Friday, November 13, 2015

Blaine Bettinger's Shared cM Project – An Update

One of the greatest advantages of the DNA Testing Community is the participant's willingness to share. This article and chart are an example. I am pretty sure I sent in my donations to this project. In any case, I am surely glad all these other people did, enabling the author to compile actual data for comparisons.

The Shared cM Project – An Update

As you might recall, a few months ago I sent out a call (“Collecting Sharing Information for Known Relationships“) for information about the amount of DNA shared by people having a known genealogical relationship. I was hoping to get a better picture of the ranges of the amount of DNA shared by people in these relationships (through about the third cousin range). The incredibly generous genetic genealogy community responded by submitting data bout more than 6,000 relationships!
I posted information a few weeks ago (“Collecting Sharing Information for Known Relationships – Part II“), but today I have an update.
This data is shared under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC license. You are free to share and use the information for non-commercial purposes, as long as you give proper attribution and release anything you create under the same license.
Continued here:

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Big Changes Coming to 23andMe!!!

The 23andMe Transition – First Step November 11th

If you tested through 23andMe, certainly by now you know they are undergoing a rather dramatic facelift and change of how their webpage, tools and matching works.
What’s Changing?
After November 11th, many changes will occur and many matches will no longer be available to you, especially if they are anonymous or use a nickname.  Here is a complete list of what will and will not be available.
The genetic genealogy community is struggling to understand exactly what this means to us, in terms of matches and functionality – both lost and gained.  Suffice it to say that a lot of confusion remains, so be on the safe side and download both your individual match list and your COA (Countries of Ancestry) matches if you utilize those.
Cont. here:

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Embracing the Appalachian Accent

I spent the first 18 years of my life being molded by the mountains. I have explored every twist and turn on the back of a four wheeler. I know exactly how the Appalachian hills reflect each season with a beauty that only God himself could have crafted. When I left for college, a mere three hours away, I did not know how different I would seem to some of my peers because of where I call home. My accent was always the first topic of conversation, most out of genuine curiosity but some just condescension. The follow up question typically involved “...but what do you do there?” and ended with a causal “I couldnever live there.” It was confusing and sometimes hurtful how easily people could dismiss the place I loved. As college continued, though, I grew and made connections beyond that of my hometown. My accent still remained a tell-tale reminder of where I was from, though. I continued to get questions about it or be asked to repeat words because of the way I said them. I will not lie and say that I was never embarrassed, because I was, but I also knew that hiding my voice would be an injustice to my home.
Cont. here:
This is wonderful that this "child of Appalachia" recognises how precious and valuable her accent is. JEC

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Whoever Heard of Irish Slaves?

Have you ever heard of Irish Slaves? Maybe you think this is a myth. Read more here:


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Monday, October 19, 2015

How Blacks have Irish Last Names

Ever wonder how a lot of African Americans have Irish last names? It is not because of Irish slave owners, no erase that foolishness……don’t think Gone With The Wind and the O’Hara plantation. What a lot of people don’t know is that Irish were slaves too, hundreds of thousands were sent to work in the West Indies and they blended with the black slaves thus we have Irish names like McFadden, McDonalds, etc.

Irish descendantsThey came as slaves; vast human cargo transported on tall British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.
Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. They were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.
We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? We know all too well the atrocities of the African slave trade.

But, are we talking about African slavery? King James II and Charles I also led a continued effort to enslave the Irish. Britain’s famed Oliver Cromwell furthered this practice of dehumanizing one’s next door neighbor.

The Irish slave trade began when James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.

Cont. here:

Related: This phenomena has been noted for the Welsh as well. And few of the Welsh were slave owner. I don't think it is far fetched to extrapolate this explanation to include the Welsh, because the English were notoriously cruel to the Welsh. JEC

Supplemental reading about Irish slaves:

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Indian Slavery in Colonial Times Within the Present Limits of the United States Pt. 2

Lauber, Almon Wheeler

104 105


To arrive at any knowledge of the exact number of Indian slaves in any of the English colonies is impossible. Census reports and other vital statistics are infrequent or lacking, especially in the early colonial period; and often in such statistics as are extant Indian slaves either receive no mention, or are classed with negro slaves without distinction. From existing records, however, one is able to obtain a knowledge of the comparative numbers in the different groups of colonies, and to some extent in the individual colonies, during the colonial period. New England and the southern colonies were the sections that employed Indian slave labor most extensively, the south taking precedence, for climatic conditions there were more favorable, and economic conditions made necessary a larger quantity of servile labor than was required in the north.1 Yet New England made use of the natives as slaves as long as they lasted,2 and drew further supplies from Maine,3 the Carolinas,4 and other districts.5

