Mountains will be in labor, and an absurd mouse will be born, meaning all that work and nothing to show for it.
In a previous post we drew attention to an online article "Melungeons, A multiethnic Population,"published by the International Society for Genetic Genealogy in Journal of Genetic Genetic Genealogy, its authors Roberta J. Estes, Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson and Janet Lewis Crain.
The article is a bit forbidding at some 100 pages and it fairly bristles with self-importance and DNA, so we will attempt to summarize it.
Here are some highlights from the summary in the article itself, with our comments in italics:
Many sources exist where the Melungeons identify themselves variously as Indians and Portuguese. Only one family, the Goins, are identified orally as having negro heritage. Given the physically dark appearance of the Melungeons, they have unquestionable heritage other than European.
This seems to be an unsurprising conclusion, until you realize that after limiting their sights to Melungeons who called themselves Portuguese, preferably only those in the 37869 zip code, and Goins who already identified themselves as having Sub-Saharan African (please, not the n-word in 2012, or at least capitalize it), the authors are going to draw a further veil on proceedings and deepen the mystery. Read on.
Every Melungeon core family is indentified in multiple records as being "of color".
We won't comment on the equivocation going on here. Please read on.
DNA evidence identifies several lines conclusively as having African roots, specifically, Bunch, Collins, Goins (3 separate lines), Minor and possibly Nichols. Gibson has one line who has tested and shows haplogroup E1b1a, but they also match another Louisa County affiliated family, Donathan.
Of these families, the Collins family has four different haplogroups within the same family group, a situation not unexpected based on the commentary by Will Allen Dromgoole wherein she states that of the Collins that while "they all were not blood descendants of Old Vardy they had all fallen under his banner and appropriated his name."
The Collins and Gibson founding lines, meaning Vardy Collins and Shephard "Buck" Gibson were said to be Cherokee and stole the names of white men in Virginia. Their DNA indicates that if they were Native, it was not via their paternal line.
Comma splice. Hate to be petty. How do you steal a white man's name? I certainly hope no Melungeons are going to steal mine. This is one of the funniest conclusions I have read so far. But do continue, Gentle Reader.
Dromgoole reportedly stayed with Calloway Collins who stated that his grand-father was a Cherokee Chief. His Collins grandfather was Benjamin Collins who lived on Newman's Ridge and did not remove in 1835. There are no known Cherokee who lived on Newman's Ridge. The Cherokee Nation was significantly further south prior to removal in 1835, as shown in Figure 12.
After making fun of other people who claim Cherokee chiefs and princesses in their family tree, the authors seem willing to entertain an exception with their own relatives, or friends. We will not quibble with their Cherokee history but would have said "farther" rather than "further." Maybe that is a regionalism, however. Don't give up yet.
The Mullins line was reputed to be Irish and is confirmed genetically to be European. However, "Irish Jim", the progenitor is listed as a "free person of color", a very unusual classification for an immigrant from the British Isles. Droomgoole states that the Mullins will "fight for their Indian blood." No Indian heritage is evident in historical records or DNA.
We would like to remark that Irish, like other undesirables in early America, were often considered non-white and persons of color. Please purchase the book by Nell Irvin Painter for your local library, The History of White People.
The Denham line was said to be Portuguese and oral history indicates that the line originated "further south" or possibly from a shipwreck, yet the Revolutionary War pension application of David Denham says he was born in Louisa County, Virginia. The Denham line may connect with the Gibsons as early as 1627 in Charles City County. The Denham DNA is European and the Denham descendant who DNA tested has no Spanish or Portuguese matches. Denham is not Portuguese on the paternal Y-line.
Watch that distinction between "further" and "farther." The latter is to be used of distance; the former of degree or depth. I was born pretty far south but not fur.
A significant amount of oral history regarding Portuguese heritage exists, but no historical, genealogical or genetic evidence has been discovered to corroborate the oral history. Some historical information refutes the oral history.
Really? Who have you been talking to?
Claims of Portuguese ancestry are a pattern that stretches beyond the Melungeon families and is found explaining a "dark countenance" across the eastern half of the US, providing a European answer to the question of why.
Oh, no. Now we have "dark countenances." Please buy that book I mentioned.
One possible source of the pervasive Portuguese oral history is that the Portuguese were heavily involved prior to 1642 in the early importation of African indentured servants, some of whom would eventually become free and some of whom would become slaves.
So that's it!
On the 1880 census, several Melungeon families claimed Portuguese as their race. An analysis of the families so claiming reveals that none of them were descended from the Denham line. Some, but not all were descended from the Sizemore and Riddle Native families. Of the 22 adults listed initially as Portuguese, more than half, 12 are descended from either the Goins or Minor families with African haplogroups, 11 are descended from the Sizemore family, 4 from the Riddle family, 4 are not descended from any of the above and 3 are unknown.
Tsk, tsk. The word "none" requires a singular verb. You should write, "None of them is..." I am not even going to attempt to straighten out your punctuation or sentence predication. Gentle reader, please persist. The best is yet to come.
Ironically, the Sizemore family is not identified as Melungeon in Hancock/Hawkins Counties, but is ancestral to many Melungeon families and settled there are well. The Sizemore family is proven genetically to be Native, haplogroup Q1a3a. Furthermore, there are two Native Sizemore lines, although only one is known to be ancestral to the Melungeon families. A European Sizemore line also exists, and the Bolins match the European Sizemore lines, suggesting that these families may have had a common genesis or that these Sizemores may in fact be Bolins. Both families are found in early Virginia along the North Carolina border.
I always wondered about that. Now I know less than I thought I did before.
