' conference but, rather, a scientific gathering sponsored by a family that has a great interest in the subject as a whole.
This told me that St. Clair had an abiding interest in these alternative and diffusionist ideas. Taken together, St. Clair appeared to say that his study was designed to investigate the “basis in reality” for the story that Henry Sinclair and the Templars came to North America, built the Newport Tower, and had sex with Native Americans. He specifically, after all, hypothesized that there was “a grain of truth” wherever myths exist. St. Clair objected vociferously to any implication he was exploring a Templar connection, even though it appears on his website as an area of exploration.
Additionally, St. Clair worked with the Atlantic Conference, a gathering of diffusionists, where he specifically discussed “connections between Native traditions, traditional research and DNA research.” Among the speakers was Richard White, who believes in the Sinclair-America voyage, as well as Scott Wolter. The Conference specifically listed among its aims an investigation of whether “Prince Henry St. Clair may have crossed from Scotland in 1398.” Steve St. Clair uploaded Scott Wolter’s Kensington Rune Stone talk to YouTube in 2009 and stated that Wolter’s investigations “inevitably lead back to the only plausible story - The Knights Templar were in Minnesota in 1392 and carved the Kensington Runestone.”
While he may have been describing Wolter’s views, he uploaded this under his own name at the time that the 2009 documentary Holy Grail in America aired, with the note that Wolter’s talk “shows the details which the History Channel doesn’t have time to cover” and directs viewers to his Sinclair/St. Clair DNA Project. There is no indication that he disagrees with Wolter’s Templar conclusions; indeed, the plain meaning of the description is that it is “plausible.”
But according to St. Clair, this reading is wrong, and St. Clair has another set of writings that tell a very different story, but these largely appear outside the official website to which St. Clair directed me, appearing in blog posts and in YouTube comments.
In February, St. Clair wrote on his blog that he does not have any proof of Da Vinci Code-style conspiracies about the St. Clair family and the Templars:
The Sinclair / St. Clair family cannot yet be proven to have had anything whatsoever to do with the Knights Templar. I’ve spent months looking through any available trial records to get to the bottom of this. While I’m certainly not done, so far I don’t see our surname in any records. […] There’s actually no proof of a treasure, nor a fleet of Templar ships sneaking it out of Europe to Scotland. Zero actual proof. […] The story of Prince Henry Sinclair had become more an [sic] more popular in recent years. Unfortunately, despite some interesting circumstantial evidence, there is zero physical evidence.
He made similar remarks in earlier blog posts and in YouTube comments.
I trust you can see how this is quite confusing given what he wrote on his official DNA Project website and given the 2008 Atlantic Conference cited therein.
This second Steve St. Clair makes good sense. But I’m not sure how he squares with the one who is eager to test the Mi’kmaq for evidence of Sinclair love children. In his comments to me, St. Clair suggests that this is merely being open minded and investigating every angle. But I don’t understand why, of all possible hypotheses, only the ones about Henry Sinclair in America are emphasized on Steve St. Clair’s DNA Project website. If, as St. Clair said to me, extensive research has found no proof of Henry Sinclair’s voyage, why is he still looking for it? One can never prove a negative, but at some point the weight of evidence suggests further effort is futile. He’s welcome, of course, to do whatever he wants, but it should hardly be offensive to state that he is investigating what he explicitly says he is investigating.
And that brings me to my final point: Steve St. Clair wants us to engage in “dispassionate” research that looks at all possible explanations for the Sinclair history and heritage. Yet he became very upset when I pointed out that Thomas Sinclair, one of the key myth-makers in promoting Richard Henry Major’s Henry Sinclair myth, did so in a context driven by xenophobia and racism. Surely dispassionate research requires us to think about the context through which the Sinclair family legends emerged in the nineteenth century, all the more so if Steve St. Clair agrees that such stories have no foundation in evidence.
