Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
For centuries the ancestors of the Upper Mattaponi People have lived in villages along the waterways of Virginia, the land known as Tsenacomocco. They lived in union with the land, the first farmers of America, harvesting corn, beans and squash and hunting deer in ways still employed today. Like their neighboring tribes, they spoke the Angonquian language and when the British came in 1607 they were prosperous people under the leadership of Chief Powhatan, the Paramount Chief of over 30 neighboring tribes. The first recognized map of the region, Captain John Smith’s map of 1612, indicates the present location of the Upper Mattaponi corresponds correctly with a village marked on his map as Passaunkack.
When the British landed at Jamestown in 1607 the people of the Mattaponi River were soon to go through a major transformation. By the mid 1600s the upper reaches of the Mattaponi River was still frontier land and other tribes had been forced by the British into the area. A 1673 map drawn by August Hermann indicates the largest concentration of Indians near the village of Passaunkack, home of the Upper Mattaponi People. Bacon’s rebellion of 1676 led to the Peace Treaty of 1677, signed on behalf of the Mattaponi by Werowansqua Cockacoeske, Queen of the Pamunkey, and a reservation of Chickahominy Indians and some of the Mattaponi Indians was established near the village site of Passaunkack. During the 1700s the Chickahominy migrated back to their homeland close to the Chickahominy River. Those people that remained at Passaunkack were the ancestors of the modern Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe.
Through the 18th and 19th centuries the Upper Mattaponi were known as the Adamstown Band, with so many of their tribal citizens having the last name Adams, possibly named for the last British interpreter in the area, James Adams. By 1850 large nucleuses of at least 10 Adamstown families continued to live in the same area and were still farmers and hunters just as their ancestors had been. A Civil War map of 1863 continued to designate the area as Indian Land, and by the 1880s the Adamstown band had built their own school. Because of the racial climate of the times, the Adamstown people had few rights and found it very difficult to prosper financially. Even so, they valued an education and the first federal funds were requested in 1892 to help support education of the Adamstown Indians.
In the early 20th century, a revival of culture spread throughout the Indian Tribes of tidewater, Virginia and the Adamstown Band officially changed it’s name to the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, incorporating under the laws of Virginia and properly reflecting their long history on the upper reaches of the Mattaponi River.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
A permanent link will remain up in the column on the right.--->>>>
By JUDY WILEY
Travelers who've caught the genealogy bug may want to make plans for a trip to Independence, Mo. The new $8 million Midwest Genealogy Center opens May 11 and houses microfilm and microfiche with Civil War histories, American Indian records, black family history records, passenger lists, plantation records and more.
Classes will be offered, as will consultation with foreign-language experts. And if you're really wrapped up in research, there's a break room, lockers and "limited" food service. More: http://www.midwestgenealogycenter.org/
Midwest Genealogy CenterDiscover YOUR History
The Library's goal in building the Midwest Genealogy Center is to provide a fitting and appropriate facility to house the library's nationally recognized, world-class collection.
The new library will be built on about 8 acres of land at the intersection of Lee's Summit and Kiger Roads in Independence, Missouri, and will open on June 2, 2008.
The new library will cost over $8 million and is being built without an increase in library taxes.
The new library will have over 50,000 square feet of space, on two-levels (more than 4 times larger than the current space).
The new library will have ample tables, computers, and reader-printers for researchers.
The new library will have lockers, a break area, and limited food service for patrons who frequently spend entire days exploring family histories.
The new library will include several oversize parking spaces for people visiting on daytrips, or those passing through with RVs.
The library is accepting donations to make this facility become a reality.
Friday, May 16, 2008
This week an article was published in the UK newspaper Daily Mail, quoting Ancestors Magazine, under the title: "£200-a-time ancestral DNA test kits are a rip off, say experts", by Andrew Levy.
The article was based on tests by the following companies: Oxford Ancestors, Ancestry DNA, and International Biosciences.
Family Tree DNA was not contacted for testing purposes, nor mentioned in that article. Having tested over 350,000 individuals (over 100,000 of our direct customers and 250,000 participants in National Geographic's Genographic Project) we could supply anyone who asks us with thousands of examples that prove the opposite of what the article stated.
Unfortunately, the journalist's conclusion is based on opportunist companies who noted our success and jumped into Genetic Genealogy to get a piece of it, but who did not have the science or the database that would allow for a serious work. Again, note that Family Tree DNA was NOT one of the companies that the journalist approached.
