Part X Sephardic Jews and the LDS Connection: Sephardic Names and What to Look For

In Colonial America, the Converso/Crypto Sephardic Jews, finally felt safely out of the reach of the terrifying clutches of the Inquisition. They were free to practice what vestiges they had left of their religion. Many parents sought to give their children names which reflected their true heritage.  If you read no more of this post, what you can take from this introductory paragraph is;  if you have an Uncle ALONZO, who is not Hispanic,  and/or your last name is PERRY, you are most likely  a descendant of the Sephardic Jews. In order for me to teach you what to look for in your genealogy,  I will show you examples in my own genealogy and perhaps you might even recognize them as your own.

Elizabeth C. Hirschman in her book Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America, described naming patterns unique to Colonial America and some Melungeon families. While in Melungeons- The Last Lost Tribe in America England,  hirschmanCrypto-Converso Sephardic Jews gave their children traditional English names such as William, Elizabeth and James. After arriving in American colonies they relaxed, and named their children, what I will label as “safe” Jewish Biblical names. As they gathered together on the American frontier especially during The Melungeon Migration in the late 1700-a to the early 1800’s; many felt comfortable in the wilderness to name their children unique Sephardic Melungeon names.

For example:


Samuel ALLEN born 1567 in England  married an unknown wife. They were the parents of  children with typical English names:

Thomas, Francis, Rose, Ralph, George, William, Matthew, Walter,

Samuel’s great grandson American  Nathaniel ALLIN 1648 married to  Mary FRIZZELL 1656  named all, but one of their  children (Edward), with what I will label as “safe” Biblical names:

Edward, Samuel, James, Nathaniel, Sarah, Mary, Benjamin, John, Ebenezer,

Nathaniel’s grandson   John ALLIN born in  1712  married to Huldah Hill 1718 named their children:                                                                                                     Ira ALLEN                              ira allen

Hanah, Mary, John, Amos, James, and Jesse; all “safe” Jewish names

and Eliakim and Finis which are  Sephardic names.

Notice while in England the surname  is ALLEN. Once in the safety of the American Colonies, ALLEN changes to ALLIN. Perhaps as a reminder of once ALI.

The Sephardic women were persistent in keeping the faith alive in their families.   While in Spain, because the synagogues were shut down, the men were left spiritually adrift because had they lost the means and ways of worship.  Jewish women had always practiced their faith at home; performing the prayers and rituals necessary for a proper Jewish home. During the  Inquisition, and later in Western Europe as practicing Crypto-Jews, it was the women who kept the faith alive. While researching possible Sephardic lines, it is necessary to look closely at the women’s lines. Often it was women who made converts of their husbands, or at least converted their children.

Consider my  HOLCOMBE line, or as I like say, “my kin to Jesus line”, which runs back into England, thru France, Spain and into the High Rabbis of Babylonia. I believe the HOLCOMBE descendants were some kind of varying degree of  Crypto/Converso Sephardic Jewish. My GGGG-Grandmother Keziah MESSENGER BENSON had three HOLCOMBE great-grandmothers who were closely related as two were sisters and the other one an aunt of the sisters.  It is also interesting to note both  my husband and I come from these lines and an additional line in my mother’s side also converges farther up.  My children carry a good amount of HOLCOMBE DNA.

The male MESSENGER/MESSINGER line marries into the female HOLCOMBE line.


Andrew MESSENGER born 1588 in England married Sarah.  They had three sons with English names:

Edward, Andrew, and  Henry

Grandson Nathaniel MESSENGER born 1653 in America married Rebecca KELSEY born 1660, who is a descendant of John HOPKINS, who may or may not, have been related to Stephen HOPKINS the Pilgrim.

Nathaniel and Rebecca’s children:                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mariah Messinger

a typical Puritan name of Return

and then “safe” Jewish names for Hannah, Joseph, Nathan/Nathaniel, John, and Rebecca.

Son Joseph, using the Jewish spelling of MESSINGER, and wife Katherine HOLCOMBE  have the Jewish names of Isaiah, Ezekial, Sarah, Elijah, Isaac, Joseph, Nathaniel and Jeheil; with one typical english name of Catherine.

Son Isaac born 1717 married to Hannah ALFORD.  ALFORD name is also spelled as ALVORD and ALVARD.   ALVARD is close to several Sephardic Spanish names such as ALVEREZ and ALVARDO.    They named their children a less safe Jewish combination of  names such as: Dorcas, Simeon, Joseph, Hannah, Isaac, Moses, Aaron, Rueben, Elisha and Abner. The last three are typically Sephardic such as Rosy, after the Sephardic symbol the rose; Keziah and  good ole’ Uncle Carmi.

Joseph MESSENGER the son of the previous ISaac, born 1741 marred Jemima BARBER. Jemima also a Sephardic name. It is interesting to note, there is no record of Joseph and Jemima being married in a church. I suggest they followed the Crypto-Jewish practice of a marriage ceremony in a private home. Joseph and Jemima’s granddaughter Keziah MESSENGER  married  her husband Benjamin BENSON at a private home in a different county than either resided, despite a number of churches in the proximity to their parent’s homes.  The MESSENGER children are:

Joseph, Cornish (family surname),  Jemima, Heman, Zebina, Ebenezer, Jediah and Keziah. They also have Elva, a strictly Sephardic name, Chloe and Rhoda typical Melungeon names.


I have spent a considerable amount of time on direct and indirect lines. I saw this pattern repeated a number of times; where while in Europe the names were typical English names such as Henry, William and Katherine. Later in the Americas the names became increasingly Sephardic as in Keziah, Eliakim, and Carmi.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of family historians.  I was able to traverse thru large files of my New England  family lines. My efforts were rewarded as I found scores of Sephardic names. Here is a small sampling of  Jewish names in the ALLEN, VAIL/VAILE, MESSENGER/MESSINGER,BENSON and related lines.


ALEXANDER Alford 1521

LAZARUS Twitchell 1594

SUSANNA Skelton 1620

PELEG Lawrence 1647

EZEKIAL Marsh 1648

ABIEL Twitchell 1663

ELEAZAR Partridge 1664

BETHIA Twitchell 1665

JONA Hill 1691

BARAUCH Pond 1702

ZERIUAH Leavens 1718

ABIJAH Phelps 1734                                                                                                                                                      Polly Benson


JEMIMA Barber 1741

BILDAD Barber 1745

ElLIAKIM Allin/Allen 1754

ELNASHAI  Benson 1756

SOLOMON Snow 1759

EBER Alford 1760

ELNATHAN Benson 1760

ZEBINA Messenger 1772

ELVA Messenger 1775

MARIAH Benson 1775

ASA Allin/Allen 1776

SIMEON Allen 1779

KEZIAH Messenger 1779

ELIHUE Messenger 1783

OLIVE Benson 1784

ElVIRA Vail 1792

WELTHEA Vail 1795

ALVAH Benson 1799

JUDE Allen 1810

SABRA Messenger 1815

ALONZO Henry Snow 1854

ALPHONZO Houtz Snow 1858

Thomas LORENZO Van Noy 1866

Albert ALONZO Savage 1886

EMMANUEL Preece Nelson 1887

Mary ELVIRA Nelson 1891

Most names were verified at the Sephardim Genealogy website archived by Harvard University managed by Harry Stein and site by Jeffrey S. Malka  author of  Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World

Names beginning with EL (such as EL-mira) were usually Jewish in origin. AL names (such as AL-mira) were Islamic in origin. I have both types in my family. THe MESSENGER-BENSON line was especially fond of AL names such as GGG-Grandfather Alvah BENSON.  It is interesting to note Grandpa Alvah’s granddaughter recounts how Grandpa would prostrate himself on the ground while in secret prayer. It sounds similar to how the Muslims pray. The Converso Moriscoes/Moors retained this type of prayer from Islam.

