Cherokee/Phoenician DNA Connection


In the past 5 or 6 years most of you have heard about the DNA studies that show the finding of Native American DNA around the Great Lakes matching the DNA of Sephardic Jews near Israel and other areas. The links to these articles are at the very end of this blog. The connection between the Native Americans and the Jew has also been discussed at length here and in the Annotated Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon itself talks about this connection in D&C 19:26-27 which says, “And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and works of God. Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.”

The Cherokee are an important connection between the Old World and the New World. There are many names that the Cherokee are related to:

Carthaginian Empire


North African


Apalachee are a Native American people who historically lived in the Florida Panhandle. “They derived their name from Palaza, a name of ancient Magadha, a powerful Yadava kingdom in what is now today’s state of Bihar. When the Palazis came to America, they came with the intention of staying. Therefore, they became the Apalizis (Ex-Palazis). Without a doubt, these “Apalazis” were the founders of the mound-building cultures, for in other parts of the world they built the Egyptian pyramids, became the founding fathers of Greek civilization, and the like .” Source ; and
Additional Information>

Magadha was an ancient Indian kingdom in southern Bihar, and was counted as one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas, ‘Great Countries’ of ancient India. Magadha played an important role in the development of Jainism and Buddhism, and two of India’s greatest empires, the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, originated in Magadha.
Looking into the Cherokee heritage is exciting. They are a very important part of the history in our world. It is amazing how many cultures they have influenced and are part of.


April 16, 2017

“The laboratory immediately stumbled into a scientific hornet’s nest. That Cherokee princess in someone’s genealogy was most likely a Jewish or North African princess. Its scientists have labeled the Cherokees not as Native Americans, but as a Middle Eastern-North African population . Cherokees have high levels of test markers associated with the Berbers, native Egyptians, Turks, Lebanese, Hebrews and Mesopotamians. Genetically, they are more Jewish than the typical American Je w of European ancestry. So-called “full-blooded” Cherokees have high levels of European DNA and a trace of Asiatic (Native American) DNA. Their skin color and facial features are primarily Semitic in origin, not Native American.” Native News Online

“DNA haplogroup X2a is a major mtDNA subclade in North America; among the Algonquian peoples, it comprises up to 25% of mtDNA types which is also found in a similar percentage among the Druze in the Hills of Galilee.” (“The peopling of the Americas: Genetic ancestry influences health,” Scientific American, 14 August 2009.

Harvard University professor Barry Fell in his book Saga America first published in 1980 presented historical, epigraphic, archeological and linguistic evidence suggesting links between Greeks and Egyptians and the Algonquian Indians of Nova Scotia, Acadia and surrounding regions around the mouth of the St. Lawrence Seaway, particularly the Abnaki (“White”) and Micmac Indians. See here: / “Map of Algonquian Language Distribution” in Appendix, “Native America DNA Studies” pp. 556-57.)

Annotated Book of Mormon by David Hocking and Rod Meldrum page 91

LDS scholar and surgeon, Dr. David Stewart in his online article found on the Church’s website titled “DNA and the Book of Mormon,” quotes fellow LDS scholar Martin Tanner, contributor to the Neil A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (formerly FARMS), who explains his position:
The idea haplogroup X has been in the Americas for 10 to 35 thousand years is based solely upon the assumptions of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, which include: (1) completely neutral variants, (2) no mutation, (3) no migration, (4) constant near infinite population size, and, (5) completely random mate choice. In the Book of Mormon account, most of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium assumptions are inapplicable. The wilderness journey, the ocean voyage, and the colonization of the new world, result in patterns of genetic selection and DNA migration different from that found in Lehi’s home environment. Closely related individuals married and we are dealing with an [initially] very small group, not a nearly infinite population which would dramatically alter DNA marker distribution and inheritance over time. If we take these assumptions about haplogroup X instead of the Hardy-Weinberg assumptions, haplogroup X could have been introduced into the Americas as recently as one to two thousand years ago, far less than the ten to thirty-five thousand years under the Hardy-Weinberg assumptions. Ref 96

Haplogroup X plausibility in relation to the Book of Mormon
Is there any possible correlation of Haplogroup X with the Book of Mormon and Lehi’s group? Can we narrow down the potential connections? Is it possible, or even probable, that there will ever be any evidence in favor or support of the Book of Mormon’s claim of being a historical account of real people? The understanding, of course, is that DNA cannot “prove” the historicity of the Book of Mormon, but rather a case is being built that may support its authenticity. After reading the information presented here it should be clear that each of these questions may now be answered with a resounding “Yes!” Rod Meldrum Rediscovering the Book of Mormon Remnant through DNA 2009

Connecting the Cherokee and the Phoenician’s DNA

Monday, May 28, 2018

Dorene Soiret’s mother, Alice Gound, about 1960. Soiret is a participant in DNA Consultants’ Phase III Cherokee Studies.

Photo used by permission of Alice Gound and Dorene Soiret.

Dorene Soiret always knew there was something different about her ancestry. She had been on a fruitless quest to prove her family’s Cherokee heritage for many years until she joined Phase III of DNA Consultants’ Cherokee DNA Studies Project. She will have to wait a little longer for all the answers. But in the meantime, she is enrolled as Participant 52 and matches one other woman in the unique study, their rare lineage labeled American Indian H1z1.

Historically, H1 is centered in Libya and Tunisia among the Tuareg people, concentrated around the site of ancient Carthage. In the first millennium BCE, this was the homeland of the sea-roving Phoenicians, who sent teeming colonies westward composed of natives from the Maghreb interior. The Cherokee Paint Clan, it has been suggested by Donald Yates and others, preserves their name, Paint or *Punic People, given to them because of their monopoly in making purple dye and trading luxury goods.

Article about the *Punic People at the end of this blog.

The Phoenicians’ name in their own Semitic language translates as “Canaanite,” a reflection of their origins in the East Mediterranean . James Adair, who wrote the first book about American Indians in 1775, suggested this ethnonym (national identity) appears in the name of the Kanawha River and as the name of a now-extinct Indian tribe in Kentucky and West Virginia. Phoenicians are probably also the source of haplogroup X in the New World, and they are implicated in the mystery of the Melungeon people , with court cases mentioning them by name.

Soiret’s direct female line, like all the others in the program, goes back to a historical Cherokee woman, in this case the wife of Lycan Adkins who lived between 1829 and 1908 and whose maiden name was Murray. The test subject has several other multiply intermarried Adkinses in her ancestry.

Phase III of Cherokee DNA Studies is now closed , with 57 participants enrolled over the past three years. It began in 2007 and went through two phases before the publication of the book CHEROKEE DNA STUDIES: REAL PEOPLE WHO PROVED THE GENETICISTS WRONG . The results of Phase III will be published in a sequel, Cherokee DNA Studies, Volume 2: More Real People Who Proved the Geneticists Wrong (forthcoming 2018). See CHEROKEE STUDY CLOSED .

Although ignored by most tribal bibliographies and Native American journals, CHEROKEE DNA STUDIES: REAL PEOPLE WHO PROVED THE GENETICISTS WRONG was favorably reviewed by Stephen C. Jett, a noted geographer, who endorsed it with the screed, “Revolutionary DNA findings.” He went on to say in his academic book, ANCIENT OCEAN CROSSINGS (University of Alabama Press 2017): “Donald N. Yates and collaborators… characterized the mtDNA of fifty-two individuals of partial Cherokee ancestry who did not display any of the usual Native American mtDNA haplogroups A through D… identifying (in order of the frequency) haplogroups T, U, X, J, H, L and K. T, X, and J are essentially Levantine (eastern Mediterranean) in origin….”

The Warriors of AniKituhwa
This dance group brings to life the Cherokee War Dance and Eagle Tail Dance as described by Lt. Henry Timberlake in 1762. They are designated as official cultural ambassadors by the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and are sponsored by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Further, Jett noted that the East Mediterranean haplogroup showings were interesting for several reasons:

Hg T seems to have emerged in Mesopotamia and later spread into Europe. This Hg occurred in nearly 27 percent of Yates’ sample. None of the Cherokee Ts exactly matched any other known T haplotype, and the Cherokee percentage of T was three times as high as that of the general US population . Cherokee/*Melungeon -associated J haplotypes are not precisely duplicated elsewhere, either, suggesting the passage of much time to allow differentiation…. Hg U is largely European….and is generally absent among Native Americans. However, it reached a level of approximately 25 percent among those Cherokee descendants, whose Hts (haplotypes) turned out to be very diverse and to include some mutations unique to American Indians , again implying  considerable elapsed time since introduction… the Cherokee descendants shared some haplotypes with Jews. Too, the Jewish ‘Cohen gene’ has been traced back within the Cherokee to no later than about AD 1640.”