About 2 years ago, Oxford Ancestors announced to the world that they found a descendant of Genghis Khan living in Florida - a Caucasian accountant. Family Tree DNA proved that Oxford Ancestors was wrong. Tom Robinson, the person in question, recounts the entire story in his blog at http://trrobinson.com/2006/06/16/genghis-khan-or-not--that-is-the-question.aspx#comment-56635. The Associated Press later distributed the news: "Robinson, an associate accounting professor at the University of Miami, canceled a planned trip to Mongolia after learning of the new results. He said he never sought publicity on his ancestry. “The results that Family Tree DNA gave me are pretty conclusive,” he said. “I’m certainly not going to look for any more tests on Genghis Khan.” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13467247/ )
Family Tree DNA is proud to have the largest database of its kind in the world (more than all other companies combined), to adhere to the best science in the field, and to be the expert source for journalists from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among others.
National Geographic would not have partnered with us if there was any possibility of tarnishing their century-old reputation.
Our scientists periodically have their papers published by renowned peer-reviewed journals like the American Journal of Human Genetics and Genome Research.
That article, in the end, demonstrates the following:
- While Family Tree DNA prices are in line with other companies, price is not the only thing that matters when choosing a DNA testing company
- Science and database size are important factors when choosing a testing company
You are welcome to share this e-mail with whomever you feel necessary, and we make ourselves available to anyone with questions about our work.
E-mail me anytime!
Vice-President, Operations and Marketing
"History Unearthed Daily"
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Today is May 15th, Bloggers Unite for Human Rights Day. Yesterday, we published some preliminary background material about a man many people depise, who caused a great injustice in American to American citizens in the 20th Century. His efforts would, in fact, still be implemented into the 1960's. A rigid, autocratic man, Walter Ashby Plecker fancied himself a white knight defending and protecting the racial purity of the white race. Born into a well-to-do Virginian family he became a doctor. He was married, but never had children. He listed his hobbies as birds and books. He worked hard delivering many babies in poor households lacking basic hygiene and what most consider necessities. Many of these people were black or Indian. Concerned by a high incidence of syphilitic blindness, he began dispensing silver nitrate to be put in the eyes of newborns. He also contrived an incubator that could be put together in the poorest of homes.
A devout Presbyterian, he actually believed the mixing of races to be a sin. He helped establish churches around the state and supported fundamentalist missionaries. Plecker belonged to a conservative Southern branch of the church that believed the Bible was infallible and condoned segregation. Members of Plecker’s branch maintained that God flooded the earth and destroyed Sodom to express his anger at racial interbreeding. He carried out a life long attempt to prevent this from happening, carrying his efforts to the most extreme measures.
The Eugenics Movement suited his needs perfectly. He was proud to be a scientist, practicing what he believed to be the latest scientific methods to improve mankind. He became a celebrity within the eugenics movement, which eventually began to lose support among scientists and furnish a platform for white supremacy. He spoke around the country, was widely published and wrote to every governor in the nation to urge passage of racial laws just as tough as Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. He dined at the New York home of Nazi sympathizer, Harry H. Laughlin, the nation’s leading eugenics advocate.
In 1932, Plecker gave a keynote speech at the Third International Conference on Eugenics in New York. Among those in attendance was Ernst Rudin of Germany who, 11 months later, would help write Hitler’s eugenics law.
In 1935, Plecker wrote to Walter Gross, the director of Germany’s Bureau of Human Betterment and Eugenics. Writing on state stationery, he outlined Virginia’s racial purity laws and asked to be put on a mailing list for bulletins from Gross’ department. Complimenting the Third Reich for sterilizing 600 children in Algeria who were born to German women and black men, he commented; “I hope this work is complete and not one has been missed,” he wrote. “I sometimes regret that we have not the authority to put some measures in practice in Virginia.”
The Racial Integrity Act essentially narrowed race classifications on birth and marriage certificates to two choices: “white person” or “colored.” The law defined a white as one with no trace of black blood. A white person could have no more than a one-sixteenth trace of Indian blood—an exception, much to Plecker’s regret, legislators made to appease the descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, who were considered among Virginia’s first families.
The act forbade interracial marriage and lying about race on registration forms. Violators faced felony convictions and a year in prison.
Plecker strongly supported sterilization laws, arguing that feebleminded whites were prone to mate with Indians and blacks. He had no role in administering the law, however.
The Racial Integrity Act, on the other hand, was his to enforce, and Plecker went about it obsessively. He sold copies of eugenics books in his office and mailed his diatribes against racial interbreeding at government expense, stretching the Racial Integrity Act when necessary.
Plecker served in his powerful position as the first registrar of Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics from 1912 until 1946. Working with a vengance, he led the effort to purify the white race in Virginia by forcing Indians and other nonwhites to classify themselves as blacks. It amounted to bureaucratic genocide. He not only altered records and refused to register children as their rightful identity, he wrote insulting letters to new mothers which surely caused a lifetime of grief and frustration. The aftershocks are still being felt today. Indian tribes seeking recognition cannot provide the proof of their existance required because of Plecker's altered records. Families separated due to his draconian actions will never be reunited as the brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles because they have passed on in many cases. A lifetime lost. And genealogical brickwalls and roadblocks are encountered every day by persons trying to research their families.
"Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." ---George Santayana
You can read more about this abuse of human rights here:
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
"Some of these mongrels, finding that they have been able to sneak in their birth certificates unchallenged as Indians, are now making a rush to register as white." -- W.A. Plecker
"By (Plecker's) standards, codified by the General Assembly in the 1924 Racial Integrity Act, one drop of Negro blood would cause a person to be categorized as black. That was designed to stop light-skinned people with black ansestry from "passing" as white people and thus avoiding the Jim Crow discrimination laws.
Trying to locate documentation regarding Native Americans is very difficult. An outrageous example of this difficulty is the goings-on in Virginia in the early-to-mid 1900's, an era when the eugenics movement was in its heyday.
Virginia's former registrar of the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Dr. Walter Ashby Plecker, a small-town doctor who became registrar of the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics in 1912, spent decades trying to deny the existence of Indians in Virginia. He believed there were no real native-born Indians in Virginia and anybody claiming to be Indian had a mix of black blood and, because in Virginia at that time one drop of African blood rendered an individual completely Aftican, Plecker thereby classified Indians as Blacks. Plecker ran the Bureau from 1912 to 1946.
The "ancestral registration" provisions of the law were strictly enforced by Plecker.
Nonetheless, in 1930, the U.S. Census reported 779 Indians in Virginia, noting for the first time there were 59 Indians in Caroline County.
Plecker's successor, Russell E. Booker Jr., termed Plecker's activities from 1912 to 1946 as "documentary genocide".
Knowledge of this historical development is vitally necessary for those who are searching their Native heritage to understand why records in the Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics are incorrect or missing.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press
May 8, 2008 -- Remains of meals that included seaweed are helping confirm the date of a settlement in southern Chile that may offer the earliest evidence of humans in the Americas.
Researchers date the seaweed found at Monte Verde to more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than the well-studied Clovis culture.
And the report comes just a month after other scientists announced they had found coprolites
fossilized human feces -- dating to about 14,000 years ago in a cave in Oregon.
Taken together, the finds move back evidence of people in the Americas by a millennium or more, with settlements in northern and southern coastal areas.
The prevailing theory has been that people followed herds of migrating animals across an ancient land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, and then moved southward along the West coast. Proof has been hard to come by, however. The sea was about 200 feet lower at the time and as it rose it would have inundated the remains of coastal settlements.
Full Article Here:
The first genealogy published in America appeared in a newspaper 284 years ago - today – May 7, 1724.
It appeared in the American Weekly Mercury. It was a genealogy of King Philip V of Spain. Genealogy articles routinely appeared in colonial newspapers.
The first genealogy published in book form was in 1771 – the Stebbins Genealogy and by 1876 and the nation’s first centennial there were less than 1,000 genealogies published.
With a push from President Ulysses S. Grant the idea really took off. It was 132 years ago on May 25th that he issued a "Proclamation" to the American people asking them to remember their history, write it down and distribute it widely.
He wrote that he wanted to see "a complete record" of our history … be kept and placed in each county and in the Library of Congress”. If the Internet were available then I am sure he would have suggested that they be put online too.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The families mentioned in this case, the Goins, Shumake, Boltons, Perkins, Mornings, Menleys, Breedlove & others, are the same people Shepherd called Melungeons and he also said to have come from the Pee Dee River area, across the mountains to now Hancock County, Tennessee, and spread out from there. The word Malungeon was actually introduced by the plaintiff, not Sheperd, who was defense attorney. The final argument to the judge is not in this case, so if Sheperd claimed in this argument they were from Carthage, it is not yet known.
Shepherd told in "A Romance of the Melungeons" of the law South Carolina had that taxed free “negroes” so much per capita, he says “they” always successfully resisted the payment of this tax.
“They left South Carolina at an early day and wandered across the mountains to Hancock County, East Tennessee; if fact, the majority of the people of that country are “Melungeons.” Or allied to them in some way. A few families of them drifted away from Hancock into the other counties of east Tennessee and now and then into the mountainous section of Middle Tennessee. Some of them live in White, some in Grundy and some in Franklin county. They seem to prefer living in a rough mountainous and sparsely Settled country.” Lewis shepherd "A Romance of the Melungeons."
In a another record recently found by Joanne Pezzullo, it showed in 1794 these families: Turner, Gibson, Chavis, Collins, Hulan and Linegar families who petitioned the State of South Carolina.............(click below "South Carolina Petition.")
Original Bill ( Actual court case to which Shepherd was referring.)
