Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mattie Ruth Johnson: August 27, 1940 - August 13, 2014

Mattie Johnson Obituary
In Memory of

Mattie Ruth Johnson

August 27, 1940 - August 13, 2014
At the age of 73 Mattie Ruth Johnson's Holy Spirit left her earthly body and entered her Heavenly home on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at Holston Valley Medical Center. She was a local author and painter. Her book, "My Melungeon Heritage" was written and sold copies all over the United States. She was born in Hancock County, Sneedville, TN on August 27, 1940 and lived on Newman's Ridge in an area called Prospect Ridge. She had a twin sister, but was born 10 minutes before her sister, Goldean. God had an apple in His eye and He took her home before she had got sicker. She was only able to take so much before she was called home.

Ruth had a heart for everyone and she gave to anyone who needed anything. She was a Christian and was Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In "My Melungeon Heritage" she tells what it was like to grow up and live in a place and time when life was much different than it is at the end of the twentieth century. A descendant of several of the first known settlers in Hancock County, she had spent a lot of time through the years reading the history of early settlements and colonization of the United States. Her ancestors include many Melungeons, and she had done much research on her family lines. Interested in the Melungeon history for years, she had corresponded with numerous writers dealing with genealogy and people searching their family trees.

Ruth who had lived in Kingsport, was a nurse. She was also an artist who enjoyed working in oils and watercolors. A special thanks to Brent Kennedy for his help and inspiration. To each of the doctors and nurses who had the pleasure of working with her, she thanks you. She also would like to thank Dr. Springer, Dr. and Mrs. Hemoke, Dr. Michigan, Dr. London, Dr. Jack Whitt and the many more. Preceding her to Heaven were her father and mother, Henry and Opal Johnson; brothers, Henry, Jr., Elmer, Gale and Rex; her sister, Phyllis Smith; nephew, Russell Gilliam; and niece Rebecca Gilliam. Surviving is her twin sister, Goldean White; sisters, Nellie Lynch of Florence, SC and Ivagene Gilliam and many nieces and nephews who she loved very much.

A private graveside service will be held in the Garden of the Mausoleum at East Lawn Memorial Park with Pastor Mildred Osborne officiating. Online condolences may be sent to the family. East Lawn Funeral Home; Memorial Park has the honor of serving the family of Ms. Mattie Ruth Johnson.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Jack Goins Melungeon and Appalachian Research Blog

A great new blog has just come online. Jack Goins will be publishing some of the articles from his years of research and publishing new articles also. 

This will be of great benefit to Melungeon researchers. Jack has written two Melungeon books; Melungeons: Footprints from the Past and Melungeons and other Pioneer Families and has served as Hawkins County Tennessee Archivist some 11 years. He has also presented many programs about the discoveries he has made during his research. Additionally; Jack Goins was a co-author of the study; Melungeons, A Multi-Ethnic Population

Jack Goins Melungeon and Appalachian Research Blog

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!!!!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Melungeon DNA Discussion All Day Seminar Aug. 4th

On Saturday, August 4, 2012, the Allen County Public Library and The Genealogy Center will host Applying DNA Studies to Family History: The Melungeon Mystery Solved. This free all-day seminar will provide information concerning the application of DNA research in family history, and will explain how the previously-mysterious origin of the Melungeons was discovered through DNA studies, presented by Roberta Estes, scientist and genealogist, expert in DNA research and founder of, Jack Goins, Hawkins County, Tennessee archivist and founder of several Melungeon research projects, and Wayne Winkler, past-president of the Melungeon Historical Society
The day's schedule:
  • 9:15-9:30 AM - Welcome and Introduction
  • 9:30-10:30 AM - Roberta Estes - DNA and Genealogy - An Introduction
  • 10:45-11:45 AM - Wayne Winkler - The Melungeons: Sons and Daughters of the Legend
  • 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM - Lunch on your own
  • 1:00-2:00 PM Jack Goins - Examining Our Melungeon Neighborhood and Migrations
  • 2:15-3:15 PM - Roberta Estes - Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic Population
  • 3:30 PM - Q&A about Melungeons and DNA applications in the genealogy field
This free seminar will take place in the Theater on Lower Level 2 of the Main Library. Pre-register for this free event by calling 260-421-1225 or send an email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Inhabitants of Newman's Ridge and Blackwater in Hancock County, Tenn.

From the Archives of the Rootsweb Melungeon Mailing List:

From: "Jack Goins"
Subject: [MELUNGEON] Historical Records.
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 10:55:24 -0400

It is almost impossible to write an email on this subject without being misquoted, so for clarification on my previous post on land grants and migration with the white settlers. And for any of you who may be new to the list. This is a portion of a letter from the Hancock County Times, Sneedville, TN 4/17/1903 written by Lewis M. Jarvis, who was then an Attorney. Lewis M. Jarvis was also a Captain in Co E, 8th Tennessee Vol. Cavalry, Union Army. And was personally acquainted with Vardy Collins and other Melungeons he names in this letter.