Cynthia Vail and Alvah BensonCynthia VAIL and Alvah BENSON

I did find some really over the top strange names that are extremely telling on the heritage of these supposably English people:

Very Unusual Sephardic Names

SALAMAN (Sephardic) Alford 1545

AFIEL (from Za’Afiel in the Kabbalah) Twitchell 1665                                                                Martha Tyresha VAILMartha Tyresha Vail

DIADEMA (Sephardic) Snow 1756

FINIS (Sephardic) Allin 1765

CARMI (North African Sephardic) Messenger 1771

HIRA (Arabic-the cave where Mohamed read revelation from Angel Gabriel) Messenger 1772

ELIPHALET (Sephardic) Alford 1777

ARBA (Sephardic) Alford 1779

William AHIRA (from Kabbalah –Hanukah) Messenger 1805

Ruth ZERINA (Islamic) Messenger 1816

AFFA (Atta or Afaf Islamic) Messenger 1825

Isadore Percy SINA (Sephardic Holland) Snow 1855

Sarah ALVILDA (Spanish Sephardic) Mecham 1858

ELAM (Persian Hebrew) Allen  1862

Laurin ALVIRAS (Spanish Sephardic) Snow 1863

James CYRUS (Greek) Allen 1869

Laura Allen and Joseph Savage Family

Laura ALLEN and Joseph SAVAGE family

last row right Uncle ALONZO Savage

Albert ALONZO (Spanish Sephardic) Savage 1886

RHODA ARMINTA (Sephardic) Davis 1887

VEDA (Sephardic-Turkish) Ann Nelson 1893

Mary ELVIRA (Sephardic) Nelson 1901

John QUE (Sephardic) Nelson 1904


Consider surnames as well. If your surname is Biblical for instance,  AARON, ADAMS, DAVID, JOSEPH, SAMUEL, ISREAL etc… it is likely you have a Jewish background. Unlike the Ashkenazi of Europe, the Sephardic Jews and Moors had surnames that stretch back hundreds of years. Remember how the Sephardic Jews were notorious for adapting well to another culture? The Sephardim would adapt their surname to the new host country. Some possible examples:



BENSON could be any of a endless list of BEN names since BEN means son.

BERRY- is a Sephardic family surname

BRISCOE- derivative of MORISCOE (Spanish Moors who suffered the same fate as the Sephardim)


(de/da)COSTA-prominet Sephardic surname


FRANKS- prominent Sephardic and found in Ashkenazi families too.


HARTLEY- HART is a prominent Sephardic surname.   When children from wealthy and/or prominent Sephardic families marry, their surname is hyphened. For example HART-LEVI.  Later, the Converso/Crypto descendants adapt their name.



IBSEN-IBN (son of)





LYONS- Sephardic name




NUNES- common Sephardic name

OLIVER- Olive and all it’s variations


ROSA/ROSE- common Sephardic name



VALE/VAIL/VAILE/duVAL/ deVAL- Sephardic surname

This entry was posted in General and tagged by JA Benson. Bookmark the permalink.

About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009

57 thoughts on “Part X Sephardic Jews and the LDS Connection: Sephardic Names and What to Look For

  1. Ok Geoff. Like I said before you sure are a smart one. I am glad you brought up the HALE name. I took a quick look at the HALE line I see: a surname of LEWIS; the TUTTLE line inter-marries twice in the 1500’s and there is a Simon and Anthony, they use Esther more than once. The Sephardim regard Esther as a hero and they used the tactic of marrying their gorgeous daughters to Christian individuals, with power, as a way of protection.
    Emma has a direct ancestor named Eliphalet, a Sephardic name. BTW my favorite Sephardic name. Someday a cat at our house will be named Eliphalet.

    One big clue for me was one of the objections Emma’s father Isaac had to Joseph was he was a “Stranger”. This is a code word used over and over again in regards to the Sephardim. They call themselves “strangers in a strange land” and others “strangers”. Joseph’s family definitely has Sephardic possibilities, but his would have been the unchurched lost their way type of descendant of Sephardic Jews.

    My kids are screaming for dinner I will look at Martin Harris later. Actually I have never looked at his genealogy, so this will be interesting.

  2. I got to thinking last night and I checked TUTTLE, it is in a related line in my BENSON line. Same TUTTLES.

    Quick look at more names in the HALE line:

    JOURDAINE/JORDAN is a Jewish name. The JOURDAINE line is found early 1500’s in England. Judith, another Jewish name, found a few times is the female for Judah. Emma has an ancestor named Giovani DE ANGELO aka George DENSLOW (see how clever they are to change names) 🙂 a name found in Sicily. De Angelo is an Italian Sephardic name.

    BOONELL, Thomas married to Jacque Marie BYGOTE, They are from Flanders. Flanders had a large population of French Jews and the Sephardim. Emigrated to England in early 1600’s. Their children are: Daniel, David, Thomas, ELizabeth, Isaac, Abraham, Benjamin, and Judye (Judith name). Radical, Thomas and Marie, giving their children such telling names in England.

  3. Geoff-part 2 Martin HARRIS. HARRIS is a broad name used by people who “pass” You will find HARRIS in Gypsy, Jewish, and Melungeon families.

    Not as easy as the HALE line. What I found was a brother to Martin by the name of Seville. Perhaps a Converso reminder of the past. I found PAINE (Melungeon surname), ARNOLD (Ashkenazi surname); also Sephardic surnames of ARNOLD in the spanish form of ARNALDEZ, ARNEDO, ARNALEZ, and ARNAU; INMAN (Melungeon surname), MOWERY, which is sometimes MAURICE, a French form of MOSES and DURRANT, the Spanish form is DURANTE or DUART both Sephardic. So maybe.

  4. All but one of my children has a “Sephardic” name. And my ancestry has no Sephardic Jewish influence, well past 1492 when Coverso/Cryptic Sephardim started…

    It is a well known fact, among those who follow such things, that Biblical names were very popular among the colonists. Why assume that the Biblical names used show Sephardic influence rather than a Puritan Biblican influence?

  5. A Nony Mouse- Thanks for stopping by to read and to comment. Perhaps you had genetic memory when you named your children. 🙂

    Has all your genealogy been done past 1492 on every line? Wow, if that is the case. I have many cousins who work diligently on our lines. A couple of lines go waaay back to the time of Christ and before. A few others only go to the early 1800’s and 1700’s. Quite a few lines end in the late 1500’s. Several end 10-20 years after 1492 in England.

    Names can be a witness. Safe Biblical names like Samuel, Isaac, Sarah are not as strong as say Elikim, Mordacai and Keziah. What is more curious are Spanish names such as Alva, Carlos, Alphonzo, and Alonzo paired with a English surname with anti-Catholic Protestant or Mormon people. Also even more curious are Eliphalet, Elam and Zerina. People at that time in England were named Henry, Roger and Anne. Perhaps the radicals that colonized the American Colonies were English, who copied Hebrews, or maybe some were Sephardim who had escaped Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Italy as the Inquisition spread. It is estimated that 200-500 thousand individuals fled the Inquisition; Moors and Jews, Converso and Crypto, over several hundreds of years 1300’s-1700’s. Where did these people go? England is a good place. Nice Protestant place with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in-regards to the Jews and Moors. Many landed in South America. Why would North America be any different?

    You say you have no Sephardic influence. Perhaps you do and do not realize it. Have you had a DNA test? A DNA test can be a witness. DNA tests do not always show the Sephardim as they are not a stationery population. My DNA test and my parents and my husband all show strong Mediterranean, Levantine, Eastern Europe, Scandinavian, and Asian influences. Only a small amount of Western European showed up. These are markers of people who migrated a lot and gathered up others from those areas as they moved. All of my ancestors on paper are English, Danish and French. My husband on paper is Swiss, English, and German.

    A third witness can be some kind of left over practices or memory in one’s family. I will not go in detail, but both sides of my family have left over practices and memory. Remember all of my lines (and my husbands) have been in the Church since the early 1870’s. We have thousands of cousins in the LDS, Community of Christ, and FLDS organizations.

    Another witness can be inherited illnesses. The Sephardim have couple. We will get to that later as well.

    For more information please see:

    Our pioneer names and DNA. THe rest of the posts explain how this happened
    part 1-

    What happened in Spain
    part 2-

    Some went to Turkey
    part 3-

    Some went to Western Europe
    part 4-

    Sephardic Influences
    part 5-

    England and Spain were at war. The Western Europe Converso and Crypto Jews fled even farther west in fear of Spain
    part 6-
    part 7-

    Some Sephardic Jews were part of the tri-isolate communities in America
    part 8-

    Sephardic descendants preferred to be out on the wilderness
    part 9-

    Sephardim altered or adapted their surnames, but often kept a few Sephardic given names
    part 10-

    Sephardic Jews had unique illnesses:

    Evidence of Orson Hyde’s Jewish ancestry using the Hirschman model

    We are all gathered

  6. Very interesting! I have an ancestor by the name of Ishmael Vineyard. He or an ancestor may have come from Stuttgardt, Germany—early 1700s. There are Vin(e)yards whose name from Germany was Weinert. First generation in America changed it to Vineyard or Vinyard. Supposedly the same meaning. It was passed down through some of the families that they were Sephardic Jews.
    However, the name Ishmael has puzzled us. Could they have been descended from Moors?

