Sunday, March 30, 2008
Branch of Acknowledgment and Research
Bureau of Indian Affairs
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
What is a social isolate?
The great majority of individuals in the United States who carry a mixed European, African, and Native American genealogical heritage are not members of social isolate groups. The majority of them identify with some other component of the wider society--most commonly white, sometimes Black, and sometimes Native American. As such persons trace their family history, they may find that some, though probably not all, of their ancestors were at some time part of a tri-racial isolate settlement. Therefore, the genealogical study of such groups is of interest to a wide segment of the modern American population.
The most basic and useful definition of mixed-race social isolates for the purposes of academic study was compiled in 1950 by a professional geographer. Edward T. Price wrote:
(1) The people must be racial mixtures of white and non-white groups, Indian and/or negro peoples presumably providing the latter blood in the absence of evidence to the contrary;
(2) they must have a social status differing from that accorded whites, Indians, or negroes in the area in such away as to throw them generally together in their more personal social relationships;
(3) they must exist in such numbers and concentration as to be recognized in their locality as such a group and usually to be identified by a distinguishing group name (Price 1950, 5).
Price's emphasis on the existence of a group is fundamental to studying the genealogy of social isolate groups as groups. In spite of the ongoing myth that one drop of African ancestry classified an individual or family as Black, the historical fact is that this principal was nowhere a matter of law in the United States prior to the early 20th century, whereas in most jurisdictions prior to the Civil War, free persons with less than 1/8 or 1/16 African ancestry were, for legal purposes, classified as white. While the prevalence of legal and social discrimination should not be underestimated, neither should it be overestimated. In many communities, whites were reluctant to apply law codes which had been passed to control slaves and emancipated slaves to those mixed-race families that had been free since early colonial times. Often, if one mixed-race family moved into a county or comparable jurisdiction, it was simply assimilated by the local majority population, leaving scarcely a ripple in the historical record. In order for a social isolate to develop, there had to be a large enough group to permit enough endogamous marriages to sustain a distinct population. For a general discussion of the complexities, see the well-known article by Gary B. Mills and the recent more general survey by Gary B. Nash.
What are the basic sources of information on social isolates?
Writing about social isolates has falls primarily into the categories of fact, folklore, fantasy, and even modern fiction. It is not always easy to distinguish these categories of writing. Spurred on by the wishful thinking of authors, fiction, fantasy, and folklore have masqueraded as fact with some frequency. Outright fiction is probably the least common: it can be very interesting in its own right. However, at least in the case of Appalachian writer Sharyn McCrumb's Elizabeth MacPherson mystery novel, the "common sense" historical explanation which the author adopted has no discernable basis in the genealogical documentation of the families who are known to have lived in social isolate settlements in the tri-state region of southwestern Virginia, northwestern North Carolina, and northeastern Tennessee.
Fantasy. John Sevier's letter mentioning a tribe of "white Indians" which supposedly lived in eastern Tennessee in the late 18th century has provided the root of many of the more improbable speculations on the origins of the isolate settlements. One of the most widespread resulting fantasies has been the attempt to link these settlements with early Portuguese explorations of the North American continent. The improbability of such connections is made clear by Charles M. Hudson's recent impartial survey of these explorations. Turkish origins are equally improbable.
Fact. The actual, factual, history of social isolate settlements is going to be written by genealogists and family historians: document by individual document, fact by painstaking fact. The function and duty of the historian and the genealogist is to demystify and to demythologize.
I want to particularly cite one family genealogist who, by painstaking local research, has traced the written usage of the word "Melungeon" at a date much earlier than it had been located by professional historians and anthropologists, who had made do with a recollection, written in the 1880's, that the word had been used in the late 1840's: Jack Harold Goins of Rogersville, Tennessee, located a written use of the word on September 26, 1813. Jack descends from Zephaniah Goins. Knowing that his ancestors were Primitive Baptists, Jack Goins searched first the minutes of the Blackwater Primitive Baptist Church, where Zephaniah and Elizabeth (Thompson) Goins were members. These led him to the minutes of the Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church at Ft. Blackmore, Washington County, Virginia (about eight miles southwest of present-day Dungannon, Virginia, in Scott County), just across the state line from Tennessee.
By carefully tracing a specific family along a specific migration route, this author has made a major contribution not only to family genealogy, but to historical and anthropological research. More research of equally high quality needs to be undertaken. When we know the origins of each individual Melungeon family, we will know the origins of the Melungeons. When we know the origins of each family in other social isolates, we will begin to understand their genesis and development.
Please do not request any further research from the author. Dr. DeMarce does NOT undertake research commissions.
Dr. DeMarce is now engaged in writing popular fiction books.
Friday, March 28, 2008
For those of you who research and have not used Google Earth, I wanted to bring it to your attention. A while back I discovered Google Earth on Matt Cutts’ blog. Matt Cutts is the Google Guy, and he is from
I was searching
I then went to Google Earth and searched for
Berea College has some information in their Southern Appalachia Archives on the Henderson Settlement which was located in South America: Hiram Frakes, a Methodist minister, founded Henderson Settlement in 1925, chiefly as a community center and educational institution. It is located in southern
Here is one census where you can look for names; 1860 Whitley County KY census,
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Congratulations to RootsTelevision, co-founded by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Marcy Brown, which just won FOUR Telly Awards! The press release is included below. And don’t forget that you can watch RootsTelevision at TGG!
RootsTelevision.com Wins Four Telly Awards in Its First Year
PROVO, UT, March 26, 2008 – RootsTelevision.com, an online channel dedicated to all aspects of genealogy and family history, has been recognized in the 29th Annual Telly Awards for four of its original productions. Selected from more than 14,000 shows were “DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Fathers” (documentary), “Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy” (entertainment), “Roots Books: Psychic Roots” (talk show), and “Flat Stanley’s Family Tree” (children’s audience).
