DNA SOLVES MELUNGEON ORIGIN
June 17, 2012
The mysterious origins of the Melungeon people have been in the news for years. I first wrote about this subject in 25 September 2003 and again February 9, 2006. This small group of people living along the Tennessee and Virginia border thought they descended from the Black Dutch, Black Irish, and Black German, Mediterranean descent, Indian, Mulatto or Gypsies. So what are they really?
According to the Huffington Post article (“Melungeon DNA Study …,” June 4, 2012) by Travis Loller, the origin of the Melungeon people was discovered through a DNA study. The lead researcher Roberta Estes says it upset many people who believed the most likely origin was through Portuguese explorers, Turkish slaves or Gypsies. Instead, the DNA results “theorize that the various Melungeon lines may have sprung from the unions of black and white indentured servants living in Virginia in the mid-1600s, before slavery. The article goes on to say that the “study is more evidence that race-mixing in the U.S. ins’t a new phenomenon,” but seems to suggest that we are all multi-racial.
In the near future, I hope DNA research will unravel the mystery of those referred to as Black Dutch.
FREE 1812 PENSION FILES DURING JUNE: The War of 1812 databases, free at Fold3.com during the month of June, include “War of 1812 Pension Files,” “Prize Cases, Southern District Court, NY,” “Letters Received by the Adjutant General” and “War of 1812 Service Records.” The site says the ‘pension files database is always free because it is a joint project between Fold3, www.fold3.com/, and Federation of Genealogical Societies, www.fgs.org/. Read more about it at http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com/2011/05/from-ngs-preserving-war-of-1812.html.
ARCHIVES RECEIVE MORE CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION RECORDS: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) transferred from the San Bruno Federal Records Center to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). There are approximately 44,000 additional alien registration records, known as “A-Files.” This is the fourth transfer of these records since 2009. These records of individuals began in 1944.
COLLECTION CELEBRATES QUEEN VICTORIA’S GOLDEN AND DIAMOND JUBILEES: The National Archives of England, http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/jubilee/, displays a rarely seen collection of Queen Victoria’s congratulatory addresses celebrating her Golden Jubilee, 1887, and Diamond Jubilee, 1997. It contains addresses, congratulatory messages and much more.
SOCIAL HISTORY AT LIBRARY OF CONGRESS: The American Memory Web page, http://memory.loc.gov, has a large collection of social history that includes interviews, recordings and photographs from early colonial times. Additional collection topics are advertising, folk life, environment, conservation, government, law, immigration, American expansion, literature, maps, Native American history, architecture, landscape, cities, towns, culture, law, immigration, the American expansion, literature, maps, African American history, performing arts, religion, war, surnames, military and women’s history. Enter the site and browse to your heart’s content. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) began interviewing people from 24 states from 1936 through 1940. These interviews are in 2,900 documents. Are any of your ancestors in this collection?
VALUE OF ANCESTOR’S PROPERTY: Learn the value of your ancestors’ estate using S. Morgan Friedman's Inflation Calculator. It converts the dollar amount from 1800 through 2001 into its equivalent in 2010. For the U.S. dollar conversions go to www.westegg.com/inflation/. To find the Canadian value between the years 1914 and 2010, go to www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/related/inflation-calculator/.
GENEALOGY MYSTERY BOOKS: I love to relax with a good mystery book with a genealogy theme in the late evening before dark. See a list at www.lincolnlibraries.org/depts/bookguide/lists/genealogymysteries.htm or search “genealogy mysteries.”
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.