    Thank you for any help.

  7. I am writing from the standpoint of one who is aware of the heritage of her people a mixed colored people whose descendants mixed with other mixed people and whose direct ancestors were listed as mulatto or “colored” and “black”. I am thus not a descendant of white people with some mixed blood now claiming to have “discovered” they are part “Indian” or claiming they have Melungeon blood that was of Mediterranean or “Sephardic” descent with little or no African blood. Finally I am writing as a person either directly descended from people with the name Hale, listed as people of color married to other families of color named Yates, Reynolds, Cannady, Benning, Mullins, Whitehead, Carter, Sheffey, Harris, Boone, Lewis, and Hendrix almost all listed as melungeon related.

    They are all ancestors within the last 4 to 5 generations of not only my family but millions of other light skinned black Americans who are descended from free-people of color in America. Born in the 1800s, their photos show very light skinned people that were listed as either black, free people of color or mulatto at one time or another in censuses. I know from family genealogy and tradition that my direct ancestors were of black, Native American, East Indian and white origin. Today their descendants who have not passed into the majority white population are called Blacks, and I know for a fact that some of their death certificates say white simply because the coroner believed they were. The photographs that I and other people who descend from such people show that though very light in complexion most of these people nevertheless didn’t look like olive-skinned Western European-looking people with black wavy or curly hair as Hirschberg and others pretend or rather wish earliest Melungeons were.

    Anyone really interested in the Jewish and “Mediterranean” ancestry in the Melungeons needs to look into the African and Moorish influences in the Souian or Blackfoot population. Except for possibly the name “Whitehead” which comprised some of my great aunts and uncles through marriage, I have not found that European cryptojews made up a significant portion of the Melungeon or “free-colored” ancestors in the U.S.. And even these Whiteheads appear to have been Jewish before mixing with Europeans.

    There are some definite problems with Dr. Hirschman’s book and the dna study of Donald Yates – the main one being many of the names are not originally “Melungeon” and those names that are were as much European and Muslim as they are Jewish. Several of the names listed in her book that she claims were Melungeon and Jewish including her Hale line are my immediate and direct ancestors. These part Indian or “black-Indian” and describes as dark mulatto and then mainly bright mulatto” ancestors moved from Amherst and Franklin County, Virginia into Kentucky and Tennessee in the early 1800s who were part Indian, African and European in origin. The ones who were descended from the Branham Hale group that were descended from the bright mulattos living in the area of Kentucky – from one photo I received from a distant Hale cousin – looked like half-white and half Indian people.

    I know for a fact it was definitely not the Hale line that was Jewish or “Turkish” or Indian. It was the people they married or intermixed with after arriving in America that were in fact of “Melungeon” or mixed ancestry. Some of these were of the Souian i.e. “Blackfoot” stock who themselves were “mixed” or Indians with a large percent of black and possibly Spanish or Portuguese in them they brought up from the Carolinas. Some Hales married Monacan Indians (Souian) that claimed “Portuguee” connections from the earliest Webb, Gowan and Branham which was of part African and Mulatto ancestry. The Indian ancestors of mine that lived on a reservation not long ago in my own Hale line claim to have come up originally from South Carolina where of course the “Indians” like the Lumbee have had a significant African and possibly Mediterranean connection. The Hales however were not from the Portuguese.

    These “Portuguese” connections in the Monacan Hales were mostly derived from African or “Angolan” ancestry in the Webb-Gowan family and not from Jewish ancestry. Tim Hashaw has shown the early Africans at times used the term Portuguese for themselves. Many black Africans were called Portuguese long before coming to America due to Portuguese colonizations and the fact they were also living in Portugal. So it is no wonder that some of the early Melungeons including my lines of Hales have names like Ferdinand, Silva, , etc.

    Genealogical evidence also suggests that many of the names listed such as Perry or Berry in the Melungeons, were probably brought in by the Arabized or Muslim Africans, rather than “crypto-Jews” from Europe. Other names such as Mullins, Canady (Kennedy) and Saunders, Hale are definitely NOT the names of Sephardic or Ashkenazic jews that came to America but are for the most part traced to Irish and British folk and possibly (French or Hugenot in the Mullins case. However, if they were crypto-Jews before they left Europe they certainly were never listed as other than “white” unless they mixed with people of color in the U.S. later – as some of them did.

    In fact the Hale family comes from of Christian people of European descent that can be shown to have mixed with Indians or rather black Indians (Souian), which most Indians in the east coast of Americans became by the 1800s, according to Paul Heinegg, Ira Berlin, Hashaw and others.

    The ancestors of the Hales that came through Virginia are demonstrably (thru genealogy ) related to those of New England that came from the towns Kent- and Hrtfordshire. This is why some Hale’s even with an “Indian” or “Cherokee” ancestor that claimed their ancestors said they were related to Nathan Hale the Revolutionary, which they were through ancestor their British Hale ancestors. The Hale families were in fact part of the Baronnage of England and were never described as anything but white when they came to America until mixed with people that weren’t. The name goes back to the crusader or Templar and brother of Robert de Hales a Lord Treasure of England that was beheaded around the 12th century.
    Other Melungeons may show a “Mediterranean” dna through the intermarriage with people like the French -Huguenots and “black Irish” like the Leffew, Parish who became mixed with “free people of color” mainly after mixing with Indians. These families are known to have been either of black Indian ancestry Souian ancestory. But in the case of the Parris and Neely families and a few other families dna has been studied and has been demonstrated to be related to Tuareg “Black” or “Moorish” people. This leaves the possiblity that the Mediterranean dna found in early free people of color was in fact due to Africans again.

    See Southwest Virginia project

    It should be noted here that many of the Tuareg (camel nomads of Mali, Niger Chad and Algeria) who are the true “Berber” ancestors of the Moors of Portugal (Almuwahhid and Alurabidun) were said in African manuscripts to have been :”mixed with Turks and Tartars” before settling southward in the Sahara and Sahel (Mali and Niger). The Fulani another large Muslim black African population originally nomads in North and the Sahara that came to America was already mixed with the black Arab descendants of the Sulaym-Hilal group who had settled North Africa. Although some Fulani were and are Jews.
    The descendants of the Banu Sulaym are now called Hassaniyya and Trarza “Moors” in the western Sahara and were largely responsible along with other Africans for bringing millions of Europeans as far away as the Caucasus into Morocco Tunisia and Algeria during the Ottoman period. The word Slav and slave are derived from the same root and it is not impossible that some of the latter or their mixed descendants could have come with the African Portuguese and the Afro-Arab people to America. These Slavs could have in fact contributed to early American Indian populations in terms of complexion as well as stature. Early paintings of the Cherokees come to mind as well as some of the Croatan.

    As for the Tuareg or Moorish Africans, there is every indication that a large portion of them were still Jewish, and in fact Tuareg nobles a very tall people still claim descent from Canaanites or the Phoenicians and Phillistines, whom should not be confused with modern Lebanese or white Syrian people. It is Tuareg smith caste of vassals that claims “Hebraic” origin.

    As most historians of the Ottoman period know, the name “Turk” as used in America, could conceivably refer to anybody that became a Muslim in general fighting against the Americans and Europeans in the 19th century, hence there was a phrase “to turn Turk”. As for the name “Portugee” or Portuguese for early Melungeons like the Mallory Johns, Hashaw found documents testifying this was used by Central Africans (Bantu) and Muslim Africans (“Moors”) coming with the Portuguese to early America. He also found that these Bantu were also already Catholicized.

    I know for a fact that the Whitehead in the free people of color references were Jews. This family from very early period were a mulatto looking people who were clearly part African or Moorish and Indian (probably Seminole) in ancestry. Many Whitehead African Americans in my lines are very light in color. The names Levi, Moses, Ramie, Irvie, Moselle, Sophia or Sophie, Joseph seem to run in this family. However, these names are not found so much in the southern Whitehead families whose they lived near and probably got their white blood from .

    My Hale line from Franklin County were cousins of the mulatto Turners one of whom named Giles lived in the household of a white Saunders family, another name listed as crypto-Jewish by DonaldYates and Hirschman, before moving in with my great grandmother and father Hale. My Hales also lived virtually next door to people John Hale Saunders.
    She also claims the Saunders were one of the groups with Sephardic, Moorish and Melungeon first names.