Among the English colonies, the Carolinas stood first
1 Doyle, English Colonies in America, The Puritan Colonies, ii, p. 506.
2 I. e., until after the Pequot and King Philip Wars.
3 Freeman, The History of Cape Cod, p. 72.
4 Connecticut Colonial Records, 1715, p. 516.
5 Coffin, A Sketch of the History of Newbury, etc., p. 337; Essex Institute Historical Collections, vii, p. 73; Connecticut Colonial Records, 1711, p. 233.


in the use of Indians as slaves. Such use began with the founding of the colony. The need for laborers was great; the source of supply was near at hand and the colonists availed themselves of their opportunity. Probably captives of the Stono War became the Indian slaves mentioned in the inventory of Captain Valentine Byrd, “one of the grandees of the time.”1 In a report on conditions in the colony, made to the proprietors, September 17, 1708, by Governor Nathaniel Johnson and his council, the number of Indian men slaves was given as 500, Indian women slaves, as 600, Indian children slaves, as 300, a total of 1400 Indian slaves. The number of negroes at the same time was stated as 4100, of indentured servants, 120, and of free whites, 3960. The governor gave the cause of the rapid increase in the number of the Indian slaves during the five preceding years, as “our late conquest over the French and Spanish, and the success of our forces against the Appalaskys and in other Indian engagements.”2

Only a small portion of the whole number of Indians enslaved were kept in the colony.3 Yet, in 1708, it was estimated that the native population furnished one-fourth of the whole number of slaves in South Carolina.4 The public records of that colony contain a list of ninety-eight Indian slaves with their owners’ names, taken by the Spaniards and their allies in 1715, during the Indian
1 Hawks, History of North Carolina, etc., second edition, ii, p. 577.
2 Bancroft Papers Relating to Carolina, in New York City Public Library, MSS. vol. i, 1662-1769; Rivers, A Sketch of the History of South Carolina to the Close of the Proprietary Government, etc., p. 232; South Carolina Historical Society Collections, ii, p. 217; Thomas, The Indians of North America, etc., p. 95; Schaper, Sectionalism in South Carolina, p. 263.
3 Logan, A History of the Upper Country of South Carolina, i, p. 189.
4 Rivers, A Sketch of the History of South Carolina to the Close of Proprietary Government, etc., p. 231.


war, and carried to St. Augustine. The number of these slaves belonging to individual persons varied from one to ten.1 A report of 1723 mentions the number of slaves in South Carolina and Georgia as ranging from 16,000 to 20,000, “chiefly negroes and a few Indians.”2 Another report of the following year estimates the number of slaves as 32,000, “mostly negroes”,3 In 1728, the population of St. Thomas’ parish, South Carolina, consisted of 565 whites, 950 negro slaves, and 60 Indian slaves.4 From
1 Public Records of South Carolina, 1711-1716, vi, p. 276; British Public Record Office, Am. N. I., vol. 620.
2 Hewat, An Historical Account of the Rise of the Colonies of South Carolina and Georgia, i, p. 309.
3 Glenn, A Description of South Carolina, etc., p. 81; Charleston Year Book, 1883, p. 407. (A quotation from a pamphlet entitled, “The Importance of the British Plantations in America to this Kingdom,” London, 1731).
4 Dalcho, An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, p. 287; Humphreys, An Historical Account of the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, etc., edition of 1730, pp. 103-105.
As the result of the intermingling of negroes and Indians, which came about when the coast tribes dwindled and the small number of remaining members moved inland, associated and intermarried with the negroes until they finally lost their identity and were classed with that race, a considerable portion of the blood of the southern negroes is unquestionably Indian. Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1897-1898, p. 233. It was these mixed bloods, as well as the pure blood Indians, to which the statutes referred by the terms “Indian slaves” and “mustee,” or “mestee,” slaves. Occasional mention is made in the colonial newspapers of slaves of the mixed red and black races. American Weekly Mercury, October 24, 1734. The opinion has even been advanced that, in certain of the colonies, there never were any pure blood Indian slaves. Mr. W. B. Melius of Albany, New York, asserts; “I do not believe the pure Indian was sold as a slave (in New York), I believe the Indian who was the slave was not without mixture.” New York State Library Bulletin, History, No. 4, May, 1900. One instance of the mixture of the Indians and negroes in New York is found in a complaint made in 1717, that negro slaves ran away, and were secreted by the Minisink with whose women they intermarried. Ibid., No. 4, May, 1900.


these statistics, it will be seen that the number of Indian slaves was much smaller than the number of negroes, and that it was growing smaller toward the middle of the eighteenth century, while that of negroes was constantly increasing.

