The Melungeons blog

Friday, July 22, 2005

Mexican Archeologists Find Rare Sacrifice - Yahoo! News

"MEXICO CITY - Archeologists digging through an Aztec temple say they've found a rare child sacrifice to the war god, a deity normally honored with the hearts or skulls of adult warriors.


The child found at Mexico City's Templo Mayor ruins was apparently killed sometime around 1450, in a sort of grim cornerstone ceremony intended to dedicate a new layer of building, according to archaeologist Ximena Chavez.

Priests propped the child � apparently already dead, since the sand around him showed no sign of movement � in a sitting position and workers packed earth around his body, which was then covered beneath a flight of stone temple steps."

"Monday, July 11, University of Virginia's College at Wise political science professor Joe Scolnick began his day as any other, bringing himself up to date on global happenings by reading news Web sites from around the world.

To his dismay, one of the first headlines he saw on an English-language Turkish news site contained the words 'Cesme' and 'terrorist attack.'


Sunday, July 10, at 2:30 p.m., a small hand grenade bomb exploded in a trash can near a bank in Cesme, Turkey - a city almost halfway around the world.

Twenty-one people were injured. The parties responsible have not yet been apprehended. "

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

RootsWeb: Melungeon-L Union or Confederate?

RootsWeb: Melungeon-L Union or Confederate?: "From: 'ljcrain'

Subject: Union or Confederate?

Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 19:01:06 -0500

Here is an interesting site. Put in just the surname to see the names of all
the persons with that surname who was Union or Confederate. Or put in the
first name also to hone in on a specific ancestor.

Janet Crain "

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Senator Byrd - Biography

Senator Byrd - Biography: "Robert C. Byrd's story is a classic American saga of hard work, success, and achievement.

Born in 1917 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, Robert Byrd was left a virtual orphan by the death of his mother when he was only one year old. Brought to West Virginia by his aunt and uncle to be reared as their own, the future Senator grew up in various communities in the bituminous coalfields, mastering life's early lessons and graduating as valedictorian of his high school class in the depths of the Great Depression in the 1930's.

Unable at the time to afford college tuition, Byrd sought employment wherever he found an opportunity -- pumping gas at a filling station, working as a produce salesman, and then becoming a meat cutter -- picking up new skills as he advanced.

One of those skills -- welding -- was in demand after World War II started, and he worked during the war years building 'Liberty' and 'Victory' ships in the construction yards of Baltimore, Maryland, and Tampa, Florida.
At war's end, he returned to West Virginia with a new vision of what his home state and his country could be. In 1946, he made his first run for political office, and was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. "

Robert C Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields
Robert C Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields "Welcome to my website. It is still under construction and will always be changing, so visit back often.
Follow the links above, or click on the pictures to explore my site. Click on the 'JG' and it will bring you back to this home page.
My ancestors have been in Appalachia for many years, and in tracing them I have found a lot of interesting and sometimes unusual situations. One of these situations is when a lady at Stony Creek Church described a group of people as �melungin.�"

New Melungeon Research Blog

New Melungeon Research Blog: "Hi Guys!
I have started a Melungeon Research Blog on aol. Am adding articles to it as I have time. Please see:"

About the Project - The Genographic Project

About the Project - The Genographic Project: "The fossil record fixes human origins in Africa, but little is known about the great journey that took Homo sapiens to the far reaches of the Earth. How did we, each of us, end up where we are? Why do we appear in such a wide array of different colors and features?

Such questions are even more amazing in light of genetic evidence that we are all related—descended from a common African ancestor who lived only 60,000 years ago.

Though eons have passed, the full story remains clearly written in our genes—if only we can read it. With your help, we can.

When DNA is passed from one generation to the next, most of it is recombined by the processes that give each of us our individuality.

But some parts of the DNA chain remain largely intact through the generations, altered only occasionally by mutations which become "genetic markers." These markers allow geneticists like Spencer Wells to trace our common evolutionary timeline back through the ages.

