Friday, February 3, 2017



Origin of the word 'Malungeon'.
There is a lot of noise and confusion out there about the origins of the “Melungeon” families. As Carlson so skillfully demonstrated, they can be DIRECTLY taken back to Fort Christanna, and a settlement of the Saponi Indians, who were made up of the remnants of many bands of the Eastern Siouan peoples.

Carlson has a great deal to say on these topics (p-7-8), starting with;

Looking for remnant groups of historical tribal populations, the few early ethnogrophers and other professional researchers were aware of the Greasy Rock (Hancock County, Tennessee), Stone Mountain (Scott County, Virginia), and Salyerrsville (Magoffin County, Kentucky) Indian populations concurred, in part, with the people’s own explanations by defining them originally as ‘wasted tribes’ and refugee Indian families. But true to the thinking of the times, these observers held assumptions about the nature of social and cultural assimilation that led them to conclude the people’s still distinct and asserted ‘Indianness’ would soon disappear.

Of the term Melungeon, Carlson says;“No confirmed etymplogy of this regionally specific label has been developed., but most contend the word stems from the French ‘melange, meaning ‘mixing’.

More about Rev. John Fontaine, 1715-1719 and the French Hugeunots

Rev. John Fontaine wrote a memoir entitled “Journal of John Fontaine: An Irish Huguenot Son in Spain and Virginia,” 1710-1719”. At there is a section on the Huguenots. Several paragraphs are dedicated to Rev. John Fontaine. Quoting from it, we have;

John Fontaine's father and grandfather were Huguenots who suffered official persecution by the Catholics in France. In 1693 John was born in England, to which his father had fled as a refugee. His father then migrated to Ireland, and succeeded in getting John a commission in an Irish regiment in 1710. John Fontaine served briefly in Spain, then investigated Virginia in 1715-19 before returning to England.” While in Virginia, he visited Fort Christanna which had become home ot the remaining Saponi Indians.

In a letter dated March 30, 1757, Rev. Fontaine, the same man who had visited Fort Christanna several decades earlier, was said to have commented that the colonist’s “ought to have intermarried with the Indians [more frequently], thereby allowing [them to be] more easily convert[ed] to Christianity. . . . The French Reverend derided English Colonial authorities for discouraging marital liaisons between Indians and Whites. He also noted his concern with physical appearance by claiming that would result in “Indian children as white at birth as Portuguese or Spaniard.” From early days, early colonists realized that mixed race children looked somewhat like Spaniards or Portuguese. Learn more about Virginia’s Huguenot peoples at the link above.

Conjugation of the French Verb, “Mélanger”

There are many ideas as to the origin of the word “melungeon”. Some claims have been made that it is of African origin, others say Portuguese, and still other's say Turkish, Jewish, or Arabic. After they have decided the origin (without any evidence), then then go o0ut and see a random Portuguese servant, a story of escaped slaves. They look for galley slaves, or some other tale – anything will do. But the word “melungeonit is none of these – it is French.

Those who claim it is of African origin say it goes back to Mozambique. But Mozambique is in East Africa and most slaves in America came from West Africa. They say Angloa was a Portuguese colony and the Portuguese brought slaves to America. But they took thm to Brazil, mostly. However there is still a remote possiblity Angolan slaves might have gotten to the Carolinas and Virginia. I'll grant that.

Some say the word is of Portuguese origin. However since both the French and Portuguese languages are of Latin origin, one should expect there to be similarities in both languages.

Some claim there was a shipload of Turkish slaves that got dumped on the Carolina coasts. Somehow they made their way to the Southern Appalatians.

