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.