If you want to discover your genetic history and where you came from... you’ve found the right place!


review of scientific and news articles on dna testing and popular genetics

Melungeon Riddle Solved by Autosomal DNA Project

Thursday, September 16, 2010

After many years in development, the results of a DNA ancestry project enrolling 40 Melungeons were published and made public, marking the end of an attempt to solve the mystery of a Southern U.S. ethnic group with autosomal DNA.

Seeming to lay to rest an old controversy in American history about Melungeons, the scientific data supporting a genetic mixture of white, American Indian and Sub-Saharan African were placed online today by the organizers of DNA Consultants' Melungeon DNA Project.

The data report a sample of 40 Melungeons' DNA fingerprints. Population analysis of the participants' DNA fingerprints was used in an article for Appalachian Journal. Titled "Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Eastern Tennessee," the study was co-authored by Donald N. Yates, principal investigator of DNA Consultants, and Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman, a professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

"This is a giant stride forward in understanding the mixed ancestry of Melungeons," said Donald Yates, co-author. "Never before has autosomal DNA been used in attacking the problem."

The 40 participants' names were:

Anonymous, Mabel Bentley, Judy Douglas Bloom, Leah Laura Bulgariev, John (Dick) Caldwell, John R. Caldwell, Sr. (deceased), Virginia Caldwell, William Collins, Mary Goodman, Floyd Milton Grimwood (deceased), Ann Reagan Haines, Linda Barnett Hall, Nancy E. Hammes, Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman, Pat Goin Jones, Brenda LaForce, Everett LaForce, Jessica Kiely Law, Bonnie J. Lyda, N. Brent Kennedy, Richard Kennedy, Margaret E. Kross, MeriDee Orvis Mahan, Karen Mattern, Sebenia Ann Milbacher, Nicolas J. Millington, Holli Starnes Molnar, Nancy Sparks Morrison, Teresa Panther-Yates, Billy Starnes, Julia Starnes, Keely Starnes, Phyllis Starnes, Richard Stewart, Doretha J. Thornton, Kaye M. Viars, Celia Wyckoff, Wayne Winkler, Betty Yates Adams, Donald N. Yates.

Participants were qualified by their genealogies and included many names familiar to those who follow Melungeon genealogy discussion groups on the Internet, including Brent Kennedy, author of the book 1996 book that started the Melungeon Movement, his brother Richard Kennedy; Elizabeth Hirschman, a native of Kingsport, Tenn., along with several members of her family; Wayne Winkler of the Melungeon Heritage Association and author of Walking Toward the Sunset; and Nancy Morrison, creator of the online Melungeon Health referral service.

More information on DNA Consultants' Melungeon DNA Studies page.


Melungeon family in Tennessee about 1900.


More information about Melungeons
Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Southern Appalachia
Melungeon Studies
Melungeon Match


naturedoc commented on 17-Sep-2010 12:20 PM

You have a great blog! I enjoy your articles and they are well written.

Anonymous commented on 19-Sep-2010 01:28 PM

What exactly is the controversy about Melungeons? What's the big "mystery"? What can a Melungeon do with this info?

Karen Virginia commented on 11-Dec-2010 08:48 AM

Nice website: I really don't think this should mark the end "of an attempt to solve the mystery of a Southern U.S. ethnic group with autosomal DNA" though but I tend to see this leap as one of a great beginning, and not an end. Thanks for sharing

DJ Thornton commented on 11-May-2011 10:10 PM

This is quite a coup and I have great satisfaction in participating in this study along with many friends that became relatives over the last 10 years of researching and corresponding in discussion groups about this mystery. We all felt related and now
there is validation. I look forward to all the news that comes out of this research. I read the article in the Appalachian Journal Fall 2010 I recomend it as well search this blog to purchase

Bob Mitchell commented on 28-Sep-2011 08:51 AM

My Mother's family is from Hawkins County Tenn.I'm pretty sure we have some melungeon ancestry.I have shovel teeth,and the bump on the back of my head.My sister was diagnosed with some rare blood disease.They checked her DNA and found sub-saharan african
traits,,not real sure how much.We were always told we were part Indian.I think there's more to it than that.My mother was a Robinson.We are kin to the Lawsons,Rymores,Stapeltons Sizemores,Manis,ect.Not sure about the spelling on some of these sure names.I
want to know more about my own DNA,Heritage,and just where we come from and who are we.Richard Jessie Robinson was my Grandfather,and he raised me.But i think there was some things he never talked about.Lol! Would like to hear from other Melungeons who may
be able to help me on this path I have started down.I want to know who my people are.Anybody out there that might be able to help,or have suggestions,my e-mail is fenderbender6@yahoo.com. thank y'all.