However to prove any of these things you need to show records of these people not only in Virginia, but records showing how they went from coastal Virginia to the interior and ultimately to the same locations where the Melungeon families are later found. Find a record of escaped slaves, it would have been mentioned. Both Mr. Forest Hazel and Dr. Richard Carlson have done this, with regard to the Indian hupothesis. They have each shown a direct line from Fort Christanna to communities of many families of mixed race families. Has anyone found a single “Portuguese Adventurer” landing on the Atlantic Coastline, moving inland, and finally settling in Southwestern Virginia and Eastern Tennessee? They can't even find a Portuguese surname, much less several Portuguese surnames and families travelling together. I strongly suspect there is some African ancestry mixed in with the Indian Saponi of the Melungeon. Remember many Indians were enslaved. Some say the slave owners mated the African males with American Indian females hoping to breed a tolarence to cold weather into the African slaves. From what we have learned, when capturing Indian slaves, males were often killed and only women and children captured. They wanted to breed strong workers, and they did create a race of strong men. The idea of a Turkish origin might be discussed in a similar manner. Is there a record of any Turkish settlers arriving on the coastline and migrating inland through the regions the Melungeons reach. One must immediately ask why there are not Portuguese or Turkish surnames? There may well have been some mixing with Spanish soldiers from Florida, with the American Indian peoples. But we don't have reports of Spanish conquestidores as being the fathers of the Melungeons. They are said to be Portuguese. We have people whose surnames are English (to be expected), their EXACT migration route mapped out. They are called “Saponi Indians” throughout their migrations routes and they wind up exactly where the Melungeons were located. Oh, and they said they were Indian as well. The evidence for all thees other peoples combined, when compared to evidence for an Saponi/Catawba origin of these people. Now for the origin of the word “melungeon”.
I think the word “melungeon” is of French origin, and here's why.

The French verb ‘melanger’ means ‘to mix’. First person plural of this French verb meaning “we mix” and is still in use today in the French language, is ‘malungeon’.

Http:// From the website above we have the correct way to conjugate the French verb, “melanger.” If we observe only the present tense, we obtain the following –

Congegation, Present Tense, of the French Verb, “melanger”

English . . . . . . . . . . . .French
I mix . . . . . . . . . . . . . je mélange
you mix  . . . . . . . . . . tu mélanges
he/she/it mixes . . . . . il/elle mélange
we mix . . . . . . . . . . . nous mélangeons
yall mix . . . . . . . . . . .vous mélangez
they mix . . . . . . . . . . ils/elles mélangent

Notice – “We mix” in English becomes nous mélangeons in French. Can it get any simpler? In those days, we had entire Huguenot communities where French would have been the first language in many households living near the Melungeon and Indian communities. Before making any claims, we have these i.] French speakng people ii.] living in the right place iii.] during the right time in history. With the other groups you are just asking about people. There is no means to get them to the interior. You have owrds that “look a little bit” like the word “melungeon” but it is NOT exact as is the french word.

Wilburn Waters

Mr. Coale wrote a book about a frontiersman in Southwestern Virginia and surrounding areas. It is a true story about a man named “Wilburn Waters.” Here is part of what it says;

“Charles B. Coale, in "Wilburn Waters" tells of the Indians going to this station [Gist's Station] in 1777, after their capture of Jane Whittaker and Polly Alley, and finding it well defended make no attack upon it. Now they went on and attacked the next fort. I have wondered if there were other reasons this [Gist's Station] fort was spared, but we may never know. Wilburn Water's was 1/4th Catawba. But just who was Wilburn Waters? What can we discover about him?

We have the following about Wilburn Waters from The Life and Adventures of Wilburn Waters, The Famous Hunter and Trapper of White Top Mountain Embracing Early History of Southwestern Virginia Sufferings of the Pioneers, Etc., Etc.” by Charles B. Coale . ” Chapter 2 starts with the following words; Wilburn Waters was born on what is called Ready's River, a branch of the Yadkin, in Wilkes county, North Carolina, on the 20th day of November, 1812. From the best information that can now be had, his father, John P. Waters, was a French Huguenot, who emigrated to America in early life, about the beginning of the present century [note: that would have been the beginning of the 19th century], and settled in South Carolina. He was a man of some education and liberal acquirements, of strong prejudices and passions, restless, reckless and fond of adventure. Being remarkably stout, fearless and passionate, he was considered dangerous when excited or laboring under a sense of injury, and was supposed by those with whom he communicated most freely, to have been a refugee from South Carolina, if not from France, from some cause he never revealed to others. He settled down, without any apparent calling, among the simple and obscure people on Ready's River, where, after a time, he married his wife the mother of Wilburn, who was a half-breed of the Catawba Indian Tribe.

We have a mixed-race Catawba/French Huguenot living in the EXACT location where the Melungeon families lived. Note Wilburn Waters i.] Lived on/near White Top Mountain (where according to Carlson, these Saponi who would become known as Melungeons, who were a band of the Catawba, had moved) ii.] Was mixed race Catawba, and iii.] His father was French Huguenot. So Wilburn Waters could have honestly said of his family in the French language, “nous melangeons.”or “we, meaning his family, are “mixed”, meaning he was of mixed race. This isn't some living in coastal Virginia saying they are “Melungeon”, and then we can never trace a family member EVER moving to the Virginia/Tennessee border. This isn't finding a person of Purtuguise heritage in Jamestown and assuming that person is the father of all Melungeons several hundred miles inland. This isn't assuming because there is an African word that is similar to “Melungeons” that the “Melungeons” on the the Tennessee/Virginia border derives from excaped slaves and that it is a mere coincidence that this is the only word they recall “from the old country”. Wilburn Waters was a REAL MAN of mixed French-Catawban ancestry who lived in the Melungeon community.

We have shown a French Huguenot minister visited the Fort Christanna Saponi and associated bands early in the second decade of the 18th century. In fact there were thousands of French Huguenot refugees from European persecution during that time frame, in the Carolinas and Virginia. This region of the country is also the origin of the Melungeon families.

A scientific principle known as ‘Occam’s Razor’ (paraphrasing it) states that if there are two or more explanations for a single event, choose the simplest. These are all tantalizing and intriguing – but the simplest explanation is the French origin, which is an EXACT MATCH, letter for letter.

Bad Ideas
There are numerous TERRIBLE ideas as to just how the Melungeons became to be called by that name.

Now that we have the origin of the name, what is the origin of the people? What does Carlson say (p. 8)? “. . . by 1840 the Indians considered this label pejorative, and did not use it to identify themselves. Primarily as a result of a few particularly influential publications that emerged from 1889 to 1891, the imposed Melungeon label is used in attempts to explain ‘Melungeon origins.’ These explanations are based on various conjectural histories supported by popular myths and legends regarding, in part, shipwrecked Phoenician sailors, the lost colony of Roanoke, Turkish mercenaries, the Welsh Chief Modoc, Pardo’s lost soldiers, and/or the lost tribe of Israel, all of whom were said to have ‘took up’ with Indian women to form the contemporary Melungeon population. These theories segregate ‘Melungeon’ Identity from Indian identity, and instead hold the Stone Mountain, Greasy Rock, and Salyersville Indian populations to be representative of many mislabeled ‘marginal groups’, or ‘racial isolates’, or ‘racial enclaves’ scattered throughout the American Southeast. . . . Categories such as these are used to help explain away the persistence of people’s Indian identity claims.”

Carlson says all these ideas are flawed and he provides three reasons, the most important of which, in my opinion – and my opinion and a buck and a half will buy you a cup of coffee is the third; ‘lack of historic and ethnographic data needed to support their suppositions regarding the very nature of identity itself; that is, identities are socially constructed and culturally reinforced. ’In other words, there are no documented historical records that can cite a progression of events that show a distinct, continuous, group of related people migrating from Europe or elsewhere, to the Southern Appalachians, for which the label “Melungeon” has been given them.

Melungeon DNA Test

The Huffington Post article is a little misleading (link above). They seemed to gloat a little that only African American and Caucasian DNA was reported, except for the small amout of American Indian DNA of a single family. In their report they forgot to research the historical records of the Eastern Siouan/Catawba and related tribes. They forgot about the the history of these “extinct” Eastern Siouan tribes. There are many good boks about us.

My Response

The Huffington Post article says:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- 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.

"There were a whole lot of people upset by this study," lead researcher Roberta Estes said. "They just knew they were Portuguese, or Native American."

But reading the article found at the link below – there is no real denial of American Indian ancestry, while there report DOES deny any Portuguese ancestry.

At the website below is an amazing article, that pretty much confirms things that I have been saying for many, many years.

Melungeons, A Multiethnic Population

Roberta J. Estes, Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson, Janet Lewis Crain

Melungeon is a term applied historically to a group of persons, probably multiethnic, found primarily in Hawkins and Hancock Counties, Tennessee, and in adjoining southern Lee County, Virginia.  In this article we define the Melungeon population study group, then review the evidence from historical sources and DNA testing--Y-chromosome, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA--to gain insight into the origin of this mysterious group. . . .

