Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Indian Ancestry of the Melungeons

The latest *project* of the Melungeon Historical Society appears to be another attempt at erasing the Indian ancestry of the Melungeon people.

The paper by Roberta Estes, *Board Member* of the Melungeon Historical Society according to the MHS Blog "references and uses data from several of these public projects, but particularly the Melungeon, Lumbee, Waccamaw, North Carolina Roots and Lost Colony projects".

''The first page of this introduction says; " The Melungeons, long held to be mixed European, African and Native show only one ancestral family with Native DNA.4 Clearly more testing would be advantageous in all of these projects.''

Footnote 4 says;

  • 4 The Melungeon DNA project, while initially included in this research, was subsequently removed from the report because of the lack of evidence of Native American ancestry and no direct connection to the Lost Colonists. The Lumbee may be connected to the Melungeons, but that remains unproven.
It would appear to me the MHS promoting this paper on its blog by a MHS Board Member while the Melungeons were *removed from the report for lack of evidence* clearly shows the intent of the MHS to stamp out any suggestion of the Indian ancestry of the Melungeons.


  1. I wonder whether widening the field of research in terms of geography and surnames might yield more useful results than have so far been obtained. I have direct ancestors (Phipps, Reeves) specifically discussed in Kennedy's book about melungeons, but whose descendants' DNA doesn't seem to be included in melungeon DNA studies. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about Hawkins County. There's obviously far more to melungeon history than just Newman's Ridge and Hawkins County (!), and I think if researchers want to get at the truth about melungeons they need to stop focusing on just that specific area. Evidence strongly suggests some Native American/Melungeon ancestry in my family, and evidently a bunch of my family left Western NC right around the time that pressure was being placed on melungeons around 1833. Since none of my direct ancestors (Phipps, Reeves, Toliver, Spurlin, Stamper, Long) were in Hawkins County, however, none of the melungeon research people seem to care. My Y-DNA suggests strong British Isles ties, but with some likelihood of Middle Eastern roots as well.

  2. Your Reeves would be a perfect example. George Reeves and George Collins gave depositions that they settled at the same time at Peach Bottom. David Collins was their closest neighbor and David's DNA matches Vardys -- I don't think you will find David's DNA on the Melungeon study either.

    There are at least 2 identifiable groups of people called 'Melungeons' in 1850s besides the Newmans Ridge. They may or may not have been related although they came from different geographical areas. As long as the Melungeon Historical Society resists recognizing them - the research into their history and possible connection to the Newmans Ridge families - it is doubtful anyone is going to even look at them.

    Common sense would tell you these families were mixed long before they ever reached Newmans Ridge -- as they so carefully explain to the journalist in 1848. An examination of the *other* dark skinned
    families living amongst these people from 1740-1800 is vital to finding their ancestry [tribal affiliation] IMO

    I suggest you keep posting anywhere and everywhere you can. The word 'Melungeon' was nothing more than a word meaning they were a 'mixture of mixtures' -- there is nothing mysterious about it and they were not exclusive to Newmans Ridge, contrary to the current belief.

    Remember there are thousands of those 'mixed people' out there that are waiting for their story to be told.

  3. My families come from North Carolina and Eastern Kentucky and I am sure there is Native American with possibly African and Asian blood. My family is Red skinned (some year round, I have (as well as others) the dark skin, Asian Eyes. I would love to know how to get DNA tested and the cost.

    M. Stamper

  4. I'm a direct decendent of the Tolivera & Longs who left NC just before the Indian removal. They were married into and or closly connected with Phipps, Baldwins, Spurlin, Stevens and more. I have photos that clearly show evidence of mixed race. Most of my family has olive skin and thick dark hair. I was told some used to say there were Black Dutch...some said they were Welsh. I will continue to search for more information about my family connections. It was a known fact that we had Indian ancestry that my gr grandmother was forbidden to talk about. Many of these families moved to Indiana, then on to Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.


Please leave a comment and it will be posted upon approval.