Monday, February 28, 2011

The Journeys of James Needham and Gabriel Arthur in 1673 and 1674

Though the Piedmont and Mountains of North Carolina
To Establish Trade with the Cherokee

Contained in a Letter from Abraham Wood
To John Richards, August 22, 1674

To read: Click Here.

Note: You can read both the original letter and a edited version with clearer formatting and modern spelling.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Question: What is Genealogy?

Answer: Social Networking for the Dead

This was said by a speaker at a recent genealogical conference in the UK related to the "Who Do You Think You Are?" television program; however, this quote actually goes back several years and I do not know who said it first.

For more on the conference: Click Here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


The Southern California Genealogical Society is proud to announce a new program, the Jamboree Extension Series,that provides family history and genealogy educational webinar (web-based seminar) sessions for genealogists around the world. The program will offer Jamboree-style seminars for up to 1000 attendees per session, at no charge. The Jamboree Extension Series is offered as a service to the genealogical community as part of the Society's mission "to foster interest in family history and genealogy, preserve genealogical materials, and provide instruction in accepted and effective research techniques."

Jamboree Extension Series presentations will be scheduled on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. Saturday sessions will be held at 10am Pacific time / 1pm Eastern time; Wednesday sessions will be scheduled at 6pm Pacific time / 9pm Eastern time.

For more information: Click Here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

National Genealogical Society Family History Conference

The NGS 2011 Family History Conference will be held in the Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston, South Carolina, 11–14 May. The convention center is conveniently located near the Charleston International Airport and is surrounded by a number of hotels with restaurants and outlet stores nearby. Historic Charleston is twenty minutes away via taxi or shuttle service if you are staying at the Embassy Suites, the convention host hotel.

The four-day conference will include more than fifty national speakers providing over one hundred lectures including: an ethnic track; research in South Carolina and the surrounding states; migration to Georgia, Tennessee and the Gulf states; a Board for Certification of Genealogists track with lectures about methodology, record analysis, and problem solving; religious records; using technology to enhance your research experience, and much, much more.

For more information: Click Here.

To register online: Click Here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Portuguese Denham Family

By Joanne Pezzullo

''When John Sevier attempted to organize the State of Franklin, there was living in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee a colony of dark-skinned, reddish-brown complexioned people, supposed to be of Moorish descent, who affiliated with neither whites nor blacks, and who called themselves Malungeons, and claimed to be of Portuguese descent.'' --Will Allen Dromgoole

While no source for the above has been found, the pension applications of David and Harden Denham from Guilford County, North Carolia show they served under John Sevier during the Revolution it would certainly seem John Sevier was indeed familiar with the Portuguese. David and Harden Denham were born in the 1750s in Hanover/Louisa County, Virginia and are associated with the Joseph Goodman family. Other Gibson names thought to be connected to the 'Melungeons' are found on the 1775 Petition of the Inhabitants of Washington District, as well as Sevier's Petition of the inhabitants of the Western Country in December 1787 to form the State of Franklin.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Remnant of an Indian Race

Watson's Jeffersonian Magazine
1911, Page 522

Dear Sir:

Your letter of yesterday received. I happen to have the information you seek. The Nashville American of June 26, 1910 (since consolidated with the Nashville Tennessean) published a paper of about 10 pages in celebration of its 98th anniversary and in this paper is the true story of a small number of people to be found in a few counties of East Tennessee, as in other sections of the Appalachian region, called Melungeons or Malungeons. I have traveled horse-back before, during and since the Civil War, in the counties where these people live, and have seen them in their cabin homes and from information received independently of what Judge Shepherd says, I am satisfled his statement is to be relied upon.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Friday, February 18, 2011 consists of 4,500 pages of more than 50,000 Free Genealogy Links; for US, UK, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Europe, Canada, Australia & New Zealand.

The types of records you can find using include parish registers, censuses, cemeteries, marriages, passenger lists, city directories, military records, obituaries and more.

To visit: Click Here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Upper Road

The Upper Road branched off from the King's Highway at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and went southwest through Hillsboro, Salisbury, and Charlotte in North Carolina, then on to Spartanburg and Greenville in South Carolina. The road generally followed the old Occaneechee Path which went from Bermuda Hundred on the James River, and Old Fort Henry (now Petersburg) southwest to the Indian trading town of the Occaneechi which existed by 1675 on an island in the Roanoke River at about the location of today's Clarksville, Virginia, close to the present Virginia and North Carolina state line. From that location the trading trail went both north and south. The Trading Path divided at the Trading Ford of the Yadkin River, one branch turning toward Charlotte, the other through Salisbury to Island Ford on the Catawba, to the north of present Lake Norman. DeSoto and his cavaliers were perhaps the first white men to use portions of the great Occaneechi Path (1540). Some of the people associated with Fort Henry were Col. Abraham Wood, Thomas Batts, Robert Fallam, James Needham, Gabriel Arthur, and John Lederer. From 1700-1750, active trading was carried on by white emigrants with Indian villages. After 1740, the proprietary governor of the Granville District began to issue grants to Quakers and others from the tidewater counties of North Carolina and Virginia, attracting them into the northern half of North Carolina. By 1750, the Upper Road became an important wagon route for southbound migrations into that portion of North Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, the road was used extensively for troop movements in the South--relating to the battles at Guilford Courthouse, King's Mountain, and Cowpens.