"The greatest history book ever written," Wells says, "is the one hidden in our DNA."

Different populations carry distinct markers. Following them through the generations reveals a genetic tree on which today's many diverse branches may be followed ever backward to their common African root.

Our genes allow us to chart the ancient human migrations from Africa across the continents. Through one path, we can see living evidence of an ancient African trek, through India, to populate even isolated Australia.

But to fully complete the picture we must greatly expand the pool of genetic samples available from around the world. Time is short.

In a shrinking world, mixing populations are scrambling genetic signals. The key to this puzzle is acquiring genetic samples from the world's remaining indigenous peoples whose ethnic and genetic identities are isolated.

But such distinct peoples, languages, and cultures are quickly vanishing into a 21st century global melting pot.

That's why the Genographic Project has established ten research laboratories around the globe. Scientists are visiting Earth's remote regions in a comprehensive effort to complete the planet's genetic atlas. "

Friday, July 15, 2005

"The John Brown Legend in Pictures Kissing the Negro Baby," by James C. Malin, Kansas Historical Quarterly, November, 1940

"The John Brown Legend in Pictures Kissing the Negro Baby," by James C. Malin, Kansas Historical Quarterly, November, 1940: "The John Brown Legend in Pictures Kissing the Negro Baby
by James C. Malin

November, 1940 (Vol. 9, No. 4), pages 339 to 341.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.

THREE pictures were published a year ago under this title and as a result attention has been called to others on the same theme, together with additional information pertinent to the series. Robert S. Fletcher has contributed an article, 'Ransom's John Brown Painting,' and a photograph of the picture in its present state, both of which are printed in this issue. Boyd B. Stutler of New York, who has one of the finest John Brown collections in the country, has been most generous in making available the contemporaneous newspaper articles cited below which are not accessible in Kansas libraries. He directed attention to the painting by T. S. Noble, and furnished a reproduction of the woodcut used in John Greenleaf Whittier's National Lyrics (1865). Members of the Kansas State Historical Society will recall his address before the annual meeting of the Society in 1932. [1]

The Ransom painting was first exhibited at Utica, N. Y., in November, 1860. Mr. Stutler has found a contemporaneous notice of the event which contains the following description:

An event expected for some time past among the interested came off yesterday at the city hall. I refer to the private exhibition of Louis Ransom's picture of 'John Brown Going to the Scaffold.'

John Brown occupies the center of the canvas, standing, as the artist informed us, 6 feet 4 inches in height, being 6 inches taller than life. With a truly masterly Skill the banner of" "This year's theme - 'Melungeons: Fact or Fiction?' - explores the facts, fallacies and new theories surrounding Melungeon heritage.

A couple of the presentations will deal with misconceptions that have developed over the years about Melungeons, Winkler says.

Anyone can post information on the Internet, Winkler noted. Web pages and electronic mailing lists are often full of good, solid information. But there can be plenty of misinformation, too. 'It's difficult to tell what's good versus bad information.'

Occasionally, for example, someone asks Winkler what types of diseases he or she might have and should look for to determine Melungeon ancestry. 'The Melungeons I know of are pretty healthy people,' Winkler noted.

While occurrence of disease can be significant, he says some of these factors have been blown out of proportion. 'We hope to clear up some of the mistaken ideas that have been passed around about Melungeons.'

There's no fee to attend the event on July 29-30, although you'll obviously need to secure a hotel room if you plan to stay overnight."

Press Review


US Consul to Turkey David Arnett, who will return to his country after the end of his term of office in August, stated yesterday that his ancestors were born in the region where Melungeons settled in the US and that his grandmother was from a famous family of Melungeons, an ethnic group said to be of Turkish descent. Speaking at the lunch organized in his honor by the Turkish-American Business Council (TAIK) at Istanbul’s Conrad Hotel, Arnett said, “I hope I carry Turkish blood in my veins.” TAIK Chairman Yýlmaz Arguden also spoke at the meeting, saying, “Mr. Arnett has made a very positive mark in Turkish-US relations in the nine years he’s been in Turkey. We know that his heart is here. He feels like a Turk with the friendships he established, and we consider him a Turk. Maybe he will be one of the most important representatives of Turkey in the coming years.” Arguder gave Iznik ceramics to Arnett as a present for his contributions to Turkish-US relations. /Milliyet/

Sunday, July 10, 2005



The blueprint of life is DNA. Its famous double helix is a long, long chain built by linking together four simple molecules. The order in which those molecules are linked determines the information contained in the DNA. It is the SEQUENCE of those molecules that molecular biologists are now busily decoding. All of the DNA in an organism is referred to as the organism's GENOME.

GENES are DNA chains made up of hundreds or thousands of simple molecules. Each gene contains instructions to make another type of crucial molecule, a PROTEIN. Proteins include everything from hormones such as insulin--which regulates blood-sugar levels--to enzymes that help digest the food we eat. Some proteins turn other genes on and off, which then affect still other genes, creating complicated feedback loops.
Individual proteins are but tiny cogs in incredibly complex biological systems. Consider the immune system, in which thousands of genes and proteins work together to field an army of cells and antibodies (another type of protein) against intruders. The DNA in each of the body's cells contains all the genetic information to produce a person. But in any given cell, only some of the genes are switched on; the rest are dormant. That's what makes a liver cell, say, different from a skin cell--different sets of genes are turned on in each."

The Environment Site Blog

The Environment Site Blog: "DNA for dummies
Written on 2004-12-18 02:58:52
No insult intended, its just a play on the popular 'for dummies' book series.

First, the answer to the riddle:

The symbols represent the genome of genetically-engineered corn (bt corn). The corn genome is estimated to contain 50,000 genes (represented by the dots). Genetically-engineered corn (bt corn) has 1 extra gene engineered in (represented by the @).

You might be asking yourself: 'So what does it mean and why should I care?'

If you cannot define a gene, you shouldn't be advocating an opinion on genetic engineering. So I'll tell you all you wanted to know about genes and DNA but were to afraid to ask. After our little primer, you can then resume being opinionated. :)

We'll start with DNA. Every cell in every lifeform contains DNA. When a cell reproduces itself, it copies its DNA first and passes it on to the new cell. DNA consists of a long strands that are made of 4 different molecules, represented as A, C, G and T. The order in which these molecules are arranged is the method of information storage. For example, such a sequence could be 'ATG CAC GTT CCC TAG AAC'. The sequence for the human genome is an ordered assortment that is about 3 billion letters (nucleotides) long.

DNA is not directly responsible for making life work. It�s generally just information storage. The information storage is organized into long stretches of DNA called a 'gene'. A typical gene might consist of a DNA sequence of 1000 letters. One gene can be decoded to make one protein. Proteins are the complex molecules that perform all the functions of life. Your hair is protein. Your teeth and bones have protein scaffoldings. Proteins grabbing and moving against each other generate muscle movemen"

DNA for Dummies? � Bio-IT World

DNA for Dummies? � Bio-IT World: "DNA for Dummies?

The journal Nature Genetics has just published a user's guide to the human genome � and none too soon. Kevin Davies reports.

Eighteen months after the simultaneous publication of public and private accounts of the human genome sequence, the journal Nature Genetics has decided to publish a supplement that, hopefully, will allow even nonspecialists access to this priceless trove of information. The introduction to A User's Guide to the Human Genome, by Harold Varmus, begins thus:
'Over the past twenty five-years, a mere sliver of recorded time, the world of biology � and indeed the world in general � has been transformed by the technical tools of a field now known as genomics ... The amount of factual knowledge has expanded so precipitously that all modern biologists using genomic methods have become dependent on computer science to store, organize, search, manipulate and retrieve the new information.' "

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Global Gene Project to Trace Humanity's Migrations

Global Gene Project to Trace Humanity's Migrations: "Tracking Genetic Markers

Each human parent contributes half of a child's DNA, which combines with the other parent's DNA to form a new genetic combination. This so-called recombination gives each of us a unique set of attributes: hair, eye, and skin color; athleticism or lack thereof; susceptibility to certain diseases; and so on.

However, the chunk of DNA known as the y chromosome, which only males possess, is passed from father to son without recombining. The y chromosome, therefore, remains basically unchanged through generations, except for random mutations. Similarly, women pass mitochondrial DNA, which also does not recombine, on to both their sons and daughters.

Random mutations to DNA, which happen naturally and are usually harmless, are called markers. Once a marker has been identified, geneticists can go back in time and trace it to the point at which it first occurred. This way, they are able to determine when and where a new lineage began. "

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - CRYPTO-JEWS:

"CRYPTO-JEWS: (print this article)

By : Richard Gottheil Joseph Jacobs

Jews professing another religion but practising Jewish rites in secret in their own homes. There was some tendency toward this even in early days, as is shown by the attempts of certain Jews to avoid being taken for such (see Josephus, 'Ant.' xii. 5, � 1; compare I Macc. i. 15); but the first wide-spread adoption of the practise appears to have been after the Almohade persecutions in Spain in 1146. The father of Maimonides is said to have nominally embraced Islamism at this time, and he was doubtless followed by others. Later, in Spain, after the persecutions of 1391, a whole body of Spanish Jews formally adopted Christianity, but observed Jewish rites in their homes. These were known as Maranos or, in theBalearic Islands, Chuetas. Officially they were known as 'New Christians,' and there was considerable legislation directed against them in both Spain and Portugal and in their colonies, the chief activity of the Inquisition being directed against them. It is stated that Maranos are to be found even at the present day, especially at Covilh�o in Portugal.

It also appears that there are, or have been, several classes of Crypto-Jews in Moslem lands; thus the ancestors of the Daggatuns probably kept up their Jewish practises a long time after their nominal adoption of Mohammedanism. This was also done by the Maimins of Salonica (Gr�tz, in 'Monatsschrift,' Feb., 1884), and near Khorassan there still remain a number of Jews known as the 'Jedid al-Islam,' who were converted to Mohammedanism half a century ago ('Il Vessillo Israelitico,' April, 1884).G.J."


"Portugal and Madeira

On August 19 1994, Haim Shapiro described in the 'Jerusalem Post', an ancient and secret Yom Kippur ritual still practised by Marrano families in northern Portugal. Women gather together and braid oil wicks while reciting 73 blessings, possibly corresponding to the number of names of G-d. This practise is quoted in the Shulhan Aruch. In addition to Belmonte and Oporto celebrations were held in Guarda for 600 crypto-Jewish families who live in the Portuguese towns of Fundao, Pinhei, Meda, Traconso, Idanha, Panamacor and Vilarinho dos Galigos, as well as in the Spanish provence of Galicia.

Even though the crypto-Jews of Belmonte have come out of hiding, other communities such as Tomar, still maintain secret Jewish lives and rituals; both personally and communally.

Ayre Hazary has published a lengthy survey of the crypto-Jewish community of the Portuguese island of Madeira, located in the Atlantic Oceon off the northwest coast of Africa, where his maternal great-grandparents came from. He conveyed reports of secluded candlelighting by at least three crypto-Jewish families there. They circumcise their new-born sons on the eighth day, observe the Sabbath, buy kasher meat from the Jewish community in Lisbon, and fast on Yom Kippur and the Fast of Esther. Though they wear gold crosses round their necks, they are practicing Jews.The names of Hazary's maternal grandmother and great-grandmother were Gomes and Correira, names found in documents in Madeira today. Tito Benady, af historian from Gibraltar Jewry, noted that when some 200 Jews from Gibraltar were evacuated as non=combatants to Funchal, Madeira, at the start of WW2, they found a Jewish cemetery that belonged to the Abudarham family. The same family after whom the synagogue in Gibraltar was named."

Bloom Southwest Jewish Archives -- Welcome

"The United States Southwest, encompassing West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California, reflects the heritage of diverse groups of peoples. From native-born inhabitants to those who chose to settle in this region, each group has contributed to Southwestern culture and society.

United States Southwestern history has traditionally focused on the contributions of Native Americans, and people whose ancestral roots are in Mexico and Europe. Until recently, little has been written documenting the pioneer Jewish experience. Visitors to this website learn that Jewish pioneers not only built Jewish communities, but that they also made significant contributions to the development of the U. S. Southwest.

The Bloom Southwest Jewish Archives website presents several educational exhibits. Pioneers shares the pioneer Jewish experience in West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona through images from photos held in regional archives and museums, electronic texts of books, articles and newspaper accounts, and biographical information of selected pioneers. The Synagogues of the Southwest section reinforces that pioneer Jews placed a priority on maintaining their beliefs, values, and traditions amid the hazards of the nation's frontier. Crypto-Jews focuses on the Crypto-Jewish experience in the U. S. Southwest and is one of the most highly visited sections of the website. The Oral Histories secton features interviews with Tucson's New American community. Its members were invited to participate in recording information about their lives and experiences in the former Soviet Union and now in Tucson. By including their stories, we find similarities between the pioneers of the 19th century and those of the late 20th. The Oral Histories section also includes the story of a 20th (and now 21st) century family whose family odyssey is traced "

Black American Jews

Black American Jews: "Biographies of
Black American Jews"

Creating American Jews

Creating American Jews: "An exploration of the evolution of Jewish identity in America."

Re: Copyright Law

Re: Copyright Law: "
Just for the record this thread wasn't about grandma's stories or ethics. It was about whether we owned our post that are posted here, no matter the subject.

If we do not own what we write here under copyright than someone could come along and start a blog page or write a book on 'Stupid Things People Write About Melungeons' and use our post. That was the question.


Copyright Fundamentals for Genealogy

"Copyright Fundamentals for Genealogy

by Mike Goad

This article is available for free distribution and reprint as a public service from the author. Please read conditions at the end of the article.

Since genealogical research inevitably involves copying of information, questions involving copyright often crop up. When an answer is given, it may be less than satisfactory. Sometimes the answer is wrong, sometimes there is little or no explanation, and sometimes the answer isn't an answer, but a policy statement. In other instances, the answer is right, but it isn't what the questioner wanted to hear.

While copyright can be very complex and confusing, the parts of copyright law that usually apply to genealogy are really pretty basic. There are a few fundamentals that can help deal with just about any genealogy copyright situation.

Copyright means copy right

Literally, the term copyright means the right to make copies of some product. By law, the right belongs to its creator. In copyright law, the product that's copyrighted is referred to as a 'work' and the creator of the work is its author. From that, we can say:" Can DNA Reveal Your Roots? -- Jul. 11, 2005

"Growing up in Appalachia in the 1950s, Brent Kennedy always believed that he was of English and Scotch-Irish descent, just like everyone he knew in his hometown of Wise, Va. But when he saw the film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, he noticed that his family looked more like the Arabs in the movie than the British. Kennedy had inherited his father's light blue eyes, but he had his mother's black hair and in the summer would get a deep tan. He had heard a story about his great-grandfather being barred from voting in the early 1900s because his skin was too dark. 'I thought, What's wrong with us? Why do we look funny?' When he asked his mother, 'I was told to shut up. I really didn't know who I was,' he says.

Last December he finally got some answers. After taking a $199 DNA test offered by DNAPrint Genomics in Sarasota, Fla., Kennedy was told he was 45% Northern and Western European, 25% Middle Eastern, 25% Turkish-Greek and 5% South Asian. 'I felt freed,' he says. 'Suddenly there was an explanation for a lot of the shame and embarrassment in the family.' As an adult, Kennedy had learned that his mother's family belonged to a mixed-race group called Melungeons who lived in the Appalachians. While their exact ethnic origins are unclear, Melungeons were united by their dark complexion and the discrimination they faced from lighter-skinned neighbors. Kennedy became so interested in his heritage that he wrote a 1994 book called The Melungeons. But it wasn't until he took the DNA test, he says, that he felt he had unlocked the mystery of his ancestry.
More than 100,000 Americans, including such celebrities as Oprah and Spike Lee, have sought to do the same by taking genealogical DNA tests now offered by commercial labs."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Jews in Early Indiana

"Early Jews in Indiana and the Midwest

Always a trickle, never a flood, Jews have long been a presence in Indiana and the Old Northwest. Jewish migration into ante-bellum Indiana was characterized by two distinct phases and two different types of immigrants.

The initial 'wave' began as early as the 1760s when Jewish traders, businessmen, and land dealers inched their way along the barely-touched forests and unbridged waterways, helping pioneer early trade routes from the east into the Midwest. Well-known eastern seaboard Jews, like the Gratz family, formed land companies to market western lands or established trading businesses throughout the Midwest.6
The first Midwestern Jews were mainly American-born or 'English,' descendants of the Sephardim who made their way to the English colonies (in 1825 all but 3 of the known immigrant Jews in the Old Northwest were of 'English' origin)7 . They headed west for the same personal and economic reasons as any other immigrants. It was this scattered group that formed the core of Jewish 'settlement,' which was often highly mobile and seemingly disinclined to set out deep roots in any single place.

This pioneer group was almost exclusively male. Long accustomed to being a distinct minority, few seemed to carry their faith on their sleeves. Many rather rapidly assimilated into the dominant 'American' society, giving up many or all aspects of Jewish culture.8 This was partially the result of the paucity of other Jews in the area, but was also in keeping with the assimilationist tendencies of many of their forebearers. A great many married outside their faith, again a result of there simply being few, if any, Jewish women nearby."


"Early Jewish history is the story of the development of a nation and religion. From the time of Abraham to the destruction of the First Temple this history includes the lives of the early Israelites, the enslavement in Egypt, the formation of a nation with the conquest of the land of Israel, and the exile into Babylon.

c. 3000 Early Civilization

Early settlements in the areas of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. Evidence of village life includes domestication of animals, agriculture, and crafts. Cuneiform, an early form of writing, is developed by the Sumerians.
c. 2500Great Pyramids and Sphinx

Great pyramids at El Giza, Egypt, built by the pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty (c. 2575-2465 BCE) as personal mortuary temples.
c. 2000 - 1700The Patriarchs

According to the Bible, Abraham is born in the city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia and brings his family to Canaan. Abraham's son Isaac remains in Canaan his entire life. During a famine, Issac's son Jacob moves to Egypt with his entire family and their posessions.
c. 1280 Exodus from Egypt

According to the Bible, Moses leads the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. An essential story for the Jewish people, the Exodus is commemorated through the festival of Passover. Shortly after the Exodus, the nation receives the Torah at Sinai. "

Shma (Jewish Population Trends in Israel and the Diaspora)

"Jewish Population Trends in Israel and the Diaspora

By Sergio DellaPergola

After the loss of six million during the Shoah, the world Jewish population was estimated at eleven million in 1945. It took about 13 years to add one million Jews to the post-Shoah total, but the next 45 years were not enough to add a second million: world Jewry was estimated at 12,948,000 in 2003. Zero population growth reflects mostly negative balances between Jewish births and Jewish deaths, and between accessions to and secessions from Judaism. Low 'effectively Jewish' birthrates also reflect widespread out-marriages and low propensities to identify the majority of the respective children as Jews.

In Israel, Jews have constituted a solid majority of the total population since 1948, while Jews in other countries constituted small minorities in their respective environments. Israel's Jewish population steadily increased from approximately half a million in 1945 and one million in 1950 to over 5.1 million in 2003. Diaspora Jewry was stable from 10.5 million in 1945 to 10.2 million in 1960, notwithstanding mass aliyah following Israel's independence. The Diaspora population, however, rapidly diminished to 7.8 million in 2003. Over the 1945,2003 period, Israel's total growth of over 4.6 million was due half to the balance of immigrants and emigrants, and half to the balance of births and deaths.

International migration reshaped the geographical map of world Jewry and fundamentally changed the environments in which Jewish life developed. Since 1945 over five million Jews and their non-Jewish family members have moved between countries and continents. Jewish migration's wavelike pattern has reflected predominant crisis or push-dominated determinants. Two major migration waves occurred in the wake of Israel's independence, between May 1948 and 1951, and since " - Jewish Migration to the United States

"Colonial Period (1654-1838)

The first Jews to come to North America arrived in 1654 at the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (renamed New York in 1664). Most were refugees from the Dutch colony of Recife, Brazil, which was conquered by the Portuguese that year. The Jews, fearing persecution from the Portuguese Inquisition, left with plans to go to Holland, the home of many Sephardic Jews who had fled the Spanish Inquisition 150 years earlier. However, they ran out of money and were forced to land at the Dutch colony.

Because Jews in the New World were allowed to practice their religion in a relatively nondiscriminatory environment, record books of American synagogues exist back to colonial times. Besides New York, early Jewish settlements were founded in Savannah, Georgia (1733), Philadelphia (1745), Charleston, South Carolina (1749), Newport, Rhode Island (1763), and Richmond, Virginia (1789).
There are records for this period at the American Jewish Historical Society (10 Thornton Dr., Waltham MA 02154) and the American Jewish Archives (3101 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220), as well as at the synagogue archives themselves.

The definitive genealogical work, now in its third revision, is Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern, FASG, First American Jewish Families (Baltimore: Ottenheimer Publishers, 1991). It contains the genealogies (descendants) of every Jewish person known to the author who arrived in the United States before 1838. Some 50,000 persons are identified in it. "

Monday, July 04, 2005

DNA Clears the Fog Over Latino Links to Judaism in New Mexico

"Tests confirm what tradition and whispers have alluded to -- a Sephardic community often unbeknownst to many of its members.

ALBUQUERQUE � As a boy, Father William Sanchez sensed he was different. His Catholic family spun tops on Christmas, shunned pork and whispered of a past in medieval Spain. If anyone knew the secret, they weren't telling, and Sanchez stopped asking.

Then three years ago, after watching a program on genealogy, Sanchez sent for a DNA kit that could help track a person's background through genetic footprinting. He soon got a call from Bennett Greenspan, owner of the Houston-based testing company.

'He said, 'Did you know you were Jewish?' ' Sanchez, 53, recalled. 'He told me I was a Cohanim, a member of the priestly class descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses.'

He launched a DNA project to test his relatives, along with some of the parishioners at Albuquerque's St. Edwin's Church, where he works.
As word got out, others in the community began contacting him. So Sanchez expanded the effort to include Latinos throughout the state.
Of the 78 people tested, 30 are positive for the marker of the Cohanim, whose genetic line remains strong because they rarely married non-Jews throughout a history spanning up to 4,000 years.

Michael Hammer, a research professor at the University of Arizona and an expert on Jewish genetics, said that fewer than 1% of non-Jews possessed this marker. That fact � along with the traditions in many of these families � makes it likely that they are Jewish, he said."

DNA and the Book of Mormon

"Modern Jewish vs. Ancient Israelite DNA

Thomas Murphy and some other critics suggest that the plausibility of claims of Israelite ancestry by non-Jewish groups can be assessed by measuring their DNA affinity with modern Jewish groups. To test any scientific hypothesis, we must first evaluate whether our 'controls' are valid. If we are to use modern Jewish genetics as the 'control' against which Native American DNA is to be evaluated for possible ancient Israelite origins, we must first determine whether modern Jewish DNA data adequately represents ancient Israelite DNA. If the collective DNA of modern Jewish groups does not reflect all or at least a large majority of the DNA sequences and haplotypes present in ancient Israel, modern Jewish DNA data cannot be considered a valid control against which claims of Israelite ancestry of other groups can be accurately evaluated.

History and genetic evidence suggest that modern Jewish DNA is neither an inclusive nor exclusive indicator of the genetics of ancient Israel. Throughout history, the Jewish population was reconstituted from only a fraction of its former people on at least several occasions. Only a fraction of the Jews returned from Babylon; only a portion of the Palestine Jews survived the Roman counterattacks following the Jewish uprising which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD; many others perished in European pogroms. Dr. Robert Pollack notes that Ashkenazi Jews, which constitute most of the present Jewish population, 'descend from a rather small number of families who survived the pogroms of the mid-1600s.'3 All of these occasions would have resulted in the loss of some 'Israelite' genes from the Jewish gene pool. Dr. Robert Pollack further notes: 'Though there are many deleterious versions of genes shared within the Ashkenazic community, there are no DNA sequences co"

In DNA, New Clues to Jewish Roots

"Dr. Schiffman said that as president of the Association for Jewish Studies he would consider convening a discussion between the geneticists and the historians on interpreting the new data. He noted that the study of racial differences had led to disaster in the past but that the new analysis of genetic differences was 'a form of racial science for the good, rather than the bad.'

'Racial science,' Dr. Schiffman said, 'has brought so many terrible things. But it's a norm now in genetics to study the racial genetics of groups. So I think it's an amazing difference.'

Geneticists use the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA to track the movement of populations because each is passed unchanged from parent to child, escaping the genetic shuffle that occurs on the rest of genome between generations. Since the Y chromosome passes down only from father to son, and mitochondrial DNA is always inherited from the mother alone, the two elements serve to track the genetic history of men and women respectively.

But since the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA clock up occasional changes or mutations every thousand years or so, on much the same time scale as human population splits, different ethnic groups tend to have characteristic patterns of mutations.
The Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA's in today's Jewish communities reflect the ancestry of their male and female founders but say little about the rest of the genome, which is by now a presumably well mixed set of genes contributed by all the founders of each community.
Noting that the Y chromosome points to a Middle Eastern origin of Jewish communities and the mitochondrial DNA to a possibly local origin, Dr. Goldstein said that the composition of ordinary chromosomes, which carry most of the genes, was impossible to assess.
'My gue"

National Mall Liberty Fund D.C. Asks Congress to Keep Revolutionary War Freedom-Seekers Memorial Alive Beyond October 27 Deadline - Yahoo! News

"A project facilitator, Maurice A. Barboza, said that Liberty Fund D.C.'s meetings on Capitol Hill suggest members of Congress still believe in the memorial's significance but not in the past foundation's capacity to build it. 'The new design and Web site ( ) offer Americans the inspiration and information they need to fight for the black patriots and show that their cause is still viable.'
The legislation to transfer the right to build the memorial to Liberty Fund D.C. will be introduced in July. Bill numbers and sponsors will be announced at the Web site.

Nearly two decades ago, in 1988, lawmakers approved the site at Constitution Gardens between the Lincoln memorial and the Washington Monument. They were able to set aside this hallowed ground only because the memorial qualified as being of 'preeminent historical and lasting significance to the nation.'

They heard nearly 30 witnesses from organizations and individuals, from the Prince Hall Masons, American Jewish Congress, Daughters of the American Revolution, and National Education, Association to the National Council for Black Child and Family Development. Then Howard University Professor, Dr. Portia Sheilds, representing the NCBCFD on June 13, 1985, said, 'Perhaps now, as experts grapple for ways to relieve this debilitating stress which affects all families, but blacks most, is an opportune time to introduce black family role models -- men, women and children -- who participated in The Revolution.'"