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August 7, 2014

Melungeon DNA Study Reveals African Ancestry

Melungeon DNA Study Reveals African Ancestry
Dark-skinned individuals known as Melungeons from the Appalachian area of N. America were thought to be the descendants of  Portuguese explorers, Turkish slaves, Native Americans or Gypsies.

Now DNAtesting has proven that the Melungeons are a mixed race group whose ancestry is found in Sub-Sahara Africa and Northern or Central Europe. A study published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy has caused a bit of a stir among descendants. "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."

Estes and her fellow researchers 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

Continue reading the full article at Melungeon DNA Study Reveals Ancestry, Upsets 'A Whole Lot Of People'

You may also download Ms. Estes jointly-authored paper Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic Population

Credits: "A typical malungeon" was published in 1890 by Will Allen Dromgoole, it found in Nashville Sunday American, August 31, 1890 


Linda Peak Seals said...

Was this "Melungeon DNA Study Reveals African Ancestry" done recently? There is no date on it.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Linda - the original article (link provided in my blog post) said it was published in April.

CallieK said...

The study appears to have been done in 2012. At least that's the date when the article was published on that site.

Unknown said...

This links with a study I read a few years ago in a magazine (Smithsonian?) where the conclusion was heavily weighted toward such a finding. Even without the benefit of DNA the author had pulled together movements of people into this part of Appalachia and out of various other areas, added the racial prejudice of the time, and concluded the Melungeons would someday be shown to be descendants of mixed race European and sub-Saharan Africans.

There was a great deal of social and economic benefit to the original Melungeons and their children and grandchildren to present themselves as other than partly black, so that's what they did. As with so many of our family stories where the truth can have a negative affect on the success children may have in life, the true origin stories were first suppressed and withheld, then generations were born who simply never knew them.

But hey, kudos to the first Melungeons for doing it their way and making new lives for themselves and their families under the crushing racial restrictions of their time.

Unknown said...

It is not only dark skinned, it is all light or dark. Please just don't tag this as to dark people. People of color come in all shades. Also, some of the mulengeons knew it they had African in them and some didn't and also assume they did not.