For more on the Upper Road: Click Here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Gibson and Goins Families

Data compilied by Joanne Pezzullo

These two families have a close association going back to at least mid 1700s.

For details: Click Here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cyndi's List

Of Genealogy Sites on the Internet

No listing of Internet genealogical resources would be complete without a mention of Cyndi's List. Cyndi's List, which is actually a hierarchy of hundreds of thousands of genealogical links, is very extensive but there is no apparent screening of the links given as to their reliability. The Melungeon section in particular is a wealth of misinformation and is NOT to be trusted.

With that caveat, to go to Cyndi's List: Click Here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Melungeons & Lumbees on Chippoakes Creek

Data Compiled by Joanne Pezzullo

Early in the 1600s the Gibson, Collins, Ivey, Sweat, and Chavis families are found living on Chippoakes Creek in Virginia. Later these families can be found living along the Pee Dee River where they were later called Malungeons, Redbones, Lumbee, etc.

For documentation: Click Here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cherokee National Forest

The Cherokee National Forest is located in Eastern Tennessee and stretches from Chattanooga to Bristol along the North Carolina border. The 650,000-acre forest is the largest tract of public land in Tennessee. It lies in the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountain range, one of the world's most diverse areas. These mountains are home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animals. Each year millions of people visit Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest. It is a place of scenic beauty that provides opportunities for anyone interested in nature and history.

For more information: Click Here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Romance is in the mountain air in Tennessee

By Joe Edwards, Associated Press – Fri Feb 11, 3:36 pm ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Romance is definitely in the mountain air as Cupid-inspired couples head for the Smokies for Valentine's Day vows.

Approximately 30 wedding chapels in the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park expect brisk business this weekend and Monday when excited couples repeat their vows on a romantic adventure with mountain majesty as a backdrop.

The love-struck have been descending on the East Tennessee area for years to get married, and Valentine's Day and the weekend before have turned into marriage marathons.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The North Carolina Digital Collections

The North Carolina Digital Collections feature digitized and born-digital materials held by the Archives & Library of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

To visit: Click Here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hancock County - Moonshine, Feuds & Malungeons

Actual Manners and Ways of the Men and Women

From The New York Sun - November 29th 1891

SNEEDVILLE, Nov. 26. -- It has been known that the great westward tide of civilization, setting from the seacoast for over a century, has split into many streams against the densest and most impassable part of the Appalachian system. The result has been that in the mountain fastnesses of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee primitive forms of civilization have remained in many places, while in other places there has been a long step backward toward barbarism. The railroads which opened up these parts to the world have gone far toward changing them. The former type of the mountaineer, with his hatred for strangers, his passionate love of the freedom of license and his disregard for human life, has disappeared from these lines of travel. Only in the far valleys and on the mountains overlooking the almost unbroken wilderness does the type still persist.

These mountaineers have of late years got much attention from writers of romances. And these writers of romances, being for the most part persons of surprising talent, have got much credit for realistic writing of fiction. Their use of the dialect, their portrayal of mountain life and character have been regarded as faithfully natural and lifelike. This esteem has, however not been shared by those who are familiar with the mountains and the mountaineers for many years. East Tennesseeans who have hunted through the mountains and have lived in mountain cabins for weeks and months say that the romancers have taken wide liberties with the dialect and with the people themselves to make a better story.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Genalogy Books to Go

A lot of us would like to take our genealogy and genealogy-related books, magazines, and reference guides along with us, without having to haul a lot of bulk and weight around. Ideally, it’d be great to have a lot of it in an eBook or other portable format, that we could take with us on a portable/mobile device, whether it’s an eBook reader, a mobile phone, or a laptop. One way you can do that is with Amazon’s Kindle platform, which is available for different mobile devices and operating systems.  As long as it’s one account, some of the publishers allow you to have the same books loaded on multiple devices with Kindle without paying extra, so you could have them on a Kindle, on your PC or Mac, and on an iPhone or BlackBerry.

For lists of compatible devices and genealogy-related books available through Amazon’s Kindle Store: Click Here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mysterious People Inhabit Northeastern Part Of Tenn.

Bill Sanders
Times-News Writer
October 16, 1949

On Newman's ridge in Northeastern Tennesee live an unknown people. Only one fact about them is indisputable, that they are strange people. From there fact turns to legend.

These people are called Malungeons. their characteristics are like those of the Indian in many ways -- an olive colored skin, straight black hair, small hands and feet, and high cheek bones.

Many stories have been told about where they originated. About the time of the Portuguese revolt against Spain, Portuguese ships plied the Caribbean Sea and many times marooned unwanted crew members. It is possible that these people could have been marooned on the South Carolina coast and made their way to the Clinch Valley.

When white men started moving down the Clinch River they found a group of people already settled on the rich farmlands. Even then as now they didn't associate with other people and eventually were driven off their farms and took refuge in Newman's Ridge, and many of them turned to distilling whisky as their main source of existence.

