Am I Related to Basquiat?

Tracing Your Roots: A reader researching famous ties gets a few pointers for finding Haitian roots.

Once you have that information, you could contact the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat for any information they have on his ancestry. If they are unable or unwilling to offer any information, their website provides books about him that may provide more information on his life. You would then need to trace his lineage backward, the same way you did Axel’s, to see if the two families connect.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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This answer was provided in consultation with researchers from New England Historic Genealogical Society. Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the country’s leading nonprofit resource for family history research. Its website,, contains more than 300 million searchable records for research in New England, New York and beyond. With the leading experts in the field, NEHGS staff can provide assistance and guidance for questions in most research areas. They can also be hired to conduct research on your family. Learn more today.

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