Melungeons are a group of people of mixed European, African and Native American ancestry. Historically, the Melungeons were associated with settlements in the Cumberland Gap area of central Appalachia. They were largely endogamous through the 19th century, marrying primarily within their community until about 1900.
About Melungeon in brief
Melungeons are a group of people of mixed European, African and Native American ancestry. Historically, the Melungeons were associated with settlements in the Cumberland Gap area of central Appalachia. They were largely endogamous through the 19th century, marrying primarily within their community until about 1900. Most modern-day descendants of Appalachian families traditionally regarded as Melungeon are generally European American in appearance, often with dark hair and eyes, and a swarthy or olive complexion. They have tended to \”marry white\” since before the twentieth century. The term has sometimes been applied as a catchall phrase for a number of groups of mixed-race American families. The original meaning of the word ‘Melungeon’ is obscure, but it referred exclusively to one tri-racial isolate group from about the mid-19th to the late 20th centuries. The English surname Gibson and Irish surname Collins appear frequently; genealogist Pat Elder calls them ‘core’ surnames. In 1995, Paul Heggine published a book about the MelUngeons in Hancock and Hawkins County, Tennessee. In its report, the U.S. Department of the Interior, noted that the Mel Ungeons in Hawkins County were free white or mulatto women, even if fathered by enslaved African men. The free descendants of such unions formed the majority of ancestors of the free families of color listed in the 1790 and 1810 US censuses. Some of these early multiracial families were ancestors of later Melunungeons.
Each family line has to be traced separately. Over generations, most of the group were persons of African descent, whose ancestors had been free in colonial Virginia, and sometimes with NativeAmerican ancestry. The group called Mel Ungeon was sometimes referred to as the “Mixed-Blood Populations of the Eastern United States as Origins to Populations, Localizations, and Persistence of Populations” The term ‘Mel Ungeon’ has also been used to refer to a small number of African-American families who intermarried with persons of European ancestry. There is no consensus on how many such groups exist, but estimates range as high as 200. They did not exhibit characteristics that could be classified as those of a single racial phenotype. During the nineteenth century, free people of color sometimes identified as Portuguese or Native American in order to avoid being classified as black in the segregated slave societies. In 1894, the S.E.D. reported that theMelUngeon families in Hancock County were the “Claimed and Not Taxed” of Cherokee and Not Indians Taxed, and that they were “not of mixed blood” or “not Native American” ancestry. They are now considered to be the “Mel Ungeons” of Hancock, Hawkins, and Vardy Valley counties, Tennessee, and nearby areas of Kentucky, and Lee County, Virginia. Their ancestors can usually be traced back to colonial Virginia and the Carolinas. Their descendants are accepted and identify as white, particularly since the 20th century.
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This page is based on the article Melungeon published in Wikipedia (as of Jan. 04, 2021) and was automatically summarized using artificial intelligence.