“We’re delighted,” said RootsTelevision.com co-founder, Marcy Brown. “To receive this kind of recognition during our first year of existence is remarkable, and winning in four different categories is even more astonishing. We take this as an indication that our decision to pioneer online programming for the substantial but neglected niche of millions of genealogists was a risk worth taking.”
The four winning shows include an episode of “DNA Stories,” a series that focuses on the exploding hobby of genetic genealogy and shows how avid roots-seekers are using DNA testing to solve family history riddles. The award-winning “Tale of Two Fathers” episode features Bob Zins and his efforts to determine whether the man who raised him was really his father. “Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy” showcases the unexpected twin talents of Jordan Auslander, who’s both a professional genealogist and stand-up comic. “Roots Books,” a talk show hosted by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, received its award for the especially popular “Psychic Roots” episode that centers on a discussion of the role of serendipity in genealogy between Sharon and popular speaker and author, Hank Jones. And “Flat Stanley’s Family Tree” follows the beloved children’s character as he explores his colonial roots in Williamsburg, Virginia and his gold rush roots in California.
Founded in 1978, The Telly is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. The Telly Awards, a highly respected international competition, annually showcases the best work of the most respected production companies in the world.
About RootsTelevision.comRootsTelevision.com was co-founded by producer, Marcy Brown, and professional genealogist, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, her real name). Marcy and Megan, who frequently refer to themselves as “two chicks and a channel,” launched online in late 2006 and already provide more than 1,000 videos – free, on-demand and 24/7 — for family history enthusiasts around the globe. For more information, please visit www.rootstelevision.com.
Links to the award-winning shows:
DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Fathers:
Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy:
Roots Books: Psychic Roots:
Flat Stanley’s Family Tree:
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
by Joanne Pezzullo
Attorney Lewis Jarvis was born 1829 in Scott County, Virginia and lived in the area and time period where he knew many of the historical Melungeons such as Vardy Collins, the Bolens, and Zachariah Minor. In 1903 he was interviewed for the Hancock County paper and said; "The white emigrants with the friendly Indians erected a fort on the bank of the river and called it Fort Blackmore and here yet many of these friendly “Indians” live in the mountains of Stony creek."
Daniel Boone and his family lived at Fort Blackmore in present Scott County, Virginia from October of 1773 until March of 1775 and was in command of Fort Blackmore and other forts on the Clinch River in 1774 while the militiamen were engaged in the Point Pleasant campaign of Dunmore's war. Some of these men did not fight at Point Pleasant but were detached and were with Boone guarding the clinch frontier. Were they the 'company of men' -- the 'friendly Indians' who erected Fort Blackmore as Jarvis said? (See William Herbert's men below)
There were seven of the original forts erected in compliance with Lord Dunmore's order, four on the lower Clinch under Captain William Russell's militia command, and three on the upper Clinch under the militia command of Captain Daniel Smith. These forts were erected by the local militia under the supervision of Colonel William Christian who had been sent out to the frontier by Colonel William Preston who was militia commandant for the area.
When Captain Russell received Lord Dunmore's orders for building the forts it happened to be muster day for the militia in Cassells Woods, and he immediately, on June 25, 1774, laid the facts before his constituents and informed Colonel Preston of their actions on June 26, 1774, saying: "My company yesterday voted two forts to be immediately built, I think in as convenient a place as we can get, and we shall immediately begin to build them."
Two weeks later, on July 13, 1774, Captain Russell again wrote to Colonel Preston the following letter showing that his people had changed their minds about the number of forts to be built and states that the forts had already been erected.
"Since I wrote you last, the inhabitants of this river have altered the plan for two forts only, on this river, below Elk Garden, and have erected three; one in Cassells Woods which I call Fort Preston; a second ten miles above which I call Fort Christian; the third, five miles below the first, which I call Fort Byrd, and there are four families at John Blackmores near the mouth of Stony Creek, that will never be able to stand it alone without a company of men. Therefore, request you, if you think it can be done, to order them a supply sufficient to enable them to continue the small fortification they have begun."
Fort Blackmore was built on the north side of the Clinch River opposite the mouth of Rock Branch. The fort was on the extreme frontier of Virginia and was used by hunters, explorers, adventurers, and home seekers for rest and refreshment.
See the Names and Bios of the Men Who were There:
Sunday, March 23, 2008
KINSTON, N.C. -- When Bobby Dunbar vanished into the coffee- colored Louisiana swamps nine decades ago, the search was unrelenting.
Hundreds of volunteers slogged through the murky waters around Swayze Lake looking for some trace of the barefoot, blue-eyed 4-year- old. Searchers sliced open the bellies of alligators and dynamited the lake, thinking the blasts might dislodge the child's corpse.
Then, eight months later, police announced they had found little Bobby in the company of a wayward tinker from North Carolina. The man protested -- no, he said, this was his brother's illegitimate child.
A jury convicted him of kidnapping. The little boy grew to manhood, fathered four children and, when he died, was buried as a Dunbar.
But was he really Bobby Dunbar?
Four years ago, the boy's granddaughter began a search for the answer. Margaret Cutright believes modern-day science may help solve a mystery that has haunted three families for 92 years.
But she is unsure whether to take her search to its logical conclusion.
Bobby Dunbar was lost once. Does she have the right to take him away again?
The Louisiana papers dubbed it the crime of the young 20th century.
On a sultry August morning in 1912, a group set out for a fishing contest along Swayze's muddy shores. When the participants returned to the cabins for lunch, Bobby Dunbar wandered off unnoticed.
No straw hat nor any other trace could be found of Percy and Lessie Dunbar's older son. But when searchers found a solitary set of bare footprints leading toward a rickety railroad trestle out of the swamps, and talk surfaced of a stranger wandering those parts, the Dunbars decided Bobby must have been taken.
