Many researchers of the mixed blood communities flatly refuse to believe they were of Portuguese ancestry - although from 1812 to 1912 their neighbors, JUDGES AND JURIES, ethnologists, anthropologists, and historians have agreed they had Portuguese ancestry.
The records from the Journal of the Gentleman Alvis is not a new record and has been online many years. We find in those journals the fact that de Soto brought with him 'one ship of Portuguese' who accompanied him on this expediton. Prior to de Soto we find Lucas de Ayllon who brought 100 slaves and 500 colonists and 100 slaves. Of these two expeditions as well as Pardos many of them left behind little ones who would carry their DNA - haplogroup R - haplogroup E etc.
A recent DNA study published in 2012 said;
One possible documented source of Portuguese ancestry may be from Juan Pardo’s men who were abandoned at various forts in present day North Carolina, one perhaps as far north and west as Morgantown, North Carolina. Some of Pardo's men may have been Portuguese. These men, if they survived, would have had to have assimilated into the Native population and have taken Native wives, as there were no European women available in 1566. However, the core Melungeon family group is not originally found in western North Carolina, but in eastern Virginia.Denham was the surname associated with Portuguese ancestry. Denham is haplogroup I1, Anglo-Saxon, and shows no surname matching pattern that would indicate Spanish or Portuguese ancestry. No other Melungeon surname shows evidence of southern Mediterranean ancestry or Spanish/Portuguese matches.
The problem with the above statement is the fact that while this DNA study includes SEVEN surnames originating on the Pee Dee River they are ignored in the above assessment of whether the could have Portuguese ancestry.Furthermore, the majority of the Melungeon core families, including Denham, were found together or in close proximity in the Louisa County, Va., or Louisa's parent county, Hanover's records in the mid 1700s. Those not present in Louisa, with the exception of Mullins, joined the group in either Lunenburg, Orange or Granville Counties in the mid to late 1700s. There are no claims of Portuguese heritage in Louisa County in the group that remained.
Spencer Bolton, father of Solomon Bolton, documented as a Melungeon in Hamilton Co., Tennessee court records was born on the Pee Dee River in 1735. This 1725 Map by John Herbert shows the Saura Town on the Pee Dee. Weenga/Winyah Bay marked with an X is the spot being searched for the ship of Lucas de Ayllon who came in 1526 with 600 adventurers, men and women, and 100 slaves. Of these only 150 returned, the others were presumed to have died or ran off to live with the Native tribes in the area. This is the same area we find besides the Boltons, the Ivey, Perkins, Chavis, Shoemake, Lowery, Oxendine, etc., all who are identified as Portuguese in court cases and other documents from 1812 forward.
While they write that no Melungeon surname shows ancestry of Spanish or Portuguese - it is a fact that there are 27 subjects in the Melungeon DNA study with Haplogroup R-M269. If you check the Portuguese DNA Study you will find 87 subjects with R-M269 Haplogroup also.
Portuguese Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries Found here
People of Portuguese descent are welcome to join Family Tree DNA's "Portugal DNA Project". They also have some Brazilians and Cape Verdeans. The Portuguese participants' Y-DNA haplogroups include E-L117, E-L17, E-M183, E-M35, G-M201, G-M406, G-P303, I-M223, I-M253, J-M172, J-M267, R-L21, R-M269, R-P312, R-U152, T-M70, and many others, with R-M269 being their most common one......
.........Varieties of R1b, a common Y-DNA haplogroup in western Europe, are found in abundance among Portuguese men. About 60 percent of Southern Portuguese and about 83 percent of Northern Portuguese belong to the subclade of R1b known as the Atlantic Modal Haplotype (AMH). There are even some areas in Portugal where the AMH is found in about 90% of men.While these records of DNA do not prove Meluneons had Portuguese DNA it is certainly suggestive that they did.
TRUE RELATION OF THE HARDSHIPS SUFFERED BY
GOVERNOR HERNANDO DE SOTO & CERTAIN PORTUGUESE GENTLEMEN
DURING THE DISCOVERY OF THE PROVINCE OF FLORIDA.
NOW NEWLY SET FORTH BY A GENTLEMAN OF ELVAS.
As Luis de Moscoso passed through Elvas, Andre de Vasconcelos spoke with him, and requested him to speak to Don Hernando de Soto in his behalf, and gave him patents issued by the marques de Vilareal, conferring on him the captaincy of Ceuta, so that he might exhibit them. The adelantado saw these and found out who he [Vasconcelos] was and wrote him promising that he would favor him in every way and would give him men to command in Florida.
HOW THE PORTUGUESE WENT TO SEVILLE AND THENCE TO SAN LUCAR; AND HOW THE CAPTAINS WERE APPOINTED OVER THE SHIPS, AND THE MEN WHO WERE TO GO IN THEM DISTRIBUTED.
