The Joy of Red Hair

The Joy of Red Hair

Two of my best friends from childhood, Elizabeth and Rachel, were redheads. I was extremely jealous and wanted my hair to be red, too — not only because of the beautiful color but also because it was so unique. Red is the rarest hair color found in humans: only 1–2% of the population has it.

Elizabeth was the only redhead in her family. It was so striking that after she was born, her mother started dyeing her own hair red so people would stop asking her if Elizabeth was really her daughter.

Rachel, on the other hand, came from a whole family of redheads — just like the Weasleys in Harry Potter.

How could it be that Elizabeth had red hair while no one else in her family did?

What Are the Roots of Red Hair?

Hair gets its color from natural pigments produced by the body called melanin. When the body produces a high level of a pigment called pheomelanin — which has a pink or reddish hue — and low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin, the result is red hair.

So what causes a redhead’s body to produce different levels of pheomelanin and eumelanin than a non-redhead’s? We don’t know exactly, but scientists have found that it’s related to a genetic mutation of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R). MC1R is the key protein involved in determining hair and skin color, and it’s located on chromosome 16. The mutation results in a recessive gene for red hair.

The fact that it’s recessive means that you might actually have the redhead gene and never know it. In order for a person to have red hair, they must inherit the mutation from both of their parents on both copies of the chromosome. Even when a person inherits the recessive gene from both parents, it doesn’t always mean that they’ll have red hair.

This explains why Elizabeth was the lone carrot-top in her family. The redhead gene often skips generations, just like blue eyes. Her parents and grandparents probably carried only one copy of the recessive gene, so none of them had red hair.

Rachel’s parents, on the other hand, both had red hair, which meant that Rachel and all of her siblings inherited the redhead gene from both sides. Interestingly, not all of them had the same shade of red hair. Her brothers’ hair was flaming red, while hers was more of a strawberry blonde, and her sister’s was more auburn.

Redheads and Colder Climates

You may have heard that there are more redheads in Ireland than anywhere else in the world. If you’re looking at sheer numbers, the U.S. has more redheads than anywhere else: somewhere between 6–18 million! But Ireland has the highest concentration of redheads: 10% of the Irish population has red hair, versus 2–6% of the U.S. population. Red hair is also prevalent in Scotland, Russia, and other countries on the fringes of northern and western Europe, as well as among Ashkenazi Jews. By contrast, red hair is very rare in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Why are there fewer redheads close to the equator? The answer is genetic selection: the genetic mutation that causes red hair (the “redhead gene”) is also associated with other traits that make it easier to survive and stay healthy in colder climates.

Redheads’ low eumelanin levels can also make their skin very fair — and unable to tan. The upside is that fair skin is more efficient at producing vitamin D, which means that people with red hair don’t need as much sun. The downside is that they sunburn easily and are more susceptible to skin cancers.

When the skin can’t tan to protect itself from UV rays, it often freckles instead, which is why so many redheads also have freckles.

Historical Beliefs About Red Hair

There is no scientific evidence of a connection between hair color and personality, but the stereotype that redheads have quick tempers and sharp tongues goes back centuries. Before the era of modern medicine, Europeans believed that physical traits were related to personality types, and red hair was associated with the sanguine, or optimistic temperament. People with this personality type were believed to be talkative, energetic, social, and risk-taking. In the traditional Indian medicinal practice of Ayurveda, red hair was associated with the Pitta temperament, which is characterized as fiery.

Unfortunately, there have also been some harmful negative stereotypes about redheads throughout history. In medieval times, people thought that red hair and green eyes were the sign of a witch, a werewolf, or a vampire. Red hair was also associated with Jewish people — and subsequently, with anti-semitic stereotypes — in medieval art and literature. Shakespeare’s Shylock had red hair, as did Dickens’s Fagin. Judas Iscariot was often depicted with red hair in Spanish and Italian art. Redheads were persecuted as Jews or as witches because of these associations.

Thankfully, these days, red hair is admired more than it is feared or hated. Redheads everywhere feel a certain solidarity thanks to the unique and beautiful shade of their hair. There’s even a convention in the Netherlands called Redhead Day, where redheads from all over the world gather for special activities and events. The festival is just one way to celebrate the presence of the redhead gene in your family.

Do you have any special redheads in your life? Tell us in the comments!


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  • Pete Anderson o

    June 10, 2019

    Of my six. Children, half are left

  • Kathy Yoder

    June 10, 2019

    My Grandpa (Mom’s Dad) had Auburn hair. His 2 children had dark brown. My sister and I both have red hair and freckles like him. I had his Auburn colored hair. My sister however has the shade of my Dad’s brother, more of a carrot red. We had another sister that had brown hair with redish tint.

  • Debbie Grimes

    June 11, 2019

    My younger son is a redhead, and has a personality to match. When he was younger he had beautiful curly locks that were the envy of everyone who saw him. Now for convenience he keeps his hair cut short (buzzed) so we don’t get to see his red hair, other than his beard. 🙁

  • Linda Smith Poole

    June 12, 2019

    We have lots of lefties in our family on both sides: my brother, myself, 2 of his children, our great aunt and more.