The citizens of Opelousas pledged a $1,000 reward for Bobby's return, "no questions asked." Percy Dunbar, a well-respected real estate and insurance man, had a detective agency print up postcards with a picture and description of Bobby, and mail them to town and county officials from east Texas to Florida.
"Large round blue eyes, hair light, but turning dark, complexion very fair with rosy cheeks, well developed, stout but not very fat," it read. "Big toe on left foot badly scarred from burn when a baby."
In April 1913, a wire arrived from the little town of Hub, Miss. A drifter named William Cantwell Walters had been taken into custody there. He had a boy with him who matched Bobby's description.
The Dunbars rushed to Mississippi, but they were not immediately sure this was their boy.
The youth had a scar on his left foot. He had a mole on his neck where Bobby had one. But he refused to answer to the name Bobby, and when the mother tried to hold him, he would have nothing to do with her.
Mrs. Dunbar asked to see the boy again the next day. After stripping and bathing him, her uncertainty left her.
"Thank God, it is my boy," she shouted. Then she fainted.
Friday, March 21, 2008
One of the better known media hyped DNA tests was that of the Melungeons, a dark skinned group of unknown origin living in Tennessee in the early 1800's. These DNA tests were started about 2000, as a volunteer effort; there was no cost to the participants except unfulfilled expectations, frustration and time lost. After many promises of the results being announced, there was finally an announcement, of sorts, on June 23, 2002. Were the expectations met? Without pointing a finger of blame at any one person, I would have to say; "No". For several reasons. The announcement only included preliminary results and comments. No actual DNA raw data was ever presented to participants or anyone else. No known peer review was ever conducted. No questions were answered conclusively. It was called a "Population" test, but only had around 100 participants. Its purported purpose was to capture a view of the Y chromosome and mtDNA haplogroups carried by these few self identified Melungeon descendants that came down to them from their Melungeon foreparents. Even though several generations had passed and their ancestry now had the input of many other ancestors, this was supposed to offer some information. Yet to this day, the "results" of this test are quoted as if they are valid.
After one more abortive attempt, a valid Melungeon DNA Project is underway. You can read about ir here:
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
* 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.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A Tale of Two Children, and DNA solves mystery of oneBy Butch Weir
Special to the Item
POPLARVILLE — The story of a local family’s ancestor and the solving of a 90-year old miscarriage of justice is to be a feature of a national public radio program.
In February, This American Life with Ira Glass, a regular feature show produced by National Public Radio will chronicle the disappearance of 4-year old Bobby Dunbar in 1912 during a family outing near Opelousas, La., and the solving of a mystery that has haunted three families to this day.
One of the families included Julia Anderson of North Carolina, a young mother of three children in 1912, including 4-year-old Bruce Anderson. She became embroiled in a legal battle trying to prove Bruce was her son when other evidence said he was the missing Dunbar child.
Two of Anderson’s surviving children, Jewel Tarver and Hollis Rawls, still live here.
Rawls’ memories of his mother Julia Anderson and her involvement in the 1912 disappearance of the Dunbar child depended a lot on what she later related to him as he grew older.
“Mother always said that … that was her child … the Dunbar, which wasn’t a Dunbar, was her child,” Rawls said. “She always said that was her son … Bobby (Dunbar) was her son.”
He said that people in the Ford’s Creek community had kept newspaper clippings of the case. Bilbo, Miley and Cameron were three local families that Tarver and Rawls named who knew of Walters and that he was working here in the company of a young boy, Bruce Anderson.
All of them knew Walters and knew the child’s name was Bruce Anderson, Jewel said. Both agree that there was a letter from Julia Anderson to Walters noting that Bruce was in his care “and she was glad they were getting along there (in Mississippi).”
Both Rawls and Tarver said their mother said she gave Walters permission to have Bruce in his care for two weeks while he traveled into north Georgia to visit Walters’ sister. Jewel said during that time something happened to Anderson’s sister and she went to be with her.
When Walters returned after two weeks and was unable to locate Julia, he kept young Bruce with him. Jewel said Walters was a tinker, a traveling handyman, and one job led to another, eventually causing him to end up with the boy in the south Mississippi area around Ford’s Creek, she said.
It was here that the family’s stories began to merge.
Tarver said Walters had been in the Ford’s Creek area for eight months when the events occurred in the Opelousas area that would forever change the three families. The Dunbar child, son of Percy and Lessie Dunbar of Opelousas, disappeared while on a family outing at nearby Swayze Lake. Months of fruitless searching yielded no clues as to the child’s fate.
At some point word reached the Dunbars and Opelousus authorities that a young boy resembling the missing boy was in south Mississippi. On checking the story, one thing led to another and Walters was arrested for kidnapping in Louisiana.
The subsequent trial and media coverage gained national attention at the time.
Walters’ descendants generally agree that he was railroaded by the justice system. He stayed in jail during the trial and the family said young Bruce was placed in the Dunbars’ care.
Although accounts at the time initially indicate some confusion as to whether Bruce Anderson was Bobby Dunbar, the Dunbars were able to take the boy as their missing son and raise him.
He grew up in the Opelousas area, eventually married and had children. It was his granddaughter, Margaret Cutright, who began a decades long search that would eventually unravel the mystery. In proving that her grandfather was indeed Bruce Anderson, Cutright had to undo her long-held beliefs about the mystery, according to articles chronicling her search.
“We’ve known just about all the time that he (Bobby Dunbar) was our brother … but you couldn’t prove it,” Rawls said.
They say the family story is that one of the lawyers for Walters was from Columbia and introduced Julia Anderson to her future husband, Ollie Rawls — Hollis’ and Jewel’s father. Rawls said their mother had, had three children with Walters’ brother and then eight children after marrying Ollie Rawls. He said their father was a laborer and that the family lived on a small farm in the Ford’s Creek area.
