Monday, December 15, 2014

Appalachian Christmas Celebrations and Customs

Christmas Trees were much like this one

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

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

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

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

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

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

more here:

Merry Christmas !!!!! 

History Chasers

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Where Have All the Indians Gone?

by Janet Crain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern Seaboard Native Americans

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figure 5:

Read the entire paper here:

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

This blog is © History Chasers

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Lumbee Surnames: Who Knew There Were so Many?

Britt offers important advice to researchers in his preface. To summarize: (1) many names in Robeson County can be Lumbee, White, African American, or all three; thus, a surname alone does not guarantee Lumbee ancestry. (2) Lumbee ancestors have been listed with a wide range of designations in historical records, including Mulatto, free persons not White, and free persons of color. In early Robeson and Bladen County census records and tax lists, the designation Indian appeared only once (in a 1768 Bladen tax list). Therefore, Britt says, "As a cautionary note, you cannot take any single-entry racial designation, White, African-American, or Indian, 'as gospel' " (p. 2).
List of Lumbee surnames with dates of appearance in the greater Lumbee Settlement (N=523 surnames) 1740-2007

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tri-racial Isolates Revisited

Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 3:50 pm
I recently received a call from a professor emeritus at Jackson State University who is working on a project dealing with a Tri-Racial Isolate group called Turks, who once made Sumter County, S.C., their home.
One day these Turks just disappeared from Sumter, he said, and he is trying to find out if any were buried in a graveyard at Bethesda Baptist Church in Sumter.
Even though I had nothing to offer, he did share plenty of information with me regarding Tri-Racial Isolates, which include Chavises.
This topic has always been of interest to me because the Shepherd/Chavis family started with black blood, then mixed with white blood and, after that, Indian blood. They were located mainly in the Franklin area.
Cont. here:

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Chief Vann Historic House

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Chief Vann House is the first brick residence in the Cherokee Nation that has been called the "Showplace of the Cherokee Nation". Owned by a Cherokee chief named Chief James Vann, The Vann House is a Georgia Historic Site on the National Register of Historic Places and one of the oldest remaining structures in the northern third of the state of Georgia. It is (on Spring Place) located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 76 and Georgia 225 in Murray County, on the outskirts of Chatsworth in northwest Georgia (leaving the main highway and heading south towards the Vann House, which has a commanding view of all the land around it and of the Cohutta Mountains, some 10 miles (16 km) to the east.).

Construction of The Vann House

When James Vann was rising to become the wealthiest businessman in the Cherokee Nation as well as a chief, he decided to build a two-story brick house which would reflect his status. For its construction, Vann brought in professional architects for its design. In addition to providing an education to local Cherokees, the Moravians contributed to the building.

In July 1803, a man named Vogt, perhaps James Vann’s brother in-law, Charles Vogt, and Dr. Henry Chandlee Forman, arrived to begin construction. Work began in late 1803 and the house was completed early in 1804. Both the exterior walls (which are around eighteen inches thick) and the interior walls (which are around eight inches (203 mm) thick) are solid brick. These bricks came from the red clay located on the Spring Place Plantation (Vann House) property. Handwrought nails and hinges came from Vann's own blacksmith shop. Only the interior walls of the third floor are plaster on wood.

The house is a combination of the late Federal style architecture and early Georgian style. Both Georgian and Federal styled homes have two full stories with a half third story. The house has this type of design: the ceilings of both the first and second floor stand at twelve feet, while the ceiling of the third floor stands at only six feet.
The first and second floors have the standard three rooms. On both levels there is a room to the east, a room to the west, and a hallway dividing the two. On the first level, the room to the east is the Vann dining room, while the room to the west is the drawing room, more commonly referred to as a family or living room. On the second floor, the room to the east is the master bedroom and the room to the west is the guest bedroom. Only the third floor, which operated as storage space during James’s life and then as children's rooms during Joseph’s life, strays from this common design.

The third floor is divided into two rooms. The room that the stairway leads into on the third floor is believed to have served as the boys' room. This room is two-thirds the width of the home and has two closets cut into its walls. The second room of the third floor is that of the girls. This room is only one-third the width of the home; however, this room could be shut off from the boy’s room, giving the girls more privacy.

The interior of the home is decorated with beautiful colors. The four colors present in the home are red, blue, green, and yellow. White is used throughout the home but only as a filler color. There are two possible reasons for these four colors in the home. The first possibility is that these four colors represent different elements of nature. Red represents the Georgia red clay, blue represents the sky, green represents the trees and grass, and yellow represents the wheat and corn of the harvest. The second possibility is that these four colors are part of Federal style colors.

The red, blue, and yellow seen in the Vann House were often used in other homes of the late seventeen hundreds and the early eighteen hundreds. The only difference between how these colors were used in this home versus how they are used in other homes of the time is the way in which they are distributed. Most homes of the Federal period would concentrate colors in one room, giving a house a red room, blue room, etc. However, in the Vann House the colors have been mixed in almost every room giving the rooms a multi-color appearance, as well as the mantels, door jambs, and wainscotings, all of which are original to the house. The doors, known as Christian doors, are of special interest. Their construction features a cross and an open Bible.