3/31/2013 07:25:59 am
Steve, you are sounding like a politician with your varying changes in position. It does not help credibility.
jason, maybe you should wait till allllllllllll the facts come out before downing em, in your way..13 ships 2 black sailed arrived in california by sea the year 1359, prince henry sinclair was there on the ship named The Blessed,I HAVE THE SWORD with all etching horizonialy and vertically, telling us the REAL story, write me scott wolter at email@example.com if you would like to see and know all I do about this sword, and my theory about treasure and 9 swords
5/12/2013 03:08:20 am
That would certainly be a trick since Henry Sinclair was not a "prince" (jarl) until 1379 and was in 1359 about 14 years old, having been Baron of Roslin for less than a year. Had he been absent from Roslin in 1359, he would not have been able to secure his inheritance.
6/28/2013 12:12:45 am
your probably right , about henery, BUT there was someone of royal lineage that came in 1359, 1 boat had some-kind of royal markings on it,maybe his father, as treasure was moved probably every 50 years if 50 year mark means that, n i do think that.doesnt mean ur right about everything u think you are.
3/31/2013 08:33:20 am
Thanks for your opinion.
3/31/2013 12:41:31 pm
3/31/2013 12:42:28 pm
*Fractal (cursed U)
3/31/2013 12:46:11 pm
The conversation seems to have stalled, so I thought I might throw a monkey-wrench into this SINCLAIR/ST. CLAIR thing by adding information that may delight some and dismay others.
3/31/2013 12:55:04 pm
Sorry, "An Introduction," above, not "American Introduction."
3/31/2013 01:09:59 pm
I believe you are referring to Frederick Pohl's identification of Glooscap with Henry Sinclair, which is dependent on the acceptance of the Zeno Narrative as true. The Mi'kmaq themselves reported that they identified Glooscap as a Viking (in 1927), and all of the comparisons that supposedly match Henry could also easily apply to a Viking--or a French explorer.
3/31/2013 01:50:06 pm
Please comment on the Objibwa migration history, and how it either can or cannot relate to the Henry Sinclair issue. Thanks. I value some of your insights.
3/31/2013 02:03:49 pm
I don't see how it relates at all. One must first establish Henry Sinclair actually was in America before bothering to decide whom he met while here.
3/31/2013 01:22:24 pm
Hi Jason, here's another link, even comparing a Mi'kmag game to Scottish hockey. (I kid you not.)
3/31/2013 01:43:23 pm
From that link:
3/31/2013 02:02:19 pm
I checked on the cannon, and there is no record I can find of its existence outside Oak Island mystery literature. According to actual records from the 1800s, an actual cannon that was recovered was a French cannon from the first seige of Louisbourg. It was later melted down and struck into medals.
3/31/2013 03:26:53 pm
Okay, thanks for letting me know about this. It sounds a bit like the Ulen Sword up here in MN. One thing Scott did good, I noticed, was to show that the Ulen Sword is positively not a Viking-era sword, but a fairly modern one (discovered in plowed farmland quite a while back}. The city actually had a plaque of the "Viking" sword prominently displayed at the entrance of the city. Seriously, I wonder if its still there?
The Other J.
4/1/2013 04:29:43 am
It's a kind of circular reasoning. More specifically, that's what 'begging the question' actually means -- when the conclusion you're aiming for (Sinclair hanging out with the Mi'kmaq) is inserted into the premises of the argument (if Sinclair were here, then...) in order to prove the conclusion. So the argument kind of reads like:
4/1/2013 05:29:32 am
I'm sure Bernie Mac is rolling in his grave now that he's been pulled into this Templar/Sinclair nonsense! He probably does appreciate the name recognition bump, though.
4/1/2013 07:51:40 am
Or, the argument could read like this:
The Other J.
4/1/2013 10:28:31 am
"A. When previously in contact with Europeans (in this case, Scots), the Mi'kmaq may have learned how to play hockey.
4/1/2013 12:29:00 pm
Forget about all that begging the question stuff, anyway, The Other J. In Steve's defense (if nobody minds too much), there is nothing wrong with petitioning the principle. Sometimes a seemingly minor point is worth considering. (Back to the evidence is in the eye of the beholder thing again, like beauty.)
The Other J.