A link has been found through the Goins family to the Lumbee. The "Smiling" Goins family was not thought to be an original Lumbee family, but subsequent research has shown that even though the group in 1915 was thought to be an "outside" group, the ancestors of this group were found in 1770 with other founding Lumbee families. The Moore and Cumberland County Pocket Creek Goins groups have always claimed kinship with the Lumbee. Other links to the Lumbee have not yet been found. The Lumbee Tribe has been reticent to support DNA testing and common surnames between the Lumbee and the Melungeon Core group have not all been tested.
I don't blame the Lumbee tribe for being reticent to support DNA testing. Most folks I know are pretty reticent about DNA. A better word would have been "reluctant."
The Riddle family who is also ancestral to the Melungeon families is genetically European, haplogroup R1b1b2, but is documented historically to be Indian from a 1767 tax list where they are noted as such. Furthermore, they are found in other "Indian Communities" such as Pocket Creek in Moore County, NC, tied to the Goins family. In 1820 several Riddle families are found beside a Goins family whose first name is illegible. In 1830 in Moore County, William Riddle is found beside both Levy and Edward Goins, believed to be the Goins family of the Lumbee.
That Riddle family! And now we find out they are living next to "Smiling" Goins.
Edward Goins is later found in Sumter County, SC, a progenitor of one the Smiling Indian families in Sumter County, SC, also known as Red Bones. This Goins family moved from Sumter County and settled in Robeson County, NC in 1907. The progenitor of this line, Frederick Goen, is found with the Lumbee much earlier, on the 1770 Bladen County tax list. Testimony regarding this family in 1915 states that the father's line is Melungeon.
Are you sure this is the summary?!
The Goins family is found in multiple locations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, several of which are involved with legal proceedings relative to their race. There are three genetic Melungeon Goins family lines, two E1b1a and one haplogroup A, all three being of sub-Saharan African origin.
Wait a minute. Aren't we just talking about male lines, and only one family at that, and only three cases at that. That doesn't seem like a fair summary.
In Hawkins/Hancock County, Tennessee, Sumter County, SC, and Spartanburg District (Georgetown County), SC these Goins families are referred to as Melungeon. Genetically, they share a common ancestor, probably John Goins found in Hanover County in 1735.
Indeed! So to carry this to its logical conclusion, Jack Goins is descended from John Goins. John Goins was a white man. So is Jack Goins. Did I miss anything?
The Sumter County, SC Goins family is found in Bladen in 1770 . . . where Louisa County families later settled. [several paragraphs omitted for brevity's sake]
Turning to autosomal genetic testing, no Native heritage was found using marker D9S919, although this finding does not disprove Native heritage.
Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. That's what my father always told me.
It is possible in some cases that haplogroup E1b1ba could be found in rare instances in Europe through historical invasions such as the Roman Legions. However, given the Louisa County cluster, it's unlikely that a large cluster of haplogroup E1b1a of European origin would be coincidentally found together in the colonies. It's much more likely that this cluster is a result of people with a common bond living in close proximity and intermarrying. Furthermore, if haplogroup E were to be found in Europe, it's much more likely to be E1b1b, the Berber haplogroup, not E1b1a. No Melungeon families are found with haplogroup E1b1b or subclades.
Thank goodness those Roman legions didn't make it to Tennessee. But it seems like no North Africans did either, which is strange. See our post Right Church, Wrong Pew.
Marriage partners in colonial Virginia were legally restricted beginning in 1691 with the passage of a law that forbid the English intermarriage with Indians, mulattoes and negroes. Prior to that, interracial marriages and encounters outside of marriage occurred regularly. This restriction, along with increasingly severe penalties in the event that the intermarriage did occur was repeated in various laws in 1705, 1753 and 1792 in Virginia and in 1715 and 1741 in North Carolina, in essence requiring anyone who was other than white to intermarry within their own group or groups of racially similar individuals, meaning others "of color." Legal marriages between whites and other races would have had to predate 1691, although illegitimacy certainly knew no boundaries. In marriages occurring after 1691 in Virginia, in couples where one individual was "other than white," both partners could be presumed to have at least some recognizable non-European heritage.
This is one of the most hilarious and bigoted parts of this article, so be sure you read it several times to absorb it in all its unintended humor.
Given the proven Native ancestral families to the Melungeons combined with cultural styles that are perhaps suggestive of a maternal culture, Native or African, via illegitimacy, one would expect to find Native or African mitochondrial DNA. However, all mitochondrial DNA to date has been European. This was not expected given the very high levels of consanguity and intermarriage within this group from at least the mid 1700s through the mid-1900s. However, Heinegg's analysis of mixed race families in early Virginia and his discovery that the predominant pattern of African or mixed men fathering children with white indentured female partners may explain these findings.
Typo: consanguinity. And sorry, but we don't buy your and Heinegg's theory about African men "fathering children with white indentured female partners." Those weren't African men, for one thing. But that is a whole other story, and it happened in Spain, and besides the wench is dead.
No evidence, historical, oral, genealogical or genetic has been found to support a Turkish, Middle Eastern, Jewish or Gypsy heritage.
Paydirt! The end! So what are they? You're not going to cop out and tell me they are just plain old folks. Or are you? Shucks, I guess that would make sense, though. Start out with a bunch of plain old folks, test them, and you can prove they are plain old folks. Your conclusions come from your premises. And your premises come from your conclusions.
I am normally all in favor of any DNA test or genealogy subscription or genealogical resource that can help the family researcher discover their ancestors. But "Melungeons, A multiethnic Population,"published by the International Society for Genetic Genealogy in Journal of Genetic Genetic Genealogy, by Roberta J. Estes, Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson and Janet Lewis Crain is without doubt one of the most pretentious, portentous and poorly conceived articles I have ever read in just about any field, and I will read almost anything. If you want a bitter laugh, though, check it out. You may find out why "Smilin' Goins" is smiling.
More information about Melungeons
Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Southern Appalachia