    The white Saunders- Hale lines in Franklin County Virginia were a closely intermarried population in the 17 and 1800s and hence if the Saunders were indeed crypto-Jews of French origin that could, of course, be another reason for Mediterranean or Jewish blood in the Hale family. But, again that would have nothing to do with why the Melungeons were dark-skinned or considered an exotic looking Mulattos or free people of color.

    Was Hirschman’s book written before Tim Hashaws work . Frankly, I found her book disgraceful and self-aggrandizing that she should do so little research on the people she was writing about and make the “free-people of color” that may have been Jewish or Muslim listed in my family and ancestral to millions of other black American families as well into some non-sensical European conglomeration that probably had little to do with early Melungeons. Some of t Hirschman’s claims like making the name Cowan or Gowan into Cohen are rather silly especially when there are documents showing early people named Gowan are called “Negroes” – in which case there would probably have been nothing “cryptic” in their appearance. The name Cohen is probably no more related to Gowan than it is to Guinea which is likely the root of Gowan. .
    Yes – we know our ancestors married white people- but the descriptions leave no doubt that the early Melungeon people – Jewish, Muslim or gentile – would not have looked like the people she has obviously European-looking people photographed in her book or put on many other melungeon sites for that matter.

    Lastly, all people who have some kind of fear of having black blood should not be looking into their Melungeon roots or even Indian roots, because you might be, in the end, very sorry for what you will find!

    Thank you!

  8. Dana- Thank you for stopping by with such an informative comment. I appreciate you taking the time to contribute to this conversation. It is an honor for me to have one of the Melungeon community in this conversation. I will attempt to address some of your ideas.

    Was Hirschman’s book written before Tim Hashaws work?


    Here are the published dates for the major Melungeon publications:
    The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People : An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America by N Brent Kennedy 1997
    Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe In America by Elizabeth C. Hirschman 2004
    Walking Toward The Sunset: The Melungeons Of Appalachia by Wayne Winkler 2005
    Children of Perdition: Melungeons and the Struggle of Mixed America by Tim Hashaw 2007

    “Frankly, I found her book disgraceful and self-aggrandizing that she should do so little research on the people she was writing about and make the “free-people of color” that may have been Jewish or Muslim listed in my family and ancestral to millions of other black American families as well into some non-sensical European conglomeration that probably had little to do with early Melungeons.”

    Consider that Dr. Hirschman is Melungeon in ancestry, she did DNA research along with Donald P Yates, and she did extensive historical research. Because she is an early pioneer in Melungeon research, not all of her information is accurate, but much of it is. The end result is, there is a decidedly Jewish side to Melungeon history. Dr Hirschman has been invited to speak at Melungeon gatherings and her research is accepted by many in Melungeon studies as valid. The argument you have with her book, is a matter of interruption of data. Hirschman includes as Melungeons a wider area outside of East Tennessee. SHe also includes communities in Northern Georgia, West Virginia, VIrginia, Kentucky. With her Sephardic background she is able to identify Crypto Sephardic practices as marrying cousins, religious practices, and especially names as Sephardic in nature. Her focus is decidedly more Jewish and white. She does not discount the black/Native American ancestry of Melungeons

    Tim Hashaw does a marvelous job of telling the Melungeon story with a Free Black slant. I do not see either of these works in conflict with one another. Rather they each describe their part of the elephant, which makes up the Melungeon communities.

    You are right that the Goins/Gowan are a early colonial free African family. For whatever, reason Cowan/Gowen/Goin are often interchangeable. Please see the following link for Cowan/Cohanim DNA in Ireland:

    “Lastly, all people who have some kind of fear of having black blood should not be looking into their Melungeon roots or even Indian roots, because you might be, in the end, very sorry for what you will find!”

    I am confused by this statement. No one here is sorry for discovering African or Native American ancestors. Instead we honor those brave forbearers ( of any ethnic group) who contributed to our own colorful and diverse DNA soup.

  9. First of all I am not a Melungeon. I am only interested in the history of Melungeons o the point that peoples research impinges on those of my much mixed ancestors. My point was the Jewish blood in the Melungeons if anything was not of European derivation but probably of Tuareg or other derivation as the presence of silversmithing in American Jewish community of early free people of color shows. If these people later mixed with white Jews or other whites fine. But it is memory of who they were that had other whites up in arms not the fact that they had dark hair.

    The word Kohanim comes from a Afro-Asiatic root meaning rainmaker or priest in the region of Arabia and the Near East and Ethiopia where the original semitic dialects came from according to linguists.
    That word, however, probably has little to do with the word Gowan or Guinea or Gwanin are probably related from which was most slightly derived the name for the Malungu or Melungeons. Just as it is very likely not related to Goans or Portuguese related Africans.
    If there were European Jewish influences in the earliest Melungeons that would have possibly been related to people that were brought over with the earliest Portuguese related groups which were predominantly Moorish, Angolan African perhaps with some Slavic and/or Turkish influence.

    Joanne Pezullo posted an illuminating article linked to her site.

    “Atlanta Constitution
    March 11, 1889
    The Melungeons

    Meridian, Miss.,
    March 11– Editors Constitution

    Near a month ago an article appeared in The CONSTITUTION named Melungeons. I laid it aside in order to correspond with the writer, but the paper got destroyed and the name and address had not been noticed with care, and are forgotten. Excuse me then for addressing him through the same medium.

    His name Melungeons is a local designation for this small peculiar race. Their own claim to be Portuguese is more generally known. Their original site is on the Pedee river in South and North Carolina . They were once especially strong in Georgetown and Darlington districts of the latter. Though called Portuguese – this does not indicate their true origin. I have no doubt local traditions, and the records still to be found in the Charleston library will give the true account. As dimly recollected, for I never made search with a purpose in view, it was thus in the primary colonial times of the Carolinas, Winyaw Bay was the best and most frequented harbor on the coast, and Georgetown more accessible, was more of a commercial town than old Charlestown., to that port British cruisers sometimes brought prizes.

    Among these once was a Salee Rover, (*See Below) which was sold for the distribution of the proceeds as prize money. The crew consisting mostly of Moors, with a sprinkling of Arabs and negroes, were turned ashore free. Their complexion and religion prevented immediate absorption by the white race, and they found wives among Indians, negroes and cast off white women at a time when many of these last were sold by immigrant ships for their passage money. They became a peculiar people. They were the free people of color of the Pedee region so true to Marion during our revolutionary struggle and no other race in America retained such traditionary hatred of the British.

    Your correspondent [whose name I am sorry to have forgotten] having a taste for ethnological studies will confer a favor upon that branch of early post-colonial record and legislative proceedings of South Carolina. He will find it sustained by the appearance of these people if he can find a few pure specimens–their physical structure, their hair, their teeth, and general features, though every trace of their Moslem religion and north African dialect may have long been lost.

    Very respectfully,

    Laurence C. Johnson'”

    In the lighte of such statements I’m wondering what does the dna show about people with Core Melungeon names that did not look like Irish or English with dark hair.
    One has to remember most of these families have already been traced thanks to the work of Heinegg and Hashaw.
    Another question I had was and remains how does putting decidedly European-looking people on a posting about melungeons relate to the fact that many of these early groups were decidely African/Indian in appearance from their description. If the first families as you suggest were derived from white Irish or Dutch with some way back Jewish genes how does relate to how the people became Melungeons noted for their different or unique dark and half “Negroid”/half Indian appearance as has been shown by Hashaw, Joanne Pezzulo, Barbara Ellison, Heinegg, Virginia De Marce etc.
    Furthermore remember it is the names such as Cowan who were free people of color that were considered the Melungeons and not people that were white with dark hair called Cowan or Yates. I think logic would have it that if such people that are white dark hair as are millions of Irish in America are “Jewish” then that still would not have anything to do with why the Melungeons were called what they were and more importantly treated as they were. In fact it would mean most or millions of Irish or Scottish people in the U.S. have Sephardic blood and not just Melungeons.
    I don’t know why you would be confused with last statement. One can also say noone here was also born yesterday either. And if you do not have the same prejudices half of America still does, I am talking to people that might read this webpages assuming – or more likely – hoping that they can find an Indian or Melungeon ancestor without an African one.