Information at the end about *Melungeon People

Jett concluded that the distribution of haplogroups was evidently ancient and not the result of recent European or Middle Eastern admixture in America:

Yates’ genetically remarkably diverse Cherokee sample, the unique haplotypes represented therein, and the frequencies of the haplogroups found—quite different from those of the larger US populations—are striking: ‘ Similar proportions of these haplogroups are noted in the populations of Egypt, Israel and other parts of the East Mediterranean … No such mix could result from post-1492 European gene flow into the Cherokee Nation.’” (pp. 353f.)

Preliminary results from Phase III (closed in May 2018) confirm the “non-American Indian,” or anomalous Native American component of Cherokee descendants. The updated haplogroup findings across Phases I-III are as follow:

Haplogroup N= Percent New in Phase III
U 40 22.7 17
T 31 17.6 4
H 30 17 16
J 17 9.7 10
A-D 13 7.4 3
K 11 6.3 5
X 9 5.1 0
Total Participants 151 85.8 55
All Others 25 14.2 2
Grand Total 176 100.0 57

As can be seen, U emerges as the most common anomalous type of Cherokee, modally U5 (n=23, one of the oldest forms of U and MOST COMMON IN MIDDLE EASTERNERS AND EUROPEANS ), followed by T and H. The expected haplogroups A-D account for only 7.4 percent of Cherokee lineages according to the DNA Consultants study, suggesting a very divergent type from other American Indians. Mesopotamian and Old European types (including Greek, Egyptian, Israeli, Levantine and others) represent 81.8 percent of lineages. (Here, X is grouped with Levantine, as no firm separation can be established between Old and New World types.)

Genetic analyses of Cherokee mtDNA or female lineages thus continue to point to Egypt, Israel/Phoenicia and Greece , as first proposed on historical grounds by Yates in OLD WORLD ROOTS OF THE CHEROKEE: HOW DNA, ANCIENT ALPHABETS AND RELIGION EXPLAIN THE ORIGINS OF AMERICA’S LARGEST INDIAN NATION (2012).

The Adkinses appear to be part of a little-studied phenomenon of Welsh or British Jews. Their surname means “kin of Arthur (or Adam) .” In 2012, Donald Yates wrote about the pioneer family in his book OLD WORLD ROOTS OF THE CHEROKEE (pp. 144-45):

Adkins . . . is a family heavily intermarried with the pioneer Coopers, Blevinses and Burkes from Wayne County, Kentucky.  They came from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, an important staging area for the movement of Melungeon families along the northern and eastern boundaries of the Overhill Cherokee. The family is traced to a James Atkinson, a Quaker who came to Philadelphia in the 1600s, probably from a seaport in Wales. His great-grandson William Adkins left a will dated Jan. 22, 1784 and probated March 15, 1784, detailing an accumulation of wealth, and was buried near Cooper’s Old Store, Pittsylvania County. William’s son Owen was born about 1750 in Lunenberg County, Virginia (parent county of Pittsylvania) and died in Watauga, Hawkins County, Tennessee about 1790. He married Agnes Good/Goad, from the same family that provided a spouse to Valentine Sevier (1701/02-1803). Good is the English equivalent of Shem Tov, Buen, Boone, Le Bon and other names for those bearing the “good name” of King David. Valentine and Agnes were the parents of John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee. One of his sons, Valentine, married Sarah Cooper. The Seviers can be traced to Don Juan de Xavier of a Sephardic family who took refuge in Navarre during the Spanish Inquisition.

