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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