Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pat Spurlock's Book Revised and Back in Print

Melungeons: Examining An Appalachian Legend
By Pat Spurlock

The third edition of this much sought after book by the highly respected Melungeon researcher Pat Spurlock is now in print and readily available from Amazon for $24.95.  At a time when misinformation about Melungeons is more rife than ever, the return of this book to print and in an revised and expanded edition, no less, is most welcome.

To quote Amazon:

"Third revised edition. 380 pp. Index, bibliography, appendices, update sections concerning recent DNA testing. The author draws on her more than thirty-year study of these legendary mountaineers. She brings her recognized skills as a professional genealogist, as well as formal training in criminal investigation and legal research, to the hunt for Melungeon origins. The result is a fascinating and highly readable book which is also a scholarly examination of the Melungeon mystery. The author debunks many widely held but unsubstantiated beliefs about Melungeons. She dismisses trendy specualtion about Old World Melungeon origins, preferring to deal with facts rather than fantasy and comes to her own carefully considered conclusion. Along the way, this work guides the reader out of a labyrinth of false leads created in earlier Melungeon works. This study is a treasure trove of genealogical information and fully indexed with an extensive bibliography. It is a must for those researching Melungeons and their related family lines. The updates in this edition discuss DNA testing and what to expect when used in Melungeon studies. It is an invaluable resource for the professional and family genealogist, historian, ethnologist, and folklorist."

For more information and to purchase:  Click Here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A DNA Blockbuster

I know a thing or two about DNA and I have never been comfortable with the way non-coding DNA has been commonly referred to as "junk" DNA.  As the saying goes, "God don't make no junk" and I always felt sure it had a purpose.   And I know countless others have felt likewise.  Turns out we're right.

Today, in a genetic blockbuster, 30 connected papers were simultaneously published in the journals Nature, Genome Biology and Genome Research.  The bottom line is:  The so-called junk DNA contains some four million interrelated genetic switches controlling the expression of the genes in the coding DNA.

To read about it:  Click Here.

This is the most dramatic breakthrough in DNA research since the cracking of the genetic code 50 years ago.  These stunning results represent the work of 440 scientists from 32 labs around the world.

While I am on the subject of DNA, I might as well add the answer to a question I receive from time to time:  There is no DNA test for Melungeon ancestry, and there never will be as there is no uniquely Melungeon DNA signature.  Even if one had the same ancestral mix as the historical Melungeons, assuming that can ever be determined with precision, it would prove nothing as the same mix could come about in any number of ways without Melungeon ancestry being involved.  The only way to prove Melungeon ancestry through DNA testing is to use it to prove descent from a historically known and documented Melungeon.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

A blue moon will grace the night sky Friday night, giving skywatchers their last chance to observe this celestial phenomenon for nearly three years. 

The moon will wax to its full phase at 9:58 a.m. EDT Friday, bringing August's full moon count to two (the first one occurred Aug. 1). Two full moons won't rise in a single month again until July 2015.

But don't expect tonight's full moon to actually appear blue, unless you're peering through a thick haze of volcanic ash or forest fire smoke. "Blue moon" is not a reference to the satellite's observed color.

The term has long been used to describe rare or absurd happenings. And farmers once employed it to denote the third full moon in a season — spring, summer, autumn or winter — that has four full moons instead of the usual three.

For more:  Click Here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Star Gaze Southern Appalachian National Parks In September

You’ll get startlingly close to galaxies, nebulae, planets and more at three great September star-gazing events at the loftiest viewing locations in Eastern America, thanks to Southern Appalachian National Parks.

Between events at Purchase Knob in the Smokies, near Craggy Dome on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and atop Mount Mitchell State Park (reached via the Parkway), there are awesome early autumn opportunities to see, and learn, about the skyscape above the East’s highest mountains.