4/1/2013 12:52:11 pm
We're already heading in circles again, so I'm going to keep this short and leave off.
The Other J.
4/1/2013 01:01:19 pm
Arrgh... I didn't want to bang on about this, but:
4/1/2013 01:48:41 pm
Okay, wow, that was pretty intensive, The Other J. You know what though? You're talking about proving a point or points of speculative consideration, or else such speculation is totally worthless...I guess. This to me is an odd premise in the first place.
The Other J.
4/1/2013 02:23:27 pm
And if my uncle was a woman he'd be my aunt. Does that mean I should start buying him dresses?
4/2/2013 09:03:35 am
From The Other J.: "Why go farther west to those drier, scrubby grasslands and prairies? They were forest people, not buffalo hunters. Leave the prairie to the Sioux and Garrison Keilor -- they're better with it."
3/31/2013 03:48:56 pm
Seriously Jason, you're so fast and loose with the facts that it's no longer possible to consider your writing credible. If I were to take the time to read one of your blog posts about a subject that's new to me, I now know I'd have to take hours to check the sources so I can understand just how badly you butchered the original research you're critiquing.
3/31/2013 11:38:11 pm
So once again you would prefer to criticize my writing than to engage with any actual points of fact whatsoever.
4/1/2013 02:04:31 am
I too see it as your are mapping you families DNA back to the LGM, the chart on your website represents that http://www.stclairresearch.com/images/ChartPath-F.jpg
The Other J.
4/1/2013 02:45:41 am
You should start these posts with "Ah, Mr. Sinclair, we meet again" in your best Bond villain voice.
4/1/2013 05:48:03 am
Your words - "I am only reporting exactly what you yourself write and say. No more and no less."
4/1/2013 06:06:22 am
Which, then, is exactly why you've chosen not to address the fact that the claims you are disputing in this blog post appear on your website and its YouTube video and instead complain once more about the Knights Templar, which, as cited above, you first wrote may have had a "basis in reality."
6/26/2013 07:08:11 pm
wow steves right, you having wandering mind syndrum, how'd it go from relitive prince henery,(who i did not say was on 13 ships)only that a aship was NAMED BLESSED in lead of other ships but not leader,california was named on my sword that scott now has till he s done studying it(then he is to donate it, to masonic templars, back where it belongs.!
4/1/2013 06:52:00 am
Jason Colavito writes 'The question again is this: If it isn't important and isn't true, why is there so much about it on so many pages?'
4/1/2013 07:01:46 am
This is where you confuse me. You said there isn't any evidence for such a connection ("there is zero physical evidence"). Does this imply anything about the truth value of the claim? Or is this like other alternative claims where no conclusion can ever be drawn because the proof lies just beyond the next hill?
4/1/2013 07:45:28 am
That's a good question (to me at least).
4/1/2013 08:04:44 am
Thank you for answering the question, Steve. As you know, it is impossible to prove a negative, and there is no way to disprove conclusively that Henry Sinclair came to America. But in the absence of any evidence, what choice do I have but to say that the story appears to be groundless and to therefore act in alignment with that evidence? Similarly, one might ask why we do not continue to seek out phlogiston (it MIGHT be there!) or test the body for the effects of the Four Humours (you MIGHT have black bile, after all). Surely, (and this is a joke) you should be testing your family for its unique blend of Humours, for which there is as much evidence as for Henry Sinclair's voyage.
4/1/2013 04:32:07 pm
Your note - 'You sound as though the mystery will remain open for you forever. Would anything serve to convince you that this story is, in all likelihood, a fiction? If so, what would that be?'
4/2/2013 07:49:00 am
I appreciate your response, Steve. If I read you correctly, you are saying that the only evidence you will accept is proof Henry was somewhere other than Nova Scotia in 1398. I don't see how finding his body would help any since the current version of the myth says he sailed back from Nova Scotia to impart his secret knowledge to his family, as summarized in Rosslyn Chapel.
4/1/2013 06:58:20 am
So can you explain the confusion about your DNA chart please?
