Melungeon-L ArchivesArchiver > Melungeon > 2002-12 > 1040693229
From: "Pat Elder" <>
Subject: RE: [Melungeon] DNA question
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 20:27:19 -0500
Dennis, I've not found any evidence connecting the Collins/Gibson group to
the Goins/Minor group until relatively recent times (meaning I know of no
evidence people from the two groups intermarried until relatively "modern"
history (I am using those two groups only as an example; there may be other
family names involved). I am not even sure which of the two groups would
have been considered the descendants of the first Melungeons. The evidence
suggest it would be Collins/Gibson but that is just my speculation. I can't
prove it. The Goins/Minor group has just as much evidence to prove they
could have been the first group known as Melungeons but there aren't any
oral traditions about them being Melungeon, but there are such traditions
for the Collins/Gibson group. Specifically, see the Lewis Jarvis writings
and William P. Grohse papers.
Until someone can prove what being a Melungeon meant, there is no way to
tell who was meant or how it was determined they were Melungeon. Dark skin
was a criteria but there was more to it than that. That is what I've been
saying all along. There is no way to tell and you must have that information
before you can develop a satisfactory test for anything about DNA and a
group of people called "Melungeon descendants."
I do, sincerely, appreciate you answering. I want to understand this because
I am asked questions about it very often. I have told people that I am not
involved with the test project and that they need to contact Brent. That
often leads to "How do I contact him" and well, you get the picture. People
really want to know and I am certainly not going to give out personal
contact information about someone.
I still don't see how "total" ancestry is going to mean anything about
Melungeons and Appalachians without a universally accepted definition but I
think it is time to say "Goodnight Gracie."
Again, I do appreciate you answering. Thanks.
From: Dennis Maggard [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2002 5:31 PM
Subject: Re: [Melungeon] DNA question
From: "Pat Elder" <>
> Dennis, How can they have a common ancestry if their DNA doesn't match?
Test subjects were all descended from the Melungeon core families. Do you
not believe the Melungeon core families were all inter-related and shared a
common ancestry? The DNA testing investigated that ancestry by taking
appropriate mtDNA and Y-Chromosome DNA samples from the test subjects. Those
tests reveal one and only one ethnic/racial ancestry for each subject tested
out of the subjects total ancestry, but it is an ethnic/racial ancestry
present in the Melungeon core families, if the test subjects have been
properly selected. The results for any one test subject are of limited
interest, but by sampling a number of test subjects, a picture of the
ethnic/racial ancestry of the Melungeon core families emerges. It is not
expected that all test subjects show the same ancestry, if that is what is
meant by their DNA not matching, because the Melungeon core families were
not homogenous as to ancestry. The whole point of the testing is to discover
as much of their total ancestry as possible, and with enough sampling --
which may well require additional studies -- it will reveal itself in its
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