“She was just a good mother to all the children, us children,” Rawls said. “She was just a good mother; got up and got my daddy off to work and things like that.”
Along with helping other people, family members said she was a good nurse with the sick.
“If somebody was sick they would call for grandma to come,” even to delivering babies, said her granddaughter Linda Tarver.
“Mother didn’t have knitting needles,” Jewel said. “She got broom straw and she ripped the twine out of the flour sacks and it was red — I never will forget it — and she crocheted our dolls little booties … and I’ve often wondered how she kept those straws from breaking. But, she did and she crocheted them little ol’ booties for us. We were so proud of them.”
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Fascinated by genetics? Curious about what the future of science will bring? Looking for a way to celebrate DNA Day on April 25? Here’s a list of museums from around the country with genetics themed exhibits. Drop us a line if there is one you know of one that we’ve missed!
The Health Museum, Houston, TX is hosting “Genome: The Secret of How Life Works” from 2/2/08 to 5/4/08.
The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA, is showing Genetics: Technology with a Twist. They also have an online exhibition Understanding Genetics.
The Dolan DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York hosts several exhibitions on the subject of genetics. They also have Saturday DNA! – a series of classes and laboratory sessions for interested students.
At the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, you’ll find Genetics: Decoding Life.
Find out about the monk who started it all – Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics is at the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis, Tennessee from 2/2/08 until 4/27/08.
The St. Louis Science Center has the DNA Zone Gallery.
At The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia you can learn how genetics is just one aspect of making you you in the exhibit Identity: An Exhibition of You.
Bobby Dunbar was not Melungeon, but here is an example of what extensive research with DNA testing can do. Listen to the radio broadcast of:
The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar
“In 1912 a four year-old boy named Bobby Dunbar went missing in a swamp in
Sunday, March 16, 2008
"Of Portuguese Origin": Litigating Identity and Citizenship among the "Little Races" in Nineteenth-Century America
The history of race in the nineteenth-century
Read the whole article here: http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/lhr/25.3/gross.html
Ariela Gross, "'Of Portuguese Origin': Litigating Identity and Citizenship among the "Little Races" in Nineteenth-Century America," Law and History Review Fall 2007 http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/lhr/25.3/gross.html (16 Mar. 2008).
Saturday, March 15, 2008
As promised, I have researched Behcet Disease to report on whether or not it is a Melungeon Disease as many websites state.
Happily, I can report that Behcet Disease is NOT a Melungeon Disease.
Behcet's is not hereditary, so it cannot possibly be caused by your genetic background.
And the fact it is considered more prevalent in the areas surrounding the old silk trading routes has no bearing, in any case, because there is no link to this area for Melungeon descendants.
No one knows why the immune system starts to behave this way in Behçet disease. It is not because of any known infections, it is not hereditary, it does not have to do with ethnic origin, gender, life-style, or age, where someone has lived or where they have been on holiday. It is not associated with cancer, and links with tissue-types (which are under investigation) are not certain. It does not follow the usual pattern for autoimmune diseases.
Behçet disease is considered more prevalent in the areas surrounding the old silk trading routes in the Middle East and in Central Asia. Thus, it is sometimes known as Silk Road Disease. However, this disease is not restricted to people from these regions.
An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Americans have been diagnosed with this disease. In the UK, it is estimated to have about 2 cases for every 100,000 people.
Globally, males are affected more frequently than females. In the United States, more females are affected than males.
Behcet disease is a chronic relapsing multisystem disorder with complete or incomplete remission between attacks. The diagnosis is based on clinical findings. Various sets of diagnostic criteria have been published, with general agreement on the importance of mucocutaneous and ocular manifestations. Because symptoms appear asynchronously, the criteria may not be met in many patients (75%) at the time of observation. According to the work of the International Study Group, the major diagnostic criteria for Behcet disease are:
(1) oral ulcers recurring at least 3 times per year
(2) genital ulcers or scars
(3) eye involvement
(4) skin lesions (erythema nodosum, folliculitis, acneiform lesions)
(5) pathergy skin test observed by a physician
Minor diagnostic criteria include arthritis or arthralgia, deep venous thromboses, subcutaneous thrombophlebitis, epididymitis, family history, and gastrointestinal, CNS, or vascular involvement.
Oral ulcers plus 2 other major criteria are required for the diagnosis (International Study Group for Behcet's disease 1990). The terms "complete" and "incomplete" Behcet disease are based on the number of major criteria observed. The requirement for oral ulcers excludes the 3% of all patients who do not have this symptom. Considerable differences exist between the diagnostic criteria of 3 groups: among patients diagnosed according to Mason and Barnes (Mason and Barnes 1969), 17% do not meet the criteria of the International Study group and 46% do not meet those of the Japanese group (Feutrie et al 1994). Therefore, these criteria should be used to establish standards for homogenous patient populations in studies, research, or teaching rather than to diagnose individual cases. A revision of criteria is planned in the near future.
by Marjan Yousefi, MD, Department of Dermatology, Geisinger Medical Center
Behçet disease (BD) was named in 1937 after the Turkish dermatologist Hulusi Behçet, who first described the triple-symptom complex of recurrent oral aphthous ulcers, genital ulcers, and uveitis.
This complex, multisystemic disease includes involvement of the mucocutaneous, ocular, cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, urologic, and central nervous systems and the joints, blood vessels, and lungs.
It is characterized by oral aphthae and by at least 2 of the following: (1) genital aphthae, (2) synovitis, (3) posterior uveitis, (4) cutaneous pustular vasculitis, (5) meningoencephalitis, (6) recurrent genital ulcers, and (7) uveitis in the absence of inflammatory bowel disease or collagen vascular disease.
