Friday, May 25, 2012

Melungeons Undone

The  Melungeons of the mountains of south-central Virginia, western North Carolina and upper South Carolina are a group of people that no one, until recently, were sure how to classified them - were they Blacks, Mediterranean, Indians or some mix of everything?  They are much like our Moors of Delaware.  Science however has found them out.  According to an Associated Press story;
For years, varied and sometimes wild claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents once known derisively as the Melungeons. Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps from Turkish slaves or Gypsies.
Now a new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.
And that report, which was published in April in the peer-reviewed journal, doesn't sit comfortably with some people who claim Melungeon ancestry.....

Read more here

The test results do not apply to everyone who is considered a Melungeons, obvious in any mixed race and mixed ethnicities the word Melungeons becomes a catchall term for any people of mixed-race ancestry.  The DNA testing was limited to 69 male lines and 8 female lines so there are no doubt many more combinations out there.

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