The early history of Indian slavery in Georgia is so bound up with that of Carolina, the Indian wars, and the difficulties with the Spaniards of Florida, as to require but little especial attention. After the settlement of Georgia as a separate colony, occasional mention is made of Indian slaves.1 In 1759, as the basis for a tax bill, the number of slaves was placed at 2500, but a committee of the legislature declared the number to have been underestimated. How many of this number were Indians is not known. The colony was settled at a time when Indian slavery was passing out of existence. So it is safe to state that the number of such slaves was small.

The number of Indian slaves in Virginia, also, was small, owing largely to the number of indentured servants, and to the early introduction and fitness of the negroes for the labor of the colony. In 1671, Berkeley reported the whole population of the colony as 40,000, the number of indentured servants as 6000, and that of slaves as 2000. But no division of slaves according to color was made. In certain sections but few slaves were used. The Scotch-Irish and the Germans preferred their own labor to that of slaves. Some Indians were taken in war, but they were inconsiderable when compared with the number captured in the Carolinas. Occasional mention of Indian slaves is found well into the eighteenth century.

Indian slavery in Massachusetts began early. Following
1 Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, vi, p. 259, mentions an Indian slave in 1749.
2 Howe, Historical Collections of Virginia, etc., p. 134.


the Pequot War, 1637, forty-eight captives were retained as slaves in the colony,1 After King Philip’s War, 1675, also, certain of the captives were made slaves,2 but no record exists of the exact number. The various records and histories of the Massachusetts towns show a general distribution of Indian slaves throughout the colony during the colonial period, such as existed following the two Indian wars above noted. Mere mention may be made of some of these: Plymouth,3 Boston,4 Roxbury,5 Ipswich,6 Quincy,7 Charleston,8 Malden,9 Haverhill,10 Milton.11 None of the official reports on the condition of New England makes mention of Indian slaves.12 But statistics show the number of slaves in Massachusetts in 1720 to have been 2000, including a few Indians.13 In 1790, according to the
1 Winthrop, Journal History of New England, i, p. 225, in Original Narratives of Early American History.
2 See Chapter V.
3 “It seems probable that there were no Indian slaves in Plymouth before the division of land in 1623.” Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, series 4, iii, p. 114.
4 Boston News Letter and other newspapers.
5 Ellis, The History of Roxbury Town, p. 136.
6 Felt, The History of Ipswich, pp. 306, 320; Boston Weekly Mercury, October 2, 1735.
7 Wilson, Where American Independence Began, p. 154.
8 Corey, The History of Malden, p. 416.
9 Ibid.
10 Chase, The History of Haverhill, pp. 239, 248.
11 Earle, Customs and Fashions in Old New England, p. 84.
12 Doyle, English Colonies in America, The Puritan Colonies, ii, p. 68. In 1708, Governor Dudley made a report on slaves and the slave trade to the Board of Trade, in which he stated that there were 400 negro slaves in Massachusetts. No mention was made of Indians. Historical Magazine, x, p. 52.
13 American Antiquarian Society Proceedings, 1885-1887, new series, iv, p. 216.


United States census report, the number of slaves in the state was 6,001, which number included about 200 half breed Indians.1 Since Massachusetts took the lead in the two Indian wars of New England, it seems likely that the number of Indian slaves in that colony exceeded that in either Connecticut or Rhode Island.2

The Rhode Island laws from 1636 to 1704 make no mention of Indian slaves. Yet they were held in the colony before 1704. The records of Block Island show them there in sufficient numbers, in 1675, to warrant the town council regulating their action. Captives taken in King Philip’s War were retained in the colony temporarily as slaves. The Boston newspapers occasionally mention runaway Indian slaves of Block Island.3 Both negro and Indian slavery reached a development in colonial Narragansett unusual in the northern colonies.4 In 1730, South Kingston had a population of 935 whites, 333 negroes and 223 Indian slaves. Eighteen years later, the proportion of races was nearly the same: 1405 whites, 380 negroes, and 193 Indians.5 As late as 1778, the laws of Rhode Island mentioned Indian slaves.6