  • Melinda

    June 14, 2019

    Three of my four kids have red hair. Never thought I would have redheads although I am one myself. I didn’t realize my husband carried the redhead gene, until he grew a beard….totally red! 😀

  • Judith Margaretha Cornelia

    June 23, 2019

    Only redhead and blue eyes in 3 generations down the line in history. Some Jewish Genes and from mother’s side and German genes from fathers side

  • Susan

    June 27, 2019

    My cousin and I, who were born only 9 days apart, both had bright red hair from birth. Everyone was surprised as there were no other red heads in either family. We later found out that our great-grandmother had red hair as a young woman. The recessive gene / generation skip makes sense.

  • Diana Mackey

    June 27, 2019

    When I was 6 years old, we lived next to a family of redheads. There were about 5 kids in the family and they were holy terrors! One day, one of the boys pushed his sister out of a tree and broke her arm. My Mom saw this and carried her home. When she came back she was very upset, she marched up to me, looked me straight in the eye and said, “If you EVER have a red-headed child don’t bother bringing it around until it’s grown!!” This became a family joke and I would swear I was going to have all red-heads (unfortunately, my daughters and granddaughters were all blondes). Imagine my delight when my great-grandson was born with and has the loveliest shade of red hair ever!

  • Linda S. Johnson

    June 28, 2019

    My gg-grandfather had red hair, his daughter, my g-grandmother had it, my mother does, as well as my brother and two sisters. And their hair is not auburn. It’s the orange-as-a-carrot type of red!

  • Dorinda

    June 28, 2019

    My Paternal Grandmother had red hair. My Sister and I both have red hair but my brother is more brown with red highlights. I’ve heard all the redhead jokes and how redheads are hot tempered. I have had people say “wow, you’re not like most redheads, you’re actually nice”. I wish more people would get to know me before making snap judgements about red hair. I was interested in the statement “By contrast, red hair is very rare in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.” as my DNA test showed African heritage. Where can I find more information or get a more detailed explanation? All the DNA stuff is cool but I’m not really sure what it all means.

  • Elena Bazes

    July 3, 2019

    Being a redhead (auburn) and green eyes, I really enjoyed your blog “The Joys of Red Hair”, both the genetic and historical parts. The genetic information finally answered several long-standing questions of mine as to why I have red hair and my parents didn’t, nor my brother or any of my cousins and why I have one redheaded child, but not the other. I also was very interested in the historical facts and how different my life would have been had I lived centuries ago (not good apparently).

  • Susan whitington

    July 16, 2019

    My father is a red head. My mother has dark brown hair (or did). All three children are blonde. My sister is a strawberry blonde, but my brother and I are more ash. I always wanted to be a red head, but the dye always looked awful. I guess I just lost the genetic lottery.

  • Cindy C Crow

    July 30, 2019

    I was born a redhead but turned blonde. My 2-year old granddaughter is a redhead and hoping she stays red.

  • Paul Dobson

    July 30, 2019

    I had red hair, now silver. Twin brothers in the middle, one was blonde, the other a darker blonde. Our sister the youngest has red hair. Both parents black hair.

  • Ben Denson

    July 30, 2019

    My 2 sisters & I are redheads and our parents were dark black. My folks used to get a lot of comments on the fact that they had 3 redheaded kids, so my dad made up a story that was so funny that it stopped people in their tracks and nothing more was said. It is a fact that I have redheaded relatives on both sides of the family going back to Ireland and Scotland.

  • Sandra Hockenson

    July 30, 2019

    My granddaughter has had the most beautiful shade of red hair since the day she was born! I had red hair when I was born, but it turned blonde before my first birthday. My parents, grandparents, my children, and my brother, all had dark hair. Out of 21 cousins, only one has red hair, and none of their children. Found out, years ago, that both of my parents had cousins/aunts with red hair. My dad’s grandparents were Irish/Scottish, my mom’s grandparents were Scandanavian. I have noticed, in my encounters with redheads, that redheads with brown eyes, have lots of freckles, while the blue-eyed redheads usually have none!

  • Judith O’Brien

    July 30, 2019

    My brother, my first cousin (one of a set of identical twins). , and my maternal grandmother all make the list for left handed.
    My grandson has what I call reddish hair and I’d the only one I know in the family who has this trait. It’s more of a copper color.

  • Gordon Wilson

    July 30, 2019

    I am one of four redheads in my family. We have three other siblings with dark hair. Parents both had dark hair. No grandchildren with red hair but, many of the great grandchildren have red hair.
    We hail from Scotland and Ireland.

  • Margaret Alison Swift

    July 30, 2019

    Myself & (older sister now deceased) have/had auburn hair, very fair skin with freckles. We could never tan just burn & blister! I know there were redheads on my Mothers side

  • Nancy Kless

    July 30, 2019

    My sister is the first known redhead in at least two generations of our family. My brother and I each have a red headed daughter. We sometimes refer to them as the “latent gene pool.”

  • Martha Brackett

    July 30, 2019

    I am a natural redhead. Was s very unusual shade similar to copper penny. My hair is gray now though at age 76.

  • Darleen Harens

    July 30, 2019

    My mother had dark auburn here. When she died at age of 89, her hair was still darker than mine had ever been. As my sister says how it bothered my mom when people thought she died her hair, she never did. Mine was auburn but lighter than my moms. When I was around 6, my mom told me that when I got older mine would turn to strawberry blonde and it has. She said that because mine was the color that was the same as my paternal grandmother’s hair had been.
    My children’s hair when they were younger had dark hair like their dad with auburn highlights. My brother’s hair was reddish, but now is pretty much gray. Some of his grandchildren have light reddish hair. So yes, in our family it came to us through my great grandmother whose maiden name was Jahr from northern Germany then known as Prussia.