In addition to the blacksmith shop, the 800-acre (3.2 km2) property around the Vann House included 42 slave cabins, 6 barns, 5 smokehouses, a trading post, more than 1,000 peach trees, 147 apple trees, and a still.

After constructing The Vann House, James lived at the house for 5 years before he was killed at Buffington’s Tavern in 1809. After his death, his favorite child, Rich Joe Vann, which was neither his youngest or eldest child, inherited the house.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bunch Timeline

By Penny Ferguson:

1720:   Gedion Bunch born. (JG)
1733: Micajah "Cage" Bunch born in probably Brunswick County Virginia. (JG)
1745 May 28, 1745 - Louisa Co. VA
"Ordered that William Hall, Samuel Collins, Thomas Collins, William Collins, Samuel Bunch, George Gibson, Benjamin Branham, Thomas Gibson, and William Donathan be summoned to appear at the next Court to answer the presentment of the Grand jury this day made against them for concealing tithables within twelve months past."
…pled not guilty…    Steven Pony Hill

1749:  Tax list of Lunenburg County, Virginia (from Sunlight on the Southside) William Howard’s list; Gedion Bunch and tithe Cage Bunch. Note; Obviously, Cage is the son of Gedion Bunch. (Jack Goins)

1750: 175[0?] List of Wm. Eaton  (Granville Co. NC)
List of Saml. Henderson
Gibion Bunch 2  (WTL)
1754:  Micajer Bunch son of Gedion is listed in 1754 Orange County, NC tax list of Gedion Macon in the household of John Stoud who paid a tax for Micager Bunch and Lydia Bunch possibly his daughter and son in-law?  (Jack Goins)
1755:   Orange County, North Carolina, tax list several families who either they are their forefather once lived on the Pamunkey River in Louisa County, Virginia and who eventually migrated to Hawkins County, TN and became know as the Melungeons. (Jack Goins)
Gidean Bunch 1 tithe (mulatto)
Micajer Bunch 1 tithe (mulatto)
Moses Ridley (Riddle) 1 tithe and wife Mary (mulattoes)
Thomas Collins 3 tithes (mulatto)
Samuel Collins 3 tithes (mulattoes)
John Collins 1 tithe (mulatto)
Thomas Gibson 3 tithes (mulatto)
Charles Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)
George Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)
Mager Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)

1755 Orange County NC Tax list Gedion Bunch, Micajer Bunch, Thomas Collins, Samuel Collins, John Collins, Moses and Mary Ridley  (webtimeline JG)

Cont. here:

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Understanding the Meaning of Social Isolates


Virginia Easley DeMarce
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 fallen 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 de-mythologize.

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.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Ashley Marie Trent, Granddaughter of Johnnie Rhea, Obituary

Ashley Marie Trent, age 26, of Sneedville, was born on July 28, 1988 and passed away suddenly on October 4, 2014 from injuries resulting from a car accident. She professed faith in Christ at an early age. She was preceded in death by her father, Edgar Trent; grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Issac Trent, Carson Singleton & Johnnie Clyde Rhea. She is survived by; Daughter; Addison Marie Hill. Sister; Tammy Trent, Very special niece & nephew; Tamara King and Jaden Taylor, Mother; Margaret Trent Belch (Ed & Debbie) Special aunt & uncle; Betty & Paul Mahan.  A host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at the Yellow Branch Missionary Baptist Church in Sneedville. Rev. Kyle Gregory Jr. & Rev. Buster Jarvis officiating. Interment will follow in the Yellow Branch Church Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers will be Josh Williams, Brock Williams, Brad Sutton, Derrick Crider, Dustin Bowlin, Riley McCoy, Randy Ferguson, Mark Greene & Colby Collins. Serving as honorary pallbearer will be Jaden Taylor. The family will receive friends from 6 to 9 P.M. on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at the McNeil Funeral Home.

Online condolences can be made at
McNeil Funeral Home in Sneedville in charge of arrangements

We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Ashley Marie.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ancestor of Native Americans in Asia was 30% “Western Eurasian”

Ancestor of Native Americans in Asia was 30% “Western Eurasian”

The complete genome has recently been sequenced from 4 year old Russian boy who died 24,000 years ago near Lake Baikal in a location called Mal’ta, the area in Asia believed to be the origin of the Native Americans based on Y DNA and mitochondrial chromosome similarities.  The map below, from Science News, shows the location.
malta boy map
This represents the oldest complete genome ever sequenced, except for the Neanderthal (38,000 years old) and Denisovan (41,000 years old).
This child’s genome shows that he is related closely to Native Americans, and, surprisingly, to western Asians/eastern Europeans, but not to eastern Asians, to whom Native Americans are closely related.  This implies that this child was a member of part of a “tribe” that had not yet merged or intermarried with the Eastern Asians (Japan, China, etc.) that then became the original Native Americans who migrated across the Beringian land bridge between about 15,000 and 20,000 years ago.
Cont. here:

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why do Cherokees Wear Turbans?

Why do Cherokees Wear Turbans? We see old portraits of Cherokees wearing turbans. Does this mean they somehow descend from Turkish men who came to this country as sailors with early exploration parties? Actually there is a much more plausible reason.


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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Hatfields and McCoys by Otis K. Rice

If you hurry you can get a very nice hard back book for $2.05 from Amazon. It is a respected source book about this time in Appalachia and these two families. If you have Prime it ships for free.

The Hatfields and McCoys by Otis K. Rice*Version*=1&*entries*=0

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mattie Ruth Johnson: August 27, 1940 - August 13, 2014

Mattie Johnson Obituary
In Memory of

Mattie Ruth Johnson

August 27, 1940 - August 13, 2014
At the age of 73 Mattie Ruth Johnson's Holy Spirit left her earthly body and entered her Heavenly home on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at Holston Valley Medical Center. She was a local author and painter. Her book, "My Melungeon Heritage" was written and sold copies all over the United States. She was born in Hancock County, Sneedville, TN on August 27, 1940 and lived on Newman's Ridge in an area called Prospect Ridge. She had a twin sister, but was born 10 minutes before her sister, Goldean. God had an apple in His eye and He took her home before she had got sicker. She was only able to take so much before she was called home.

Ruth had a heart for everyone and she gave to anyone who needed anything. She was a Christian and was Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In "My Melungeon Heritage" she tells what it was like to grow up and live in a place and time when life was much different than it is at the end of the twentieth century. A descendant of several of the first known settlers in Hancock County, she had spent a lot of time through the years reading the history of early settlements and colonization of the United States. Her ancestors include many Melungeons, and she had done much research on her family lines. Interested in the Melungeon history for years, she had corresponded with numerous writers dealing with genealogy and people searching their family trees.

Ruth who had lived in Kingsport, was a nurse. She was also an artist who enjoyed working in oils and watercolors. A special thanks to Brent Kennedy for his help and inspiration. To each of the doctors and nurses who had the pleasure of working with her, she thanks you. She also would like to thank Dr. Springer, Dr. and Mrs. Hemoke, Dr. Michigan, Dr. London, Dr. Jack Whitt and the many more. Preceding her to Heaven were her father and mother, Henry and Opal Johnson; brothers, Henry, Jr., Elmer, Gale and Rex; her sister, Phyllis Smith; nephew, Russell Gilliam; and niece Rebecca Gilliam. Surviving is her twin sister, Goldean White; sisters, Nellie Lynch of Florence, SC and Ivagene Gilliam and many nieces and nephews who she loved very much.

A private graveside service will be held in the Garden of the Mausoleum at East Lawn Memorial Park with Pastor Mildred Osborne officiating. Online condolences may be sent to the family. East Lawn Funeral Home; Memorial Park has the honor of serving the family of Ms. Mattie Ruth Johnson.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hidden America - Children Of The Mountains (Documentary)

If you haven't watched this before or if you just want to watch it again. This is the media's perception of Appalachia and I agree these problems exist. But is this the whole story?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Give me your poor and wretched Appalachians.............."

by Janet Crain
While I agree that politicians and reporters have always gone to Appalachia to find poor people, why stop with Richard Nixon? It is still occurring today. I am sure Diane Sawyer drove past beautiful expensive homes on her way to the rickety trailer houses. But she was looking for a story. And why are minorities always ignored? What's up with that?
Children in sepia-toned clothes with dirt-smeared faces. Weathered, sunken-eyed women on trailer steps chain-smoking Camels. Teenagers clad in Carhartt and Mossy Oak loitering outside long-shuttered businesses.
When policymakers and news organizations need a snapshot of rural poverty in the United States, Appalachia — the area of land stretching from the mountains of southern New York through northern Alabama — is the default destination of choice. Poverty tours conducted by presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Richard Nixon, almost every member of the Kennedy clan, and religious leaders like Jesse Jackson have all painted the portrait of Appalachia the same way: poor, backward, and white.
Frank Cedillo fishes in a Greeneville, Tenn., lake.i
Frank Cedillo fishes in a Greeneville, Tenn., lake.
Courtesy of Megan King
While the economic despair and major health epidemics are an unsettling reality for the region, a glaring omission has been made from the "poverty porn" images fed to national audiences for generations: Appalachia's people of color.
"When we tell the truth about Appalachia, it's only then that we tell the real story about who we are," said Aaron Thompson, executive vice president and chief academic officer for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
Growing up as an African-American outside Manchester, Ky. — a coal town home to the lowest per capita income in the state, according to US census data — Thompson has become one of the few outspoken role models for young people of color in his mountain home. "There's no one story of Appalachia, no one voice. It's time for everyone to feel like they can speak up, like their story is important."
Continued here:

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