4/1/2013 07:21:23 am
The chart you're referring to, now slightly out of data due to new information about the age of single nucleotide polymorphisms, explains in a visual way when and roughly where our various lineages diverged from one another. It in no way expresses the goal of the study and I don't say that it does anywhere. Jason could just as easily go to the page that talks about our Argyle lineage and claim that this is a study about the Sinclairs of Argyle. It would not be at all factually correct. Our goals are stated on the Methodology page. "Methodology" is a standard word to guide folks to the aims of the study. The chart you're referring to is a visual aid.
4/1/2013 07:23:32 am
Let me amend that - " It would not be at all factually correct." should read -
4/1/2013 07:32:26 am
And when I read the methodology page, this is what I read under your second hypothesis: "My hypothesis is that, when enough myths persist, there may be a grain of truth in them. There may be some basis in reality to the legends of our association with the Templars, a Holy Bloodline, the Prince Henry St. Clair stories about early voyaging to the New World, and more."
4/1/2013 08:29:28 am
I did read your Methodology. I was just trying to understand some discrepancies I saw myself. the chart seems misleading and really confusing. Wouldn't a chart as containing only the length of the data your study covers better serve layman like myself into understanding what you are trying to visually represent?
4/1/2013 08:03:20 am
From BL: "And, Gunn, before you jump in here...the absolute FACT that members of the Sinclair family testified against the Templars really does not rain on you parade. If, in your mind, Prince Henry had the ability to travel to North America he certainly would not have needed the help of the powerless, rag-tag remnants of a group that was disbanded fifty years before.
4/1/2013 04:31:09 pm
Keep in mind, the St Clairs also testified on behalf of the Templars.
4/2/2013 09:48:03 am
From BL: "Before we go on with any more discussion on the Templar/Sinclair connection, supporters of this idea absolutely need to explain why the Sinclair family is on record as having testified AGAINST the Templars before the group was outlawed and disbanded. Until this is explained to me I will hear no more of this complete fantasy."
9/11/2017 11:22:03 pm
"the Sinclair family is on record as having testified AGAINST the Templars before the group was outlawed and disbanded. Until this is explained to me I will hear no more of this complete fantasy."
4/9/2013 06:46:50 pm
Steve StClair is clearly on a path of self destruction with his continuation of the fairytail of Sinclair to America. A cousin to Henry Sinclair now thats a good one, as DNA has proven Steve StClair does in no way relate to the Sinclair family.
4/22/2013 08:13:44 am
Wow! Not exactly sure how I stumbled upon this blog. Rest assured it is bookmarked now. I would like to thank all of you gentlemen for an entertaining afternoon of reading! Much better than the mindless History or H2 I was going to watch this afternoon.
4/18/2014 04:08:50 am
There seems to me great confusion on this blog regarding probabilities and possibilities, all history and the past and indeed all forecasting and the future, is a combination of both.
7/30/2016 03:15:09 pm
The collection of DNA samples from the Natives IMO is a front for their clandestine agendas aimed at exterminating the Tribes in the lands the English have settled..... they worked to erase the French history of the area as well in Canada....
9/11/2017 11:14:39 pm
"The collection of DNA samples from the Natives IMO is a front for their clandestine agendas aimed at exterminating the Tribes in the lands the English have settled..."
Nancy Elizabeth Sinclair
12/22/2017 02:09:55 pm
Both Scott Wolter and Steve StClair when on the America Unearthed program of the History 2 channel are subjected to editing of all their material filmed and submitted. Making a show most entertaining and holding the audience captive until the next program where possibly more informative tidbits may be revealed is the goal of any television production company. Both these men continue to investigate this history. I am happy there is not much in way of insults in the comments to this post by and it's replies to Jason Colovito. I am also happy to follow Wolter and StClair through web postings and especially youtube videos in which they are featured, usually posted by themselves. My gosh I have troubles with finding out about the true nature of a maternal great grandmother who was born less than 100 years before my birth. Give Steve a break with critical reviews of him, he has much more than less than 100 years to investigate. He is still trying. Thanks for reading.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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