Formation of Melungeon DNA Project

The Core Melungeon DNA Project was formed at Family Tree DNA in July of 2005[3] with the goal of testing the Y-line and mitochondrial DNA of families identified as Melungeon. The first step was to define which families were Melungeon and were eligible to be included.

The popular press has extended the definition of Melungeon dramatically. The project administrators researched various records to determine where the label of Melungeon was actually applied, and to whom.  They found the word first recorded in 1810 and used for the next 100 years or so, primarily in Hawkins and Hancock Counties in Tennessee, and slightly into neighboring counties where the Melungeon family community reached over county and state boundaries into Claiborne County, Tennessee, and Lee, Scott and Russell Counties in Virginia. The project was subsequently broken into Y-line and mitochondrial DNA projects, and in 2010, a Melungeon Family project was added with the advent of the Family Finder product.

Parts of this paper seem to discuss parts of MY family. The first two records of the word Melungeon, might have referred to our family. From fhe first record, found in Baxter County, Arkansas, we have a reference to Batesville, Arkansas, a town only 20 miles from the hometown of our ancestor, and both might have been there in 1819, when my ancestor was named overseer to that place, and Jacob Mooney was said to go through Batesville in 1819. The second record of the Melungoens, was from the Minutes of Stony Creek Primitive Church. Our Wayland’s namees are all over those minutes. From the study, we have quoted the following below –

First Records of Melungeon

The first recorded instance of any word resembling Melungeon is found surrounding an 1810 event in Arkansas. In 1972, Baxter County, Arkansas published a Centennial Edition of its history. In it they describe a Tennessean, Jacob Mooney, along with Jacob Wolf, reportedly from Hawkins County, Tn.,[4] who made numerous incursions into Arkansas for the purpose of trading livestock, etc. The following passage describes Mooney's first trek to Baxter County in 1810. So we have four “Lungens” who travel with others from Hawkins County, Tennessee, to Arkansas.

"The four men who had come with Mooney were men of Mystery, referred to by oldtimers who knew of them as "Lungeons." They were neither Negro or Indian and in later years Jacob Mooney was ostracized for living with these "foreigners" the time he moved to Arkansas for good, his former slaves and the "Lungeon" men had died and most of their families had moved west with the Indians."[5] So after the author says of the Lungeons, “They were neither Negroes of Indians”, she says (before the end of her same run on sentence) , we have the author saying, “his former slaves and the "Lungeon" men had died and most of their families had moved west with the Indians."[5] Why would they move west with the Indians? They moved west into Indian Territory (Oklahoma) because they were Indian as well.

The next written record of Melungeons is found in Scott County, Virginia in the Stony Creek[6] church minutes in 1813[7] when a reference was made to “harboring them Melungins.”[8] From that point forward in time, we access historical documents to determine which families were originally considered to be Melungeon. [104.]

My direct line DID MOVE from a Melungeon community in Scott County, Virginia to Arkansas in 1815, five years after these Lungeons are mentioned in Arkansas. Later my family did move to Indian Territory, Oklahoma, from Arkansas. And we were attending that church in SW Virginia in 1813, when the reference to the “them Melungins” was made from its minutes. So I am very interested in the study of the Melungeons. However we were excluded from this DNA test. I know we don't descend down a known male or female line to our Melungeon surnames. But the fact that these others descend back to English surnames suggests they don't elther. Their test was doomed from the beginning. But they had good intentions and they meant well.

My family story says we DO HAVE mixed Indian blood. My family story NEVER MENTIONS ANY Portuguese blood – NEVER! I do have an uncle who I recall saying something to me when I was a child. I was curious about our ancestry and I remember Uncle Andrew saying “Be careful. You might not like what you find.” Now we were never ashamed about having Indian blood, I don’t think – well, some of might have been. But to have Negro blood would have been taboo back then. He said this when I was a child, probably in the later part of the 1950s or the 1960s. I think this is what he was referring to. My autosomal DNA test did say we also had some sub-Sahara African ancestry.

I suspect we have NO reference to the Portuguese simply because we were living in a part of Arkansas where there was no immediate threat of being enslaved in the mid 19th century, as was the case in Eastern Tennessee and other places they wre termed “Portuguese”. Those people might have been termed runaway slaves, and they wanted to combat those accusations by saying their ancestors were Portuguese, not Black! My family had successfully assimilated – theirs had not.