  10. In the above article I made a statement about Goans and Portuguese related Africans. I meant “East Indians”.

  11. Dana-

    “My point was the Jewish blood in the Melungeons if anything was not of European derivation but probably of Tuareg or other derivation as the presence of silversmithing in American Jewish community of early free people of color shows. If these people later mixed with white Jews or other whites fine.”

    There are three major Jewish groups. Ashkenazi, who are the European Jews, Mizrahi, who are the Asian and MIddle Eastern Jews, and the Sephardim who are the Mediterranean Jews. THe Sephardim is who we are talking about. THe Sephardim are not “Fiddler on the Roof” Jews. THe Sephardim who originated in Spain, include the North Africa, Turkey, Greece etc…

    “If there were European Jewish influences in the earliest Melungeons that would have possibly been related to people that were brought over with the earliest Portuguese related groups which were predominantly Moorish, Angolan African perhaps with some Slavic and/or Turkish influence.”

    Very possible along with the Sephardim fleeing the Inquisition from Holland, England, and France.

    “Another question I had was and remains how does putting decidedly European-looking people on a posting about melungeons relate to the fact that many of these early groups were decidedly African/Indian in appearance from their description. If the first families as you suggest were derived from white Irish or Dutch with some way back Jewish genes how does relate to how the people became Melungeons noted for their different or unique dark and half “Negroid”/half Indian appearance as has been shown by Hashaw, Joanne Pezzulo, Barbara Ellison, Heinegg, Virginia De Marce etc.”

    I assume you are referring to the pictures of my relatives. They are not Melungeons, but suspected Sephardic Jews. This post is about Sephardic naming clues described by Hirschman. Photographs do not tell the whole story. SInce photography is a relatively new invention, we do not know what “color” our ancestors were say in the 1600’s, 1700’s etc…Ethnicity is not just skin pigmentation and it changes thru the generations. Ancestral DNA/ethnicity can be reflected in bone structure, hair texture, ethnic disease etc… For example, I am 95% MORE North African than the average American and I am pretty white. North Africa comes out in my hair and in my Sephardic Jewish disease’s symptoms of the North African variety.

    “In the light of such statements I’m wondering what does the dna show about people with Core Melungeon names that did not look like Irish or English with dark hair.”

    This is the only DNA testing I am familiar with.
    Family Tree DNA probably has more information.

    “I think logic would have it that if such people that are white dark hair as are millions of Irish in America are “Jewish” then that still would not have anything to do with why the Melungeons were called what they were and more importantly treated as they were. In fact it would mean most or millions of Irish or Scottish people in the U.S. have Sephardic blood and not just Melungeons.”

    Exactly the point of the my 13 point series.

    I suspect Melungeons were treated so badly was they were clannish, poor, and most importantly were suspected to be black or Native American, no matter what the tint of their skin. Certain family names were considered Indian/Black no matter what the appearance of the person. Darker complexed Melungeons married into African American families or Native American families. Others married other lighter complexed Melungeons or left the area and “passed” elsewhere.

    In the late 1700’s to the 20th century, white America was paranoid of “race mixing”. Quite laughable when you consider all the “race mixing” that went on during slavery.

  12. I agree with much of what you said except that i would add. Although race mixing was part of slavery most of it according tto researchers probably came in the eariest colonial period.

    Accordint to Tim Hashaw who wrote Malungu, “Marriage between blacks, whites and Indians was legal in Virginia for most of the 17th century. Genealogist Paul Heinegg found that 99% of all mixed children in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the Carolinas before 1810 came from intermarriages of free blacks with whites. Cases of white masters having children by black slaves were virtually non-existence, making up only one percent of the mixed mulatto population…”

    The other thing is that Hirschman or Yates whoever edited Hirshmans book didn’t seem to care that her photographs were in basic conflict with how most known descriptions of the Melungeons. Her book Title also reflects this misleading and erroneous thesis. The fact remains the Melungeons were influenced by Jews but genealogy points more to African Jews oprobably belonging to Tuareg smiths and related African stock. It would interested to see what relationship the Tuareg smith caste and so called Sephardim of European derivation.

  13. Little something on the North African Jews of Tunisia.
    Interesting article on Berber Jews:
    Sephardim with Inner African Ancestry:

    Hirschman’s Melungeons look like my ancestors from Melungeon-like communities in Kentucky and North Georgia. Most likely our Melungeon type ancestry were Mediterranean, Native American with African ancestry (a 100-200 years before). Both my late husband’s and my mother’s Africans are from the Angolan area. My theory is: this DNA came from ancestors who were the early Africans brought to Massachusetts as indentured servants and were later the free Africans who married the servant-class of Europeans. Then these blended families moved south and his family lived in East Tennessee and mine went from North Carolina to Northern Georgia. At some point they married Native Americans and Sephardic Jews.

    Given the fact Melungeons are a ti-isolate group, the range of skin color/pigmentation will vary. It was easier for those with lighter complexions to “pass”.

  14. Thanks for posting the articles and for your well rounded view of Melungeons. I had actually viewed the third one previously.

    You say your relatives are from N. Georgia. I am wondering about the origins of my ancestors born in the 1800s who may have come from the early Melungeons of South Carolina and Virginia to Georgia. Their surnames were Mullins, Copeland, Jarrett, Reynolds, Brown, and married people named Stalworth, Haley, Whitehead, Neale, Farley. Some of them were at times classified as Indians. In photos they all look like Mulattos and included some East Indian ancestry.
    If you know anything about the origins of these people and the relationship to Melungeon people in Northern Georgia please let me know. I am curious as to whether they came from North Carolina or from Virginia.

    I think the original Melungeons may have been of European and African, East Indian, Native American with some Mediterranean, but judging from the descriptions of early Melungeons, todays Melungeons are obviously the result of early mulatto people intermarrying more recently with Europeans rather than with other mulattos. In other words they are not as multi-racial as the early Melungeons harassed by other Americans for so long for the way they looked.
    As for Berbers they share some genes but for the most part they are not a biological populaton. Those in the far north of North Africa share much more matrilineal dna connection with Eurasians according to geneticists due to more recent intermixtures. Culturally they share much in common with the Greeks and modern Balkan people especially in their dress, jewelry and patrifocal customs.
    Those of the purer Berbers in the Sahara or souther parts of the North African countries are more East African in their genetics and often strongly matrifocal. Also different waves of people of Jewish origin from the east make up todays Berber jews. Some came from Syria after the Christian era. The darker ones like those found among the Tuareg came as early as 1000 years B.C.

  15. Dana Thanks for your great information.

    My North Georgia ancestors were in Warren, Georgia beginning in the mid-1700’s and left in the early 1800’s. The HOOD and WAYMAN lines came from North Carolina. HILL and CARTER families came from Maryland. Later other family lines moved to East Tennessee and Arkansas. My lines went to Kentucky, Illinois, and then later out west to Utah and Nevada. Direct line Georgia family names were HOOD, HILL, CARTER, and WAYMAN. Related lines are ATCHISON, WILKY, COOK, CALDWELL, DAILY, and BURRILL. Multiple marriages with ATCHISON and other HOODS. Later family photos show thick dark wavy hair, tall, broad-shouldered, some darker complexions, and that “Native-American look”. What I mean by this stereotype is: almond eyes, high cheekbones, and wide mouths.


    I am not certain as to where my North Africans came from yet, but I think they went to England and later to the Western US and married into the Melungeon-type ancestors in the west.

  16. Although some of your names are supposed to be Melungeon or Lumbee I don’t recognize any names in my family except Carter. My Carter’s were in Virginia.

    I don’t think many people of North African ancestry ended up in England, though dna shows that some of the Tuareg Berber (who mostly live now in the Saharan and Sahel countries) ended up in Ireland and may have been the root of the term black Irish. Tuareg founded the Almoravid and Almuwahid (Almohade) “Moorish” dynasties in Spain and Portugal and their smith castes may have been responsible for some of the “Sephardic” dna.

  17. I have a realtive that has Oliphant as a last name. Has anyone else with the Oliphant name taken a DNA test and found
    the link between our family and Serpharic Jewry?

  18. We have “untraceable” relatives, the Steeles. My paternal grandmother’s mother was Margaret Ethel Steele. She named her second daughter Vida.

    I have a couple of photos of Margaret Steele – who was supposedly a Cherokee – but I am beginning to believe she was a Melungeon at least.