  • K Smith

    July 30, 2019

    My mother was an auburn haired, green eyed, 5ft 2 beauty. My father had black hair and blue/grey eyes. My hair was red when younger and through college; however, at 80+ my hair is now light brown with some grey. My mother passed at age 77 with all of her red hair showing a strand or two of grey. My dad passed at 62 and his hair was still black with few grey hairs. When seeing old college classmates, most asked “where is your red hair?” 🙂

  • Mrs. RMG

    July 30, 2019

    I’m a senior citizen now with silvery-white hair, but when I was young, I was a natural redhead with fair skin and freckles. I still have fair hair and freckles. My mother was a natural redhead. Her parents and grandparents all had brown hair. They couldn’t figure out why my mother was born with red hair. Then it dawned on them that my mother had a great-great-grandfather from Ireland who was a redhead. My mother’s family on both sides had lots of Irish and English ancestry. My father’s family was mostly English with a little bit of French. When I had my DNA done, I was shocked to find out I have a small percentage of Askenazi Jewish DNA! Wow!

  • Rhonda Guenther

    July 30, 2019

    I’m a redhead!!! Neither parent or grandparents have red hair. It does run in my family, though. My mother’s father had several siblings and his mother with red hair. I actually have a lock of my great grandmother’s hair which is a deep auburn color. Mine is anywhere from strawberry blonde to a shade I don’t know how to describe! My niece (brother’s child) also was born with the same shade of hair as myself. We are the lone redheads. My grandfather is from Scottish/Irish/Welsh origins.

  • Donna Posada

    July 31, 2019

    my father had red hair. I had hints of red in my hair.

  • Pat Richardson

    July 31, 2019

    My mother was a red. head and I was also. My only sibling was a brunette; however, her daughter was a redhead. Neither of my two children had red hair. My hair began to darken in my mid-30s and is now dark brown and grey – a lot of grey! Thank you for this very interesting article.

  • Gavin

    July 31, 2019

    My wife and I are not redheads and are right handed but both our children are redheads and left handed. My wife was born with red hair but after a few months this changed to a brown colour and I was blonde and but I am now brown with reddish highlights in my hair, especially by beard. My daughter is more strawberry blonde than my son who is a copper carroty red head. My daughter is definitely fiery! She also has greeny blue eyes (my son is brown like me), and as a red head who is left handed would have been declared a witch many years ago and probably would have been burnt at the stake! (We often say she is a bit of a ‘witch’ given her fiery temperament!).

  • Rae Nicolaou

    July 31, 2019

    I was a red headed person all my life and now have a grandson with it.

  • Elizabeth Joan Aird

    July 31, 2019

    Myself & my two brothers have fair hair , my Mum & Dad had brown hair but my two sisters had red hair , Janet – born after me had a rich dark red hair , the youngest of us kids – Doreen also had red hair but it wasn’t as dark as Janet’s . Janet’s son Patrick has red hair , his is not as dark as his mother . My parents & us 5 kids all had blue/grey eyes . I believe one of my cousins [female] also had red hair .

  • Jeaninekeplar

    July 31, 2019

    I have I have twin brothers with red hair they are I have twin brothers with red hair that are now 83 years old. I have a red-headed son my
    husband was blond
    We have lots of red heads in our family.

  • Jan Lokan nee Goldsworthy

    July 31, 2019

    My mother had lovely deep-auburn hair and didn’t go fully grey even in her late 80s. Her mother had red hair too but I don’t know about any further back than that. My mum was the 7th of 7 children, and the only one with red hair. She had extremely fair skin but looked after herself and it didn’t cause problems. She knew about not going out in the Australian sun between 9.30 and 4.30 and that’s how she brought me up too. I have the fair Celtic skin, though not as fair as hers, but I don’t have the red hair though I used to wish, in my teens, that I did. Clearly it was a recessive gene. Three of my children have my husband’s black hair and brown eyes, but one has fairer hair and blue eyes similar to mine. None of my grandchildren are redheads.

  • Dr. Patrick Goss

    July 31, 2019

    I have two sisters with red hair and there were also three brothers out of a family of 15.

  • Lucille Lyons

    July 31, 2019

    I am a redhead. My mom was red & grandmother was red. My brother is blond & wife was red & 2 of 3 kids, now adults, are red. My grandson is red even though my son & wife are not.
    I learned from MyHeritage that I am 25% Ashkenazi Jewish. That is my redheaded grandmother who I knew was German but didn’t know was Jewish. My mom’s first cousin on that side had 2 redheaded kids out of 4 even though she wasn’t. Lots of red in family.

  • judith jesse

    July 31, 2019

    My Mother had beautiful auburn hair, a brother also,but two sisters had lighter red hair & one sister had very dark hair. Her father had reddish hair and his family came from Germany. My Dad had dark hair, but two of his sisters had red hair. Neither my sister or I have red hair, but I have a grandaughter with beautiful red hair and my sister has a grandson with lighter red hair.

  • James Sturniolo

    July 31, 2019

    Our two sons were born redheads while I have dark hair and my wife has blond hair. My wife has a few percent of Ashkenazi Jew ancestry. My own mother had red hair as did many of my cousins. My father’s side all had dark hair.
    Our older son has red hair but his wife has dark hair and their two children have dark hair. Our other son is redhaired with his wife being light brown. Both of their daughters have beautiful red hair.