There is no specific pathological test for Behçet disease at present. It is diagnosed clinically by specific patterns of symptoms and repeated outbreaks. Other causes for these symptoms have to be ruled out before making the diagnosis. The symptoms do not have to occur together, but can have happened at any time.
No one knows why the immune system starts to behave this way in Behçet disease. It is not because of any known infections, it is not hereditary, it does not have to do with ethnic origin, gender, life-style, or age, where someone has lived or where they have been on holiday. It is not associated with cancer, and links with tissue-types (which are under investigation) are not certain. It does not follow the usual pattern for autoimmune diseases.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis. Consult a medical health professional if you think you might be suffering from a medical condition.
Friday, March 14, 2008
to Flourish In Floyd County
GATHERING IN THE 'SHINERS (Bill Cole - Cherokee Indian Chief)
Excerpted; Hazard, Perry County April 15 --..."Revenue officers are in great disrepute with all of them and the children are taught to run at the sight of a 'potcutter' and thus the older folks are often given warning by the screams of the youngsters at the sight of a strange man. The children are as wild as rabbits and can scramble over hillsides faster than men can go over them on horseback and hence they often get by the revenue officers where a man would be stopped with a shot. Near the line between Floyd and Magoffin county, signs of a still caused a search to be made back into the hills. When a quarter of a mile up a ravine a lot of yellow-faced children suddenly appeared under the horses' legs and with shrill squalls of terror sped off to a tiny cabin perched on a big rock. A woman with a very yellow face came to the door and after piling her youngsters into a box sardine -style informed us that she was Bet -the great-granddaughter of old Bill Cole, the aged Cherokee Indian chief who died on the same hill ten years before. Cole the head of a tribe of half-breeds and about a hundred and fifty of his people still live on the same ridge. He was 110 years old when he died and his grave is on the highest spur of the mountain where his house still stands. The Indians drink moonshine but have not yet begun to make it and no still was found on old Bill's great-granddaughter's farm.''
Documenting The Melungeons:
First off let me say this, I have no doubt that prior to the Civil War that the community of mixed-blood persons residing in Sumter County were probably referred to as "Turks". That this label was meant to define a Turkish origin for the group, I do not believe. In other areas at the same time, people of the same mixed-blood were called "Portugeuse" and "Moors" yet their ancestors are not from Portugal or the coast of Africa. 'Turk' was used the same way 'Melungeon' was used in Tennessee...not to explain the origin of a people, just to give a label to a mixed-blood community in order to differentiate it from the whites and blacks around them.
That your ancestor referred to himself as a "Turk" when he lived away from Sumter as a way of explaining his dark skin, is no surprise. In his mind, i suppose, it was a way to explain his racial origin, "I'm not full-blooded Indian, I'm not part Black, I'm a Turk from Sumter County" The fact that he applied for Indian land (it was not freely offered, an individual had to apply) but was turned down because he was a 'Turk' (which at the time was known to the Indian Office as mixed-blood persons of Indian descent but of unknown tribal origin-see below-) should be evident that he at least believed he had some Indian blood. However, at the time, persons called 'Turk' in Sumter were very offended by that label. When a class action suit was filed to allow 'Turk' children into white schools it was very clear that "you do not call them Turk to their face", and it was also noted by historians and ethnologists in the 1930's and 1940's that these people would get fighting mad if you called them Turk. I also have no doubt that there are probably people who now proudly claim to be 'Turk', there are people now who proudly claim to be 'Melungeon', but this is now a more racially tolerant South....prior to World War 2, a sure way to get a black eye was to go to Sumter and call someone a 'Turk' or go to Tennessee and call someone a 'Melungeon'.
Before his death in the early 1800's, Joe Benenhaley was the subject of a court case in Sumter where citizens were objecting to his right to vote. Dr. Brewton Berry made note of this incident in his 1940's book "Almost White". Berry notes that Benenhaley was called to testfiy as to his racial origin. (an important note here is that Berry recounts the testimony as that Benenahley was a 'mestizo' but no mention of 'Turk'.. Tom Sumter, the General's grandson, also called Benenhaley a "mestizo" in his history book but made no mention of Turkish origin) While Benenhaley was testifying, General Sumter stormed into the Courtroom, walked up to the witness stand and firmly shook Benenhaley's hand. (it was well known in the South at that time that no respectful Southern gentleman would shake a Negroes hand) This was all the judge needed to see, and the case was promptly dismissed.
In the 1930's, a court case was pressed to allow 'Turk' children to attend white schools. Reports from this case reveal that all the children subject to the proceedings (including Benehaley, Scott, Ellison, Tidwell, Deas families) were presently attending a special 'Indian School' and all the grandparents claimed to be "of Indian ancestry".
Here are a few historical references as to the racial origin of the 'Turks':
-"The Croatan Indians comprise a body of mixed-blood people residing chiefly in Robeson County, NC. A few of the same class of people reside in Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Scotland, and Hoke Counties, NC, and in Sumter, Marlboro, and Dillon Counties, SC. 1914 letter from special Indian agent O.M. McPherson to Commissioner of Indian Affairs
-"The Croatan tribe lives principally in Robeson County, NC, though there is quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter County, SC, there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. Those living in east Tennessee are called "Melungeans", a name also retained by them here, which is a corruption of "Melange", a name given them by early settlers (French), which means mixed." 1888 pamphlet published by Mr. Hamilton McMillan of Fayetteville, NC.
-"At one time the Croatans were known as "Redbones," and there is still a street in Fayetteville so called because some of them once lived on it. They are known by this name in Sumter County, SC, where they are a quiet and peaceable people, and have a church of their own. They are proud and high-spirited, and caste is very strong among them."1891 article of Dr. William T. Harris, Papers American Historical Association.
