The Core Melungeon DNA program was formed with FamilyTreeDNA July 25, 2005. Our goal was to test proven descendants of the historical Melungeons using the Y & mtDNA tests to find the origin of their common ancestors and also to find relationships within the group. Those with European and Sub-Saharan African haplogroups had one thing in common, both groups were listed mulatto and free persons of color on several old tax, land, court and census records as they migrated from Virginia to North Carolina, to the New River area of NC and VA, then to Fort Blackmore and Tennessee .
. “Just not possible to make an R1a or R1b baby out of an E-3 man and a white woman”. I must have seen this question a hundred times on the internet, and on someone blog, today I will answer it.
Here is a simple example that shows the people who make this statement needs to take a course in Y- and mtDNA:
Example #1-an African E-3a male marries a European woman, they have 1 son and 2 daughters, this son who would be E-3a . Daughter #1 marries a male R1a, male children from this marriages will be haplogroup R1a. Daughter #2 marries a R1b male, their male children will be R1b. All these children will be mulatto.
Anyone who has any knowledge of DNA knows If an African E-3a male marries a white European woman and daughters from this union marry European men with R1b and R1a haplogroups their male children will be R1b and R1a.
If a woman from a European mother and an African father, who is a mulatto with a European mitochondrial haplogroup, marries an R1b or R1a male, their male children will be one fourth African, and carry a European mitochondrial DNA from their mother and a European R1b or R1a haplogroup from their father.
Excerpt; from the first press release of the DNA results, and the AP Article both agree. First release was aired on
WETS 89.5 FM - East Tennessee State University
New Genetic Study Sheds Light on the “Mysterious” Melungeons of Appalachia
A study published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy answers many questions about the mixed-ethnic population known as Melungeons. Most researchers have asserted that the Melungeons were tri-racial; that is, a mix of European, African, and Native American ancestry. Legend, folklore, and more modern theories have speculated that the Melungeons descended from Portuguese sailors, ancient Phoenecians, Middle Eastern explorers, or survivors of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. However, the Core Melungeon DNA Project, involving the descendants of documented Melungeons from the early 19th century found no evidence of shipwrecked sailors or lost colonists – or, for that matter, Native Americans. The Melungeons of the early 19th century appear to have been the offspring of African-American men and European-American women. email@example.com
Excerpts from: Associated Press article Friday May 25, 2012 from Pensacola News-Journal, mailed to me by a friend.
“DNA study seeks Melungeons’ origin”
Travis Loller Associated Press A new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishfull thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the off-spring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin. Soon after the results of the Core Melungeon DNA project was released, it appears that some did not grasp the word ORIGIN, from the AP article and the review. The descendants who arrived in Tennessee in 1795-1815 were at least 3 to 4 generations removed from their African foreparent. Those results brought about several diversions and a hate campaign, mostly against the administrators and the review board etc. All of this came as no surprise to me, this was a diversion created to ignore what they all knew!!, those individual results was undisputed science. Several prisoners, some from death row have been set free using this same type of DNA to prove they were not quilty.
This diversion was and is being instigated by some authors of books, magazines, documentaries, blogs and websites. Almost all of these write, or have written that the Melungeons were an exotic group of Indians, Turks, Jews, Portuguese. Who are the Melungeons? You don’t need to buy a book with this title, let the documented Melungeon descendants tell you with their own DNA.
Most researchers have asserted that the Melungeons were tri-racial; that is, a mix of European, African, and Native American ancestry. Legend has speculated that the Melungeons descended from Portuguese explorers, which may have been a cover story to explain their dark skin.
A special thanks to all the participants whose test results proved beyond any reasonable doubt the ORIGIN of the Historical Melungeons. The DNA projects continued after the peer review, mainly because of the Family Finder Test and the Melungeon related group, which includes those who can document they are Melungeon related-http://www.familytreedna.com/public/familiesofinterest/default.aspx
The mystery of the Melungeons origin has been solved.