  • Debra Slone

    July 31, 2019

    My father is a red head as are two of my half brothers on my father’s side. My full brother was born with red hair but it fell out and grew in sandy blond. Our mother had auburn hair. Mine was sandy brown then got darker as I grew older, but I have very light skin, freckles and can’t tan. Our mother is an Ashkanazi Jew and many Ashkanazis are redheads, especially from Russia and Czechoslovakia. Our father is half Swedish and a quarter each Mexican and Spanish, yet still serious redhead. Not Jewish.

  • Kay Russell

    July 31, 2019

    I am both left handed and a red head. I have obviously that bith these traits have extreme of personalities. 1 being dont look at me, im not left hand or a red head. The other, i was born different, im going to run with that, look at me im left handed and redheaded. I am a hairdresser and have been talking to redheads and lefthanders about thir years as i am both. Guess which one i am. Lol A left hand hairdresser and a not so natural, now, Stawberry Blonde. Love both these genes they have made me who i am.

  • Anthony Gout

    July 31, 2019

    I have three sisters with Red Hair and I did have two uncles but they have passed away. the uncles were brothers of my father.

  • Marleen Perret

    August 1, 2019

    I am a red head. Both of my parents were red haired. One of my children, a girl, the oldest has red hair. (her father was dark). My son’s hair was brilliant mouse! Fair with streaks of copper.
    My grandson is sandy blond. (Father is blond.)
    We are Jewish, English/Irish, and Dutch/North Germans. In other words, we got our coloring from all sides.

  • Barbara

    August 1, 2019

    I have red hair and was the only child in my class at school and i was teased unmercifully. In later years I grew to be grateful for the difference.My parents did not.

  • Melinda Burress Fauth

    August 1, 2019

    My grandfather on my mother’s side was red headed as was his father, my mother’s brother and her sister had red hair, my oldest son had red hair as a toddler, mine is like a mix of golden and strawberry blonde, also some of my first cousins was also red haired.
    Both my sons are left handed but can use other hand as well to do things.

  • Patricia Webb

    August 1, 2019

    I was born a redhead to dark haired parents, dark haired siblings, one aunt and great granddad with red hair. Always love to read how families inherit this gene. At 76, I still enjoy having red hair, but I did not like being teased as a child for being “different”. Little did I know that I was unique.

  • Julie Frost

    August 1, 2019

    My mother was the eldest of six, her mother came from co Kilkenny and her father English. The next daughter was Auburn like my mum, the third blonde, then a son who was Raven then another daughter who was also a Raven ,then the last son I think did have a tint of ginger. My grandmother was Raven but I think the tint must have come from my grandfather, both I and my sister were blonds the redhead was my brother who in the seventies had the most beautiful head of hair now he’s bald!

  • Martyn Freear

    August 1, 2019

    At 60 years old, I can no longer say that I am a redhead. My hair and beard were both red.

    Mum’s parents were from the Shetlands. Dad’s line was Irish/Welsh.

    King Davis in the bible was a redhead. His grandmother, Ruth was a Moabitess. They were known as redheaded people.

    Norway is also known for its red hair. The Norsemen (Vikings) invaded the UK.

    We do not need to spell out how they changed the genetic makeup of the area.

  • David

    August 1, 2019

    Yes I have redheads in my family. Both brother and sister and aunts with red hair. I however do not.


    August 1, 2019

    My son is a red head with thick curls.His father being a maltese man has black curly hair & I have blonde
    straight hair,his sister brown & straight.Only one auburn/red head we know of is my mother’s sister with thick wavy hair. My brother & I are lefties,also one cousin.

  • Audrey Whelan

    August 1, 2019

    It isn’t easy being a leftie in a right handed world. When I started school, I was more or less punished for holding the pencil in my left hand. I would get smacked in the left hand and the pencil would be taken out of my left hand and put in my right hand. I was made to feel like I wasn’t normal. Needless to say, the pencil went right back in my left hand where it remains to this day. I’m creative, artistic and have been told too many times to remember that I have beautiful penmanship. I wouldn’t change that for anything. In my mother’s family, 2 are lefties. In my family, 2 are lefties. In my immediate family, I gave birth to 1 leftie. I have two dogs but haven’t figured out if either is a southpaw as lefties are sometimes referred as. LOL! Maybe being a leftie is responsible for my sense of humour! Cheers?

  • Joyce pfeil

    August 1, 2019

    My parents had three children. The middle child had red hair. I don’t know of any other red heads on either side of our family.

  • Patricia Webb

    August 1, 2019

    I was born with red hair to dark haired parents, With 2 dark haired siblings. I had a great grandfather with red hair. or so I was told. So far, no one has inherited my red hair in my family. So interesting to read these stories of red hair traits. I have grown to like my hair, but as a child, I was teased a lot, so it took a long time to appreciate the uniqueness of it. So far, at 76, I still have it, although it has become lighter in color.

  • Bobbie Wagoner

    August 1, 2019

    My mom and little brother have the brightest red hair, mom is 80 and still redheaded

  • Christina L Turcotte

    August 1, 2019

    My Mothers was a strawberry blonď with lots of freckles and very fair skin. My brother was the same way. Both of them burned very easily. I have freckles & blonde hair, but I can tan fairly dark. Crazy genetics!