Jo Hendren commented on 16-Nov-2011 11:05 AM

I am writing in response to Bob Mitchell's post--I was surprised to find a cousin here. Like my cousin, I have shovel teeth and a bump on the back of my head, although very small. Neither one of our grandparents talked much about their ancestors. In fact,
my grandfther told me when pressed for information that when your family had mixed blood "you didn't talk about it back then." His family tree includes Robinson, Gonce, Rimer, Manis and Couch. His wife's family included Lawson, Stapleton, Singleton, Manis
and Sizemore I've been researching this family tree for years. So many roadblocks, particularly on the Robinson side. If anyone can shed some light on Robinson migration from North Carolina to Grayson County, Virginia to Hawkins County, Tennessee I would truly
appreciate it.

Autumn Bond commented on 28-Dec-2011 03:33 AM

i am very interested in finding out for sure if i have melungeon ancesrtery. I am from sw virginia, scott county . i would like to have a DNA done. i have the bump on the back of my head , i have dark hair, dark blue eyes and rh negative blood. however
my skin is very pale if anyone can lead me in the right direction, i have no idea where to begin, my email is autumnbond79@yahoo.com. thanks

Jim McCord-Denver commented on 03-Jan-2014 04:37 PM

Am trying to find anything on my grandmother from W Va. Cynthia (Cindy) Allie, or perhaps Collie. The odd thing is her husband, my granddad, Lewis McCord was in the Indiana KKK for a while. I had always been told that she was half indian and her Dad's pic hung in the entrance to her kitchen. Now, with only an aunt and an uncle left, no one admits that it was ever there nor do they admit she was part Indian. Melungeon was never mentioned. Any direction would be most appreciated.

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.