Indian slavery in Connecticut began almost with the founding of the colony, and came about as a result of the Pequot War (1636). The captives taken in the war were
1 American Statistical Association Collections, i, pp. 208-214; Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, series 1, iv, p. 199.
2 Livermore, A History of Block Island, etc., p. 60.
3 New England Courant, June 17, 1723—A Spanish Indian runaway from Newport; Boston Gazette, October 28, 1728—An Indian runaway slave from Warwick, Rhode Island.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Indian Slavery in Colonial Times Within the Present Limits of the United States Pt. 1

New York: Columbia University, 1913

Lauber, Almon Wheeler

OF the processes in vogue among the English for the acquisition of Indian slaves, the most productive was that of warfare.1 With the exception of the Pequot War and King Philip’s War in New England, the Indian wars in the English colonies were confined to the south, and there the greatest number of Indian war captives were enslaved.

After the Indian massacre of 1622 in Virginia, there was published in London, in the same year, a tract entitled “The Relation of the Barbarous Massacre in Time of Peace and League, treacherously executed by the native infidels upon the English, the Twenty-second of March, 1622, published by Authority.” The general trend of the tract is to show the good that might result to the plantation from this disaster. Number five of the possible results reads: “Because the Indians, who before were used as friends, may now most justly be compelled to servitude in mines, and the like, of whom some may be sent for the use of the Summer Islands.”2

The policy advocated by the tract was carried out in succeeding Indian wars in Virginia. The accounts of a certain Thomas Smallcomb, lieutenant at Fort Royal on Pamunkey, who was probably killed in the war with Opechancanough, show him possessed at the time of his death, 1646, of several Indian slaves.1 It seems probable that these slaves were captives in war. After his rebellion, 1676, Bacon sold some of his Indian prisoners.2 The rest were disposed of by Governor Berkeley.3

From the beginning of the colony, the settlers of Carolina were in trouble with the Indians. In September, 1671, war was declared against the Kussoe, a tribe on the southern frontier who posed as allies of the Spaniards, and who vexed the Carolina settlers with petty depredations. The Kussoe were quickly defeated, and the prisoners sent to be sold out of the colony, unless ransomed by their country men.4 During the war with the Stono Indians in 1680, the captive Indians were brought to Charleston and sold by Governor West to the traders in the colony to be carried to the West Indies as slaves.5

The breaking out of the war of the Spanish Succession in 1701 gave Governor Moore a chance to attack the Spanish Indians, capture and sell them under the excuse of the rules of war. Therefore, in 1702, he led a force of militia and Indians against St. Augustine, burned the city, and carried off, as slaves, whatever Indians he could obtain from the Spanish Indian villages along the way.1 A second attack on St. Augustine was made by Moore in 1704, with the purpose of destroying missions and carrying off slaves.2 An advance into the territories of the Apalachee resulted in the destruction of several missions, and the capture of more than a thousand Indians, some free, some slave.3 Nearly all the Apalachee were distributed as slaves among the Carolina settlers.4 The enslavement of Indians, indeed, was carried on wholesale. A letter to the proprietors, July 10, 1708, states that “the garrison of St. Augustine is by this war reduced to the bare walls, their cattle and Indian towns all consumed, either by us in our invasion of that place, or by our Indian subjects . . . they have driven the Floridians to the islands of the cape, have brought in and sold many hundred of them, and maybe now continue that trade, so that in some five years, they’ll reduce the barbarians to a fearless number.”5 In 1708, Colonel Barnwell of South Carolina made an expedition to the Appalachian province of Florida. It is thought that this was the time when Captain Nairn of South Carolina, with a party of Yamasee Indians, advanced to the vicinity of Lake Okechobee and brought back a number of captive Indians as slaves.6 A similar expedition of Colonel Palmer in 1727 against the Yamasee resulted in the destruction of many Indian towns, the slaughter of many natives, and the carrying off of great numbers to Charleston as slaves.1

As the result of the three expeditions sent by South Carolina from 1702 to 1708 against the Yamasee, Apalachee, and Timucua of northern Florida, there was carried back to Charleston, for sale as slaves, almost the entire population of seven towns, in all, some 1400 persons.2 The captives taken in 1715 when the Yamasee and Creek Indians made a foray upon the South Carolina frontier, were sold as slaves. Mr. Johnston, a South Carolina missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in his letter to the Society, December 19, 1715, states: “It is certain many of the Yammousees and Creek Indians were against the war all along. But our military men were so bent upon revenge, and so desirous to enrich themselves by making all the Indians slaves that fall into yr hands . . . . that it is in vain to represent the cruelty and injustice of such a procedure”.3

Throughout the Tuscarora War in North Carolina, Indian captives were retained or sold as slaves.4 At the beginning of military operations, following the Indian massacre of 1711, the friendly Indians agreed to help the English against their enemy upon promise of a reward of six blankets for each man killed by them, and the usual price of slaves for each woman and child delivered as captives.1 During the course of the war several hundred Indian allies were used by the English,2 and these allies took advantage of the opportunity to obtain large number of Indian captives to sell to the slave traders of the time.