  • Linda G Lawrence

    August 1, 2019

    I have 3 sons, all redheads. Their father has red hair but mine is brown. My mom showed me a lock of hair that was her father’s which is red (he died before I was born). My sons have a total of 8 children but only one, a grandson, has red hair. My granddaughter has a son, my great-grandson who has red hair. This is a great article that I will forward to my sons to read. Thanks!

  • Linda S

    August 1, 2019

    In Ayurveda, Pitta dosha or mind-body type, has many indicators. There are physical characteristics include medium build, strength and endurance, fair or ruddy or freckled skin, blond, light-brown, red hair (red or reddish undertones) and it is responsible for metabolism and digestion. Appetite is sharp and digestion is strong when in balance. This type cannot tolerate skipping meals. Hair color tends to gray prematurely. There is an aversion to the sun and hot weather. It is said that the heart and eyes are the seat of Pitta dosha. The characteristics of a balanced Pitta mind and emotions are sharp intellect, precise and articulate speech, and is warm, ardent, loving, and content in its expression. Balanced Pitta contributes to pleasing, fluent, and fluid speech (including when giving a speech). It governs ambitions. When out of balance this dosha can lead to sharp-tongued, outspoken, argumentative, and combative communications. This type is prone to anger and stress easily brings this out. Sometimes it is fueled by irritation, impatience, and perfectionism.
    Does all this fit redheads a lot? This is because we are all combinations of the 3 (Vata – Pitta – Kapha) doshas. The relative proportion of each determine your prakriti or individual body type. Typically, redheads are predominately Pitta dosha with little Vata and Kapha.
    Born a fire-engine redhead with green eyes, I have been brought to the front of the room during an Ayurvedic lecture as a typical Pitta type. These characteristics resonate with me, down to my hair turning (first pinkish) to white in my 50s.
    Isn’t it interesting that this description is so closely related to attributes we hear about redheads?
    Want to know more? “Perfect Health” by Deepak Chopra is an excellent introduction. He defines each dosha, explains the causes of imbalance, and provides recommendations in order to stay in balance for mind and body. This 1990 book is readily available at public libraries.

  • John Mitchell

    August 1, 2019

    Red Hair, Blue Eyes, Mother was a red head and Father was fair skinned dark haired Scottish. My skin is so fair I see the Skin Doctor 3 times a year and am going thru a facial skin peal right now.

  • Deborah

    August 1, 2019

    My granddaughter Morgan Blaine has red hair. It is a beautiful red color. I have red heads on my Father’s side of the family. Morgan’s father was a red head. His hair has darkened but his facial hair is still red.

  • Anne Coutts

    August 1, 2019

    I am lefthanded, blue eyed, freckled, fair skinned, and auburn haired and have cats (not black fortunately) so I am grateful I wasn’t born in the witch-hunting era.
    The recessive genes have certainly come to the fore.
    My hair colour changes depending on season, lightens in summer and darkens in winter, and on what colours I wear. As I approach my 60’s I still have my natural colour and have never dyed it although there are a lot of people who still don’t believe it.
    My father had black hair and brown eyes, my mother brown hair (with reddish tints) and blue eyes, and and my brother was born blonde, which darkened to brown, with blue eyes.
    On my father’s side my grandfather was black haired and my grandmother fair – although she wasn’t ginger. His siblings were all dark haired.
    On my mother’s side, of her 5 siblings I have an uncle and aunt who both had red hair and the others had brown. Her mother was fair haired her father darker.
    I also have first cousins who are redhaired on both sides of the family.
    I also know of 2nd cousins, and more further removed, who are red haired.

    The current research on our ancestry shows we come from around the Scottish-English borders, Ireland, and Aberdeenshire, and my DNA shows I have a trace of Scandanavian (Vikings?) blood.

  • Louise A Jacobson

    August 1, 2019

    Being left handed in a right handed world was great for me as I am very adaptable in many things, don’t need left handed scissors or can openers, after I had a stroke my adaptability keep me eating right handed (less accidents then left), quicker comeback in use of my left hand skills and brain function. I also had Auburn hair, my daughter blond, my granddaughter dark, but both born with strawberry locks.

  • Ruth Wittenburg

    August 1, 2019

    I was born an auburn redhead, have a brother who had bright red hair, one who was strawberry blonde that turned brown as he aged. His daughter has the light red hair, too. My firstborn son was blonde but the second one has my Auburn redhair. My husband’s is dark brown. Redhair does run in his family, though, on the Italian side. I’m 83.3% English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish with 13.6 % East Europe and 3.1% of North African and Nigerian, although I don’t know where that came from.

  • Terry

    August 1, 2019

    There are 10 children in our family & only the middle brother had flaming red hair, & I say had because it’s mostly gray now, & he was a very hyperactive child.

  • Joann Reese-Harris

    August 2, 2019

    My grandfather had auburn hair. He had 5 daughters, one with red hair, two sons, one with auburn hair. (My father). My aunt with red hair had 5 children, two daughters with red hair and one son with red hair.
    My parents had 5 children, one with auburn hair. I had two daughters, one with auburn hair. Everyone with red hair also had natural curls, everyone with blue eyes. I was always a blond with blue/green eyes.
    My mother had dark brown hair/blue eyes.

