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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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Muster Roll of the Regiment in Granville County under the command of Col. William Eaton as taken at a General Muster of the said Regiment 8 October 1754

William Eaton's Muster Roll - Granville County 1754

by Roberta Estes

The Saponi Indians were allied and grouped with the Eno, the Shakori, the Totera and others especially after their time at Fort Christanna in from 1714-1716.  William Eaton was a well known trader and he obtained land in Granville County.  The smaller eastern tribes were quite unsettled after Fort Christanna was closed and tried living in different locations.  Eventually, all of these people were simply called the Saponi.  In 1730 the group went to live with the Catawbas in South Carolina on the North Carolina border, but in 1733, they were back in Virginia again.  In 1742, they returned to the Catawba, but returned a second time in 1748.  During this time, the Catawba were absorbing a number of remnant tribes who were not strong enough to protect themselves.  Indian numbers were dwindling due to constant warfare and disease.  Unlike the English, with a new supply of colonists constantly arriving from Europe, there was no replacement mechanism for the Native people.

By 1754, William Saunders in the "Colonial Records of North Carolina" report that a group of 30-40 Saponi had settled on the lands of William Eaton in Granville County, NC. 

As luck would have it, Janet Crain discovered the "Muster Roll of the Regiment of Granville County under the command of Colonel William Eaton as taken as a general muster of the said Regiment October 8, 1754."

On that list are several surnames that are recognizable as families associated with Native heritage such as Harris, Chavers, Alford, Cade, Nichols, Hedgeparth, Gowen and others.  Several are also associated with Melungeon heritage such as Gowen, Mullins, Collins, Bolton (Bollin) and Moore. 

However, the question is whether or not there is anything on the muster list that might identify who is Native and who is not, and indeed, there is.  Several people are noted at either negro or mulatto, as follows:

·       Edward Harris, negro
·       William Chavers, negro
·       William Chavers Jun., Mul.
·       Gilberth Chavers, Mulatto
·       John Smith   Nut Bush (I'm just going to leave this alone)
·       Thomas Gowen, mulatto
·       Mickael Gowen, mulatto
·       Edward Gowen, mulatto
·       Robert Davis, mulatto
·       William Burnel, mulatto

John Smith's note of "nut bush" could be an indication of a location.  One man is noted by a creek name and one says "up the river".  Or it could possibly be an indication of a Native group association.  If we exclude this individual, as he is not noted as being negro or mulatto, there are a total of 9 men "of color."  Only free people could serve in the militia, so we know these men weren't slaves.

If each man had a wife and one child, that would be 27 people, 2 children would be 36 people and 3 children would be 45 people.  This fits the 30-40 Saponi stated to have gone to live on William Eaton's land.  Of these, the Chavers and Gowen families are known to be Lumbee as well as Tuscarora.  Harris is the primary Catawba surname, although being a very common surname, may not be related.  Gowen (Goins) is a Melungeon surname as well.

Perhaps, using the muster roll and the NC colonial records, in combination, we've just identified a number of Saponi families.  By this time in the historical record, the name Saponi could represent any of the eastern remnant tribes' members. 

Complete list here:

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