In an attack on an Indian fort in 1711, thirty-nine women and children were captured and disposed of in the settlements as slaves.3 The two chief expeditions during the war were those of Colonel Barnwell, who was sent by South Carolina in January, 1712, and of Colonel Moore in January and February, 1713. Colonel Barnwell’s expedition took two hundred Indian women and children prisoners.4 The expedition of Colonel Moore virtually ended the war by capturing the fort in which the Tuscarora had taken refuge.5 Nine hundred men, women and children were killed or taken prisoners.6 In both expeditions the allied Indians secured as many as possible of the captured Indians whom they took along with them to sell as slaves in Charleston,7 and they still further increased their supply of slaves by attacking the peaceful Indians along the route of their return to South Carolina.8 During the course of the war more than seven hundred Indians were sold into slavery.

Related article:

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Native Americans Targeted for Turkish Alliance

The Armenian Reporter March 15, 2008

Turks are saying they were the first Americans

Real Native Americans say they speak with forked tongue

by Anoush Ter Taulian

''Last month, I reported about a January 26 panel discussion on
Turkic and Native American connections, held at the Turkish Center in
New York (see the story in the Community section of the Feb. 9
Reporter) in which the Turks presented their theory that their
ancestors crossed the Bering Strait into the Americas and thus are
the ancestors of some of the present day Native Americans. Since
then, I've been asking Native Americans and what they think of this
theory and I've found they do not welcome these Turkish

............However, the presenters also put forward a claim of
Turkish-Native American relatedness from a much more recent time. It
involves a group of Turks who claim to be related to
the "Melungeons": a population of mixed Indian, white, and black
ancestry, whose members say they are the descendants of the 200
Moors, West Africans, Portuguese soldiers, South American Indians,
and Ottoman Turkish galley slaves that Sir Francis Drake brought to
Roanoke Island, Virginia, in 1586.* There is no record of the number
and origin of the rescued prisoners who made up the diverse
ancestors of today's Melungeons (the group designated "Ottoman
slaves" could have included Bulgarians, Circassians, Abkhazians,
Arabs, Berbers, Greeks – evenArmenians). Nevertheless, there are now
Melungeon societies in the Appalachians; and the town of Wise,
Virginia, and Cesme in Turkey have become "sister cities" and plan to
engage in economic trade – all on the basis of this claim of a
Turkish-Melungeon connection. But according to Anton Edwards, a mixed
Native and African American, "The claims of these Turks are
preposterous." Edwards familiarized himself with some of the
materials used by the Turkish-Melungeon advocates, but came away

Continued here

* This assertion has no basis in fact. It has not been proven that Sir Francis Drake left any people in North America or if he did, that any survived. And the leap to identifying them as ancestors of the Melungeons is a very long leap, indeed. Additionally, it is a matter of historical record that Drake returned the Turks to their homeland. See David Beers Quinn.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

DNA Study Busts Myth that One Million Appalachians are of Turkish Descent

DNA Study

DNA Study Busts Myth that One Million Appalachians are of Turkish Descent

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

For decades, Turkish pseudo-historians and propagandists have made bizarre claims about Turks being the ancestors of various ethnic groups around the world, including Native Americans, African-Americans, and the strangest of all -- Melungeons -- a little-known group of dark-skinned residents of Appalachia.

To counter Armenian political activities in Washington, the Turkish government regularly reaches out to anyone who could be co-opted with all-expense paid trips, special gifts, and other financial inducements, including funding studies and conferences on the alleged Turkish origin of Melungeons. Even though these one million Appalachians do not carry much political clout in Congress, Ankara is interested in claiming them to be of Turkish descent, hoping to strengthen its political and economic clout in the United States.

The Turkish initiative faced one ‘minor’ problem: there was no evidence that Melungeons were descendants of Turks. This issue was easily resolved when the Turkish government provided a “research grant” to a Melungeon named N. Brent Kennedy. In April 1995, he flew to Istanbul and wrote a book alleging that hundreds of captured Ottoman sailors were dumped on the shores of North Carolina by Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century!