To continue reading:  Click Here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Discovery of Lost Silent Film With All-Indian Cast

Indian Country Today

Discovery of Long-Lost Silent Film With All-Indian Cast Has Historians Reeling

How a silent film featuring an all-Native cast came to be made, lost (seemingly forever), discovered nearly a century later (in shambles), then restored and shown to the cast’s descendants is one of the most fascinating stories in the annals of American filmmaking.  The Daughter of Dawn, which had its world premiere in June at the deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City, may be the only all-Native cast silent film ever made.

To read more:  Click Here.

Nothing directly to do with Melungeons, of course, but with Melungeon Indian ancestry now being blithely dismissed, the day may come when it must be rediscovered after being seemingly lost forever.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Pee Dee River Melungeons

By Joanne Pezzullo

The Pee Dee families; Bolton, Perkins, Shoemake, etc., are listed on the Core Melungeon DNA project page yet there seems to be mixed signals regarding the "Pee Dee Melungeons" or the "CORE Melungeons" coming from Estes, Crain, Goins and Ferguson in the latest paper published in JoGG. They write in this paper;
"One possible documented source of Portuguese ancestry may be from Juan Pardo’s men who were abandoned at various forts in present day North Carolina, one perhaps as far north and west as Morgantown, North Carolina. [206] Some of Pardo's men may have been Portuguese. These men, if they survived, would have had to have assimilated into the Native population and have taken Native wives, as there were no European women available in 1566. However, the core Melungeon family group is not originally found in western North Carolina, but in eastern Virginia."
It certainly would appear to me they have written the Pee Dee Melungeons out of the Core group as there is no evidence the Bolton, Perkins, Shoemakes etc., had any ties to the Virginia families, they were a separate group found on the Pee Dee River as early as 1725, a stone's throw from the town Ylasi/Ilapi that both deSoto and Pardo had visited, and very possibly descended from Pardos [or deSotos] men.

To continue reading:  Click Here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Virginia Health Bulletin, November 1925

Vol. XVII, Extra No. 12

Shall America Remain White? *
By W. A. Plecker, M. D.

From the Booklet:
Issued by
Bureau of Vital Statistics
State Board of Health
Richmond, VA

* Read before Section on Public Health, Southern Medical Association,
Eighteenth Annual Meeting,
New Orleans, La., Nov. 24-17, 1924.

The negro as a laborer is valuable, and if it were possible to preserve the race in purity with him in our midst, he would be a great asset.  Because this cannot be done, and because the mixed breeds are a menace and not an asset,we have them as the greatest problem and most destructive force which confronts the white race and American civilization.

 Both remote and recent history of many nations shows that in none of them have white and colored races lived together without ultimate amalgamation, and without the final deterioration or complete destruction of the white or higher civilization.

 We behold with awe the evidences which we now find in Egypt of the wonderful civilization of the past, when that country was white. The Pharaohs extended their conquest south and brought back as captives large numbers of negro men and women. Intermixture of the races began and progressed to such a point that one of the Pharaohs took as wife a negro woman whose son succeeded to the throne. This was about the time when Jeremiah the Prophet warned Israel to break with Egypt and affiliate with Babylon.  His warning was disregarded, Egypt was as a broken staff upon which to lean. The fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity resulted.

 Egypt, then a mongrel nation, soon went down before Assyria and is today a feeble and helpless nation of brown-skinned people devoid of initiative and dependent upon white leadership and protection.

 Four thousand years ago, India was ruled by Aryan conquerors, who instituted an elaborate caste system to prevent intermixture of the races. This system failed and the few survivors who might be called white are now looked upon as curiosities.

 South America and Mexico were subdued by Spanish and Portuguese adventurers, who began at once to raise up a mixed breed.

 Indians would not make docile slaves, and negroes in large numbers were brought in.
Much of South America and Mexico is today inhabited by a mongrel race of white-black-red mixture, one of the most undesirable racial intermixtures known, as I can testify from my own observation of similar groups in Virginia.