  • marcia cholerton

    August 2, 2019

    Both my mother and my mother in law had red hair. My mother has one nephew with red hair. My mother in laws 2 brothers had red hair and one niece does. We have 3 children and 8 grands and not a red head among them. My mother’s was a beautiful auburn with brown eyes and the ones in the mother in laws family are the carrot with rather pale blue eyes. Isn’t genetics weird??

  • Joyce Wheeler

    August 2, 2019

    My Paternal Grandmother, My Father, my Son and I have all had dark, Auburn Red hair. My Grandmother died in her 50’s when I was quite young so I don’t know what changes she might have had in her hair. Her sister had red hair and I could see light traces of it when she was older. My Father’s hair gradually became darker as he aged as has my Son’s, who is 58. My hair has gradually become lighter so that at age 82 I am called blond though I have a couple of white streaks in front. I’m wondering if the “lighter, darker” thing has to do with male female traits.

  • Clare Powers

    August 2, 2019

    I married a redhead. He was one of 7 children. Only one was not a redhead, all various shades of red. Their father’s nickname was “Red”. Both of my children are redheads. Add to that, cousins, nieces, and nephews I have a lot of “special” redheads in my life. The thing that always makes me laugh if that people will tell me that they see red in my hair! Weird how I wasn’t a redhead until I gave birth to two redheads. I don’t know where the red hair comes from on my side, but it must be there somewhere.

  • S. Harris

    August 2, 2019

    My great-uncle was a redhead. To my knowledge, the only relative bearing that distinction.

  • Mary Anne Eskew

    August 2, 2019

    The article on redheads was most interesting as I am a redhead. My sister, who is not, has 3 redheaded daughters, all different shades.. I have a granddaughter and a great-grandson who are both redheads. My mother once said she thought a great-uncle may have been a redhead. No proof or even a name.

  • Joy Eshleman

    August 2, 2019

    I had very red hair as a child and freckles. But my parents were second cousins but no one else had red hair in the extended family , so I’m not sure where it came from. My youngest son had red hair as a child but turned brown later. We are Irish and many other genes. But now the hair is white but the freckles are still here. I do sunburn very very easily and grew up in the desert. I’m also left handed. The only one in the family. I always had to sit at the end of the table.

  • Linda Zikewich

    August 3, 2019

    I was a strawberry blond as younger female. Now I am 71 and my hair is a very light blond with slightly red highlights. The only other red head in my family is a cousin, the son of my mother’s sister.

  • Evelyn Utter

    August 3, 2019

    At 3yo, I swear our daughter thought her name was, “Look at that red hair.” We taught her to say “recessive genes” when she was asked where she got the red hair. I have blonde and my husband looks brown. We both have freckles.

  • Sheila Rowland

    August 3, 2019

    I have a red haired daughter and she has a paaternal red haired cousin. Her father had a red beard but I understood that red beards are fom a different gene. ans Many men have red beards.

  • Ray Clitheroe

    August 3, 2019

    My eldest daughter, Megan, has light coloured hair while her sister and my youngest daughter, Laura is a redhead. Both girls are resolute, strong-willed, and although Aussie, Laura
    went to London to work for two years and currently living and working in Dublin, Eire, where she says she is not quite as out of place. While her Mum had brown hair with red under-tones, some great-aunts and an uncle with red hair, there are no known red-heads on my direct line, but I have a paternal first cousin who was a red-head, so the recessive red gene is clearly present on both sides.

    I have a maternal-side uncle who is natural left handed forced to write right handed, I tend to be ampidextrous, but write, right handed and I have a left handed grand-daughter, who can easily print letters in mirror image, backwards. Everyone else in the Family are standard “righties”.

  • Patricia Lyke

    August 3, 2019

    In my Mother’s family there are redheads out of ten. My maternal Grandfather had red hair, My mom was a redhead and I am a redhead, but my children do not. Nor do my grandchildren.

  • Kathy

    August 3, 2019

    My mom and her 3 sisters(all of her siblings) and her parents were all redheads. She has mostly German in her heritage – no Irish. I have 4 siblings and only 2 of us(me and my sis) are redheads. This article is interesting because my dad was 100% Irish and people always think I get my red hair from him. I tell them that no I get it from my mom. Per this article, I guess I get it from both. Learned some new facts. My eyes are blue but my redheaded sisters’ are brown. Mom blue and Dad brown. I have 2 children who were both blonde(husband was a towhead). Grandson was born w/red hair but it is now very blonde(age 4)

  • Joanne Moore

    August 3, 2019

    My friend, Melanie and her mother are very special to me. They are both so helpful, pretty, bright, and happy. Melanie and I liked to sing together when we were in our teens. Recently we sang a duet at her mother’s funeral. It turned out well, and it was special to me.

  • John Melia

    August 3, 2019

    Redheads, a report by Keith Cheng from Penn State College of Medicine documents among other things that the REDHEAD gene is traced back to an individual in India 10,000 years ago. Similar research by a University group in Dublin Ireland while researching the Irish Diaspora also researched the history of redheads, they claim Scotland followed by Ireland have the highest CONCENTRATION of redheads, they also claim their research identifies the redhead gene to a mutation in Asia 40,000 years ago. Perhaps My Heritage with their research capabilities can publish more accurate details ?. Regards, John Melia, father of 2 redheads & grandfather to 2 redheads.