Kennedy compiled a long list of “amazing” similarities between Turks and Melungeons, such as eating beef and mashed potatoes, the habit of hugging each other, Appalachian quilts having Ottoman designs, Anatolian folk dancers performing square dance, and Turkish music sounding like bluegrass! He discovered that the Turkish word “neyaygara” sounds like Niagara, “dilhah yer” is pronounced Delaware, “tenasuh” means Tennessee, “kan tok” is Kentucky, and “allah bamya” is Alabama!

Kennedy further stated that Turkish scholars have “long believed that a connection existed between themselves and eastern seaboard American Indians, based on both physical appearance and shared words and customs.” He gathered these “important facts” from Turkish “historians” during his meetings at Marmara University in Istanbul. “Several hundred Ottoman sailors could exert a powerful genetic, cultural, and linguistic influence on the sixteenth-century Native American Tribes into which they married,” Kennedy confidently concluded.

Appalachians, however, were infuriated by the distortion of Melungeons’ ethnic origin and exploitation of their history. Historian and award-winning journalist Tim Hashaw of Houston, Texas, sent a letter asking me to “investigate the tawdry connection between the ATAA (Assembly of Turkish American Associations) and the Melungeon Heritage Association.” Hashaw asserted that “Melungeons are an obscure tri-racial (white, black, and American Indian) community in Appalachia -- Virginia and Tennessee. We are not now, nor have we ever been, Turkish. Yet, Melungeons are being wrongly exploited by Turkish associations to deny the Armenian Genocide and to support questionable Turkish agendas in Washington DC.”
Cont. here:

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Slavery and Indentured Servants

Before the Civil War, slaves and indentured servants were considered personal property, and they or their descendants could be sold or inherited like any other personalty. Like other property, human chattel was governed largely by laws of individual states. Generally, these laws concerning indentured servants and slaves did not differentiate between the sexes. Some, however, addressed only women. Regardless of their country of origin, many early immigrants were indentured servants, people who sold their labor in exchange for passage to the New World and housing on their arrival. Initially, most laws passed concerned indentured servants, but around the middle of the seventeenth century, colonial laws began to reflect differences between indentured servants and slaves. More important, the laws began to differentiate between races: the association of “servitude for natural life” with people of African descent became common. Re Negro John Punch (1640) was one of the early cases that made a racial distinction among indentured servants.

Cont. here:

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 Top Genealogy Sites Announced

The annual GenealogyInTime Magazine Top 100 is the definitive list in genealogy. It profiles and ranks the best ancestral websites based on estimates of their internet traffic (as measured by Alexa, the internet traffic people). This results in a list that is objective and comprehensive.
This year represents our fourth annual survey on the state of genealogy. Discover some interesting websites to help you find your ancestors and stay up to date with the latest trends in genealogy.

- See more at:

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Appalachian Christmas Celebrations and Customs

Christmas Trees were much like this one

Modern celebrations of the Christmas holiday were late in making their way to those living in the Appalachian Mountains. Many ancient observances from “the old country” were still practiced here in these mountains as late as World War I, and in some pockets probably later. For instance, have you and your friends gone out “serenadin’”? Contrary to what you might think, it has very little to do with carolling. What about building a huge bonfire on a hill? Again, the practice’s primary reason was not to keep warm. Maybe you’ve stayed awake on Christmas Eve to hear, no, not sleigh bells and reindeer hooves, but sheep and horses bowing to pray.

Many of the first settlers in the Appalachian Mountains were of Scots-Irish and English descent, so many of their customs were practiced, combined, and adapted to their new surroundings. One custom that made its way to the shores of America was a large bonfire on hilltops. The bonfires have their beginnings in the beliefs of the Druids. They thought that building a bonfire on mountaintops would hurry along the return of the sun and longer days.Often times bonfires were combined with the practice of “serenadin’”. The youngsters in the community - keep in mind, now that houses were much farther apart then - would get together on Christmas Eve to visit with the neighbors. They’d take along cow bells, buckets, shotguns loaded with blanks, and just about anything else that would make a bunch of noise. Taking care to be quiet upon approach to the house, they’d let loose with as much racket and noise as they could muster up. The neighbors then would light a lamp or two and invite the group in for treats and cider. If by chance the group wasn’t quiet enough and those trying to enjoy their slumber heard them, the home owner fired off a round from his shotgun to signal them they had been caught. More often than not, they were still invited in for hospitality.The serenadin’ tradition is most likely based on the English tradition of “The Day of Misrule” where servants, the poor, and children could visit the homes of their well-off neighbors and merchants to ask for food.

