Thursday, July 31, 2014

DNA Project Revisited


In a recent blog by Donald Collins he appears to be taking the AP Reporter to task for reporting; the Melungeons were Sub Saharan men and European women in the article published in 2012.  [Remember those words] These are my thoughts on it.

From the blog; "Well, it’s been just over 2 years (April 2012) since the paper "Melungeons, A Multi-Ethnic Population" was published in the 'Journal of Genetic Genealogy" writes Don Collins on his new blog.
OK,  it has been two years and all the ugly things that were written about the "People called Melungeons" have been printed, and for the most part buried out there on the internet wherever it is they dump their trash.   

The fires have been put out and any questions asked of Jack Goins and Janet Crain were effectively shut down altogether by Janet Crain, Administrator of the Rootsweb Melungeon List.  No discussion of the paper was allowed on her Melungeon list and some who wouldn't stop asking questions were simply unsubbed from the list.  

Perhaps Don Collins could go to his sources and find the answers to these questions asked TWO years ago that still go unanswered.  Perhaps Mr. Collins might include the answers in his ''part two" blog.

  • Why was the Native American DNA of Mr. Freeman not used in the study
  • Why was the fact that at least two of the six females tested had Cherokee Blood not mentioned.  Why was Millie Lovins used when Mr. Goins knew full well her ancestry was not Melungeon?
  • Why was the AP reporter told 'the story was not in error' by the lead researcher?  Why was Ms Loller told that while there were European DNA found in the study the FIRST generation were African?  
  • Why were the only documented Melungeon families, the Bolton, Shoemake, Perkins, Manley, etc., not included in the project?  These families were proven in court records, upheld by the Supreme Court, to be Portuguese people called Melungeons. Yet not one of them are mentioned in the study. Seems in their 'rush to publish' they couldn't wait to find descendants of this Core Melungeon Group. It's funny I never seen any quries put out by any of these researchers looking for these descendants. 
  • Why, most importantly, was this paper on the study published when at least two of the authors admitted the project was not finished but would continue. 
From Collins' blog; "If my memory serves me right, the original crew was Jack Goins, Penny Ferguson and Janet Crain. Shortly there after Roberta Estes came on board as an adviser. And the project started in July of 2005. A little later Kathy James joined as a Group Co-Administrator , focusing on the Gibson surname participants."
His memory is faulty.  I was very much involved in the formation of this project, supplying Penny, Jack and Janet with the genealogy records of participants.  I researched the FREEMAN family whose DNA came back Q, I researched Don Collins connection to the Bunch family, I researched the Alvis Gibson family whose DNA came back HaplogroupJ.  I discovered Alvis was not actually a Gibson, being born after his mother's Gibson husband was deceased and she was married to or cohabitating with John Rainey.  These are just a few.  Penny and I had many heated debates over whether to include the Hamilton County families in the "Core" project with Jack.  Penny and I finally convinced Jack they had to be included as they were documented in court records that could not be ignored.  I have published some of these emails. 

I might add that I quit this project in total disgust. As early as 2006 when this project was barely into it's first year there was talk of writing a book on the 'African ancestors of the Melungeons."  This was first introduced in October of 2006 on a research trip to North Carolina with Penny Ferguson and Jack Goins, later promoted by Jill Lackey.

More from Collins' blog:
The News Release
In May of 2012, an Associated Press news release hit both the printed and online media. I was a little surprised by some of the race baiting head lines, here are 2 good examples:
"DNA finds origin of Appalachia's Melungeons: African men, white women"
"DNA study seeks origin of Appalachia’s African-Americans"

Race baiting?  Really?  Just last year one of the first blogs [here] Jack Goins published was on this very subject. Goins writes:

"Our project results were submitted to a peer review board and published April 24, 2012 in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy and published by Associated Press reporter Travis Lollar in May 2012, the results of the first generation are offspring of Sub-Saharan African men and white women of Northern and central European origin." 

Is Jack Goins race baiting?   To make sure he gets his point across Jack continues....

"The majority of the male core groups were haplogroup E1b1a Sub-Saharan African and the maternal mtDNA group was European. The first mixed generation was the children from Sub-Saharan African men and white women of Northern and central European origin, the exact date of this mixing is unknown"

Is Mr. Collins seriously accusing the media of race baiting - writing the same thing Jack Goins wrote?

From Collins' blog; Then in the text of these articles it states: 
 "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." 
I have no idea if the AP reporter Ms.Travis Loller has any knowledge of the people who were called Melungins, or even any knowledge concerning Genetic Genealogy ?
I have no idea who wrote the press release, did it state ‘African Men and White Woman’ ? As no where in this study is that statement made, plain and simple.          So what happened ?, did the politically correct news media put a spin on this study ? Looks like it to me.
The news media spun this story? Why is this being pinned on Travis Loller two years later?  It is obvious from Jack's postings in 2012 and up til recently he believes the FIRST Melungeon families sprung from African males and European females. 

And shortly after the AP article appeared I found the reporter, Travis Loller's Facebook page. I sent her a long message which she kindly answered, not one message but several. She said if JoGG would issue a retraction she would report on it.  I wrote the editor of JoGG, no response, no retraction.

The question is, why didn't the authors of this paper request a retraction if they believed the article was in error? They were certainly aware of the 'slight error' as the lead researcher put it.  Why didn't she ask for a retraction?  Or Janet Crain or Penny Ferguson?

I suppose that any good reporter getting hit with a ton of negative feedback would go back to the source and ask if she needed to file a correction to her story, and that is what Travis Loller did.  After I sent the message asking if she had read the paper or looked at the DNA Project, and if she knew it was impossible for those Male European DNAs to have produced a child with African DNA this is her response to me;

Travis Loller to Joanne Pezzullo:

"A couple of other things you were asking about --the report mentions there are 8 female DNA lines. Some of those lines are from men. That is why you see only 6 females tested."
"Also, you are right that they also found European men in the ancestry of the male line (half the male line was sub-Saharan African and half was European). I asked Ms. Estes very specifically about this because obviously you don't come up with mixed race people from two white European parents. She said, essentially, that they thought these men might have come in to the group in the second generation. She was shown my summary paragraphs on the DNA findings before publication and told me that they were correct.

Perhaps  Don Collins should apologize to the AP Reporter?  

More spin, but why? Has the world lost interest in them and their study? Have the speaking engagements dried up?  Book sales lagging?  Why dredge this up and subject these Melungeon families to more horrid articles? 

If this project is continuing as Crain and Goins suggested it was two years ago, are they going to revise it now with new results?  If so it obviously is going to show the Melungeons were either European or Native American I'd say.

See my Review of the JoGG article 

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