Imagine spending your whole life thinking you were descended from gypsies, Portuguese explorers or some other exotic people, only to find out you’re just the offspring of a long-forgotten tryst between a “Sub-Saharan African” man and a “Northern or Central European” woman.
Now a new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.
And that report, which was published in April in the peer-reviewed journal, doesn’t sit comfortably with some people who claim Melungeon ancestry. “There were a whole lot of people upset by this study,” lead researcher Roberta Estes said. “They just knew they were Portuguese, or Native American.”
Well, I guess this ruined many a person’s genealogical research session.
The origin of the word Melungeon is unknown, but there is no doubt it was considered a slur by white residents in Appalachia who suspected the families of being mixed race. “It’s sometimes embarrassing to see the lengths your ancestors went to hide their African heritage, but look at the consequences” said Wayne Winkler, past president of the Melungeon Heritage Association. “They suffered anyway because of the suspicion.”
Remembering where you came from was so painful for some people they had to invent a new cover story just to blot it out.
The L.A. Times is ripping the great state of Alabama a new one over H.B. 658:
Under the revised law, known as HB 658, all undocumented immigrants who appear in court for any violation of state law will find their names published on the official state website, along with the names of the judges assigned to their cases and the dispositions. It’s hard to imagine what useful purpose such information might provide other than to shame immigrants and to allow anti-immigrant groups to exert pressure on judges.
Another new provision requires the state’s Department of Homeland Security to compile an annual progress report updating the Legislature on how efforts to rid Alabama of illegal immigrants are coming along. That will make little difference in the life of most Alabamians, since less than 2% of the state’s residents are believed to be in the country illegally.