BLACK-DUTCH-L ArchivesArchiver > BLACK-DUTCH > 2005-05 > 1117312075
From: MystKin <>
Subject: Many people could claim 'Black Dutch' ancestry
Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 13:27:55 -0700 (PDT)
Many people could claim 'Black Dutch' ancestry
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Not long ago I was asked, "What does the term 'Black Dutch' mean? I have heard some members of my family refer to relatives as 'Black Dutch' but I never knew what they meant."
After researching numerous genealogical reference texts and Dutch immigration books, I could not find a single Black Dutch listing. I then went to the Internet and found some timely articles on the subject. This is what I summarized from the information: There is no single definition of the term "Black Dutch."
According to Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia, Dutch is a term that originally referred to anything of German derivation. An example is "Pennsylvania Dutch" that originally referred to the speech and origin of people who inhabited certain parts of Pennsylvania at a time when Dutch signified German. In modern usage, however, Dutch is correctly applied only to people and the language of the Netherlands. Black, as noted in the articles, can refer to Spanish, some of the darker races of German and French, Native American or African American.
After the War of Spanish Succession, 1704-1714, fought by Austria, England, the Netherlands and Prussia against France and Spain, Spanish soldiers married Dutch (Holland) girls, and their dark-haired, olive complexioned children were called Black Dutch. Sailors from Spanish or Mediterranean ships are believed to have left their genetic mark, so to speak, in northern Europe and Scandinavia, thus producing dark-featured offspring.
In the Virginia Colony, Gov. Spotswood imported a group of German Colony Iron Workers from Alsace-Lorraine, an area of contention between France and Germany. They had black hair, "china blue to purplish blue eyes," fair skin, tall, and listed the Black Forest as their home. There is no doubt some of the German-speaking immigrants to the colonies were descendants of some of the darker races.
Another scenario is the "amalgamation" and marriage between natives and the colonists. Patrick Henry even broached a plan to his colleagues in the Virginia General Assembly to give 50 acres and a cow to any "white" who married an Indian. In later years, however, it was not fashionable to have Indian blood. Morning Star, wife of Chief Neal McCormick, chief of the Eastern Creek Indian Nation said, "It used to be if you had Indian blood in you and someone asked you what you were, you'd say 'Black Dutch.'"
A descendant of another Creek Chief wrote, "The term Black Dutch is used to refer to one that has Indian Blood, and most particularly with Creek Indian blood. Although there were a few German/Swiss in the Creek Nation, they were in the minority. The term actually does not refer to any connection to this nationality. The Creeks preferred the Scots, English or Irish in that order as far as marriage was concerned. There is no explanation as to why they preferred the Scots."
Offspring from Anglo plantation owners and their slaves is well documented by the number of mulattos listed in historic documents and census records. There was also a handful of Cherokees who prospered as slave owners and produced mixed offspring.
In conclusion, the term Black Dutch can describe the progeny of Hollander-Spanish, dark-skinned Germanic or French, a disguise for Indian-white heritage, German-African American, or a mixture of any of the above. Also, numerous accounts have circulated that "Black Dutch" has been used to identify groups of Irish, Cherokee, Amish, Swiss, Sephardic Jews, Dutch-Indonesians and Hollanders.
As you can see, there is little agreement as to just what the phrase means. The most logical conclusion is that the term Black Dutch refers to ancestry based on folklore and hearsay. Happy researching.
Send e-mail genealogy queries to . For regular mail, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Victoria County Genealogical Society members will research queries requiring extensive study. Mail queries to Relatively Speaking, c/o Martha Jones, Ph.D., Victoria Advocate - Lifestyle Dept., P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, Texas 77902.
Have you ever been told your ancestors were "Black Dutch"
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