 Professor A. E. Jenks, of the University of Minnesota, and his assistant,made a house-to-house study of families the result of mixed marriages, the marriage records not even showing the color of the man and woman. These people have in Minneapolis an organization known as the Manassas Society, membership in which is dependent upon the intermarriage of a negro man and white woman. Already 200 such families are included in this society, with probable omissions.

 Similar conditions exist in many parts of the North and West. That condition alone, if unchecked, will in a few centuries legally mongrelize that portion of our country.

If we turn our eyes southward, we find a different but even more serious situation. None of our Southern States permits the intermarriage of whites and pure blacks, but all except Virginia and perhaps two others allow the intermarriage of whites with those of one-sixteenth or one-eighth negro blood.

 This serious situation calls for the speedy enactment of laws based upon that of Virginia, which defines a white person as one with no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian and forbids the intermarriage of whites with those with the slightest trace of negro blood.

 Clerks who issue marriage licenses are required to assure themselves that both parties are white, according to the new definition, when that fact is claimed and are instructed to withhold the license, when in doubt, until satisfactory proof is submitted to them.

 The enforcement of the law naturally falls upon the Bureau of Vital Statistics, to which are reported the births, deaths, marriages and divorces of the State, all of which require a statement as to color.  Our office has accepted this task and has undertaken seriously, as far as possible, to secure from all sources the truth as to this point.

 Circular letters have been sent to all clerks physicians, local registrars, undertakers and midwives, with copies of the law, urging them to use all possible care to furnish us with correct statements.
School authorities have been reached through their journal, and the public is being instructed by newspaper articles and lectures.

 Much interest has been aroused and many cases of mixture are being called to our attention.
When this condition is found on the birth certificate if the mother has other children, we refer back to previous births to the same parents and make the certificates agree. We have thus caught a number of families in the act of passing over from the colored to the white class, some of their children being already recorded as white and some as colored.

 Our custom is to notify the head of the family that this situation cannot be allowed and that if one of his children is colored, they are all colored.

 The case is different, however, when the process of intermixture has so far advanced that communities of mixed breeds have been formed, particularly if they have or claim to have some intermixture of Indian blood.

Discussion (by other doctors)
From the booklet:
Issued by
Bureau of Vital Statistics
State Board of Health
Richmond, VA

 Dr. A. T. McCormack, Louisville, Ky. - I had the opportunity of going to Panama, where every race had contributed something, and the negroid influence was predominant, and where degeneration of all races had been more rapidly brought about by that element. I think it of extreme importance to white civilization to prevent the contamination.

Dr. W. A. Evans, Chicago, Ill. --Dr. Plecker calls attention to the fact that, independent of the strength or weakness of the strain, when strains are crossed there is begotten a something which fails to have the characteristics of either parent stock. That is well recognized in animal breeding.
The health officer, whether working in epidemiology or not, who does not recognize racial hygiene and racial peculiarities, the advantages and disadvantages of mixing these stocks, is failing in the responsibility that rests upon his shoulders.

Dr.Geo. Dempsey, New Orleans, La. - No mixture of Japanese, Chinese, negro, etc., has ever attained the high pinnacle for which the white race is known.

Dr Carl F. Raver, Charleston, W. Va. -- During slave days it no doubt was advantageous, from a commercial standpoint, to produce as many offspring of negro parentage as possible and many slave owners must have encouraged the mixing of the races.

 This produced the mulatto. Now it is this mulatto, or his offspring, thatis causing all the trouble. They do not wish to be classed as negroes and, if light enough in color, try to pass as white and marry into white families. Every possible means should be used to prevent this. The strongest weapon is public opinion. Public opinion allowed the mulatto to become started as an institution. It condoned the situation.

Note:  It is a peculiarity of American racism that as much or even more hatred is directed to those of mixed race as to those who are "pure" black.  Or "pure" American Indian for that matter, Hollywood westerns once regularly featuring the perfidious halfbreed, rightly shunned by whites and Indians alike.  Yet in reality millions upon millions of Americans have mixed white, black and/or Indian ancestry to one degree or another.