Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DNA Testing and the Melungeons

Thanks to the Melungeon Historical Society for permission to post this article that was written for them.

Roberta Estes, copyright 2006-2008,

DNA testing has become an integral part of any genealogical endeavor, generally as part of a surname project. However, genealogy testing for a larger group purpose, such as the Melungeons, poses some unique challenges.

As the DNA advisor for the Melungeon DNA projects, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss DNA testing, the various types of tests, how they work and why they are important to the Melungeon Historical Society and research process as well as to the personal genealogical research of each participant.

Before discussing how DNA works, let’s first talk about the kinds of questions we would like to attempt to answer by using various types of DNA testing.

1. Are the individuals of the same last name living in the primary Melungeon “home area” of Hancock and Hawkins County (and other very nearby locations) related on their paternal ancestral line? This means, for example, are all of the various Collins families (by way of example) from a common male ancestor?

2. Are the various individuals in this area related to the same maternal lines? This means are there “founding mothers” of this group? This is an important question because in both African and Native American cultures, families were matrilineal in nature, meaning that the surnames could be the same, from the mother, but the fathers in that social culture could be different.

3. How much truth is there to the various reports of African, Native American and Portuguese ancestry within the descendant families? Which families are admixed and can we determine the source of that admixture?

4. Can we tell, using DNA, the source of the Melungeons as a population group? Is the source of the entire group the same, or are there different subgroups? Can we eliminate or lend support to any of the proposed theories, such as shipwrecked sailors, descendants of the Lost Colony, “white Indians”, and others?

5. Can we connect the genealogy of the individuals, the documented historical records of the families, the recorded history of the areas where they are found in the earliest records and along the migration path to Hawkins/Hancock and the DNA to create an answer to the question, “who were the Melungeons and where did they come from”?

6. Are other groups, such as the Redbones, Brass Ankles, Carmel Indians, Salyersville Indians, Lumbee, Saponi and others, specifically other similar tri-racial isolate groups, related to the Melungeons, and if so, how? Perhaps in some cases the proper question is “are the Melungeons and these groups descended from common ancestors”, and of so, who, when and where?

Other questions may arise from the answers, such as “if your surname matches a core Melungeon surname, and your DNA matches as well, but your genealogy does not take you back to Hawkins/Hancock, are you a Melungeon”? These kinds of social and identity questions are not DNA-related questions and it is not my goal to address these kinds of issues.

Let’s take a look at how DNA testing works and the various types of DNA testing available in the market today and how they can address the various Melungeon scientific questions we have set forth above.

The company we have selected to be our partner for DNA testing is Family Tree DNA. This discussion will reference their tests and products. Family Tree DNA provides us with surname projects, geographical projects like the Melungeon project and related projects like the Cumberland Gap and Lumbee projects, as well as haplogroup projects for research. For participants, they provide a personal web page, e-mail notifications of matches, customer support, the benefits of project administrators and more. Some of the graphics below are courtesy of Family Tree DNA as well.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park to host heritage celebration this weekend

On the path of the pioneers

Descendants can retrace steps through the gap

By Morgan Simmons (Contact)Monday, October 20, 2008

Daniel Boone is famous for blazing the Wilderness Trail through Cumberland Gap, but what about the estimated 300,000 men, women and children who followed in his footsteps?

For the last 12 years, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park has been tracking down the descendents of these 18th-century pioneers and entering their family histories in the park's database. Working from sources such as journals and family genealogy, the park has compiled a collection of stories that make this early American saga come alive.

This weekend, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will host a heritage celebration as part of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial. A "Genealogy Gateway" area will assist visitors with connecting to their own roots, and at sunset Saturday, visitors are invited to join with pioneer descendents from across the U.S. as they walk in the footsteps of their ancestors through historic Cumberland Gap.

Park officials say there are approximately 48,000,000 people across the U.S. who can trace their family tree to a Cumberland Gap pioneer.

The Kentucky Historical Society, the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, and The Boone Society will be on hand to assist visitors with their genealogy searches. The National Park Service also will make its database of stories available to the public during the event.

As the sun sets Saturday, visitors are invited to join the pioneer descendants from across the nation on a walk through the saddle of the gap. Many of the participants will be carrying 18th-century-replica lanterns inscribed with the names of their pioneer ancestors.

Morgan Simmons may be reached at 865-342-6321.