"Much has been said and written about the inhabitants of Newman's Ridge and Blackwater in Hancock County, Tenn. They have been derisively dubbed with the name "Melungeons" by the local white people who have lived here with them. It is not a traditional name or tribe of Indians. Some have said these people were here when the white people first explored this country. Others say they are a lost tribe of the Indians having no date of their existence here, traditionally or otherwise. All of this however, is erroneous and cannot be sustained. These people, not any of them were here at the time the first white hunting party came from Virginia and North Carolina in the year 1761-- the noted Daniel Boone was at the head of one of these hunting parties and went on through Cumberland Gap.---they came here simultaneously with the white people not earlier than 1795."

 In 2005 I formed a group called Friends of The Hawkins County Archive Project, and was appointed Archivist by the Hawkins County Commissioners. The old records from the basement of our old Court house was moved to the placed designated to be the archive. These records date back to 1787 and up until 1844 Hancock County was part of Hawkins County, but due to a border dispute and other factors the illegal voting trials were held in Hawkins County, they began in 1846 and ended 1848, these Circuit Court records would have been lost due the Hancock County Court house being destroyed by fire,at least 3 times. We were fortunate to find the 1845 election results where they were charged for illegal voting as free persons of color. In this election William G. Brownlow lost to Andrew Johnson. This included the most famous Vardy Collins, along with Zachariah Minor, his brother and other Collins. This is our 7th year and many of the first volunteers are still here. All of you are welcome to research our archives, to view our archive click on this link, select Government then Hawkins County Archive. Instead of charging a fee for copying records we ask for a reasonable donation. The Chancery Court link is down. Jack

 The rest of this thread can be accessed here (scroll down):

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Do You Prove You’re an Indian?

AMERICA’S first blood quantum law was passed in Virginia in 1705 in order to determine who had a high enough degree of Indian blood to be classified an Indian — and whose rights could be restricted as a result. You’d think, after all these years, we’d finally manage to kick the concept. But recently, casino-rich Indian tribes in California have been using it themselves to cast out members whose tribal bloodlines, they say, are not pure enough to share in the profits.

What is surprising is not that more than 2,500 tribal members have been disenfranchised for apparently base reasons. (It’s human — and American — nature to want to concentrate wealth in as few hands as possible.) What is surprising is the extent to which Indian communities have continued using a system of blood membership that was imposed upon us in a violation of our sovereignty

Cont. Here:

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Native American Haplogroup X

By Roberta Estes, copyright 2011

People are just thrilled to get their DNA results back when they discovered they have mitochondrial DNA haplogroup X. They e-mail me right away and tell me they are Native American. 
But then, I have to ask the difficult question. I become that relative that no one wants to claim, the one who always is bursting the bubbles with ugly old reality.

So I ask, "What is your subgroup?"

And they reply, "Huh?"

So then I explain that haplogroup X isn't just Native American. In fact, it's found in Asia, all of Europe and in the New World Native Americans. 
Most of the time, these exchanges are by e-mail, so I can't see their faces. It's probably just as well, all things considered.

At this point, people are firmly divided into two camps. Those are the "I want to believe" camp and the "I want to know" camp. The "I want to believe" camp is afraid to do further testing because they are concerned that deeper testing will reveal that they are NOT Native. So they never test and continue to claim Native descent. The "I want to know camp" is just the opposite, seeking the truth, and they order the full sequence test.

You can see the various subgroups on the haplogroup X project page at: 

Haplogroup X is the "mother haplogroup." X2 is found throughout Eurasia and North America. Native American subgroups of haplogroup X2 are X2a, X2a1, X2a1a, X2a1b and X2a2 and they are determined by the following mutations in the various mitochondrial DNA regions.

Haplogroup HVR1 Region HVR2 Region Full Sequence
X2a 16213A 200G 8913G, 12397G, 14502C
X2a1 16093G 143A 3552C


X2a2 16254C 225C

This means that if you take the HVR1 region test and you are noted as being haplogroup X, if you don't have the 16213A mutation, then you're likely NOT Native American. Ouch, you say. How can we be sure? 
I encourage everyone to take the HVR2 and the full sequence level testing, especially if you think you MIGHT be Native. Why? Because we're still learning and I'd hate for anyone to determine they are NOT Native based on the 16213A mutation alone. There are such things as back mutations, and if you do have the HVR2 and full sequence mutations, then you may have experienced a back mutation or are maybe a haplogroup previously not found. 
So, your determination as haplogroup X is really just the appetizer and an invitation to the entree and dessert....HVR2 and full sequence testing!!!

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