The War on Melungeons

Trouble in a Genealogist’s Paradise Melungeons

It used to be that Melungeons (no, I won’t give you a link to this hot potato) were a quaint historical ethnic group in the Appalachians followed with a certain quirky interest by a few academic researchers and genteel listers on the Internet.

Then the Journal of Genetic Genetic Genealogy of the International Society for Genetic Genealogy published an article titled “Melungeons, A multiethnic Population,”, by Roberta J. Estes, Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson and Janet Lewis Crain. The article got picked up by Fox News and Associated Press and was trumpeted on one of the genealogy lists like this:

Extra ! Extra ! Read all about it…

DNA study seeks origin of Appalachia’s Melungeons


What ensued was like a box of flying squirrels being dumped in the living room of a trailer during a tornado, or an episode of the“Hatfields and McCoys,” premiering on the History Channel on Memorial Day. Here are some random responses from Melungeon researchers (not to call them Melungeons, per se). We don’t have a dog in this fight (or squirrel), but couldn’t resist reporting on it.In my opinion this “peer reviewed” report contains more *misinformation* than most of the books and magazines that have been published in the last 20 years.
This doesn’t hold any more water than Brent Kennedy’s theory.

Just not possible to to make an R1a
or R1b baby out of an E-3 man and a white woman.

These little oversights are the things that can fuel class action lawsuits it
would seem to me.

They wouldn’t have wrote [sic] what they did in the article if the paper hadn’t been published. I have been saying for years Jack was padding that project with the E haplogroups for his own purposes and this proves it.

And again your ‘disagreement’ is with the ‘media’ in this case the AP and all the Newspaper’s that published the article, which there appears to be different version.

Since article was based on the ‘Peer Reviewed” article by JOGG can you tell us how many of the peers were certified genealogist?

Well, I monitor this list, and I… have not seen any charactistics [sic] among any of the Melungeons on the ridge, to indicate that they were mixed with Africans. No kinky hair, thick lips, large hips, dark eyes, etc. Mine had long straight hair, slim features, long slim fingers, and a bright turquoise shade of eye coloring. I don’t see this at all. Look at the pictures of the Bell family that were published. I also did not see any mention of the haplogroup in the articles. How are we, the public going to see the breakdown of who is who?  

My opinion  is, I’m not so sure why they have such a personal vendetta to prove the melungeons weren’t who they said they were. Maybe it will be solved once and for all now.

They did not bother to mention that they used dna that I had helped to collect for this group or they would never have had any Gibson data. Also they were specifically told on more than one occasion not to used data that I had
recruited.  Also, secretly, they cut me out of the sharing on this group. Also, at least one of this group vowed never to agree  to have their name attached to it. I guess it isn’t any trouble not to keep your word.  I think it
is past time people stopped trying to make the melungeons to be something they were not and regurgitating old data.  When I learned that Roberta and these were doing this article she quickly removed it from her site and represents herself on the site as a “scientist”.

You can be sure this is not the last of this.  They should be expecting it. I can’t believe so many families have been assigned ancestors without any evidence at all. I would call it capricious but it’s more akin to arrogance.

You write about Jordan Gibson, yet you omitted the one DNA source from his line. Why? Was it because his haplotype was I1 and not African? Between this article and Wayne Winkler’s recent radio interview, you have joined the ranks of Plecker [racist public health official Walter Plecker].

Shame on you.

The genealogies are strung together with no documentation. For instance they write the sons of Gilbert Gibson; Jordan, Gideon and George went to Sandy Bluffs when the records show Gilberts sons on tax list and court records in Louisa County. The Gideon and Jordan Gibson at Sandy Bluffs were clearly different people, born at different times.

I know of no documentation showing the Collins family from the Pee Dee River related to Vardy Collins or the Collins families on Newmans Ridge. There are also no records that I know of that show Jacob Wolf and James Mooney of Baxter County, Arkansas were ever in Hawkins/Hancock County. These are just a few of the inaccuracies and misinformation from this report, I am getting together the documents to back this up and will be posting it shortly.
I would like to see a serious discussion of this report with questions answered rather than a back and forth on who should be allowed to do research.

Who said genealogy was not interesting?

More information about Melungeons
Melungeon Studies
Melungeon Match