by Janet Crain
One of the better known media hyped DNA tests was that of the Melungeons, a dark skinned group of unknown origin living in Tennessee in the early 1800's. These DNA tests were started about 2000, as a volunteer effort; there was no cost to the participants except unfulfilled expectations, frustration and time lost. After many promises of the results being announced, there was finally an announcement, of sorts, on June 23, 2002. Were the expectations met? Without pointing a finger of blame at any one person, I would have to say; "No". For several reasons. The announcement only included preliminary results and comments. No actual DNA raw data was ever presented to participants or anyone else. No known peer review was ever conducted. No questions were answered conclusively. It was called a "Population" test, but only had around 100 participants. Its purported purpose was to capture a view of the Y chromosome and mtDNA haplogroups carried by these few self identified Melungeon descendants that came down to them from their Melungeon foreparents. Even though several generations had passed and their ancestry now had the input of many other ancestors, this was supposed to offer some information. Yet to this day, the "results" of this test are quoted as if they are valid.
After one more abortive attempt, a valid Melungeon DNA Project is underway. You can read about ir here: