The Melungeons blog

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New volumes of Southern culture encyclopedia provide enlightenment


"This volume covers a scholarly field scarcely mentioned when the first Encyclopedia of Southern Culture made its appearance in 1989, demonstrating the development in short order of a very major field of scholarly inquiry. Some of us may know of Lumbees, Sephardic Jews, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Melungeons, Huguenots or Kickapoos, but it is unlikely that we know much about Chitimachas, Coushattas, Houmas, Igbos, Monacans, Yoruba or the controversial Cajun Coonasses."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

SW Virginia Museum, Big Stone Gap, 29-30 June 2007

"Before 1607? Melungeons in the New World"

"The Melungeon Heritage Association (MHA) and the Southwest Virginia Museum are sponsoring Before 1607? Melungeons in the New World in conjunction with Virginia’s statewide celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown."

Only eight days left, if you are planning on going to the event and in need of lodging, I suggest that you make reservation now, most of the motels are fully booked.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Indian mound in Lee County may reveal secrets of the past

excerpt from newspaper:

Published 06/17/2007 By Walter Littrell

LEE COUNTY - Just a few days of careful, exacting excavation has already uncovered a trove of ancient artifacts from a Mississippian period Indian mound in Western Lee County, and because the isolated site has been relatively undisturbed since it was abandoned, archaeologists working the dig anticipate finding enough to start a small museum.

Ancient Etruscans were immigrants from Anatolia, or what is now Turkey

DNA Herodutus may be right....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Team plans to resurrect excavations at Croatan site

"BUXTON — Seven years after significant 16th-century artifacts were last unearthed from an ancient ridge in Buxton Woods, a newly organized team plans to resume digs at the site of the Croatan chiefdom, a potential archaeological gold mine."

Chasfort Archaeology

A must see site for anyone who is researching the earliest explorers and settlers of pre-colonial America.

Santa Elena home page

Great site for those who are researching Spanish and Portuguese settlements in the mid 19902.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Aztec Dancers From Mexico City

Who has the right to Melungeon Ancestry?

The Melungeon List is said to have a couple of Ridge-ites who are keeping people from posting on the list, according to a post on Friday. Many feel that their Melungeon heritage is being denied to them because of the exclusive ridge theorists.

You can read more about the entire situation at the following links:

I think the ridge theorists are also supporters of Virginia Demarce's Tri-racial isolates theory. Demarce's theory is that the Melungeons are a mixture of White, Indian and Negro.

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Davis: The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia"

Davis: The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia by Susie Davis Nicholson (Bicentennial Edition, 1992) has been reprinted. The cost is $75.00 plus $4.00 postage and handling. (All the $60.00 preprinting orders have been filled.) This book is an extensive genealogy very useful for other family lines as well. Our Cemetery Association has reprinted the 3rd edition (1992) and is selling it, proceeds to go to cemetery maintenance and restoration.

Send check for $79.00 to the Salem & Greenbrier SDB Cemetery Assn, 171 E. Main St., Salem WV 26426. (For more information contact Janet Thorngate, same address; or (304) 782-1727; or

Susie (Davis) Nicholson granted permission to the Salem and Greenbrier Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery Association to reprint the book because it has been is continual demand. Proceeds go to the Cemetery Association, which maintains the two historic cemeteries where most of the original settlers and many of their descendants are buried. This printing is clothbound, 930 pages, 7 x 10 inches, including index.

Synopsis: Out of print for over ten years, this third edition is basically a genealogy of the family of Rev. William Davis (1664-1745), born in Wales, settled in Pennsylvania in 1684, died in Shrewsbury, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Several of his descendants formed the core group that settled the town of Salem, West Virginia (formerly New Salem, Virginia) in 1792. Included are biographies of William Davis (updated 1992) and his children and grandchildren who founded Salem and including considerable information on Seventh Day Baptists, the religious group of which they were a part first in Philadelphia, then Stonington, Conn., then Shrewsbury, New Jersey until the church migrated as a body to form the church and then the town in Salem, West Virginia.

There are genealogical entries for 37,000 of their descendants (down to 1992), 2,017 of them primary entries (i.e., assigned a number as head of a family as opposed to all the listings under those heads.) Included also is information on 35 colonial families of England and New England who were ancestors of the Davis families. Maps, photographs, and manuscript copies are also included as well as the complete name index, all in one volume.