Anyone who has read our peer review, or been involved with the Core Melungeon Y-DNA project knows we list the surnames and the migration location required for those surnames who are eligible to join our project. We have no idea what their test results will be when they are approved to join our project. This fact is what makes these actuation so ridiculous, one surname that several adversaries have mentioned is Freeman, click on the link to our project http://www.familytreedna.com/public/coremelungeon/ and you can see this name is not included in our surname list. We have some in the project whose birth surname was later changed, but their Y-DNA follows their birth parents. Most of the internet bashing of our review concerns the African Haplogroups, it’s ugly, which this lady writes in her own words, her blog is a witness to why she hates the core Melungeon DNA project, see below.
"OK, it has been two years and all the ugly things that were written about the "People called Melungeons" have been printed, and for the most part buried out there on the internet wherever it is they dump their trash. "
"I might add that I quit this project in total disgust. As early as 2006 when this project was barely into it's first year there was talk of writing a book on the 'African ancestors of the Melungeons." This was first introduced in October of 2006 on a research trip to North Carolina with Penny Ferguson and Jack Goins, later promoted by Jill Lackey"
She was never in our DNA project and as the reader can see her major problem is her views about the African Haplogroups, She is upset with the African because as she has announced several times the following makeup for the Melungeons, with no Africans.
“From my research I hope to be able to show that the Malungeons were in fact Portuguese Adventurers who intermixed with the local Indians in the Carolinas, I believe I can.”
Where is her DNA project and who will she test? There is no Portuguese haplogroup, Portugal like American was settled by people with many different nationalities.
Another issue raised on the internet is why don’t the administrators of the core Melungeon DNA project debate some of the issue I have. This would be an inless useless debate, we presented our DNA findings to a peer review board and those results were approved and published here. http://www.jogg.info/72/files/Estes.htm
Some of the surnames listed in our project and tested were from descendants of the patriarch and others named by Capt. Lewis Jarvis who referred to them as the “friendly Indians” who helped build Fort Blackmore. if we were eliminating the ones we thought were Indians, I’m sure we would not have taking those friendly Indians named by Jarvis who wrote “ John Bolen was near full blooded”, a documented descendant from John Bolen DNA was E1b1a African.
When the Melungeons arrived on Newman Ridge and Blackwater beginning 1800, they had one thing in common, they were sometimes listed mulatto and or free colored on old land, tax and census records.
The first known Melungeons were Vardy Collins and Shepherd “Buck” Gibson, Valentine Collins, Solomon Collins, Benjamin Collins, Zachariah Minor, Joseph Goins, just to name a few. For this example we have 2 with European haplogroups Vardy Collins and Shep Gibson and 4 African haplogroups, Valentine and Benjamin Collins, Zachariah Minor and Joseph Goins.
When I first published tax lists of the Core Melungeons as they migrated from Virginia to NC and to Tennessee. I was told by a publisher who printed those lists. “The mystery of the Melungeons is what sells books and makes movies, that the mystery of the mulattoes will never get of the ground.”
The origin of the Melungeons is not the exotic story that some authors and some descendants prefer, but someday it could become the greatest story ever told. How they hid their identity by claiming some exotic heritage because their life depended on it, they were one slipup away from slavery. My GG Grandfather Zachariah Minor was tried in Hawkins County for illegal voting along with Vardy Collins, Solomon Collins, Levi Collins, Lewis Minor, Ezekial Collins, Andrew Collins, and Wiatt Collins. The free colored charges were from voting in an election held in 1845, they ended by 2 separate Jury trials Jan 1848 found not guilty, but when you think about what these families had to endure for almost 3 years, if found guilty they could have lost their homes. These trials paints a very sad picture in the history of the Melungeons, most of the records from these trials are stored at the Hawkins County Archives and on microfilm Tennessee State Library and Archive. Rogersville attorney John Netherland defended them.