They refer also to Lewis Jarvis article where he mentions the surnames of several Melungeon families, including “others not remembered” who have moved away from that place. That could include my Wayland’s. We did move away.

They add, still quoting Jarvis; "They settled here in 1804, possibly about the year 1795", obtained land grants and "were the friendly Indians who came with the whites as they moved west. They came from Cumberland County and New River, Va., stopping at various points west of the Blue Ridge.

Some of them stopped on Stony Creek, Scott County, Virginia, where Stony Creek runs into Clinch River. The white immigrants with the friendly Indians erected a fort on the bank of a river and called it Fort Blackmore[23] and here yet many of these friendly Indians live in the mountains of Stony Creek, but they have married among the whites until the race has almost become extinct. A few of the half-bloods may be found - none darker - but they still retain the name of Collins and Gibson, etc. From here they came to Newman's Ridge and Blackwater and many of them are here yet; but the amalgamations of the whites and Indians has about washed the red tawny from their appearance, the white faces predominating, so now you can scarcely find one of the original Indians; a few half-bloods and quarter-bloods balance white or past the third generation."

Well the brother of the founder of Fort Blackmore, Joseph Blackmore, purchased land at Castlewood, near where Russell, Wise, and Scott counties come together. He was assignee of Nathaniel Gist! Not the famous Nathaniel Gist, but his first cousin, who lived many years in Cumberland County, North Carolina. Both DNA testing and genealogical records say that I am a direct his direct descentant. My Harriet Gist married David Brown, and their daughter Josephine Brown married married Jeffrey Richey, son of Sarah Ann Wayland, in Arkansas in 1872.

The report also tells us why they would NOT be Portuguese, yet claim Portuguese heritage. It says –
If the Melungeons were not Portuguese, why would they have said that they were? The answer to this question may be at least partially found in the 1834 Tennessee constitutional amendment, which went into effect in 1835, and meant significant changes for those citizens designated as "free persons of color."

 Every free white man of the age of twenty-one years, being a citizen of the United States, and a citizen of the county wherein he may offer his vote, six months next preceding the day of election, shall be entitled to vote for members of the general Assembly, and other civil officers, for the county or district in which he resides: provided, that no person shall be disqualified from voting in any election on account of color, who is now by the laws of this State, a competent witness in a court of Justice against a white man. All free men of color, shall be exempt from military duty in time of peace, and also from paying a free poll tax.”

So we know why they said they were Portuguese in Tennessee, but not in Arkansas. The report continues --

In October 1705 in Virginia, the following act was passed;

"Be it enacted and declared, and it is hereby enacted and declared, That the child of an Indian and the child, grand child, or great grand child, of a negro shall be deemed, accounted, held and taken to be a mulatto."

This was followed by:

"That all male persons, of the age of sixteen years, and upwards, and all negro, mulatto, and Indian women, of the age of sixteen years, and upwards, not being free, shall be, and are hereby declared to be tithable, or chargeable." . . .

In Virginia in 1691, 1705 and 1753 and in North Carolina in 1715 and again in 1741, intermarriage was banned between whites and negroes, mulattoes or Indians, which obviously had the effect of encouraging intermarriage between blacks and Indians. Another ban specifically against white-Indian intermarriage was found in Tennessee in 1821, where most states only banned black/white marriages.[29] Dr. Ariela Gross contends that the "vanishing Indian" was a result in this timeframe of the reclassification to mulatto and negro and follows several examples forward through time. The 1705 Virginia statue that declared that a Mulatto is "a child of an Indian" as well as "the child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of a negro" was not modified until 1785 when a "colored person" was defined as all persons with "one fourth-or more negro blood" and only those with "no negro blood" were allowed to be classified as Indians.

The Portuguese are considered white, although Portuguese were expected to look "dark", having Moorish blood. Portuguese was claimed in other locations as well, possibly also to mask either Indian or negro heritage.[30] DeMarce suggests that an obvious explanation is the perpetual wish for non-African ancestry, which had led to a plethora of myths.[31] While Caucasians of Mediterranean descent were rare in British North America, they were counted as white and were, if willing to be naturalized and become Protestant, not subject to the legal disabilities imposed upon free mulattoes and Indians.

The report then spends a lot of time discussing about a dozen court cases where they had to prove they were not Negro. Portuguese were considered Caucasian, but were expected to be dark complected because of 800 years of Moorish rule over their homeland, so they claimed they were Portuguese.

Since our Keziah Wayland appears to have been a “Gibson;” and Thomas and Mary Gibson had a known daughter named “Cusiah”, and these ARE KNOWN Meulngeon peoples, I have a sincere interest in these peoples. I am interested in what the report ways about the Gibson’s. The DNA results for some Gibson’s came, some back African, some Caucasian. Maybe that is OUR ancestor? I don’t know, but it is possible. Here is what the report says about the Gibson’s and the part of their family that has an African origin:

E1b1a – Ivory Coast, Guyana, Sierre Leone. This is in West Africa, not East Africa where the word that is “similar” to Melungeon, is found.

The report asks the question – Were they Melungeons? It answers this question in the following manner;

If the Melungeons carried Portuguese ancestry, it is not from any of the Y chromosomal lines that have been tested. Denham does not appear to be Portuguese. There is oral history to support the Portuguese claim, but no historical documents or genetic evidence have been discovered to prove Portuguese heritage for any of these families.”

As for African ancestry, they say;

Of the eight African Melungeon lines, all have Haplotree Matches along the slave and gold coasts . . .” This is the same region of African mentioned above, as the origin of some of the Gibson’s. Hmmm . . . so NONE of the Melungeon families has DNA that matches the DNA of the people on the West African coast, who have a word n their languaage that is similar to “Melungeon”.

The report also asks about the possibility of having Native American origins for the to the Melungeon families. It asks;

Do the Melungeons have Native American Ancestry?

Then proceeds;

Of the 15 primary Melungeon core surnames or their ancestral surnames, only one, Sizemore, has genetic Native ancestry on the paternal Y-line. There is no genetic Native heritage on the maternal, mitochondrial lines. One family, Riddle, has documented Native heritage in historical records, but does not carry that heritage through the Y-line.

How do we resolve the pervasive oral history of Native heritage with the overwhelming African and European haplogroups being found? We have thirty tests, 15 for the Y-chromosome, which we inherit only from the male line, and 15 mt-DNA tests, which we inherit only from the female line; and in only one of these thirty does American Indian DNA show up. That's only one of thirty! One in thirty is, mathematically. Statistically speaking, 1/32nd is pretty close to 1/30th. A single great-great-great grandparent who was American Indian would be 1/32nd American Indian. That would take me back to William Wayland. (@ 1790-1843. But more importantly, we have shown that we should EXPECT with a sample size of 30, to have only one line in thirty-two, that will have travelled the straight male or straight female line. And that is exactly what we have! One out of 30 is what we should expect. I don't understand why this is taken as meaning the American Indian heritage is a lie, this is the result one would expect.

The social customs most dramatically affecting the eastern Indian populations of Virginia and North Carolina were the Native customs of hospitality which included providing a male traveler (there were few if any female travelers in the back country) with a bedmate for the night, trader marriages, Indian slavery practices and adoptions.[243]”.

Considering the Lumbee, who are in reality are mixed with the the Pee Dee, Cheraw, and other Eastern Siouan groups, most likely, the report says;

Given the known migration patterns of some of the Melungeon families to North and South Carolina, in particular, the Bertie County (NC) Tuscarora area (Gibson and Bunch) and the Pee Dee River area (Gibson, Collins, Bunch, Sizemore, Goins and Bolton) where other known Natives were living, it certainly would not be surprising to discover that some of the Lumbee and the Melungeon families share a common heritage.”

So several Lumbee Indian surnames are identical to the surnames of the Melungeons. Since my Nevil Wayland Sr’s wife is considered to have been a Gibson, and since he served in the Revolutionary War in South Carolina, this is of interest to me.

The report goes on to say there are NO Jewish, Middle Eastern, of Gypsy markers amongst the Melungeons, either.

There are still those who claim the Melungeons were part Cherokee. This report accurately states;

There are no known Cherokee who lived on Newman's Ridge. The Cherokee Nation was significantly further south prior to removal in 1835 . . .”