  • Dana

    August 3, 2019

    My family is African American. My maternal grandfather had 16 brothers and sisters none of them had red hair but each one of them had a child or grandchild with red hair. The trend seems to be every other generation at least one person has red hair.

  • sharon fenn

    August 4, 2019

    my mother had red hair and her mother also had red hair and two of her brother were also red heads and three of my cousins also had red hair

  • Teddy Shepard

    August 4, 2019

    Four of us five siblings had red hair of varying shade; the odd one had brownish hair. I was strawberry blond and my eye color has changed from brownish as a child to hazel with a somewhat bluish ring around the color.

    Our mother was a blue eyed blond and our father had dark brown hair with hazel colored eyes. My mother’s siblings each had a different color hair: mom blonde, sister dark red, the other sister brunette. They had a brother who died when he was four years old due to a virus, not sure what his hair color was. My mother told me she had a cousin with red hair. There were no red heads of my father’s siblings.

    Neither of my two children have red hair, but brownish color; my son has brown eyes and my daughter has blue grey eyes. My only grandchild has blond hair with brown eyes.

  • arthur stoker

    August 4, 2019

    My wife is a redhead and does have some of the traits mentioned, quick temper, talkative and impatient but has mellowed as she has got older. I love her hair colour and would not want to change it or her.

  • Tearlach Nicolas

    August 4, 2019

    Redheads are fiery and talkative, because they get picked on a lot as children, they have to make more than effort to join in, they are the butt of the jokes. This is the gift red brings

  • steve o’brien

    August 4, 2019

    Me and my 4 sisters and 2 brothers all have red hair, so too does my son. My mother had auburn hair and my dad had black hair. I remember my uncle Christy ( dads brother) also had black hair and all of his children were redheads, my first cousins. I’m not sure if its a curse or a blessing.

  • f-u: farmer

    August 4, 2019

    I have a friend from high school who had curly red hair (now in her 70’s her hair is white), but she also had blue eyes, which is an even rarer combination.

  • Katherine

    August 4, 2019

    My daughter has the recessive red hair. My side is 1/2 German, part Lumbee Indian with Scottish, slave and English blood. Her father’s side is 1/2 Italian (Naples region) and Pennsylvanian Dutch. I have a red-headed great aunt and he has a re-headed aunt and cousin (Rooster). I was more strawberry blonde/blonde, now dark blonde with some red. Growing up in the South I was able to tan but moved to Oregon when my daughter was 2 1/2. She is not able to tan. I absolutely would not allow her to dye her entire hair but eventually let her color her tips. Now she’s an adult and embraces her hair color more.

  • Elizabeth Robidoux

    August 4, 2019

    Thank you. We wondered how I ended up with auburn hair – recessive gene, huh? Wow. Maybe the A+ blood was due to interous hidden recessive gene allele of A+ + O+ that caused my A+. What they could eat would sometimes cause my stomach vomit because A+ is the opposite of B+. What I could eat & feel great with caused their stomach to vomit. Some siblings accused me of “not being related”. It worried my Mom that I was A+, Auburn & Daintily Built,oppositely gifted and didn’t look like the rest. I guess auburn hair stands out. Relatives & women would ask my mother: Are you sure she’s related? My grandmother Irene Paquette Baker would say, “She looks like a Paquette.” Maybe they were jealous of my Mom. I found one way to tick people off. I’d, tell them I got my good looks from my Mother. (Except for the auburn hair.) Thanks.

  • Kathryn Evans

    August 4, 2019

    Our two oldest daughters are redheads, two grandaughters are redheads and a great granddaughter. My biological brother and sister are both redheads. Our daughters have brown eyes, our son has blue. Our youngest daughter is a lefty but uses her right hand for everything but writing.

  • Kathryn Evans

    August 4, 2019

    2 daughters redheads with dark brown eyes, 2 granddaughters redheads both blue eyes, and one great granddaughter redhead with blue eyes.

  • haz

    August 4, 2019

    My mom had red hair, mine was black as was one of my brothers, one brother had blond hair the other 3 had brown hair. One of my sons has red hair but is darkening with age. My husband is a redhead as was his mother.

  • Melissa Childs

    August 5, 2019

    My mother is a red head and also is her brother. They’re other 3 siblings plus their parents are not red heads. My mother had 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy. Only the boy was a red head. I had 2 son’s- one after the other- both with red hair (skipping a generation). My brother has a son also a red head. My family are still yet to have another female with red hair besides my mother….

  • Colleen Clarke

    August 5, 2019

    Hi On my father’s side of the family we all have either blond or black/brown hair. My father, my younger brother, my nephew, my son, when they grow a beard it is red, but they do not have red hair on their heads. Apart from my father who had black hair, both my brother and son have blond hair while my nephew has brown hair. why is this so.

  • Trevor

    August 5, 2019

    I had brown hair (it is now grey) but when living in the tropics with regular exposure to the sun it turned a deep copper colour, to the extent my mother accused me of dying my hair.
    There are several redheads scattered throughout the family.

  • shalom bresticker

    August 5, 2019

    You could have mentioned the famous Sherlock Holmes story, “The Red-Headed League”.

  • Chanty Haas

    August 5, 2019

    My mom is the only red head in her family. None of her kids or grand kids are either. She knows of her paternal grandfather being a red head. Is there any association with red head and lefties?

