If you ask, "Who are the Melungeons?" you are like most people. If you have been researching your family in the Cumberland Plateau of Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Tennessee, during the early migration years, you may be able to find them through a connection to this group of people who are only now being researched with unbiased eyes. The Melungeons are a people of apparent Mediterranean descent who may have settled in the Appalachian wilderness as early or possibly earlier than 1567. (The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People; N. Brent Kennedy, Mercer University Press,Macon, GA, USA, 1997; introduction, p. xiii) The Mediterrean includes areas of North Africa, southern Europe and Central Asia.
According to Dr. Kennedy, the Melungeons were "a people who almost certainly intermarried with Powhatans, Pamunkeys, Creeks, Catawbas, Yuchis, and Cherokees to form what some have called, perhaps a bit FANCIFULLY, a `new race'. Dr. Kennedy does not believe that the Melungeons can be called a `race of people'. No dictionary definition of race fits with what we know of the Melungeons and recently, the American Anthropological Association, declared that `race', was an inaccurate, artificial way of defining a people and was no longer of any value.
Certain surnames are associated with the Melungeons:
© by Nancy Sparks Morrison
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