Word Malungeon is used. (from court case)
Cross Bill (Martha Simmerman) (court case)
Final Decree (court case)
South Carolina Petition (South Carolina document)
Lewis Shepherd ("A Romance of the Melungeons")
Lucinda Davis partial deposition (court case)
Notes/Shepherd Trial (What race was Bolton) (court case)
(research sources of Jack Goins, Joanne Pezzullo, Kay Blanton, Penny Ferguson, editing by Janet Crain)
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Some Family Tree DNA Participants will find their haplogroup designation changed to the new nomenclature on May 5th.
While the name of the haplogroup a person belongs to may change, and will continue to change as more haplogroup branches are discovered and published, their actual DNA testing results and interpretation remain the same. The next issue of the Family Tree DNA newsletter, Facts and Genes, will discuss these changes in more depth and should help you better understand the changes to the Y-DNA haplogroup tree.
The Family Tree DNA website will be temporarily offline on Monday, May 5th, at 5 am CDT to facilitate this update in nomenclature and other maintenance. Service will be restored no later than 7 am CDT that day. Ysearch.org, our free publicly accessible website, will be offline and updated simultaneously.
If you would like more information about why the haplogroup nomenclature is changing and what this means to you, please visit the FAQ site below:
Public release date: 1-Apr-2008
Scientists reshape Y chromosome haplogroup tree gaining new insights into human ancestry
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 –The Y chromosome retains a remarkable record of human ancestry, since it is passed directly from father to son. In an article published online today in Genome Research (www.genome.org), scientists have utilized recently described genetic variations on the part of the Y chromosome that does not undergo recombination to significantly update and refine the Y chromosome haplogroup tree. The print version of this work will appear in the May issue of Genome Research, accompanied by a special poster of the new tree.
Human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes: 22 pairs of autosomes, and one pair of sex chromosomes. Females carry a pair of X chromosomes that can swap, or recombine, similar regions of DNA during meiosis. However, males harbor one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, and significant recombination between these dissimilar sex chromosomes does not occur. Therefore, the non-recombining region of the Y chromosome (NRY) remains largely unchanged over many generations, directly passed from father to son, son to grandson, and so on, along with genetic variations in the NRY that may be present. Scientists can use genetic variations, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), on the Y chromosome as markers of human ancestry and migration.
In 2002, the Y Chromosome Consortium (YCC) constructed a tree of 153 haplogroups based upon 243 unique genetic markers. In this report, researchers led by Dr. Michael Hammer of the
Hammer’s group integrated more than 300 new markers into the tree, which allowed the resolution of many features that were not yet discernable, as well as the revision of previous arrangements. “The major lineages within the most common African haplogroup, E, are now all sorted out, with the topology providing new interpretations on the geographical origin of ancient sub-clades,” describes Hammer. “When one polymorphism formerly described as unique, but recently shown to have reversed was replaced by recently reported markers, a sub-haplogroup of haplogroup O, the most common in
In addition to improving the resolution of branches, the latest reconstruction of the tree allows estimates of time to the most recent common ancestor of several haplogroups. “The age of [haplogroup] DE is about 65,000 years, just a bit younger than the other major lineage to leave
Furthermore, Hammer explains that this work has resulted in the addition of two new major haplogroups, S and T, with novel insights into the ancestry of both. “Haplogroup T, the clade that Thomas Jefferson’s Y chromosome belongs to, has a Middle Eastern affinity, while haplogroup S is found in
“More SNPs are being discovered, and we anticipate the rate to increase with the 1000 Genomes Project,” says Hammer, referring to the wealth of human genetic variation data that will soon be available. While this report represents a significant advance in mapping ancestry by Y chromosome polymorphisms, it is certain that future discoveries will necessitate continual revisions to the Y chromosome haplogroup tree, helping to further elucidate the mystery of our origins.
Scientists from the
This work was supported by the Salus Mundi Foundation.
Michael Hammer, Ph.D., has agreed to be contacted by email for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Interested reporters may obtain copies of the manuscript from Peggy Calicchia, Editorial Secretary, Genome Research (email@example.com; +1-516-422-4012).
About the article:
The manuscript will be published online ahead of print on April 2, 2008. Its full citation is as follows: Karafet, T.M., Mendez, F.L., Meilerman, M.B., Underhill, P.A., Zegura, S.L., and Hammer, M.F. New binary polymorphisms reshape and increase resolution of the human Y-chromosomal haplogroup tree. Genome Res. doi:10.1101/gr.7172008.
About Genome Research:
Genome Research (www.genome.org) is an international, continuously published, peer-reviewed journal published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Launched in 1995, it is one of the five most highly cited primary research journals in genetics and genomics.
Genome Research issues press releases to highlight significant research studies that are published in the journal.