The most popular story about their moonshining is that of Big Haly Mullins. Sam Mullins, her nephew, says that she really existed. Weighing between 600 and 700 pounds she was too big to get outside her cabin, so she sat inside and shouted orders to workers at the stills. Many times revenue officers came to her cabin on the highest point of Newman's Ridge and each time officially arrested her and each time left the ridge without her. Big Haly was too much of a load for any combination of men and too big for a mere mule to take her down the narrow mountain trails. She lived to be 105 years old. The fireplace in one side of her cabin was knocked out in order to get her out for burial.

Other legendary stories told about the Malungeons related that they could have been remnants of Negro slaves or Indian tribes that had taken refuge in Newman's Ridge. But the fact that they are there is not legendary.

Sam Mullins, a Malungeon who has left the ridge and settled in Rogersville, laughed as he told the story of Vardy Collins and Buck Gibson. It seems these two had worked up a profitable enterprise in the Negro slave trade before the Civil War. Vardy would cover Buck with dark stain and take him to the nearest plantation and sell him as a Negro slave. Vardy would make off into the forest and Buck would wash the stain off at his first chance and walk off the plantation without making explanations to anyone.

In Malungeon country nobody uses the word ''Malungeon.'' Ask a man about them and the answer will usually be, '' Yes, I know about them but Mr. ---------, could probably tell you more than I could." So you see Mr.--------------------- and he says, "I have heard of them but this fellow across the railroad tracks is the authority on them."

Occasionally someone will talk about them but one thing holds true with everybody. One word will never be heard, "Malungeon."

Note: This article, which is presented here for its historical interest, contains many inaccuracies. One important point it does get right: Melungeons never called themselves Melungeons.  It was always something they were called by others.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area

The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area is a partnership unit of the National Park Service and administered by the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. Since its inception, the Heritage Area has worked with communities and organizations across the state to tell the powerful stories of the home front, the demands of fighting and occupation, the freedom of emancipation, and the enduring legacies of Reconstruction.

To explore the Civil War in Tennessee: Click Here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area was designated by Congress and the President in November, 2003 in recognition of the unique character, culture, and natural beauty of Western North Carolina and their significance to the history of our nation.

The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are among the oldest mountains on Earth. The landscape is full of superlatives: the highest mountain (Mount Mitchell), deepest gorge (Linville Gorge), and highest waterfall (Whitewater Falls) in the eastern United States; the oldest river in North America (the New River); and the two most visited National Park lands in the country (the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park). The region is also blessed with a stunning diversity of plant and animal life; more, in fact, than the whole of Europe.

But there is more to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area than just its mountains, for out of those mountains grew a rich cultural heritage as well.

To explore the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area: Click Here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Will Allen Dromgoole

Tennessee author and poetess Will Allen Dromgoole played a pivotal role in Melungeon historiography thanks to four newspaper articles about Melungeons written by her in 1890 and 1891 and published in the Nashville Daily American and the Boston Arena. The accuracy of these accounts is debatable, to say the least, but for good or ill they constituted the first widespread reporting about the Melungeons and influenced later authors, making no study of the Melungeons complete without them.

To read about the life of Will Allen Dromgoole: Click Here.

To read the four articles:
  • "The Melungeon Tree and Its Four Branches"
  • “Land of The Malungeons”
  • "The Malungeons"
  • "A Strange People"
And more: Click Here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Returns for Another Season

The poplar genealogical TV program "Who Do You Think You Are?" returns to NBC for another season on February 4th at 8 Eastern, 7 Central Time. Travel through time and deep into the family stories of eight fascinating celebrities as they solve centuries-old mysteries, uncover long-lost family ties and make shocking discoveries about their ancestors.

For more information: Click Here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

American Journeys

Eyewitness Accounts of Early American Exploration and Settlement
A Digital Library and Learning Center

American Journeys contains more than 18,000 pages of eyewitness accounts of North American exploration, from the sagas of Vikings in Canada in AD1000 to the diaries of mountain men in the Rockies 800 years later.

Read the words of explorers, Indians, missionaries, traders and settlers as they lived through the founding moments of American history. View, search, print, or download more than 150 rare books, original manuscripts, and classic travel narratives from the library and archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

To enter: Click Here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Walk Toward the Sunset" Revival

Walters State Community College brings a regional favorite to a new generation with the drama “Walk Towards the Sunset.” The play, written by Kermit Hunter, tells the story of the Melungeon people, a disenfranchised group centered in Hancock County.

Melungeons are a mixed-race group, which, even in the mid-1900s, were denied the right to own property or obtain an education.

The play ran as an outdoor drama for from 1969-1975 in Sneedville. Historian and author Wayne Winkler credits the play with creating a sense of pride among the Melungeon people.

“Even today, there are Melungeons who don’t want to admit or discuss their heritage. But those who do talk, do so openly and often loudly,” Winkler said.

Bringing the play back to life has been a welcome challenge for Walters State students, according to director Jerry Maloy, associate professor of music and theatre at Walters State. The cast includes several proud Melungeons (some of whom are cast as an angry mob) and many students have embraced the mystery surrounding the people.

For more information, including show times: Click Here.