This is a wonderful report, with both observation and empirical data agreeing to say the Melungeons are NOT Portuguese, and NOT Cherokee. But they are sub-Sahara African, Caucasian, and there is some small admixture of American Indian as well.

This report is in responce to the Huffington Post article found here.

I have taken an autosomal DNA test and it came back mostly Caucasian, but we do have some American Indian and some sub-Sahara African DNA as well. Our triracial identity is confirmed. My ancestors were NOT a part of that study, however we lived there, on Copper Creek, Scott Co., Va just like they did and we attended "Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church" just like known Melungeon families did, and our closest neighbors were Gibsons descended from a known Melungeon family. My response to that article is below. Our Gist's lived next to the Melungeon Moore family, and we were right beside Fort Blackmore. However we don't have a direct male or female line back to either the Wayland or Guess/Gist surnames. Therefore we were not allowed to partake of this test.

Flaw in Melungeon DNA Test

Assume 30 American Indians, full blood, 15 male, 15 female. They are surrounded by 80 percent  Caucasians, and 20 percent African Americans. Assume 20 percent of the American Indians marry others with Indian blood.  Of the remaining 80 percent, 60 percent marry a Caucasian and 20 percent marry an African American. How many generations will it take for people of straight male or straight female line of American Indian descend to disappear?

These will be recorded (m,f) by race. 30 Indians. First generation – 20 % of 30 is (0.2)*30= 6 of these 30 marry other American Indians. These families would be (I,I), (I,I), (I,I) leaving 24 full blood American Indians. Sixty percent of these 30 marry Caucasians, and 20 percent of these 30 marry African Americans. 60% of 30 is (0.6)*30= 18 Indians marrying Caucasians. 20% of 30 is (0.2)*30= 6 American Indians marry African Americans. Assume half male and half female. After one generation we have the following unions.

If we consider the first variable to be male and the second female, which can be represented as (m, f), and replace M and f with the race of th individual as W (Caucasian), B (African), and I (American Indian), we have the following. If we are interested in the American Indian component, we have;
(I,I), (I,I), (I,I), (3,3), (3 Indian males, 3 American Indian females)

(I,W), (I,W), (I,W), (I,W), (I,W), (I,W), (I,W), (I,W), (I,W), (9,0), (9 American Indian males)
(W, I), (W, I), (W,I), (W,I), (W,I), (W,I), (W,I), (W,I), (W,I), (0,9), (9 American Indian females)
(I, B), (I,B), (I,B), (3,0), (3 American Indian males)
(B, I), (B, I), (B, I), (0, 3), (3 American Indian females)

Of the original 30, only 15 have Indian blood on the father’s side for 2 generations, and only 15 have females on 2 generations of the female side. It is important to know that while there is NO new infusion of American Indian blood, yet the infusion of both Caucasian and African blood is inexhaustible.

We can extrapolate that since after only one generation of mixing race, only 50% of the original American Indian y-chromosome is left, that 50% will be lost also in each generation. Likewise, only 50% of the mtDNA, which we inherit from our mothers, will remain from the American Indian side of the lineage. So we can extrapolate further generations –


1st generation – 100%
2nd generation – 50 %
3rd generation – 25%
4th generation – 12.5%
5th generation – 6.125%
6th generation – 3.0625%
In the year 1800 these families were considered mixed-bloods. If we consider 4 generations per century, by the year 2000 we have 8 generations passing since the year 1800. So let’s add 2 more generations.
7th generation – 1.53125%
8th generation – 0.765625%
Oh yes, don’t  forgot, these people were already mixed when they were first recorded about the year 1800, so let us add one more generation:
9th generation – 0.3828125, or slightly more than one third of one percent of the descendants of the original 30 American Indians would still retain the American Indian markers of their y-chromosonal DNA, or the mtDNA markers from an American Indian ancestor. To determine a value we might expect from these original 30 Indians, just multiply (number of American Indians) by the probability that their Y-chromosome or mtDNA is preserved, and after 9 generations we get (30 persons)* (0.3828125)= 1.14843750, or about one of those original 30 might still retain that original information. And lo and behold, look at the Sizemore surname, it DOES retain the Y-chromosome DNA marker of an Indian ancestor. The laws of Probability Theory don’t lie. Conversely, if there is one marker that exists from an isolated community, there could be another thirty families that have lost that marker. And that is exactly what we have. They should have had a mathematician (like me:) ) do their number crutching.