In 1836, Benjamin Adkins built a log mill on the Little South Fork of the Cumberland near Parmleysville, Kentucky, made of huge squared logs. This mill, with rifle slits on two levels, is still standing. He left a will in 1839 showing $10,000 in debts owed him and an estate of great value. Numerous family members moved first to Sequatchee (Marion County, Tennessee) and subsequently to Sand Mountain and to a hidden cove at the foot of Fox Mountain (named after Black Fox) called Anawaika, or Deerhead, on the Georgia state line. Some proceeded west to Arkansas. William E. Adkins (about 1828-1862) married Susan E. (Sukie) Cooper (about 1831-1901), the daughter of Isaac and Mahala Jane (Blevins) Cooper, April 20, 1847, in Henry County, Tennessee, and descendants filed unsuccessful applications to be enrolled as Cherokee in Indian Territory. Memories of their Cherokee ancestors ran thin, but Steve Adkins of Arkansas  recalled in 2001, “When I was little my Great Grandma Adkins (Virgie Stanley) use to tell me stories about my Great Grandfather’s (Arthur ‘Aud’ Adkins) Grandmother. She said her name was Sukie and she was a Cherokee Indian. I later found out that ‘Sukie’ was a nickname for Susan. She also mentioned the name Mahala Blevins.”

The Adkins family in America exhibits a familiar pattern of trading and land development on the Southern frontier, intermarriage with the Cherokee Indians and Crypto-Jewish or Melungeon connections . In these respects, their history echoes that of the Coopers, Blevinses, Walkers, Gists, Troxells, Adairs and others in genealogical literature. The genetics of their Indian marriage partners forms the main interest of Cherokee DNA Studies.

Although Dorene Soiret’s story is unusual compared to most Americans it is completely typical when placed beside the Cherokee descendants profiled in DNA Consultants’ Cherokee DNA Studies.

Be open-minded and continue your journey! Dohiyi!

Disclaimer : Our genetic findings about Cherokee people have not been submitted for peer-reviewed scientific or historical publication.

It is not widely known that haplogroup X is one of the 12 primary Jewish lineages, and is found in the Cherokee.

Cherokee/Phoenician Connection

The connection of the Cherokee and the Phoenician is amazing information. The Cherokee seem to be well connected to the Phoenicians and the Jewish people. You may know our friend Boyd Tuttle has spent some time on the replica Phoenicia ship guided by British Sailor Philip Beale as they sail from ancient Carthage toward Florida. We believe the voyage of Mulek followed this route and the Phoenicians brought the People of Zarahemla or the Mulekites to this land. They traveled up the Mississippi River to eventually be stopped by the Des Moines river rapids near Nauvoo, Illinois. See LDS Living article about Mr Beale’s voyage here>

Punic People

Punic praying statuette, c. 3rd century BC

“The Cherokee Paint Clan, it has been suggested by Donald Yates and others, preserves their name, Paint or *Punic People, given to them because of their monopoly in making purple dye and trading luxury goods.” DNA Consultants’ Cherokee DNA Studies. “The Punic language, also called Canaanite or Phoenicio-Punic, is an extinct variety of the Phoenician language, a Canaanite language of the Semitic family. It was spoken in Northwest Africa and several Mediterranean islands by the Punic people throughout Classical antiquity, from the 8th century BC to the 6th century AD? Wikipedia

The Punics (from Latin punicus, pl. punici), also known as Carthaginians, were a people from Ancient Carthage (modern Tunisia and Northeastern part of Algeria) who traced their origins to the Phoenicians . Punic is the English adjective, derived from the Latin adjective punicus to describe anything Carthaginian. Their language, Punic, was a dialect of Phoenician.

Empire of Carthage

History 814–146 BCE
The Punic religion was based on that of their Phoenician forefathers, who worshiped Baal Hammon and Melqart, but merged Phoenician ideas with Numidian and some Greek and Egyptian deities , such as Apollo, Tanit, and Dionysus, with Baal Hammon being clearly the most important Punic god.[3] Punic culture became a melting pot, since Carthage was a big trading port, but the Carthaginians retained some of their old cultural identities and practices.

The Carthaginians carried out significant sea explorations around Africa and elsewhere from their base in Carthage. In the 5th century BCE, Hanno the Navigator played a significant role in exploring coastal areas of present-day Morocco and other parts of the African coast, specifically noting details of indigenous peoples such as at Essaouira .[4][5] Carthaginians pushed westerly into the Atlantic and established important settlements in Lixus, Volubilis, Chellah and Mogador, among other locations.

Greek–Punic and Roman–Punic Wars
Being trade rivals with Magna Graecia, the Carthaginians had several clashes with the Greeks over the island of Sicily in the Sicilian Wars from 600 to 265 BCE.