  19. Curious about the Eliphalet-Oliphant example. I have suspected the Jewish connection with the Oliphant’s but never found proof however it is mentioned in Elizabeth C. Hirschaman’s book “When Scotland was Jewish” that the Oliphant’s were known to be Sephardic Jews. What evidence is this assumption based on? Eliphalet was one of King David’s sons born in Jerusalem and would have been a part of the southern tribe of Judah. Some researchers in the family are under the opinion derived from the Oliphant DNA Surname project that this family was French/Norman before it was Scottish. Some feel that it is possible that Rolland of the “Song of Rolland” and nephew of Charlemagne could be a possible ancestor taking the surname from his horn as it seems this family traveled with families known to have a connection with Charlemayne. Other researchers think the name came from Holland or Finland…or perhaps all these countries. Would like to know what evidence the Jewish connection is supported by your research. Progenitor of many of the American Oliphant’s named children, David, Jonathan, Ephraim, James, for the next 3 generations they had Biblical names such as Hosea, Isaiah, Ezekiel etc.

  20. To Barbara-
    I did get get an email from Beth Hirschman one of the authors of the book “When Scotland was Jewish” and she was gracious enough to reply to me. Her response to me was that they believed that the name Oliphant derives from Elephant and that the Oliphants were Jewish Ivory traders and that the Oliphant name was guild name for Jews that moved to Scotland. They talk about in their book that many of the Scotish clan names were guild names for the Jews that moved their in part after the Spanish Explusion. I still don’t know enough but at least I am not alone in wondering whether this is a Jewish name. There is something that is true though and that is we do know this Oliphants in many of the Highland battles in Scotland sided with the Jewish clans such as the Gordons and Forbes and Campbells.

  21. RForeman and Barbara Oliphant-Thanks for the additional information.
    Patty Robichaud. My Steeles immigrated to Utah in the 1850’s from Scotland. From their pictures they are dark complexed with deep set dark eyes, long hooked noses, and dark hair. Very easy to imagine they were the Castille/Casteele family originally from Spain.

  22. Barbara-
    One more thing that makes things very interesting about the Oliphant Clan: They never intermarried with outsiders for the longest time in Scotland. I don’t know if that was typical in Scotland. And one other thing I did not mention was that Mrs. Hirschman that wrote the book told me in an email that Elphinstone and Eliphalet and Oliphant all have the same root.

  23. Thank you For the additional information which gives some direction in my research. We do know that the Oliphant Scottish Arms with three crescent moons are much older than the traceable Oliphant surname which makes this Jewish connection even more interesting.

  24. Barbara-
    I wish you all the best in your research on the Oliphants. Although I am not a Mormon I think
    Mormons have really great Geneolgists that might have something in their research. One more thing
    that I have discovered on one of my other lines that they desended from Rouen, France in
    the 11th Century. Why is that signifficant? You look at Wikipedia about Rouen, France and
    here is what they say in one of the top paragraphs

    “In 1150, Rouen received its founding charter which permitted self-government. During the twelfth century, Rouen was maybe the site of a yeshiva. At that time, about 6,000 Jews lived in the town, comprising about 20% of the population. In addition, there were a large number of Jews scattered about another 100 communities in Normandy. The well-preserved remains of the yeshiva were discovered in the 1970s under the Rouen Law Courts and the community has begun a project to restore them.”

    That Yeshiva was found and you should read the comments about it from the French Government.

    “This is one of the most extraordinary archaeological discoveries for Rouen and for the world…”
    “Norman Jews. France has always been a melting pot of people. Normandy is similar in many ways. The Jewish population arrived in Normandy before this land was even Christianised. They accompanied the Roman colonisation, which followed the conquests of Julius Cesar. The Romans gave the Jews dispersed in the empire the status of religious legality; in short, these subjects of the empire could practice their religion, their mores and their customs, as well as the Hebrew language. Moreover, they were given the possibility of living in a community and establishing institutions in streets of the city called vicus judaerorum.

    12th century Rouen was built of low, squat stone houses, with monumental walls. Located in the heart of the city, the vicus judaerorum (which did not constitute a ghetto since most of the Jewish population mixed with pagan then Christian populations in the surrounding areas) radiated beyond the Normandy boundaries. The House sublime therefore played an “international” role. All of the texts regulating the community’s spiritual and daily life were drawn up there.”

    To me, all of this renders a complete rethinking of the Clan Oliphant website. The progentitor
    of the clan did not leave a mark such that his desendents could be thought to be from
    Scandinava. This according to DNA evidence The question becomes:Where did the Norman Jews go? I think the crazy theory that
    they went to Scotland has to be looked at and they probably went to England and
    probably sublimated their culture in Masonic lodges. Good luck with your research.

  25. Good stuff RForeman. Thanks for letting us know about the Rouen site.

    You probably already know this, but it bears repeating or those who do not. In 1066 William the Conquer beat the English. He brought many Jews with him from France. When the Jews were exiled from England in 1290 it is thought many returned to France. Others stayed in England and converted to Christianity or maintained crypto-status. It is thought that some Jews went to Scotland, England and perhaps to Wales and Ireland.

  26. Thank you RForeman and JA Benson for the informative History of 1150 Rouen and the 1066 invasion. I have studied the William the Conquerer connection and interestingly, my husband’s 12 Marker DNA matches those with the surname Hatcher and Burton whose families also “arrived” in England after the 1066 invasion and his ancestors were obviously married into these families. If I’m recalling History correctly, I believe Charlemagne had connections with William the Conqueror, and that Rolland of “The Song of Roland” was Charlemagne’s newphew who sounded his horn named “olifant” at the Battle of Roncevaux. During William the Conqueror’s invasion of England in 1066 it is said that the “song about Roland” was sung to the Norman troops before battle at Hastings. Legend says that Roland’s friend in the “Song of Roland” was “Oliver”. Also interesting is that my husband’s DNA also matches an Oliver.

  27. Hi,

    I find your quite interesting. I enjoy asbsorbing different cultures and the segment referencing Sephardic Jews. Where do you suggest I get intermediate level information?

  28. Sorry for the error in my previous post to you. I’m obviously sloppy, but not really that stupid 🙂

    I meant to say that “I find your BLOG”… be quite interesting.

  29. Mike,
    No worries. I knew what you meant. I am the queen of typos 🙂 Thanks for the compliment.

    I suggest you read ‘The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience’ by Jane S Gerber. If you are interested in the colorful history of the American Sephardi see: ‘The Grandees: America’s Sephardic Elite’ by Stephen Birmingham. Both books are available on Amazon.

  30. Hi J A Benson and followers,


    First, I’d like to acknowledge that I am acutely aware that the topic of this post is about “Part X Sephardic Jews and the LDS Connection: Sephardic Names and What to Look For”. Nevertheless, I humbly seek your indulgence for my somewhat off topic reply.

    Sadly and unfortunately, and after much self reflection, it has become incumbent of me to publicly state that Dana Reynolds has made some misrepresentations of “FACTS” regarding our supposedly shared ancestral lines. Most of what she asserts and alleges does not hold true for those of us who are the direct descendants of the enslaved Mullins, Jarrett, Farley or Copeland ancestral lines. “I KNOW FOR A FACT” (to use the often repeated qualifier that is often used by Dana Reynolds), that there is NO EVIDENCE that she is a direct descendant of the MULLINS or FARLEY ancestral lines.

    While I am only responding on behalf of my known family members, I can assure you that they, the elders in particular, are quite perturbed and disgusted by some of the comments posted by Dana Reynolds on what is obvious a faith based blog. We resent the fact that Dana Reynolds would attempt to publicly humiliate, insult, or intimidate other researchers or people such as Elizabeth C. Hirschman and J A Benson, both of whom have done an honorable job of identifying and documenting THEIR ancestors. We sincerely apologize for the hurtful and misguided statements made by Dana Reynolds, and want it to be known, that while none of us “OWN” our ancestors, she obviously does not speak for my family, nor do we ascribed to or share her absurd, arrogant, and racially divisive tones and views. The undocumented assertions posted all over the internet by Dana Reynolds, do not serve to advance the serious research being attempted by novices, family historians, or even advanced genealogists, whom I am sure recognize the difference between spin and hyperbole and solid documented research.

    Dana Reynolds has made it her business to spread ambiguous statements across the internet like a virus without even taking into consideration how it can gravely mislead and discourage novices when posting numerous erroneous, false, undocumented, and/or unproven assertions. Family folklore, traditions, copying and pasting pages from the books of highly regarded scholars is not evidentiary research, neither do these books specifically mention our known ancestors by name. Dana Reynolds obviously is not sure of the ethnic origins of her ancestors, however, in recognition of her desire to know their true origins, she might want to consider Y-DNA or mtDNA genetic counseling and testing amongst her various family members.