As an unrelated project there is a Cumberland Gap DNA Project ongoing which is one of the larger DNA Projects at Family Tree DNA.

You can learn more about it here:

Sunday, October 19, 2008


This little book is only nineteen pages long, written in 1894

Author: Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology; Pollard, John Garland, 1871-1937; Smith, John, 1580-1631
Subject: Pamunkey Indians
Publisher: [S.l.] : U.S. G.P.O
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Language: English
Call number: nrlf_ucb:GLAD-33588846
Digitizing sponsor: MSN
Book contributor: University of California Libraries
Collection: americana; cdl

Friday, October 17, 2008

Anthony Johnson, Virginia 1670

Court document regarding Anthony Johnson

By virtue of a writt granted to me from [names listed here, which are illegible] John Stringer Escheator for the countys of Northhampton and Accomack to enquire what lands Anthonio Johnson late of Accomack County either in his life tyme. . . a jury of free. . . in the said Accomack County to enquire. . . doth declare that the said Anthony Johnson lately deceased in his life tyme was seized of fifty acres of land now in the possession of Rich. Johnson in the County of Accomack aforesaid and further that the said Anthony Johnson was a negro and by consequence an alien and for that cause the said land doth escheat to this . . . .

From the collections of the Library of Congress

In August of 1670, several months after Anthony Johnson's death, a jury in a Virginia court decided that, because "he was a Negro and by consequence an alien," ownership of the 250 acres Johnson once owned should be escheated, or reverted, to England.

Anthony and Mary Johnson had sold 200 acres of this land to two white settlers; the other 50 they gave to their son, Richard, who soon thereafter sold the land to another white settler.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Governor Glen

The Role of the Indians in the Rivalry Between France, Spain, and England, 1761

The powerful Indian nations entrenched on the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains held the balance among the colonial powers on the North American continent. The Six Nations of the Iroquois are best known, but the great tribes southward along the ridge were almost as influential-the Cherokees, the Choctaws, and the Chickasaws.

The Cherokees were generally more friendly with the English, but the other two Indian nations were dominated by the Spanish and French.

Governor Glen of South Carolina recognized the role of the Indian nations in the contest among the outposts of Spanish, French, and English dominions. He believed that a strong English alliance with the Cherokees in this instance would insure tranquility for Carolina.

Text preparedby Garry Wiersema for From Revolution to Reconstruction - an .HTML project.
Last update: 2003-3-6 time: 10:01 © 1994- 2008. All rights reserved.
University of Groningen Humanities Computing

This is really good, read the whole article here

Sunday, October 12, 2008

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

Author: Lauber, Almon Wheeler A further process of enslavement was connected with questions of birth. By the recognized common law of nations, the civil law, and the Jewish law, the children of a slave mother became at birth the property of the mother’s owner. Nobody though of the children of slaves being free. Yet, to make certainty doubly sure, the colonial laws from time to time considered the matter and declared the common law a part of colonial legislation.2 South Carolina, for example, by an act of 1712,3 repeated in 1722,4
1 Plymouth Colony Records, ix, p. 71; Connecticut Colonial Records, i, p. 532.
2 Moore’s article in Historical Magazine, x, p. 189.
3 The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, vii, p. 352.
4 Ibid., vii, p. 371.


and 1735,1 declared that, with the exception of certain individuals freed by the government, “all negroes, mulattoes, mustizoes, or Indians which at any time heretofore have been sold, or now are held or taken to be, or hereafter shall be bought and sold as slaves, are hereby declared slaves; and they and their children, are hereby made and declared slaves to all intents and purposes.” Another act of 1740, though worded differently, decreed a similar condition for the children of negro, mulatto, mustee and Indian slave mothers.2 In 1705, Virginia similarly declared all children bond or free according to the condition of their mothers;3 and, in 1723, decreed that children of female mulattoes or Indians obliged by law to serve till the age of thirty or thirty-one should serve the master or mistress of such mulatto or Indian until they should attain the same age as that up to which the mother was obliged by law to serve.4

A Maryland act of 1663 differs from the acts just mentioned by stating that “all children born of any negro or other slave, shall be slaves as their fathers were for the term of their lives.” Another section of this same act provides that “whatsoever freeborn woman shall intermarry with any slave, from and after the last day of the present assembly, shall serve the master of such slave during the life of her husband; and that all the issue of such freeborn woman, so married, shall be slaves as their fathers

1 The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, vii, p. 385.
2 Ibid., vii, p. 397, The act decreed that “all negroes and Indians (free Indians in amity with this government, and negroes, mulattoes, mustizoes, who are now free, excepted), mulattoes or mustizoes who now are or shall hereafter be, in this Province, and all their issue and offspring, born or to be born, shall be, and they are hereby declared to be, and remain forever hereafter, absolute slaves and shall follow the condition of the mother.”
3 Hening, op. cit., iii, p. 460.
4 Ibid., iv, p. 133.


were.”1 Though the law was of brief duration, persons born of the union between slaves and free white women, and the descendants of such persons, were held in slavery down to 1791, when the highest court of the state decided that for want of proof concerning the white woman who originally married a slave, her descendants were not slaves, and could not be legally held as such.2 A later Maryland act, June 2, 1692, provided that all children born or thereafter to be born of slaves within the province were to be slaves for the term of their natural lives.3 Nothing is said in the act of children one of whose parents was free. The act was repealed in 1715.4 New York, on its own part, in 1706, decreed that any negro, Indian, mulatto or mustee child should follow the condition of the mother and be esteemed a slave “to all intents and purposes whatsoever.”5 Frequent incidental mention, also, is found in the documents of the time and in newspaper advertisements to slaves “born in the house”.6

1 Stroud, A Sketch of the Laws relating to Slavery, etc., p. 2.
2 Ibid.
3 Archives of Maryland, xiii, p. 546.
4 Maxcy, The Laws of Maryland, etc., i, p. 115; Bacon, Laws of Maryland.
5 Colonial Laws of New York, edition of 1894, i, p. 598; Trott, Laws of the British Plantations in America, etc., p. 273.
6 Moore, in Historical Magazine, x, p. 189. The Reverend John Davenport, in a letter to the younger Winthrop, June, 1666, spoke of the baptism of slaves “born in the house.” Historical Magazine, x, p. 59. The instance of Mr. Maverick of Noddle’s Island attempting to breed slaves is another example of the general custom of the time of holding the children of slave women as slaves. Littleton v. Tuttle, in Massachusetts Reports, iv, p. 128; Cushing, Reports, x, p. 410. Felt, in Statistical Association Collections, i, p. 586. Palfrey, History of New England, ii, p. 30, states that no person was ever born into legal slavery in Massachusetts. See also Moore, Notes on the History of Slavery in Massachusetts, pp. 24-25, and Steiner, op. cit., pp. 18-19.


Certain judicial decisions rendered in the trial of cases in federal and state courts, finally, offer clear indication as to the legality of holding in slavery the children of Indian slave mothers.1 Of these decisions the one rendered by the Virginia court of appeals in 1831 is particularly instructive. In part it runs as follows: “I cannot for a moment doubt the propriety of the former decisions of this court, and of the instructions under consideration, that proof that a party is descended in the female line from an Indian woman, and especially a native American, without anything more is prima facie proof of his right of freedom liable to be repelled by proof that his race as been immemorially held in slavery; which may be in turn rebutted by the consideration of the ignorance and helpless condition of persons in that situation, aided by other circumstances, such as that many such were bound by law to a service equivalent, in all respects, to a state of temporary slavery, until they attained the age of thirty-one years; and in many cases (according to circumstances existing in almost every case) for an uncertain term beyond that age.”2

1 Pirate v. Dalby, 1786 (Pennsylvania), in 1 Dallas, second edition, p. 167; Wilson et al. v. Hinkley et al., 1787 (Connecticut), in Kirby, p. 202; The State v. Van Waggoner, 1797 (New Jersey), in 1 Halstead, p. 374; Jenkins v. Tom, 1792 (Virginia), in 1 Washington, p. 123; Coleman v. Dick, 1793 (Virginia), in 1 Washington, p. 233; Hudgins v. Wright, 1806 (Virginia), in 1 Hening and Munford, second edition, p. 134; Pallas et al. v. Hill et al., 1807 (Virginia), in 2 Hening and Munford, second edition, p. 149; Gregory v. Baugh, 1831 (Virginia), in 2 Leigh, p. 665. 2 Wheeler, op. cit., p. 20; 2 Leigh, p. 665.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

SACRED GROUNDS, Jane Blanks Barnhill

SACRED GROUNDS, A collections of Robeson County Indian Cemeteries

This website has some of the cemetery listings in Jane Blanks Barnhill’s book,

Here is a sample on the website from her book.