Allied family names include Ash, Babcock, Bee, Bond, Cox, Fitz Randolph, Ford, Hall, Hutson, Maxson, Nicholson, Randolph, Smith, Sutton, Tharp, Williams, and many others.)

Please send me a copy of Davis: The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia (2005 reprint of the 3rd edition, 1992). Enclosed is a check or money order for & $79.00 ($75.00 plus $4.00 postage & handling) or for $75.00 if I plan to pick up the book in Salem.


Amount of Check: _______

Address ________________________________________________________

Please call me to arrange pick-up. _____

Phone: _________________________

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Friends Forever

New York Friends of Melungeons

Looking for Ms. Locklear (Trailer)

A video about the Lumbee Indians.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

'Stalkers' use DNA to fill in family trees

'Stalkers' use DNA to fill in family trees

By Amy Harmon
New York Times News Service

DNA could uncover fate of island colony

Great article!

DNA could identify Lost Colony colonists

"Using genealogy, deeds and historical narratives, researchers have compiled 168 surnames that could be connected to settlers in what is considered the first attempt by the English to colonize the New World. The team will try to trace the roots of individuals related to the colonists, to the area's 16th century American Indians or to both"

Legends of the Allegewi

Legends of the Allegewi
Friday, May 25th, 2007 by Jason Godesky

Giants and Ancient North American Warfare

Great site about the Indian Mounds and the Allegewi and other tribes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Places: In a city-county merger, which name should prevail?

"The name Allegheny incorporates the Lenape word "hanne," for stream or river. In the Lenape language, Allegheny means "stream of the Allegewi." "

Melungeon Heritage Association Update on NY Event

Melungeon Heritage Association Update on NY Event is online. The Melungeons are now getting ready for their bi-annual event. Check MHA site often to look for updates on the gathering.

Why Obama Wouldn't Be the First President with African Ancestry

Say what......which president had African American ancestry?

Theories of Lumbee Origins

Theories of Lumbee Origins

U.S. House Approves Federal Recognition for Lumbee Indians

U.S. House Approves Federal Recognition for Lumbee Indians!

Tuscarora Indians protest Sen. Dole's legislation

Tuscarora Indians protest Sen. Dole's legislation. People claim they are not Lumbees.

Roberta Estes in Rogersville

DNA Presentation by Roberta Estes in Rogersville June 12

Monday, June 11, 2007

Chalres Michael Byrd

Charles Micheal Byrd has a new blog!! Great Blog Charles!!

Aydin and Friends Having Fun in the Park

Melungeons in NY

Melungeons having a great time in New York.

Julie Dixon

Filmmaker Julie Dixon will also debut her documentary Melungeon Voices for two showings at MHA event on June 30 2007.

For more information on the Melungeon Heritage Association's Gathering in Southwest Virginia please check often at: MHA Web Site.

Melungeons in Big Apple

Wayne Winkler Speaking in NY

The Lost Colony and DNA

Fred Willard of the Lost Colony Science and Research center....The center will host the DNA research team at a symposium at 8 a.m. Sept. 7, 8 and 9 at the Farm Life School in Washington, N.C..

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wayne Winkler Speaks About Brent Kennedy's Health

A question was asked on one of the Melungeon lists about Brent Kennedy's condition. So please feel free to pass on this e-mail to any other lists that I can't access because I'm using web mail at the moment.

I spent some time this weekend with Brent at the meeting with the University of Istanbul alumni group in New York (you can read more at ). More on the Turkish connection in a moment.

Brent is still undergoing outpatient therapy at the Patricia Neal Center in Knoxville. His motor function is much improved; he's using his left hand much more than I've seen previously. I guess they make him work on that pretty hard at the Center. He has a motorized wheelchair and a van equipped with a ramp; it's set up so he can lock his chair where the front passenger seat would be. He's gotten out to a few things in our area in the past few weeks, including a reading by Lisa Alther in Abingdon. New York was his first big out-of-town trip, though.