    The goal of any serious researcher in the genealogy community is to seek and document TRUTH; not to conduct research to satisfy selfish and self-centered goals solely based on folklore or wishful thinking. In this community, all people should be treated with respect regardless of ethnic origins and social strata. I have found this community to be a kind and benevolent group of individuals who will go out of their way to assist fellow researchers on the drop of dime. I have interfaced with people of all races and creeds; some of whom are well known and respected in this community, such as Jack Goins and Gary Mullins, just to name a few. And many who do not necessarily share my ancestral lines, but who have provided empirical data that has assisted my family greatly with our research. It goes without saying, that my family deeply appreciates the advice, encouragement and assistance we have received over the past years from fellow researchers, some of whom are slaveholding descendants who have helped us tremendously in advancing our research by providing much needed documentation and evidence on several of our ancestral lines, to whom we are truly indebted.

    In the genealogy community, or any community for that matter; cruel, racist, snide and vicious attacks, are unwarranted and have no place amongst civilized people of integrity. Researchers who consider themselves to be people of high ethics; high spiritual and moral standards, do not make make racially insensitive remarks such as the ones made by Dana Reynolds on her post of June 5th, 2010 at 1:37 pm:

    ” Lastly, all people who have some kind of fear of having black blood should not be looking into their Melungeon roots or even Indian roots, because you might be, in the end, very sorry for what you will find!”

    or this one on June 6th, 2010 at 4:18 pm:

    “I don’t know why you would be confused with last statement. One can also say noone here was also born yesterday either. And if you do not have the same prejudices half of America still does, I am talking to people that might read this webpages assuming – or more likely – hoping that they can find an Indian or Melungeon ancestor without an African one”.

    or this one on June 10th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    “First of all I am not a Melungeon. I am only interested in the history of Melungeons o the point that peoples research impinges on those of my much mixed ancestors”.

    People who consider themselves to be professionals or serious researchers also accept the FACT that a high degree of ethics and responsibility go along with the course of this work and labor of love. They diligently seek to find their answers while following Genealogical Standards of Proof without regards to where it may lead. They don’t try to fraudulently weave their way into those genealogies that have been well researched and documented, nor do they attempt to “cherry pick” their genealogy in an attempt to deny parts of their origins, or claim origins that are not their ancestors by birthright. They realize going into research that truth may not always be pleasant but it is always revealing. The purpose of this journey is to reveal TRUTH and document the history, struggles, and survival of our ancestors based on historical evidence, not “wishful” genealogy. The lives and history of our collective ancestors go beyond just mere ethnic origins or names.

    It is TRUE that my ancestors were once enslaved in Harris County, Georgia, and I am proud to be one of their direct descendants; and make no apologies, nor do I carry any shame or blame for the circumstances they faced which were due to no fault of their own. Whether they were enslaved, indentured servants or free; saint or sinner, rich or poor, Kings or paupers, Melungeons, Sephardic Jews, Africans or Neanderthals, they were my ancestors, all of whom I am so proud to claim because they are in fact, mine!

    This journey is about seeking TRUTH. To deny or ignore the FACT that some of our ancestors were enslaved, owned slaves, claim origins without documented proof, or do anything less than present the TRUTH, is truly a dishonor and indignity to our ancestors both individually and collectively, and at it’s worst, just sheer delusions, lunacy, and a sad and unwise use of ones time and money.

    “History is not history unless it is the TRUTH ~ President Abraham Lincoln”

    Having said that, any serious researcher has to be inclined to question the hidden agenda, motives, research skills and procedures of Dana Reynolds since she has consistently and deceptively misrepresented the origins of my ancestors, her ancestors, and especially those claims she makes regarding Elizabeth C. Hirschman and the Hale ancestors. Dana Reynolds obviously seems to have no problem “muddying the waters” for novice researchers in particular, with undocumented, convoluted assertions that she makes in her posts, again based on her unsubstantiated research and her seemingly awkward attempts as a anthropologist, researcher and historian.

    One has to wonder if Dana Reynolds will ever stop her unproven assertions long enough to even consider the damage she may be doing to fellow researchers, novices in particular, who might be relatively new at researching, or the descendants who will come along 50 or 100 years from now trying to find their kin? Does she really even care? One is also led to wonder if she is doing this in some vain and veiled attempt to “pimp” ancestors for financial gain and notoriety, or trying to make a name (good or bad) for herself in the genealogy community. Could she really be that self-centered, that self-absorbed to the point where her so called research appears to be more about HERSELF, what SHE thinks, how SHE thinks others ought to behave, to the point where she has actually forgotten about the ANCESTORS? After all, they are what our research is suppose to be about.

    And as far as the choice of pictures that various well known Melungeon authors/researchers, such as Elizabeth C. Hirschman place on the cover of their books, or J A Benson places on her blog posts, unless Dana Reynolds holds the copyrights to those pictures, she has no right to question or dictate what type pictures are used, or even how these pictures are used, displayed or reproduced. More importantly, why should any of Hirschman’s or Benson’s ancestors look like Dana Reynolds’ ancestors? Why does it even matter to her who they put on the cover of their books or pages of their blogs?

    Perhaps there are three possible reasons why Dana Reynolds is doing this: 1) She doesn’t have a clue as to what she’s doing in terms of genealogy research; or 2) She is just telling outright fairy tales; or 3) She’s a very narcissistic person. Like a wise old woman told me recently, there are three things that should never intersect in our lives; Ineptness, Ignorance, and Arrogance, because the confluence of the three will always lead to disaster.

    Dana Reynolds only goal, rather intentionally or innocently, seems to be; to publicly and rudely take other researchers to task, while antagonistically attempting to debunk the evidentiary research done by other family historians, or the well researched and published works of many scholars, rather than deciding to do some serious research of her own. The most ironic part of all of this, is that in addition to claiming to be a professional researcher, Dana Reynolds also claims to be a healer and shaman. Interestingly, healing, mutual courtesy and respect are key ingredients that seem to be absent in her interactions with fellow researchers, but instead seem to be filled with the spirit of control, dominance, and manipulation; all being the attributes of a tyrant.

    Here’s just a sampling of Dana Reynolds aka (dmarniche, dana marniche, Namaste) assertions based on nothing more than her family folklore and general information from scholarly works.

    Dana Reynolds asserts that because some of her ancestors had double first names such as Lula Belle, Sallie Mae, Fannie Mae, etc. they are Huguenot (French Dutch)

    Here’s a response to Dana Reynolds claims of having Black Dutch ancestry based on family folklore

    Dana Reynolds claims, once again based on nothing more than her family folklore, of ancestors who were Blackfoot, Lumbee, Shawnee and Cherokee Indians, as well as undocumented proof that her Reynolds and Hale ancestors lived on an Indian reservation in Franklin County, Virginia and Kanawha and Mercer County, Virginia.,marniche::melungeon::26999.html

    Claims of ancestors who were East Indians, once again based solely on so called family folklore that also includes the navigation route the ancestors took to the American colonies,marniche::melungeon::27016.html

    Clearly Dana Reynolds is not above telling blatant lies to support her ridiculous and unfound assertions like she exhibited in this post under the pseudo name of “NAMASTE” claiming to have spoken with my grandmother before she died. In addition to appearing to be vicious and somewhat demented, what’s most disturbing about this lie is that both of my grandmothers are very much alive and well. They, nor I, have never spoken to Dana Reynolds, although she clearly tries to deceptively give the impression that we have. Nor have any of us ever met her although our family has had Jarrett, Mullins, Farley and Copeland family reunions for well over 50 years. Interestingly, she suggests that I start attending her family’s Copeland reunions although she has publicly admitted on her posts on that she hasn’t attended a family reunion in decades. Geez, I wonder why?

    And here’s Dana Reynolds post regarding her Hale ancestor, Jacob/Jake Hale, Franklin, County, Virginia, for whom she gives no date of birth. However, according to the various censuses, her Jacob/Jake is ca. 1845. She “does”, however, indicate the date of birth for Jehu Hale ca. 1844-47, Francis Marion Hale’s son. (A must read)

    There is no “Jehu” in her supposed Hale ancestral line, however, her Hale ancestors can be found consistently enumerated in U. S. Federal Census records, residing in the Maggodee district, Franklin County, Virginia, starting with the 1870 Census; the first census in which enslaved African Americans were enumerated and identified by ethnicity, first and last names, etc. Then in the 1900 Census, her ancestor, Amanda Hale ca. 1847, wife of Jacob/Jake, residing in the Blackwater district (east part), Franklin County, Virginia.