The key to understand this decline is the limited numbers of American Indians. While each generation there is a new infusion of Caucasian and sub-Sahara African DNA, the American Indian DNA was from a few original donors, only. Through the generations, there was never a new infusion of those markers, so they continued to decline, generation after generation.


On page 21 Carlson starts to address the ‘Portuguese’ question. He says; Most modern professional writers still accept the premise, generated in the 1800s, that Melungeon history and heritage – biological and social – is forever lost to contemporary researchers. Such outsiders have thus downplayed the peoples own assertion of being Indians in favor of emphasizing the possibilities of White, Black, Portuguese, Phoenician, Jewish, Moorish, Turkish, and/or Lost Colony ancestry among them . . . in a 1947 Saturday Evening Post article focusing on the Greasy Rock population . . .the author wrote “were his ancestors Welsh warriors, Phoenicians, or survivors of Roanoke?” . . .[he] says he’s 75 years old, and an Indian. [39]

Carlson doesn’t mention the Portuguese connection again for some time. On page 60 he states; One month later [note, he had been speaking of the early Spring of 1716], the Governor [Spotswood] paid another visit to Fort Christanna] with a clergyman named Rev. John Fontaine. Fontaine was a French Huguenot, showing an early connection between the future “Melungeon” peoples and the French language.

On page 80 we have Byrd from the Spring to the Fall of 1728 he journeyed through some Indian settlements, to survey the land on the North Carolina/Virginia border. He wrote a journal of his travels. One entry was about the possibility of mixed-blood (Caucasian/American Indian/Moorish) marriages, saying; “If a Moor may be washed White in three generations, surely an Indian might have been bleached White in two.” Remember the Moors lived in Portugal and Spain for 800 years. [189]. They were originally from Morocco, hence the name “Moor”.

On page 81 Carlson talks of both Byrd and Fontaine, saying; “Byrd also brought Rev. Fontaine on the survey. [195]

On page 124 we finally have the reason I have mentioned Rev. Fontaine. Carlson says; “. . . Reverend Fontaine, who had visited Fort Christanna and travelled with Byrd and Ned Bearskin decades before . . . In a letter dated March 30, 1757, remarked that the colonists ‘ought to have intermarried with the Indians more frequently . . .he also noted his concern with physical appearance by claiming that by promoting such marriages the offspring would result in Indian children as white at birth as a Portuguese or a Spaniard. [322] As far as I can tell, this is the earliest documentation mentioning a Portuguese looking offspring of and Indian and a White man. And this record was mentioned by man whose father was a Frenchman born in France, who knew the French language as it was his first language. He would have known the meaning of “Malungeon” very well.

Please note we have not found a single reference to ANY Portuguese people AT ALL. There is NOT A SINGLE DOCUMENT ANYWHERE ON THIS PLANET that ties a single Portuguese adventurer, either male or female, to the Melungeons. There is not a single document that ties a ship wrecked sailor, nor a servant, nor any kind of Portuguese man or woman, to the Melungeons – that's all done with smoke and mirrors, and a gullible public that is willing to believe that the moon is made of green cheese..

But all these tall tales have done is misrepresent who the Melungeon people really were. And there are so many of these tall tales that people just assume they are telling the truth. It started with people who hadn't even visited the Melungeons just guessing about their origin, and then came other people guessing, and they ignored what the Melungeon people themselves said about their origins. Now, even Melungeon people ourselves are confused. This is why I wanted to link the Melungeons back to their TRUE roots, to a past we can be proud of, and not all that other idiotic nonsense.

There are people online who think the Melungeons said they were "Indian" because they did not want to be thought of as mixed with Negro. NO! No! No! They have taken the truth, and arrived at the WRONG conclusion! The reason some said they were Portuguese was so they would not be subject to the Jim Crow laws! Carlson has brilliantly shown the EXACT route that the Saponi took, from Fort Christanna to Northeastern Tennessee to Ohio.

Dr. Richard Allen Carlson wrote his Ph. D. dissertation on the Melungeons, a people of Saponi Indian descent.

(1) ; Melungeons, A Multiethnic Population ,Received:  July 2011; accepted Dec 2011; Roberta J. Estes, Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson, Janet Lewis Crain

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