He still has a trach tube and can't speak (did I spell that right? I'm no doctor and Spell Check had no useful options). As I understand it, the stroke damaged his larynx, causing spasms which impede both breathing and swallowing. Brent eats through a feeding tube, and the upside of that, according to his brother Richie, is that Brent's digestive system (always somewhat tricky) has never been in better shape. An operation on the larynx might end the spasms and allow for him to speak and breathe naturally. However, the trade-off would be eating; the operation would mean he has to stay on the feeding tube permanently. So the doctors are waiting to see if natural healing begins to take place. Commonly in cases involving stroke or brain injury, the brain can often re-wire itself to regain various functions. Obviously, self-healing would be much preferred, so they're giving it some time.

Brent communicates with a spelling board, and his family can usually guess quickly what he's saying with just a few letters. I guess they use a lot of acronyms as well. There's a very good chance he'll speak again someday. Eighteen months ago I wouldn't have bet that we'd be together on Second Avenue in New York on a beautiful June evening, but there we were. So I'm sure Brent will be speaking for himself soon, one way or another. Meanwhile, if all goes well, he plans to join us in Big Stone Gap for the MHA gathering on 30 June. This event will also feature the premiere of Julie Dixon's documentary film "Melungeon Voices."

The delegation that attended last weekend's event included some MHA officers, Brent's family, and the members of the Kennedy Brothers Band with whom Brent played before his stroke. Last November, Brent received the "Turkish-American of the Year" award from the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations. Richie Kennedy accepted the award for Brent, who could not travel at the time, and the Kennedy Brothers performed. This resulted in an invitation from the group in New York.

Brent's writings on his theories of some element of Turkish ancestry in at least some Melungeon families speak for themselves. I can't speak for Brent's DNA results because (a) I'm only aware of them in a general way, (b) I'm not particularly informed about DNA - a condition I hope to correct to some degree Tuesday night when Roberta Estes speaks in Rogersville ( ) , and (c), it's not my place to discuss Brent's DNA publicly; he'll do that soon enough himself. I can say that based on the DNA tests he has had done on himself and his family members, he still believes there is a connection within his family to Turkey and/or the Ottoman Empire. I can also say that my own DNA Fingerprint test showed matches from many areas within the Ottoman Empire. There was nothing that said "Turkey" but many that indicated North African Berbers and Arabs as well as sub-Saharan African, and Native American, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Whether these results are indicative of a larger connection to the Melungeon population or simply a connection peculiar to Brent's family and my family is another question. There are many who will read this that are much more knowledgeable about DNA than I am, and I'm not prepared to argue the validity of any particular test or interpretation; I only know what the investigators wrote. I bring this up only because the question of whether Brent had any sort of documentation came up earlier. Brent has documentation relating to his own family that may be indicative of a broader connection with the larger Melungeon population. Professor Turker Ozdogan will speak at Big Stone Gap and will explain these theories further.

For the record, the Melungeon Heritage Association does not endorse any specific ancestry theory; as individuals, some of us agree with Brent, some of us don't, but we all love him as a brother. Our events feature individuals who have information to share about Melungeons and other mixed-ethnic groups, and they frequently do not agree. Kind of like any academic seminar.

In closing, I know that Brent's family appreciates the prayers and good wishes of everyone during the past year-and-a-half. This has been a very trying time for them and they want you to know how much your concern has meant to them. Brent will soon be able to communicate this for himself. In the meantime, as his friend, I also thank you all for your concern.

Wayne Winkler


Melungeon Heritage Association


Brent Kennedy, "Many words - of which only a few appear below - indicate Turkish or Ottoman origins. The Ottoman Empire at that time included Turkey, Egypt, Syria, most of North Africa, and the Balkans - Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia. Many of the words are old Ottoman, as opposed to modern Turkish, adding even more credence to the similarities."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Turkic Dawn

The Turks who began to head to the United States in the 20th century may not have been the first Turkic people to reach noth America. Genetic, artistic and perhaps linguistic similarities have led to the newly respectable belief that some native Americans may descend from Central Asians who migrated over the Bering Strait.
The Moscow newspaper Izvestia, for instance, reported in 1998 that scientists had found a 72% correlation between genes of American Indians and a village in Russia's Central Asian republic of Tuva - and that the Turkic Tuvans looked exactly like American Indians too. Likewise, a University of Arizona study found a strong linkage between 19 Native Amrican groups and 15 from Siberia. The broadest study of Eurasia's genetic heritage yet, published in the U.S in 2001, found evidence to support ancient Turkic legends of being a major source of Eurasian populations.

Melungeons visit Turks in New York


"Özdoğan explained that 20,000 Ottoman sailors were martyred in the 1571 naval war with Venetian sailors and 10,000 others were taken as prisoners. Some of these prisoners were then taken to the American continent by Spanish sailors. Özdoğan noted that DNA studies indicate a similarity between melungeons and Anatolian Turks. She also highlighted the need for more such meetings, adding that they are the best response to anti-Turkish circles. Researcher Richard Kennedy said his brother, Brent Kennedy, began to explore their ancestry after he was infected with an illness that is most common among Mediterranean people."

Where Do We Come From?

Where Do We Come From?

A new generation of DNA genealogists stand ready to unearth our ancestors. We may not like what they find by Kathleen McGowan

Brent Kennedy's 19th-century ancestors stare out from his photo albums with dark eyes, high cheekbones, olive skin, and thick black hair—a genetic riddle waiting to be solved. It comes as no surprise that Elvis Presley, Ava Gardner, and Abraham Lincoln may be among their kin, yet the members of this tribe have never fitted properly into American racial categories. Depending on the census taker or tax man, they were classified as white, "free persons of color," or mulatto, often drifting across the color line as they moved from county to county.

Kennedy calls himself a Melungeon, but no one knows exactly what that means. There are perhaps as many as 200,000 Melungeons in the United States today, all descended from a mysterious colony of olive-skinned people who lived for centuries in the foothills of the Appalachians. Some say the Melungeons can be traced back to Portuguese sailors, shipwrecked in the 16th century, or to colonial-era Turkish silk workers. Others point to Gypsies, to Sir Francis Drake's lost colony of Roanoke, or to the ancient Phoenicians. It's not even clear where the word Melungeon comes from: It might be derived from the French mélange or even a corruption of an Arabic or Turkish term for "cursed souls."

Brent Kennedy Not a Melungeon ?

Don Collins, a possible Melungeon desendant, said that Brent Kennedy is NOT a Melungeon, according to his post on the Melungeon List. Collins made this statement shortly after a post regarding Time Magazine article, Can DNA Reveal Your Roots? by Anita Hamilton.

Brent Kennedy told the Time Magazine reporter that he 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, Kennedy said, that he felt he had unlocked the mystery of his ancestry."

On the Melungeon List, hosted by, Mr. Collins indicated that there is a big difference between his ancestry (Brent Kennedy's) and Melungeon ancestry.

In the past week Brent Kennedy has been verbally attacked after his appearance on June 2, 2007, in New York to attend the University of Istanbul Alumni Association-USA. The theme was “The Place and Importance of Melungeons for Turk-American Relations."

Most of those who make are against Kennedy's ancestry are people who separate themselves from others. They want to be recognized as Historic Melungeons. This group theorizes that the only people who are-were Melungeons are those who lived on Newmans Ridge, Tennessee. The group isn't many in their number.

Among this offshoot Melungeon group are well respected serious Melungeon researchers, Jack Goins, Penny Ferguson and Joanne Pezzello. These three have brought forth many documents from the old crumbling records of Hawkins, Tennessee. They recieved a grant from the governament to aid in preserving and housing the Hawkins County, TN vital records.

Getting back to New York, The Melungeon Panel featured talks by several well-known guests, including Former Consul General in Istanbul H. E. David L. Arnett, The Melungeon Heritage Asscoiation President S. J. Arthur, researcher Richard Kennedy, Turker Ozdogan PhD, producer Julie Dixon. The evening concluded with Melungeons ethnic musical concert by the Kennedy Brothers Emsemble and a short screening of a documentary "The Melungeons."

Can DNA Reveal Your Roots? Tuesday, Jul. 05, 2005 By ANITA HAMILTON,9171,1079508-1,00.html

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Can DNA Reveal Your Roots?

Can DNA Reveal Your Roots?

Tuesday, Jul. 05, 2005 By ANITA HAMILTON

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.">>

University of Istanbul Alumni Association-USA

Monday, June 04, 2007

Melungeons In New York

Melungeons in New York for the Istanbul University Alumi USA