  • Estelle

    August 5, 2019

    My father was left handed but no one else is in our family does it run in families is it in the genes? He also had red hair and two of his sisters had auburn their mother was red head and so am I, but my children were blonde as children, my granddaughter is blonde and her mother is a strawberry blonde I thought she would definitely be red.

  • Daisy Moses

    August 5, 2019

    I have red hair that I inherited from my Mother. My sister also has red hair. I have green eyes and my Mother and sister both have blue eyes.

  • Maz Richmond

    August 6, 2019

    What an interesting article on redheads!! I myself am a redhead and the only one amongst three other siblings! My grandfather was a redhead of Irish decent. My Mum told me that people would look at me as a baby and little girl, and say, “ooh she’ll have a firey temper”, to which Mum would reply, “well no, she’s a very placid child!!!”…Its amazing how historical opinions have been handed down for generations!!!

  • Annette Mooi

    August 6, 2019

    My son is redhead and he has 3 boys and 1 girl that are redheads.

  • Hetty

    August 7, 2019

    My daughter has red hair, with brown eyes, just like my great-grandmother – my grandmother was auburn, mother brown, me brown and now my daughter red! All through the female line but has taken 4 generations to return to red hair!

  • diane ozerow

    August 7, 2019

    I’m left handed and my granddaughter has red hair & so does her mom. I’m not sure if there’s been red heads in my side of my family, but it’s possible.

  • s Covey

    August 12, 2019

    My grandma and Grandpa had 6 kids. The first five were born with white blond hair probably from my grandpa’s Norwegian roots. . So blond they were called cotton tops. The sixth was born with bright red hair. My grandma had Scottish ancestry but no one in the family anyone remembered had red hair. My red haired aunt married a brown haired man who was full Norwegian. It turns out his father had bright red hair. My aunt had 4 children, three red heads and one blond. There must be some red hair in Scandinavians.

  • Deborah Drew

    August 13, 2019

    I have 4 children, two girls and two boys. I have one daughter with red hair and one son with red hair. My hair is dark brown and my husbands is blonde. My husbands grandfather had red hair and my fathers sister has red hair.

  • Mickie Boldt

    August 22, 2019

    I am a strawberry blond redhead with green/blue eyes. My mother had auburn hair (now white). My dad had dark brown hair and green eyes. But as far as I know, no one on his side had red hair, unless it was way back. Mom told me that several of her relatives had red hair, I think on her father’s side. My maternal grandmother had dark brown hair, brown eyes and maternal grandfather had a sandy colored hair and blue eyes.

    My maternal grandmother and grandfather married late in life and my grandmother was the youngest of twelve, so mom and I never really got to meet a lot of them — same with my grandfather.

  • Jacque Davis

    August 29, 2019

    I Am left handed. I was told my father always tried to change me to be right handed. I am now 90, and have spent a lifetime being confused about making quick decisions between left and right.

  • Christine

    September 28, 2019

    Both of my grandfathers, two of my four brothers, three of their seven children and one of my four sons! So far none of the five from the next generation 🙁 But number six, who will be the first born to one of the red haired members of the family. So my fingers are crossed.

  • Judy Andrus

    November 11, 2019

    My mother was a redhead, the first redhead anyone remembered. Her parents both had dark brown/black hair. All their ancestors were Quaker (descended from early English colonists), later English immigrants of the 1840s, or Dutch. My mother had freckles, fair skin, and beautiful red hair. My father was Austro-Hungarian and had black hair. I am a redhead just like my mother. A neighbor once scolded her for dressing me in a pink dress, “Don’t you know that redheads should never wear pink?!?” Strangers always commented on my red hair, usually simply saying, “Oh, a REDHEAD!” but in my mother’s youth (she was born in 1912), a common taunt was, “Red-head, red-head, fire in the woodshed!”

  • Vivian Shirley

    November 22, 2019

    Yes, my brother is a non tanning redhead. One of his daughters is also a redhead. It is said that our paternal grandfather was also a redhead, but he passed when our father was 7. He was mostly of German descent from the Muller surname morphed to Miller.
    I can tan if done slowly, but have the freckles and though my hair is brown now, it was the color of taffey as a child. So Taffey was what my mom called me! My hair will lighten to a golden-red when in the sun much. As a teanager “Sun In” on my hair, when laying out to tan, earned me the nickname “Red”.
    Question, Can you almost be a redhead?

  • Becky O’Bryan

    November 24, 2019

    My dark haired grandparents had 4 redheads out of 7 children, including my redheaded father. I was the only redhead out of 26 first cousins. I loved my auburn hair. It is silver now and gets almost as many comments as the auburn color used to get.
    I had 1 very dark haired child, one with powder white hair and 2 with very light sandy hair. he bright redheaded grand-daughter and numerous grandchildren and greats with candy hair with red highlights.
    I am a voracious reader. When I was young I never or hardly ever read about a redheaded character. Now it seems as if every book I read has several auburn and red headed characters.

  • Pam Ormrod

    March 19, 2020

    I have auburn hair and hazel eyes The only place I have freckles is my arms, and I am the only one in my family who is ambidextrous. Both my children have brown hair with flecks of red. My son has a ginger beard, and his youngest child has strawberry blond hair. My youngest sister has carrot coloured hair and blue eyes and she has freckles on her face and arms. When she was younger she was allergic to the sun. She is a righty. But none of her children have red hair.