Another loud tradition is anvil shooting. Yes, that’s right, anvil shooting. What would happen is the square and round holes on one anvil would be packed with black powder and another anvil would be placed on top of it. The powder is then ignited and the top anvil is shot into the air - sometimes as high as a hundred or more feet. The boom is deafening and the ground shakes. Some say this tradition goes back as far as Biblical times, and it was customary way to celebrate Independence Day, Christmas, and, according to Tennessee history, Davy Crockett’s election to Congress. Perhaps anvil shooting and the noise making of serenadin’ also ties into the belief that loud noises drive bad spirits away. Shooting fireworks at Christmas also falls into the same category of driving away evil spirits and awakening sleeping vegetation for spring and are from the German and Scottish tradition. It was usually done on Christmas Eve around three in the afternoon. Think about how many Christmas festivals now incorporate fireworks in their menu of activities.

Visiting played an important role in the celebration of the holidays. It was expected that you would get out and see your neighbors in the surrounding area within a reasonable distance. In some areas of the Appalachians, visitors would pack their pockets with candy and trinkets and when meeting other fellow visitors try to be the first to say “Christmas Gift,” a common greeting for the season. If they were, they received a small gift from the other person.Those being visited would have treats, small mincemeat pies, and cider ready. Visitors would not stay long, but had to partake of the hospitality offered or there was a risk of taking the Christmas Spirit away from the home.

Christmas trees were introduced in the United States in 1842 in Williamsburg, Virginia. They made their way to the Appalachian Mountains around 1900 when teachers in settlement schools shared the idea. It wasn’t until the 1930s that they were decorated in homes in the mountains. At that time most of the decorations were homemade - strings of popcorn and berries, popcorn balls, paper chains, foil - saved from candy wrappers - around sweet gum balls, gingerbread cookies, etc.Children were visited by Santa Claus, but may have had different ways in which gifts were left. There was the traditional manner where stockings were hung on the mantle to be filled with candy, a pencil, a tablet, and an orange (which was a valued gift for a child - Christmas was the only time they were available here in the mountains). Sometimes Santa would leave gifts in shoes placed beside the front door. And sometimes a table was set for Santa. Everyone’s plate was placed upside down in their usual places and the table was moved to between the Christmas tree and a window. The next morning the plates were rightside up and filled with candy, sweets, and a small gift. Hanging stockings is an English tradition, setting the table for Santa is German, and filling shoes is Dutch.

One of the most solemn and reverent celebrations in the season is Old Christmas. The change over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar caused a difference of eleven days. In those eleven days Christmas was moved to December 25 from January 6. Some Protestants refused to honor the new calendar because it was decreed by the Pope, so the celebration of Christmas remained on January 6.In the Appalachian Mountains, the celebration of Old Christmas remained until about World War I. Though they might also observe “new” Christmas on December 25th, the festivities were very different. December 25th was marked with revelry and parties and visiting, but January 6th was primarily a family observance

more here:

Merry Christmas !!!!! 

History Chasers

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Where Have All the Indians Gone?

by Janet Crain

There was some misunderstanding when this paper first appeared that the author was saying some of the groups studied such as the Melungeons had no Indian ancestry. That was not the intent. If the entire JoGG paper is read it will become clear that this is a very serious, perhaps the first in some aspects, effort to explain why we are not seeing the Native American genetic testing results we would expect.

Where Have All the Indians Gone? Native American Eastern Seaboard Dispersal, Genealogy and DNA in Relation to Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony of Roanoke.
Roberta Estes

Within genealogy circles, family stories of Native American1 heritage exist in many families whose American ancestry is rooted in Colonial America and traverses Appalachia. The task of finding these ancestors either genealogically or using genetic genealogy is challenging.

With the advent of DNA testing, surname and other special interest projects2, tools now exist to facilitate grouping participants in a way that allows one to view populations in historical fashions. This paper references and uses data from several of these public projects, but particularly the Melungeon, Lumbee, Waccamaw, North Carolina Roots and Lost Colony projects3.

The Lumbee have long claimed descent from the Lost Colony via their oral history4. The Lumbee DNA Project shows significantly less Native American ancestry than would be expected with 96% European or African Y chromosomal DNA. The Melungeons, long held to be mixed European, African and Native show only one ancestral family with Native DNA5. Clearly more testing would be advantageous in all of these projects.