-It is well known that for the majority of the War, General Sumter camped on the Indian lands which were inhabited by the confederated Cheraw and Catawba tribe. Every able-bodied male Indian of that group was enlisted as scouts and warriors under various captains who served under Sumter's command. Sumter never approached the coast, and there are almost entire libraries of writings about Sumter's campaigns which were written by people who witnessed the battles. I'm sure that if Sumter had a Turkish guide during the War, someone would have noted it (why would Gen. Sumter, a man familiar with the area, retain a 'guide' from Turkey?). The only written record states that Sumter used Indian guides, scouts, spys, and warriors extensively.
Full Article Here:
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The Melungeon Mystery:
The Making of Myth? By Pam Vallett
"...shiftless, idle,thieving, and defiant of law, distillers of
brandy almost to a man...they are not at all like the
mountaineer either in appearance or characteristics...Their
complexion is a reddish brown, totally unlike the mulatto. The men
are very tall and straight, with small, sharp eyes, high cheek bones,
and straight black hair, worn rather long. The women are small, below
the acerage hieght, coal black hair and eyes, high cheek bones, and
the same red-brown complexion."
Will Allen Dromgoole, 1891
A sociology professor at the
says that the Melungeons of East Tennessee, a people thought for many
years to possess unique racial and cultural characteristics, may not
be so unique after all.
"People have been asking the wrong question all along," said C.
McCurdy Lipsey, associate professor of sociology at UTN. "Instead of
asking, 'Who are these strange people and where do they come from?'
they should be asking, 'Are these really a strange people? Do they,
in fact, possess unique racial and cultural characteristics?'
"According to my interpretation of the evidence, they are not and do
Lipsey says the term Melungeon became a derogatory label for all the
people who lived on
Valley, and that the basis for the myth which now surrounds them can
be traced to the period between 1889 and 1891 when a wealth of
material was published about the Melungeons.
"The single most damaging article from among this proliferation of
misinformation, and the one most commonly referred to by other
writers in the perpetuation of the myth about the Melungeons, was
written by a young
Allen Dromgoole," he says.
"Published in The Arena in 1891, it asserted that the records of the
constitutional convention of 1834 show that John A. McKinney, a
delegate to that convention, used the term Melungeon to refer to free
persons of color. In checking the journal of the constitutional
convention of 1834, I found the
Melungeon was not mentioned."
Articles Perpetuate Myths
Practically all subsequent articles, with few notable exceptions,
adopted the assumptions of these early articles, Lipsey said.
"It is in this manner that the myth of the Melungeons has been
perpetuated. Nobody has conducted a thorough investigation.
Researchers only go as far back as the articles published between
1889 and 1891 and stop there.
"Information contained in Dromgoole's article to support the claim
that the Melungeons are a unique racial group can be used to show
just the opposite. If the Melungeons had been designated as free
persons of color at the constitutional convention of 1834, then,
according to the Southern custom which did not permit Negroes to
participate as citizens, they would not have been able to own or buy
land, recieive land grants from the state of
other legal business. While it's true that some of the people on
Newman's Ridge and Blackwater valley were refused these rights,
public records show that by no means were all of them refused."
In a forthcoming article, Lipsey turns to the history and settlement
patterns of the
alternative theory to the existing Melungeon belief. He maintains
that by the nineteenth century, there had already been over 300 years
of American history which included lost colonies and mixed groups.
"The eastern seaboard and the western frontier - that is,
stories and ballads, legends, and myths," explained Lipsey. "Not
surprisingly, when Will Allen Dromgoole 'found' the Melungeons on
Newmans Ridge, the available and handy myths were tested for
their 'fit' and the speculators were off and running. What you had,
in essence, were legends waiting for groups to explain."
Indians Join Migrating Parties
Lipsey also said that it was not unusual during the nineteenth
century for groups of outcast Indians and "half-breeds" to attach
themselves to migrating groups of English, Scotch, and Germans and to
take their surnames.
"Evidence reveals that this was the case of the people who came to
settle on Newman’s Ridge. L.M. Jarvis, a long time resident of
derision during the 1800s and given the Indians on account of their
"Lipsey said other evidence supports his theory. "The reputable
before the dromgoole articles, does not mention the existence of a
race of people called the Melungeons, although the author does refer
to people with a mixture of white and Indian blood living on Newman's
Dr. Lipsey first became interested in the Melungeons when he was
"I had read an article in the local paper which told about this
strange-looking group of people with peculiar habits who lived 75
miles further west in
"Interestingly enough, it subsequently became necessary for me to
make monthly trips to Vardy, which is at the foot of Newman's Ridge
looking, strange-acting group of people. What I found was a people
who were, in appearance, general Anglo-Saxon types, the majority
being of Scotch and Irish descent.
"This aroused my curiosity. Where had all the information about the
Melungeons come from? Why had something so obviously not true - as
evidenced by the appearance of the people in and around Vardy - been
allowed to be perpetuated?"
In 1971, Dr. Lipsey was a graduate student in sociology at the
from the late Dr. Norbert Reidl of the anthropology department, he
decided to undertake the study of the Melungeons. He conducted
interviews with folklorists, attorneys, historians, other authors who
have written on the subject, and people in
"Interviews with persons who are of Melungeon-designated families
have been almost impossible to obtain because of the intense
resentment to the implications of the term," said Lipsey. "I have
talked with long-time residents of the county about the Melungeons,
including the mayor of the county seat in Sneedville, public school
teachers and local historians.
"My most significant contact is Bill Grohse, who has lived in Vardy
since 1930. Interestingly enough, he fits the description of a
Melungeon better than most of the residents of the Ridge.
Unfortunately for the proponents of the Melungeon myth, he was born
and raised in
"Bill Grohse has collected a fantastic amount of material on families
of Newman's Ridge which he has shared with me. He has researched
court records, conducted library research and done a number of
genealogical analyses. The information he has uncovered also supports
the theory that the history of the Melungeons is a myth.