They eventually also fought Rome in the Sicilian Wars of 265–146 BCE but lost because they were outnumbered, had a lack of full governmental involvement, and relied too much on their navy. That enabled Roman settlement of Africa and eventual domination of the Mediterranean Sea. Cato the Elder famously ended all his speeches, regardless of their subject, with the imperative that Carthage be utterly crushed, a view summarised in Latin by the phrase Praeterea censeo Carthaginem esse delendam meaning, “Moreover, I declare, Carthage must be destroyed!”. Although the Carthaginians were eventually conquered in 146 BCE, with their city destroyed, Cato never got to see his victory, having died 3 years earlier.

146 BCE–700 CE
The destruction of Carthage was not the end of the Carthaginians. After the wars, the city of Carthage was completely razed and the land around it was turned into farmland for Roman citizens. There were, however, other Punic cities in Northwest Africa, and Carthage itself was rebuilt and regained some importance, if a shadow of its ancient influence. Although the area was partially Romanized and some of the population adopted the Roman religion (while fusing it with aspects of their beliefs and customs), the language and the ethnicity persisted for some time.

People of Punic origin prospered again as traders, merchants and even politicians of the Roman Empire . Septimius Severus, emperor of Rome and a proud Punic, was said to speak Latin with a Punic accent. Under his reign Carthaginians rose to the elites and their deities entered their imperial cult. Carthage was rebuilt about 46 BCE by Julius Caesar and settlements in the surrounding area were granted to soldiers who had retired from the Roman army. Carthage once again prospered and even became the number-two trading city in the Roman Empire, until Constantinople took over that position.

As Christianity spread in the Roman Empire, it was especially successful in Northwest Africa, and Carthage became a Christian city even before Christianity was legal. Saint Augustine, born in Thagaste (modern-day Algeria), considered himself Punic, and left some important reflections on Punic cultural history in his writing.[6] One of his more well known passages reads: “It is an excellent thing that the Punic Christians call baptism itself nothing else but ‘salvation’, and the sacrament of Christ’s body nothing else but ‘life’”.[7]

The last remains of a distinct Punic culture probably disappeared somewhere in the chaos during the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The demographic and cultural characteristics of the region were thoroughly transformed by turbulent events such as the Vandals’ wars with Byzantines, the forced population movements that followed and the early Muslim conquests in the 7th century CE.

Melungeon Heritage

“P hoenicians are probably also the source of haplogroup X in the New World, and they are implicated in the mystery of the Melungeon people .” DNA Consultants’ Cherokee DNA Studies.

1. Who Are the Melungeons?

Melungeon is a term that first appeared in print in the 19th century, used in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina  to describe people of mixed ancestry. Melungeons were considered by outsiders to have a mixture of European, Native American, and African ancestry. Researchers have referred to Melungeons and similar groups as “tri-racial isolates,” and Melungeons have faced discrimination, both legal and social, because they did not fit into America’s accepted racial categories.

2. Are there other groups of people similar to the Melungeons?

As many as 200 different mixed ethnic groups have been identified in the eastern and southern United States, ranging from New York to East Texas. These include the Chestnut Ridge People of West Virginia, the Piscataway of Maryland, the Nanticokes and Moors of Delaware, the Ramapough Lenape Nation of New York and New Jersey, the Cubans and Portuguese of North Carolina, the Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians, and the Wassamasaw Tribe of Varnertown Indians of South Carolina, and the Creoles and Redbones of South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. These groups share a “mysterious” origin and have historically been stigmatized by neighbors. While each of the various groups possesses its own unique history and culture, historical and cultural evidence suggests a broad kinship between the groups and a possible common origin (especially for some families), though centuries of population dispersion and admixture have influenced the ethnic and social character of each of the separate populations.

Video about DNA vs. Book of Mormon evidence.

3. Do these groups still exist?

Through intermarriage and migration away from their home regions, many of these groups have lost their collective identity in the last half-century and have blended into the majority population. Some groups with a predominantly Indian heritage have organized as tribes, and a few have gained limited government recognition. Others, like the Melungeons, are recognizing and celebrating their unique multi-ethnic heritage.

4. What does the word “Melungeon” mean?

The traditional explanation for the word “Melungeon” is the French mélange, meaning “mixture.” Another proposed theory for the origin of “Melungeon” is the Afro-Portuguese term melungo , supposedly meaning “shipmate.” Yet another is the Greek term melan , meaning “black.” Other researchers have speculated that “Melungeon” derives from the Turkish melun can , (meaning “cursed soul”); the Italian melongena (“eggplant,” referring to one with dark skin), or the old English term “malengin” (“guile; deceit”). Nearly everyone who has written about the Melungeons agrees that they fiercely resented the name. However, in recent years, many Melungeons proudly bear the name and acknowledge their heritage.