This phenomenon is not limited to these groups, and has been reported by other researchers such as Bolnick (et al, 2006) where she reports finding in 16 Native American populations with northeast or southeast roots that 47% of the families who believe themselves to be full blooded or no less than 75% Native with no paternal European admixture find themselves carrying European or African y-line DNA. Malhi (et al, 2008) reported that in 26 Native American populations non-Native American Y chromosomal DNA frequency as high as 88% is found in the
-->Canadian northeast, southwest of Hudson Bay. Malhi’s conclusions suggest that perhaps there was early1 introduction of European DNA in that population.

The significantly higher non-Native DNA frequency found among present day Lumbee descendants may be due in part to the unique history of the Eastern seaboard Indian tribes of that area or to the admixture of European DNA by the assimilation of the Lost Colony of Roanoke after 1587, or both.

European contact may have begun significantly before the traditionally held dates of 1492 with Columbus’ discovery of America or 1587 with the Lost Colony of Roanoke which is generally and inaccurately viewed as the first European settlement attempt. Several documented earlier contacts exist and others were speculated, but the degree of contact and infusion of DNA into the Native population is unknown.

Wave after wave of disease introduced by European and African contact and warfare decimated the entire tribal population. Warfare took comparatively more male than female lives, encouraging the adoption of non-Indian males into the tribes as members or guests. An extensive English trader network combined with traditional Native American social practices that encouraged sexual activity with visitors was another avenue for European DNA to become infused into Eastern seaboard tribes.

1 Native, Native American, American Indian and Indian are used interchangeably to indicate the original inhabitants of North American before the European colonists arrived.
2 Available through Family Tree DNA,
3 See Acknowledgement section for web addresses of the various projects. Note that participants join these projects voluntarily and are not recruited for specific traits as in other types of scientific studies. Some projects, such as the Lost Colony projects, screen applicants for appropriateness prior to joining. For the join criteria, please see the FAQ at
4 The oral history exists tribe-wide, but specifically involves Virginia Dare and the colonists Henry and Richard Berry. Genealogies are relatively specific about the line of descent.
5 The Melungeon DNA project, while initially included in this research, was subsequently removed from the report because of the lack of Native American ancestry and no direct connection to the Lost Colonists. The Lumbee may be connected to the Melungeons, but that remains unproven.

Eastern Seaboard Native Americans

The genealogies of many families contain oral histories of Native ancestors. With the advent of genealogical DNA testing, confirmation of those long-held and cherished family stories about Native American ancestors can now be confirmed or denied, assuming one can find the right cousin and persuade them to test. Many surprises await DNA participants, and not always positive surprises if the search is for Native American ancestors. Those who are supposed to be, aren’t, and occasionally a surprise Native American ancestor appears via the announcement of their haplogroup.

What DNA testing offers to the genealogist, it also offers to the historian. With the advent of projects other than surname projects, meaning both geographically based projects and haplogroup projects, historians are offered a new way to look at and compare data.

Excellent examples of this type of project are the Lumbee, East Carolina Roots, Melungeon and Waccamaw projects.

A similar project of significantly wider scope is the 1587 Lost Colony of Roanoke DNA project. When the author founded the project in early 2007, it was thought that the answer would be discovered relatively quickly and painlessly, meaning that significant cooperation and genealogical research from local families would occur and that the surnames and families in England would be relatively easy to track. Nothing could be further from the truth. The paucity of early records in the VA/NC border region combined with English records that are difficult to search, especially from a distance, are located in many various locations and are often written in Latin has proven to be very challenging. The Lost Colony project has transformed itself into a quest to solve a nearly 425 year old mystery, the oldest “cold case” in America. However, this is not the first attempt. Historical icons David Beers Quinn (1909-2002) and William S. Powell devoted their careers to the unending search for the colonists, both here in the US in terms of their survival and in Great Britain in terms of their original identities. However, neither of those men had the benefit of DNA as a tool and we are building upon their work, and others.

One cannot study the Lost Colonists, referred to here as colonists, without studying the history of the eastern North Carolina area in general including early records, the British records and critically, the history of the Native people of the Outer Banks area of North Carolina. A broad research area in the early years (pre-1700 to as late as 1750), would be defined as coastal North Carolina and Virginia and into South Carolina in the later years (1712 to about 1800). Initially both Carolinas were in fact Virginia, North Carolina being formed in 1663 as Carolina. When South Carolina split off in 1712, the States of both North and South Carolina were created from the original Carolina.

Copyright 2009, all rights reserved, accepted for publication at JoGG

Figure 5:

Read the entire paper here:

There are 4 supplementary files with a lot of good data in there as well.

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