"In fact, he married a woman from a Melungeon-designated family whose
maiden name was Mizer. He has traced her genealogy back to
analyses he has conducted. Evidence such as this certainly doesn't
support the theory of a unique racial group."
In addition to conducting numerous interviews to collect information
on the Melungeons, Lipsey has compiled an extensive bibliography.
"Compiling a comprehensive bibliography has been no small task," said
Lipsay. "It has required long hours in archives and extensive
correspondence with libraries throughout the
has been spent reading nineteenth-century newspapers which, whether
on my subject or others, are fascinating to read."
Future research of the Melungeons will include a more thorough
investigation into cultural indicators such as architectural
structures. Dr. Lipsey thinks such indicators will be the same for
both the Ridge and the rest of
which they would need to be to support the present theory of the
Melungeons being a unique cultural group.
Seeks Origins of Word
Additional research will need to be done on the term "Melungeon"
itself. There are several theories as to it's origin and meaning.
"I am suggesting the possibility that the term was derived from the
middle English term 'mal engine' which meant deceitful, tricky,
treacherous, wicked. It may have been a generally derogatory term
used in reference to persons or groups who were threatening or who
were considered wicked or evil.
"The term could easily have made the transition from adjective (a
malengine person) to noun (a malengine), especially if applied to
readily identifiable persons or groups which, in turn, could provide
racial overtones to the word." A third area of study involves a more
thorough investigation of the account by Louis Shepherd of a trial
which took place in
"In his memoirs, Judge Shepherd recounts the details of an 1872
trial in which he successfully defended a young woman's right to
inherit property with the argument that she was of Melungeon
ancestry, not Negro, and that the Melungeons were descendants of the
Moors. Further research is needed on this topic in order to clear up
many unanswered questions."
The last phase of Dr. Lipsey's research will be to publish a book on
the myths which have evolved in the east
has been partially supported by a grant received during the past year
from the UT National Alumni Association. He presented his findings to
the Southern Sociology Society in April.
"I am writing a short article for publication in the near future,"
said Lipsey. "I don't think there is any evidence to support the myth
that the Melungeons constitute a unique racial group or a unique
cultural group. I hope to be able to set the record straight and clear
up eighty-seven years of misconception."
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
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Unlike yline and mtdna testing where the DNA of the father or mother is passed to the offspring unmixed with that of the other parent, autosomal testing tests all portions of the DNA of an individual. As the field of genetic genealogy has moved forward, research has begun to indicate that certain markers are found in higher or lower amounts in different ethnic populations.
For example, if someone has the Duffy Null allele, or genetic marker, we know they positively have African admixture. We don’t know how much African admixture, or from which line, or when that individual with African admixture entered their family tree, but we know for sure they existed.
Attempting to determine the population frequency of varying markers and what that means relative to other populations is the key to this analysis. Few markers are simply present or absent in populations, but are found in varying frequencies. Some populations are widely studied in the research literature, and others are virtually untouched. The process of compiling this information in a meaningful manner so that it can be analyzed is a formidable task, as the information is often found in nearly inaccessible academic and forensic research publications. It’s difficult to determine sometimes if the DNA analysis of 29 individuals in a small village in northern Italy is, for example, representative of that village as a whole, of northern Italy, or more broadly for all of Italy as a whole. Is it representative of Italy today or Italy historically? These and other similar questions have to be answered fully before the data from autosomal testing can be useful and reliable.
If the DNA tests being performed aren’t mtdna or yline, then they are autosomal tests, meaning they are performed on the balance of the DNA contributed by both parents to an individual.
Before we discuss the varying kinds of autosomal tests and what they mean, let’s take a look at the inheritance process and how it really works.
Everyone knows that you inherit half of your DNA from your mother and half from your father. However, this isn’t exactly true. While each child does on average receive half from each parent, the actual inheritance pattern varies much more than that and each sibling may receive far more than half of their markers from either parent.
We don’t understand today how inheritance traits are selected to be passed to children. Some “groups” of genetic material are inherited together, and you may wind up with more or less genetic material from one of your parents. In time, certain genetic “traits” will be lost in some descendants, while not in others. Therefore, you can’t figure actual inheritance percentages by using the 50% rule. This means that if your father was 50% Native American, you are not necessarily 25%, genetically speaking. You may receive 40% Native genes and your sibling may receive 60%.
Let’s use the Duffy Null allele we mentioned earlier as an example. This marker could have entered your DNA pedigree chart with a grandmother who carried the allele but had no obvious visible African ancestral traits, or from your father who might have been visibly African in ethnicity. The Duffy Null allele, which is just one marker, could have been passed in the inheritance of DNA for many generations, far after any visible African traits had disappeared, or it could be one of many African traits passed from parent to child.
The relevance of the Duffy Null allele is determined by the number of other “African” markers that appear in high quantity. If there are few other African markers, then your African ancestry was likely further back in time. If there are many, then your African ancestry was likely more recent. These statistical calculations are how the importance of autosomal markers are determined and how percentages or estimates of ethnicity are calculated.
Any one allele or marker can be lost permanently in any generation. Each child receives one gene from each parent. In the example below, let’s say that the mother carried genetic markers A and B, and the father C and D, and D is the Duffy Null allele.
Markers A B
Child 1 A and C
Child 2 A and D
Child 3 B and C
Child 4 B and D
You can see that half the children received the D marker, but each inheritance event was a random recombination of the markers. It is also possible that none of the children would receive the D marker, or all of them would receive it. Statistically speaking, half will receive the marker, but statistics and individual inheritance are two different things. Random recombination is the reason why siblings who take autosomal tests sometimes show significantly different results.
You can also see how a marker that is very old ancestrally, meaning introduced many many generations ago, could be absent in one entire descendant line and present in another line.
From the above examples, we see that we have two variables that we need to deal with when attempting to use autosomal DNA for genealogy.