5. What do Melungeons look like?

The earliest descriptions of the Melungeons varied widely, so it is unlikely there was ever a “typical” Melungeon appearance. They were described variously as having European, Native American, or African features, a reflection of the mixed ethnic nature of the Melungeons. Over the years, Melungeons intermarried primarily with whites, so most of today’s Melungeons appear “white.” However, some Melungeons consider themselves African-American, while others have a distinctly Native American or Mediterranean appearance.

6. How do people know who is a Melungeon?

Melungeons, like most of the other tri-racial groups, are known by family names. The surnames of the first recorded Melungeons included Collins, Gibson, Mullins, Goins, Bunch, Bowlin, and Denham. Over the generations, many other surnames have become associated with the Melungeons. Of course, these surnames are common names in America, and are only considered “Melungeon” names in the areas where Melungeons live.

7. Where do Melungeons live?

During the 19th century the name Melungeon was applied to people of mixed ancestry in Virginia and the Carolinas, but in the 20th century it was used mostly in northeastern Tennessee.  Land and tax records show that some of the earliest Melungeon families in this region migrated from the tidewater and Piedmont regions of Virginia and North Carolina. The best-known Melungeon area is Hancock County, Tennessee, and particularly Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater (or Vardy) Valley. Other Melungeon communities or family groups were found in neighboring Hawkins County and Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties in Virginia. From these areas, Melungeons migrated and established communities in southeastern Kentucky, southeastern and middle Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, southern West Virginia, and as far north as eastern Ohio. Of course, not all Melungeon families stayed within their communities; many moved away where they would not face discrimination because of their ethnic heritage. 20th century, many Melungeons joined the outmigration from Appalachia to urban manufacturing centers.

8. What sort of discrimination did Melungeons face?

In a society where people were classified according to European concepts of race, the Melungeons, like other, similar groups, were in an awkward position. Neither white, black, nor Indian, their social status was below that of whites, but usually somewhat above that of African-Americans. Different groups faced different social and legal restrictions, depending on local customs and attitudes. In the 1840’s, several Melungeons were tried for illegal voting on the grounds that they were not white, and therefore ineligible to cast a ballot. However, they were acquitted. In Virginia, Melungeons were classified as “colored” by the Racial Integrity Act, which was in effect from 1924 to 1971. Most of the discrimination faced by Melungeons was social rather than legal; they were considered low-class, untrustworthy, and “tainted” by their African ancestry.

9. Where did the Melungeons originate?

Melungeon Family

That is the million-dollar question, the one that has fueled the imagination of journalists since the mid-19th century. Until recently, most scientists studying the Melungeons believed them to be – like most of the other tri-racial groups – the product of intermarriage between Anglo/Celtic Americans, Indians, and free African-Americans along the American frontier. Hancock County Melungeons, when first interviewed by outsiders about their heritage around 1890, defined themselves as Indian and Portuguese, but also acknowledged English and African ancestry. While most whites discounted the claim of Portuguese ancestry, believing it to be a means of denying African ancestry, generations of feature writers tapped into folklore and their own imaginations to develop theories to explain the origins of the Melungeons. Various writers suggested they were descendants of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke Island, descendants of deserters from Hernando de Soto’s expedition, one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, descendants of shipwrecked pirates, or descendants of Carthaginian sailors. In each of these suggested scenarios, these overseas visitors intermarried with Indians and moved inland. Genetic studies have shown that Melungeons share genetic traits with populations in the Mediterranean, South Asia, and Middle East, as well as with northern Europeans, Native Americans, and African-Americans. Not all Melungeons share all these genetic traits; every family has its own unique ethnic history. These studies do not answer all of the questions about the origins of the Melungeons, of course. We cannot tell when these various ethnic components entered a particular family line. However, these findings do open the door to further speculation and study; the Melungeons’ origins are almost certainly more complex than originally thought.

10. Was there a unique Melungeon culture?

The Melungeons, like nearly all the other tri-racial groups, were culturally almost identical to their neighbors. Some Melungeons were fairly well off economically, but most worked on small farms – just like the whites in that region.