(Located 5 miles South of Maxton, NC. Off Hwy 130, turn Left on Union Light Church Road - Compiled Nov. 4, 2001 by Jane Barnhill)

DIAL, Coolidge – July 9, 1925
DIAL, Delphie B. “Honey” – June 2, 1928 – Jan. 28, 2000

DIAL, Jonathan – 1987 – Funeral Marker

DIAL, Tony Dewayne – May 15, 1977 – Aug. 27, 1978

SMITH, Archie H. – July 22, 1935 – Nov. 6, 1975

CHAVIS, Shoney – June 19, 1919 – Dec. 2, 1973
CHAVIS, Mezinnie – Aug. 15, 1923

CHAVIS, Ethan – Sept. 9, 1923 – Feb. 10, 1987 – US ARMY WWII
CHAVIS, Elease S. – May 15, 1924 – Mar. 20, 1987

JACOBS, Mary A. – Aug. 11, 1945 – May 2, 1990

SMILING, Liza Locklear – Sept. 12, 1936 – Oct. 17, 2001

LOCKLEAR, Robert – Apr. 7, 1928 – Feb. 6, 2001
LOCKLEAR, Essie – Oct. 28, 1927

LOCKLEAR, Teresa G. – Feb. 6, 1968 – May 8, 2000

GOINS, Jimmie – Jan. 7, 1873 – Apr. 8, 1953

GOINS, Gulia – Aug. 29, 1889 – Mar. 22, 1953

Concrete Block – No Name

SMILING, Lester D. – Aug. 22, 1924 – Dec. 7, 1997
SMILING, Bertha L. – Sept. 23, 1929

SMILING, Carson – Sept. 26, 1948
SMILING, Christopher W. – May 10, 1967 – Sept. 11, 1994 – Son
SMILING, Jane B. – Mar. 7, 1949

OXENDINE, Howard Jr. – Jan. 23, 1943 – Jan. 25, 1943

SMILING, Margie – June 22, 1900 – Sept. 24, 1983
SMILING, D.S. – June 28, 1893 – Jan. 9, 1956
SMILING, Eddie Thomas – July 15, 1932 – Sept. 30, 1951 – s/o D.S. & Margie Smiling

LEMONS, Ralph Eddie – Oct. 22, 1936 – Jan. 18, 1937

SMILING, Lesil – Oct. 3, 1949 – Infant son of Mr. & Mrs. Clinton Smiling
SMILING, Clinton J. – Sept. 26, 1928 – Oct. 26, 1967
SMILING, Velma M. – Aug. 30, 1927

MILLER, Leroy Baxter – Mar. 11, 1920 – June 15, 1982 – PFC US ARMY WWII

SMILING, Leon L. – Feb. 14, 1918 – Apr. 7, 1980 – SP4 US ARMY WWII
SMILING, Eula Mae B. – May 6, 1928 – Oct. 21, 1987
SMILING, Leon Jr. – Aug. 24, 1953 – Mar. 29, 1955

LOCKLEAR, Rachael S. – Feb. 23, 1912 – Jan. 18, 1948

SMILING, Ida Harven – 1867 – 1945 – w/o H.F. Smiling

SWEATT, Ida Henrietta – Nov. 9, 1890 – July 27, 1964

EPPS, Adeline – Dec. 1852 – June 16, 1935

SMILING, Bessie Lee – Oct. 21, 1921 – Jan. 21, 1938 – d/o J.E. & Ethel Smiling

SMILING, James Edward – Mar. 13, 1895 – June 27, 1964
SMILING, Mary Ethel – June 15, 1901 – May 25, 1981

SMILING, Lois Richmond – Jan. 10, 1954 – Feb. 26, 1956 – d/o Mr. & Mrs. Joe Smiling
SMILING, Baby daug. of Mr. & Mrs. Joe Smiling
SMILING, Baby daug. of Mr. & Mrs. Joe Smiling
SMILING, Baby son of Mr. & Mrs. Joe Smiling

SMILING, Meddie J. – Mar. 15, 1917 – May 9, 1977
SMILING, Rosa R. – Dec. 23, 1919

SMILING, Margie – Jan. 9, 1951 – Aug. 1, 1957 – d/o Mr. & Mrs. Joe Smiling

SMILING, Flossie Jane – Apr. 24, 1946 – Aug. 31, 1979

HUNT, James Troy – Mar. 31, 1933
HUNT, Virginia M. – July 20, 1926 – July 5, 1998
HUNT, James Troy Jr. – July 7, 1960 – June 11, 1974