First, we need to take into consideration inheritance patterns which we can’t determine retrospectively without testing several descendant lines. So, in essence, we can only deal with, and test, what we personally carry today as our genetic inheritance.
The second variable is determining population frequency for a particular marker and understanding its significance to us through comparative population genetics.
This is why autosomal testing can give us important hints, but are often considered unreliable. The results are highly subjective today, but increase in accuracy as more research is completed, compiled, published and analyzed.
Types of Autosomal Tests
There are two types of autosomal tests used today for genetic genealogy. One type of test uses the Codis forensic markers and the second type, biogeographical tests, use a much broader spectrum of marker results. Let’s look at both types of testing and the information they provide separately.
Codis markers are a standardized set of autosomal markers used for paternity testing. Additionally, they are used by police departments and forensics labs. The markers employed in these tests are selected specifically to differentiate between people in order to identify them individually, not to find common markers to place them in ethnic groups.
The results from these tests are only numbers, and the recipient is often left to their own devices as to how to interpret the results. These tests are available from numerous sources. I prefer to interpret these results in conjunction with Yline and mitochondrial DNA test results for as much of the genetic pedigree chart as can be provided in order to obtain a more complete genetic picture.
Below is an example of what Codis test results look like. They are very similar from any lab.
Analysis of Codis Markers
Unless you?re using the Codis marker results to determine siblingship or some other personal reason, these numbers are fairly useless genealogically. It?s the analysis of these markers that matters.
There are different avenues to analyze Codis results. None are ?right? or ?wrong?. DNAexplain (www.dnaexplain.com) provides analysis of these tests, along with broader more comprehensive analysis of genetic genealogy and what all of these tests together mean about you.
We use a combination of resources, both public and private, including Omnipop and other European and Canadian autosomal forensic data bases.
Tribes (www.dnatribes.com) has been compiling population data on these genetic markers for some years now and will compare your autosomal results with their data base. Take a look at their samples tab.
Ironically, the results may vary significantly between these resources. There is no right or wrong answer at this point. I encourage everyone to simply view these results as data, hints to puzzle pieces. As the data bases improve and we better understand population migration and movement, the clarity of the results will improve too.
Tribes early population tables did not include data from the British Isles, so their results were highly skewed towards other world populations. Omnipop today relies on self-reported ethnicity and does not include normalized data (or a normalizing factor) for varying populations. Because Tribes is a private company, we don?t know much about their population data, whether it's widely representative of the world population distribution and whether it has been normalized or not.
To learn the most about your autosomal test results, you can take a dual approach, having them analyzed by Tribes as well as by DNAexplain using the other autosomal codis reference tools. We?ll be glad to help you through this process and provide a summary analysis of both.
Biogeographical ancestry testing
Biogeographical ancestry testing, available from DNA Print Genomics (www.dnaprint.com), is the second type of autosomal testing. They test all of your genetic contributions for specific, proprietary markers that indicate geographical heritage, not just the Yline or mtdna. They do not use the Codis markers, but use, depending on your test selected, between 500 and 1349 markers they?ve discovered to be relevant to ethnicity.
This test is currently available from only one source, although the test is resold by several testing companies. Results from this test are returned as percentages of ethnic heritage as shown below.
Your results are reported within confidence bands, which indicate a range of percentages that might actually be accurate. This is shown above by the bands surrounding the red dot which shows the ?most likely? result. The margin of error is often as high as 15%. Typically, there is no dispute over the majority ancestral type. However, minority types are apparently much more difficult to discern. Summary There are only two tests that can provide you with solid evidence of the source of your Native American or other ethnic ancestry. Those are yline and mitochondrial dna tests. It?s important to try to fill in the blanks in your family tree pedigree chart by testing relatives who carry the yline and/or mtdna of the lines of your tree that you cannot personally be tested for. In addition, two types of autosomal testing can provide useful clues as to the percentage of your ethnic heritage and the geographical source. Percentages of the 4 major world populations (Native American, African, Indo-European and Asian) are available using the DNA Print test. Codis marker testing is another type of autosomal test used to determine the Codis marker values which in turn can be used to map those marker values against known population groups. Tribes provides this service for an additional fee using their own internal database. DNAexplain provides autosomal analysis services for Omnipop and other public databases in addition to analysis services for yline and mtdna test results. All genetic genealogy results need to be accompanied by genealogical research to unravel the historical context for the lives and trials of our ancestors. DNA testing may well answer the question what and who, but the why is typically revealed only by studying the history of the times in which they lived.
Your results are reported within confidence bands, which indicate a range of percentages that might actually be accurate. This is shown above by the bands surrounding the red dot which shows the ?most likely? result. The margin of error is often as high as 15%. Typically, there is no dispute over the majority ancestral type. However, minority types are apparently much more difficult to discern.
There are only two tests that can provide you with solid evidence of the source of your Native American or other ethnic ancestry. Those are yline and mitochondrial dna tests. It?s important to try to fill in the blanks in your family tree pedigree chart by testing relatives who carry the yline and/or mtdna of the lines of your tree that you cannot personally be tested for.
In addition, two types of autosomal testing can provide useful clues as to the percentage of your ethnic heritage and the geographical source. Percentages of the 4 major world populations (Native American, African, Indo-European and Asian) are available using the DNA Print test.
Codis marker testing is another type of autosomal test used to determine the Codis marker values which in turn can be used to map those marker values against known population groups. Tribes provides this service for an additional fee using their own internal database.
DNAexplain provides autosomal analysis services for Omnipop and other public databases in addition to analysis services for yline and mtdna test results.
All genetic genealogy results need to be accompanied by genealogical research to unravel the historical context for the lives and trials of our ancestors. DNA testing may well answer the question what and who, but the why is typically revealed only by studying the history of the times in which they lived.