11. Why are people now discovering their possible Melungeon ancestry?

Even those who lived in Melungeon communities, or had close ties to those communities, often never heard the word “Melungeon” applied to themselves or their families; the term was considered an insult and was rarely said directly to the person it was describing. As Melungeon families and individuals migrated away from their home areas, they frequently wanted to leave the stigma of their ethnic heritage behind them. Their children and grandchildren were not told of their family’s heritage, since many considered it shameful, something to be hidden. Over the years, family legends about “an Indian great-grandmother” or “a Portuguese grandfather” seemed to explain the swarthy appearance of ancestors and descendents, but many genealogists found inexplicable gaps in their families’ histories, census designations for ancestors indicating “mulatto” or “free person of color,” and other mysteries.

The rise of the Internet in the mid-1990s coincided with the publication of The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People by Brent Kennedy. This book suggested Turkish, Moorish, Jewish, Spanish, Portuguese, African, northern European, and Native American ancestry for the Melungeons , and theorized that the population of Melungeon descendents was much larger than previously assumed. Web pages and e-mail groups were devoted to the study of Melungeons, and the first Melungeon Union celebration was held in 1997. The Melungeon Heritage Association was formed in 1998 to facilitate research and disseminate information. In 2002 a joint resolution signed by presidents of MHA and the Vardy Community Historical Society agreed to cooperation between the two organizations, and made a statement of principles affirming kinship among all mixed ancestry groups.

12. How can I find out if I have Melungeon ancestry?

If you have a connection to a documented Melungeon family, you obviously have Melungeon ancestry. However, it can be very difficult to find a “documented” Melungeon family. Prior to 1900, the entire written record of Melungeons consisted of less than a dozen newspaper and magazine articles, nearly all focusing on the Hancock County group, and only a few individual Melungeons were identified in these articles.

Researchers have identified several surnames as “Melungeon” names (see the surname lists elsewhere on this website). Again, these names are common in America, and only in areas where Melungeons lived were they associated with that population. If you find records of ancestors in these areas who have “Melungeon surnames,” there is a strong possibility you have Melungeon ancestry – particularly if some family members are listed as non-white in census reports.

Remember, Melungeons did not begin to identify themselves as such until the mid-1960s. Their neighbors imposed the name on them, and their neighbors defined who was and who was not a Melungeon – and those definitions were not always consistent. There were no tribal rolls, no records identifying a certain group of people as Melungeons. As a result, most people will find it difficult to establish a Melungeon ancestry with any certainty.

13. Can DNA testing establish a Melungeon ancestry?

There is no “Melungeon gene.” Melungeons are an ethnic and racial mixture and genetic tests reflect that mixture. Furthermore, this mixture is different in each Melungeon family. DNA testing, combined with genealogical research, can provide clues that might suggest Melungeon ancestry.


As you can imagine, there were many groups of people with mixed origin, but none more fabled and romanticized than the dark skinned, blue eyed Melungeons of the Appalachian region.  Legends were that they were survivors from the lost colony of Roanoke, or one of the lost Tribes of Israel. They were also speculated to be of Cherokee, gypsy, Turkish, Spanish, Phoenician, etc. decent. The legend also is that Elvis Presley descended from the melungeons.

The following is taken from “The Melungeons: The Resurrection of A Proud People; An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America,”by Dr. N. Brent Kennedy (p. 140) Source: Local Lore

The Spanish, of course left behind a multitude of place names and a populace descended from them. Even today, there can be found in New Mexico descendants of conversos who once came to New Mexico secretly practicing a truncated and furtive form of Judaism under a Christian veneer. Some are thank G-d returning to their Jewish roots.

It would be an injustice not to mention the Native Americans, an assortment of many nationalities and languages who are the poorest of America’s ethnic groups. It would be a service to America if their traditions could be preserved and their economic foundation built up.

Was he a Melungeon?

Along with the many imigrants to America, are there other groups whose presence passes unnoted in the official histories of our country?

It seems so. How many people give thought to the Melungeons ? Who are they? One of their web sites, offers articles and links to the scholarship revolving around this fascinating group, whose origins are shrouded in mystery…

“With his team of researchers, Dr Kennedy has found hundreds of words in local Indian dialects that have almost the same meaning in Turkish or Arabic. The Cherokee word for mother for example, is Ana Ta. In Turkish, the word for mother is also Ana-Ta.”

