Thursday, April 30, 2009

MHS Conference in June

History, genealogy, and the latest DNA technology will come together at the first annual Melungeon Historical Society conference. The public is invited to this event, which will be held on June 12 at the Hawkins County Rescue Squad meeting room, 955 East McKinney Avenue, Rogersville, Tennessee.

"For nearly two hundred years, writers and researchers have speculated about the origins of the Melungeons," says Wayne Winkler, president of MHS. "For the most part, the story of the Melungeons has been told through myths and legends. The Melungeon Historical Society believes that answers will be found through scholarly research."

Presentations at the MHS conference will begin at 10 a.m. and will cover topics such as the origin and historical uses of the term "Melungeon," DNA research on Melungeon families, and other topics related to the multi-ethnic people first documented in the Clinch River region in the early 19th century. The use of DNA technology in genealogy will be covered by Roberta Estes, founder of DNAExplain, a Michigan company that analyzes and interprets individual DNA tests.

Other presenters include Jack Goins, Hawkins County Archivist and author of Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families; Kathy Lyday-Lee, a professor at Elon College who taught a course on Melungeons; and Kathy James, who will present DNA information on the Gibson and Collins families.

"This conference is of special interest to those who want to learn more about the Melungeons," said Winkler, "but it is also designed to benefit anyone interested in genealogy and especially in the use of DNA technology to trace family lines."

The conference is free, but donations are suggested to help promote the work of the Melungeon Historical Society. For more information, contact Winkler at 423.439.6441 or

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