Captcha Image

Recent Posts


Abraham Lincoln Slovakia genomics labs Rafael Falk Dienekes Anthropology Blog human migrations Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Altai Turks genetics Anglo-Saxons Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America Teresa Panther-Yates private allele Sizemore Indians George van der Merwede Tintagel Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Monya Baker Alec Jeffreys PNAS human leukocyte antigens giants Jon Entine mummies Science magazine ethnic markers Wikipedia history of science Ari Plost medicine Black Irish Peter Martyr John Butler DNA testing companies prehistoric art Colin Pitchfork Douglas Owsley Joel E. Harris Philippa Langley Old World Roots of the Cherokee Colima NPR Sonora religion Indo-Europeans DNA Diagnostics Center Tifaneg Melungeon Movement CODIS markers research Irish Central population genetics Hohokam Indians prehistory Pima Indians Current Anthropology Smithsonian Magazine Taino Indians European DNA Clovis New York Review of Books haplogroup L consanguinity origins of art Isabel Allende genetic determinism Early Jews of England and Wales Mary Kugler Columbia University bloviators Bigfoot National Museum of Natural History Kate Wong methylation hominids Chuetas Hertfordshire mental foramen HapMap Ripan Malhi Freemont Indians Mucogee Creeks Hawaii Applied Epistemology mutation rate Lab Corp Albert Einstein College of Medicine human leukocyte testing Great Goddess Gregory Mendel Sizemore surname Kitty Prince of the Bear River Athabaskans Middle Eastern DNA IntegenX Hohokam Nikola Tesla admixture Jesse Montes haplogroup W Timothy Bestor Choctaw Indians gedmatch Cismaru haplogroup T Valparaiso University Yates surname Thuya Solutreans oncology When Scotland Was Jewish Constantine Rafinesque Chromosomal Labs Bode Technology Hispanic ancestry London Monica Sanowar District of Columbia Epigraphic Society immunology Navajo Indians Patrick Pynes Roberta Estes Nancy Gentry Zuni Indians Anne Marie Fine Cajuns Jewish novelists Puerto Rico Pueblo Grande Museum Elzina Grimwood Douglas Preston palatal tori Nephilim, Fritz Zimmerman Indian Territory Walter Plecker anthropology Chauvet cave paintings Colin Renfrew Jalisco pheromones Tucson Middle Ages French Canadians Virginia genealogy Shlomo Sand Cherokee DNA Magdalenian culture Beringia Barnard College Cornwall Johnny Depp Janet Lewis Crain Havasupai Indians Denisovans surnames university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Jan Ravenspirit Franz ethics Mark Thomas Jim Bentley Phoenicians Austronesian, Filipinos, Australoid Family Tree DNA haplogroup B Bill Tiffee Israel, Shlomo Sand Rebecca L. Cann microsatellites Kennewick Man Bryan Sykes haplogroup E Mark Stoneking Henry VII Luca Pagani Joseph Jacobs Tennessee rapid DNA testing Mildred Gentry Elizabeth DeLand Horatio Cushman Peter Parham Discover magazine Cree Indians Kurgan Culture James Stritzel Scientific American England New York Times Karenn Worstell Cooper surname phenotype Holocaust Navajo aliyah Jewish GenWeb polydactylism familial Mediterranean fever Kari Carpenter hoaxes family history George Starr-Bresette Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies First Peoples New York Academy of Sciences Rich Crankshaw haplogroup Z Gila River Plato autosomal DNA Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales (book) corn Jews Ron Janke Genome Sciences Building Wendell Paulson Anacostia Indians Population genetics Robinson Crusoe Jewish genetics Maronites National Health Laboratories Richard Dewhurst genetic memory National Geographic Daily News Sasquatch forensics Y chromosomal haplogroups Arizona Arabic Lebanon Daily News and Analysis Acadians seafaring andrew solomon X chromosome Olmec Roma People DNA magazine ISOGG Iran Neanderthals haplogroup X Daniel Defoe megapopulations Celts DNA Forums Richmond California Miguel Gonzalez Pueblo Indians alleles Ziesmer, Zizmor Anne C. Stone African DNA Belgium Bering Land Bridge Satoshi Horai Melanesians Stone Age Harold Goodwin Russia Basques Tutankamun King Arthur, Tintagel, The Earliest Jews and Muslims of England and Wales Bradshaw Foundation Panther's Lodge Publishers Micmac Indians personal genomics David Cornish DNA Fingerprint Test India education Melungeon Heritage Association Cherokee Freedmen Austro-Hungary Asian DNA FOX News clan symbols Y chromosome DNA Muslims in American history genealogy Finnish people Bulgaria Ancient Giantns Who Ruled America Cohen Modal Haplotype Italy Khazars FDA ancient DNA Richard Lewontin Terry Gross Jewish contribution to world literature cancer Ananya Mandal Cherokee DNA Project statistics DNA Fingerprint Test John Wilwol Cismar Antonio Torroni Neolithic Revolution Sam Kean Ashkenazi Jews James Shoemaker American history Donald N. Yates Lithuania breast cancer art history Hopi Indians Melba Ketchum Pomponia Graecina clinical chemistry Nature Genetics Alabama Moundbuilders Ostenaco Salt River Marija Gimbutas Secret History of the Cherokee Indians Elvis Presley DNA Fritz Zimmerman Douglas C. Wallace Michael Grant Barack Obama Wales EURO DNA Fingerprint Test Tom Martin Scroft Holocaust Database Patrick Henry Romania Svante Paabo Sorbs Waynesboro Pennsylvania Wendy Roth Telltown Washington D.C. Jack Goins MHC crypto-Jews Oxford Nanopore Chris Stringer Asiatic Echoes haplogroup H Europe Victor Hugo climate change GlobalFiler American Journal of Human Genetics Charles Darwin Keros Penny Ferguson Promega Oxford Journal of Evolution Les Miserables Jone Entine Gypsies Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama Asiatic Fathers of America Erika Chek Hayden pipe carving cannibalism Arizona State University King Arthur Virginia DeMarce Melungeons Michael Schwartz Discovery Channel Central Band of Cherokees Caucasian ENFSI Etruscans DNA databases 23andme Irish DNA BATWING race Harold Sterling Gladwin Phoenix Cleopatra Comanche Indians Cancer Genome Atlas mitochondrial DNA Leicester Rutgers University Bryony Jones powwows Turkic DNA rock art Brian Wilkes Science Daily, Genome Biol. Evol., Eran Elhaik, Khazarian Hypothesis, Rhineland Hypothesis occipital bun Sir Joshua Reynolds Panther's Lodge Elizabeth C. Hirschman N. Brent Kennedy French DNA Grim Sleeper Phyllis Starnes Charles Perou Central Band of Cherokee Zizmer Chris Tyler-Smith China Stacy Schiff Israel Richard Buckley Genex Diagnostics horizontal inheritance Ethel Cox Greeks Russell Belk Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Charlotte Harris Reese FBI evolution Richard III news Amy Harmon bar mitzvah Native American DNA Test Henry IV Zionism North African DNA Abenaki Indians Ukraine Germany Louis XVI Stephen Oppenheimer DNA security Dragging Canoe Britain population isolates Stony Creek Baptist Church Black Dutch Paleolithic Age Carl Zimmer Sarmatians Texas A&M University haplogroup U Rush Limbaugh New Mexico myths ged.com Akhenaten epigenetics Nayarit INORA Melungeon Union Mother Qualla Patagonia Ancestry.com Mexico Normans ethnicity Khoisan Nova Scotia Maya Marie Cheng Nature Communications haplogroup C Bentley surname research M. J. Harper Mohawk Old Souls in a New World Mary Settegast haplogroup R Joseph Andrew Park Wilson Bureau of Indian Affairs John Ruskamp El Castillo cave paintings Anasazi far from the tree haplogroup J Eske Willerslev Eric Wayner Algonquian Indians Rare Genes linguistics Sinti The Nation magazine single nucleotide polymorphism haplogroup D Kentucky Juanita Sims Michoacan BBCNews Henriette Mertz Sea Peoples Cave art Bode Technology Scotland Helladic art Ireland Harry Ostrer health and medicine haplogroup M North Carolina Gravettian culture University of Leicester Sinaloa Irish history Kari Schroeder haplogroup N Nadia Abu El-Haj peopling of the Americas Thruston Tablet Stan Steiner Majorca Life Technologies Gunnar Thompson Smithsonian Institution Maui B'nai Abraham Riane Eisler Odessa Shields Cox Native American DNA Egyptians William Byrd Arabia Phillipe Charlier AP metis archeology Theodore Steinberg