The early records of non English immigration to North America help explain this phenomenon. The BBC article elaborates as follows.

“When he began to research his ancestry, Dr Kennedy found evidence that first people to arrive in Appalachia, were not northern Europeans, but may have been Ottoman Turks. Portuguese settlers brought Turkish servants with them in the 16th Century. Sir Francis Drake unloaded hundreds of other Turks after he liberated them from the Spanish in 1587. Blood typing has confirmed close similarities between present day Melungeons and people of the Mediterranean region. What has now become known as the Kennedy theory is that these people pushed inland and settled down with American Indian women, to begin life as farmers.” Source Globe Tribune

Could Abraham Lincoln – not Barack Obama – be America’s first black president?

It is claimed that Abraham Lincoln, who became America’s  16 th President on this day in 1860, was a Melungeon; a person of European, African-American and Native American ancestry.

Melungeons are typically believed to come from East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and eastern Kentucky.  Some come from the Appalachian region of the U.S. which spans over Canada and numerous states in the U.S.

Like African-Americans, Melungeons also have a painful past in America – “have been maligned and denied their basic rights. They have been pushed off of fertile land. They have been barred from schools. They have been prohibited from voting,” according to The Washington Post .

A Melungeon family circa 1900; teacher and nurse…Johnson City Press

Lincoln’s Melungeon ancestry is said to come from his mother as explained in Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America by Elizabeth Hirschman. The author stated, “That Abraham Lincoln was of Melungeon descent was first suggested, to my knowledge, by Brent Kennedy.” “Kennedy comments that Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks, was in all likelihood of Melungeon heritage, given several facts of her background.”

According to Appalachian Histories & Mysteries , “Melungeons are considered to be bi- or tri-racial individuals, of varying and debatable ethnicities ranging from African to Jewish to European, living in the Appalachian region. These people have been particularly famous for living in small enclaves in Hawkins and Hancock Counties of Eastern Tennessee, Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties of Southwest Virginia, and Western North Carolina. Smaller communities of family groups were once known to live in Western South Carolina, Southern West Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky. According to the Melungeon Heritage Association, at least 200 other mixed-ethnic groups have been identified in the Eastern United States, such as the Guineas of West Virginia, the We-Sorts of Maryland, the Nanticokes and Moors of Delaware, the Jackson Whites of New York and New Jersey, the Cubans and Portuguese of North Carolina, the Turks and Brass Ankles of South Carolina, and the Creoles and Redbones of Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana.”


DNA: PROOF CHEROKEE ARE MOORS (Berber is a name given to Native Moors (Mauri) of north Africa by Greco/Romans.) AND THAT MOORS TRAVERSED THIS LAND LONG BEFORE THE EUROPEAN!
Posted on January 14, 2016 by mmwnews

“The term “Moors” refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.” Wikipedia

Moros y Cristianos festival in Oliva.


“A Berber Connection to Cherokee Ancestry? By user September 04, 2009

Thought I’d pass this along since Cherokee ancestry is fairly common in some lines of the Cross lineage.

I was just reading an article by Brian Wilkes, a Cherokee language instructor, concerning the Cherokee/Berber connection. Here’s an excerpt and perhaps something to think about if you’re Cherokee mixed blood, considering DNA testing, or have gone through the DNA testing process.

“Old Cherokee migration legends suggest an ancient connection with the Berbers of North Africa, Morocco.

Moors on the North African coast, as depicted in Britain in 1739

The Berbers are a tribal people whose lands once stretched from Mauritania on the Atlantic Ocean to Libya on the Mediterranean Sea and are related to the Phoeicians and Carthaginians.

According to Mr. Wilkes, the DNA markers in most Cherokee mixed-bloods supports the legend of the Cherokee surviving a volcano and flood by sailing west on reed boats, following a seven-pointed star. The mountains were called Attala and since that time, the Cherokee have believed it’s best to live in or near mountains near cedar trees in case the world floods again..”

Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Additional DNA Studies below!

READ “Rediscovering the Book of Mormon Remnant through DNA

This short version article is here and the long version may be downloaded here , titled “Rediscovering the Book of Mormon Remnant through DNA ” by Rod Meldrum effectively and powerfully addresses, and provides supporting evidence about the DNA questions you may have.