(The DeSoto Chronicles)
''The Portuguese left Elvas on the 15th of January. They reached Seville on St. Sebastian's eve and went to the governor's lodging. They entered the patio upon which looked some balconies where he was. He looked down and went to meet them at the stairs where they went up to the balconies. When they were up, he ordered chairs to be given them so that they might be seated. Andre de Vasconcelos told him who he and the other Portuguese were and how they had all come to accompany him and to serve him on his voyage. He [i.e. Soto] thanked him and appeared well pleased with their coming and proffer. The table being already laid, he invited them to eat; and while they were eating, he directed his majordomo to find lodgings for them near his inn. From Seville, the adelantado went to San Liicar with all the men that were to go with him. He ordered a muster to be held, to which the Portuguese went armed with very splendid arms, and the Castilians very elegantly, in silk over silk, and many plaits and slashes. As such finery was not pleasing to the governor on such an occasion, he ordered a muster to be held on the next day and for every man to appear with his armor.
To this the Portuguese came as at first, armed with very excellent armor, and the governor set them in order near the standard borne by his alferez. Most of the Castilians wore poor and rusty coats of mail, and all [wore] helmets and carried worthless and poor lances. Some of them managed to get a place among the Portuguese. Thus they passed in review, and those who were to the liking of Soto and whom he wished were counted and enrolled and went with him to Florida. Those who went numbered in all six hundred men. He had already bought seven ships and had placed in them the provisions necessary, appointed captains, and assigned his ship to each captain, giving each one a list of the men he was to take.''
HOW THE ADELANTADO AND HIS MEN LEFT SPAIN ANDARRIVED AT THE CANARY ISLANDS, AND AFTERWARDAT THE ANTILLES.
In the month of April, of the year 1538, the adelantado delivered the ships over to the captains who were to go in them. He took a new and good sailing ship for himself and gave one to Andre de Vasconcelos, in which the Portuguese went SOURCE
Some excerpts from above Journal of Alvis
Along that way, the cacica of Cutifachiqui , whom the governor brought as above said for the purpose of taking her to Guaxule for her lands reached that far-going one day with her slave women who were carrying her, stepped aside from the road and went into a wood saying that she had to attend to her necessities. Thus she deceived them and hid herself in the woods; and although they sought her she could not be found. She took with her a box of canes made like a coffer which they call "petaca," filled with unbored pearls. Some who had most knowledge of them said they were very valuable. An Indian woman was carrying them for her whom she took with her.
The governor, in order not to cause her unhappiness in everything, left them, intending to ask them from her at Guaxule , when he should give her leave to return. She took it and went to stop at Xualla ( with three slaves who bad escaped from the camp and with a horseman who remained behind, for being sick with fever he wandered from the road and was lost. This man, named Alimamos tried to have the slaves abandon their evil intention and go with him to the Christians - which two of them did. Alimamos and they overtook the governor fifty leagues from there in a province called Chiaha . They related how the cacica had remained in Xualla with a slave of Andre de Vasconcellos (The Portuguese) who refused to come with them; and it was very certain that they held communication as husband and wife, and that both had made up their minds to go to Cutifachiqui SOURCE
( The Forgotten Centuries - Charles Hudson) "At Aracuchi, Pardo decided to divide his force, sending half on to Cofitachequi, while the other half traveled to Ylasi. Ylasi is clearly the same town as deSoto's Ilapi.")
...............Juan Rodriguez Lobillo reached the camp with six men wounded, one of whom died. He brought the four Indian women whom he had captured in the quarters or huts.
From there the governor sent two captains, each one in a different direction, in search of the Indians. They captured a hundred head, among Indian men and women. Of the latter, there, as well as in any other part where forays were made, the captain selected one or two for the governor and the others were divided among themselves and those who went with them.
At the time of his departure, because of the importunity of some who wished more than was proper, he asked the cacique for thirty Indian women as slaves. The cacique answered that he would talk with his principal men; but one night, before returning an answer, all the Indians left the town ....................... The governor ordered him to be summoned and he came immediately. After exchanging some verbal promises with the governor, he gave him the necessary tamemes and thirty Indian women as slaves. A Christian of noble parentage, named Manzano, a native of Salamanca, who wandered away to look for grapes which are abundant and excellent there, was lost in that place. On the day the governor set out thence, he went to sleep at a town subject to the lord of Ullibahali, and next day reached another called Toasi. The Indians gave the governor thirty Indian women and the necessary tamemes [for DeSoto's men to wed then populate his planned settlement at Mobile Bay].
The governor was accustomed to place a guard over the caciques so that they might not go away, and took them along with him until leaving their land; for by taking them, the people would await in their towns and they would give a guide and Indians as carriers. Before departing from their lands, he would give them leave to return to their homes - as well as the tamemes - as soon as he reached another dominion where others were given to him.
Those of Coca, seeing their lord detained, thought ill of it and revolted and went away to hide themselves in the woods-both those of their lord's town and those of other chief towns, who were his vassals. The governor sent four captains, each in a different direction, to look for them. They seized many Indians, men and women, who were put in chains. Upon seeing the harm they received and how little they gained in absenting themselves, they came, saying that they wished to serve in whatever might be commanded them. Some of the principal men among those imprisoned were set free on petition of the cacique. Of the rest, each man took away as slaves those he had in chains, without allowing them to go to their lands. Nor did many of them return except some whose good fortune and assiduous industry aided them, who managed to file off their chains at night; or some, who were able, while on the march, to wander away from the road upon observing any lack of care in their guard, who went off with their chains and with their loads and the clothes they were carrying.