BRAYBOY, Larry Dean – Apr. 25, 1950 – May 13, 1977

MENDOZA, Troy Thomas – Mar. 13, 1952 – May 2, 1987

SMILING, James Cody – 1988 – 1989 – Funeral Marker

SMILING, Harry – June 18, 1913 – Oct. 3, 1995

SMILING, Elias – Oct. 1, 1919 – Feb. 15, 1964
SMILING, Luovate G. –

Cross with J _ S

OXENDINE, Retha B. – Luther R. – Beaulah M. – Oxendine Children

GOINS, Jessie Andrew – Oct. 10, 1950 – 1951

GOINS, Hester Pauline – May 8, 1955 – 1956

GOINS, Terry Clayton – June 5, 1958 – May 11, 1960

GOINS, Baby – Funeral Marker – Can’t Read

WARD, Juanita Diane – 1946 – 1967

GOINS, Jessie Lee – June 28, 1920 – Feb. 15, 1973 – PVT US ARMY WWII

Concrete Block – No Name
Concrete Block – No Name

GOINS, Felicia Ann – Jan. 11, 1975 – July 3, 1997

GIBBS, Archie Lugenia – Feb. 2, 1907 – Sept. 15, 1977

GIBBS, Jimmie M. – July 25, 1892 – Feb. 19, 1962

GOINS, Lillie M. – Apr. 16, 1885 – June 25, 1971

GOINS, Henry – Mar. 27, 1877 – Apr. 12, 1966

GOINS, Adeline – Aug. 9, 1910 – Feb. 8, 1931 – w/o H.H. Smiling

GIBBS, Appelt – 1861 – 1933

LOCKLEAR, Luvetter – 1900 – 1974

LOCKLEAR, Bob – 1887 – 1954

SMILING, Mary Lee – Mar. 7, 1933 – July 11, 1937

SMILING, Joe – June 16, 1862 – Feb. 14, 1943
SMILING, Elizabeth – Mar. 12, 1867 – Sept. 27, 1952

GRIFFIN, Mary – Aug. 1, 1895 – May 30, 1950

CHAVIS, Thomas P. – May 5, 1887 – Jan. 14, 1945

CHAVIS, Mattie J.E. – Apr. 16, 1899 – Feb. 3, 1970

CHAVIS, Purdie – Dec. 10, 1932 – Feb. 23, 1953

HUNT, Winford – Nov. 9, 1921 – Jan. 8, 2000

RICHARDSON, Prentis – Sept. 18, 1924
RICHARDSON, Mattie – June 27, 1928 – Aug. 30, 1983

OXENDINE, Billy Ray, Jr. – June 4, 1969 – Aug. 28, 1988

LOCKLEAR, Christian Ray - Dec. 9, 2002 - Infant s/o Fredrick & Lia Locklear

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

John Sevier Timeline

Born: September 23, 1745; Rockingham County, Virginia
Died: September 24, 1815; near Fort Decatur, Alabama
- John Sevier born in Rockingham County, Virginia.

- John Sevier marries Sarah Hawkins.

- John Sevier migrates to the Holston settlements in what is now Tennessee.

- John Sevier serves under George Washington in Lord Dunmore's War.

- John Sevier becomes a Lt. Colonel of North Carolina militia.
July - John Sevier is present at the siege of Fort Watauga.

- John Sevier is promoted to a Colonel of North Carolina militia.

- John Sevier marries Catherine Sherrill.
October 7 - John Sevier shares command at the Battle of King's Mountain, South Carolina.

March - John Sevier is elected Governor of the State of Franklin.

- John Sevier becomes a fugitive when the State of Franklin is declared illegal.

- John Sevier is elected to the North Carolina State Senate and pardoned.
March 4 - John Sevier begins serving in the First Congress and serves until March 3, 1791.

- John Sevier is elected the first Governor of Tennessee and serves until 1801.

- John Sevier is elected to another term as Governor of Tennessee and serves until 1809.

- John Sevier again serves in Congress.

September 24 - John Sevier dies near Fort Decatur, Alabama.

The Patriot Resource

Friday, October 3, 2008

James Roberts

Looking for a descendant of Tory Col. James Roberts 1780-1 records of Surry and Stokes County N.C. Contact