    Dana Reynolds “HALE” ancestors do not appear to have lived on any Indian reservation in the state of Virginia, neither are they enumerated as Indian, but are more or less enumerated as “B” (black), or “M” (mulatto). Based on these records, there is no evidence that her “HALE” ancestors lived on a reservation during the time period mentioned. But then again, perhaps the census takers and I could have our facts wrong.

    These are various HALE family genealogies found on the internet. PLEASE BE FOREWARNED, the owners of these websites had the bold audacity to include documented historical evidence, citations, facts and pictures of their ancestors. (Oh man, why’d they do that? How dare they!)

    Dana Reynolds ancestral ties to Daniel Boone, Hatfields and McCoys claims based on family folklore

    Dana Reynolds thoughts on Tim Hashaw’s assessment of our President’s ancestry, President Barak Obama

    Dana Reynolds assertions about the origins of Gypsies


    Dana Reynolds own personal, although not so private, health issues via the internet. Too much information for me.


    Joanna, I apologize for posting this somewhat off topic reply on your blog but I am a strong advocate AGAINST any form of racism regardless of where it rears it’s ugly face, and regardless of the relationship. Although much progress has been made in the area of race relations since the founding of our country, so much more still needs to be accomplished before we can truly say we are a great nation. It really saddens me to even think, that here we are in the twenty first century, some 390 years later after the landing of the Mayflower, and 234 years after the founding of this country, still having to have this dialogue. However, the optimist in me really believes and hope, that this can lead to a “teachable moment” and serve a higher purpose for us all.

    My hat off to you for the civil, mature and humble manner in which you handled the racially insensitive comments made by Dana Reynolds. Once again, please accept my family’s heartfelt and sincere apologies; and my personal apologies to you and your followers for my interruption of your “blogcast”. You are truly the epitome of a real lady, researcher and scholar. I’ve read several of your posts and have found them as well as your blog to be very relevant and informative. On behalf of my known family members, we wish you much continued success in these endeavors. Thank you for the graciousness you have extended me by allowing me to come into your home (Blog) to rant, ramble, and yes, set the record straight.

    Whewww!!!! I think that says it all! 🙂


    Best Regards,

  31. Daphne – its your own cousin that greets everybody with NAMASTE all the time , that is if you are not her pretending to be somebody else. She told me a few things about your family relations that I’m sure she doesn’t want posted all over the internet so I will be nice – AT LEAST FOR NOW. Suffice it too say I am glad I am not from part your neck of the woods.

    If you have some gripe with the Reynolds, Jarrett, Copeland family that involve my lineages as I told you previously on genforum you can take it up with us at the family reunions or with my dad amd his aunts and uncles born in the 1920s who learned it from their grandmother Rosa. YOU HAVE MY NUMBER, and if not your cousin does.

    You’re folklore is certainly no better than mine, which you apparently hardly have judging from what your cousin has said. Your cousin even tried to make my great grandmother Rosa’s hair color into folklore. My Whiteheads, Jarretts and Hales are still alive and apparently less senile than you are and with the same family packets containing all of the names and lineages in them that I do with the closely related Mullins and Farleys LISTED IN THEM!

    If you want to pretend that you are related to me other than through some great-great- great-great ancestor frankly and truthfully that is disingenuous as I can probably prove that you are no more related to me than Elizabeth Hirschman or Donald Yates.

    If you want to keep going around the internet posting lies about my family Hales Jarretts, Copelands, Reynolds, Mullins that you have spent hours researching and pretending that you know about them than I do and how I am related to who they claimed to be, good luck.

    My grandfather’s side the Hales, Boones, Brown, Turners, Yates have nothing to do with your line so I’m not sure why you would bring them up. Jake Hale or Jacob Hale born around 1845 in the same neighborhood as the Jehu had nothing to do with you and you are obviously not versed enough in genealogy to know that “Jehu” is the common name for Jake and Jacob in the 1800s. You also know nothing about where he lived and worked after his birth, and you definitely don’t have his death certificate in Virginia!

    My Hale who was a direct descendant of the Hales of Franklin Co. Virginia and proud of it was one they nevertheless still call a wild Indian. He is likely the same as Jehu from the same area(in case you haven’t noticed)with some of the same neighbors a decade earlier in Franklin county – in case you haven’t noticed. And the family story of this Hale group from the Lephew/Leffews who were the “other free colored” of North Carolina in other people’s families is the same as mine, and like I said – is UNRELATED TO YOURS.

    I know who were the slaves of my family and the slave masters and Jake Hale was neither one of them.

    But getting to the other part of your rant. Perhaps you can tell me what grandmother of yours it is that I ever talked to. Do I even know you!? Is Cora Brown, daughter of Rosa Jarrett your ancestor too!? I was going to go through and talk to some of your silly and frankly flat out twisted, crazy claims, but now I see you have some kind of psychological problem.

    Why are you talking about my direct ancestors that have never seen you before. Cora Brown, MY GRANDMOTHER, who told me about her East Indian ancestry while explaining why she was able to nearly sit on her hair and showed me the picture of her grandfather “Gaorg” at a family reunion who was a red haired and European, i.e. white Jarrett (who also had little or nothing to do with you), who pointed to her picture of her uncle thru marriage Levi Whitehead also known as Irvi and said his mother WAS JEWISH WAS NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER. Please seek help if you can.

    You family are related only to one line of my Jarrett/ Jarrots and you didn’t have people named “Gaorg” in your family that my Jarrett family was also biologically direct descendants of, nor had you even had old photographs according to your cousin of your supposed ancestor Julia who would only be a great great grand aunt of yours – and not “YOUR GRANDMOTHER”. And perhaps you have even mistaken this Julia with the other Julia Jarrett in the early Jarrett family of Harris Ga, that was a Copeland first.

    My dad still practices some of native Indian culture and medicine and the fact that you would claim one can possibly know about Native Indian heritage in my family unless it was based purely on the documents of white southern cenusus takers (many of whom could hardly spell let alone have interest in documenting Indian or black people’s origins accurately) is all the more reason I would never suggest considering you a professional researcher. And like I mentioned previously nothing can resolve your heritage FOR YOU except for a dna test! That is why you can’t disprove mine.

    I am proud of ALL of my ancestry and glad to find you are proud of your slave ancestry You should be, but you seriously should seek some therapy for your current patronizing, obsession with following me around the internet, cluttering up peoples blogs and claiming to know my grandmother or that I know your family and claiming I have no proof for anything my grandparents, aunts and uncles say or believe.

    As I mentioned with responding to this blog I am not a Melungeon. My information would never have been brought up in the first place if Melungeon researchers weren’t themselves talking about the mulatto Hales, Turners and other so called Free colored and saying it was the Jewish ancestry from Europe that had turned them into Melungeons. Hirschman’s book is not taken seriously by those that research Melungeons today, and that is a fact. So what you said is as usual your own unprofessional opinion.

    There has been much new research done since that time.

    So much for “your kind words”.

  32. Truth be told, “folk tales” of one’s own heritage are one of the reasons many people including or especially “Melungeons” have been involved in the study of their past thru genealogy and dna. For the most part there usually ends up being some basis behind these tales.

    One of the reasons I became interested in it is because of the many stories I had seen in Melungeon books with many of my surnames – including those of Elizabeth Hirshman and Brent Kennedy’s – similar to those in my own family. Among them being descended from “Blackfoot” Indians originally from South Carolina that used to work in rum distilleries, relationships to certain legendary American families. It turns out many of these stories had some historical basis.

    A prime example of why I have never thought it best to rely solely or even primarily on written sources is the case of one of my grandfather’s a mulatto who always reminded me of Poppeye in his appearance and tone of his voice. This grandad’s real father was a white man with a different surname then his stepfather whose ancestry probably goes back to the “Scotch- Irish” of Ulster County like others of his town in Georgia with the Burns surname. My granddad’s father on some censuses is actually his step-father a very dark-skinned African American who his biological mother married after he was born. His siblings are mainly half siblings.

    He considered himself a “colored” man and didn’t have a liking or high regard for white people. This granddad’s real father was a white man with a different surname whose ancestry probably goes back to the “Scotch- Irish” of Ulster County in Ireland like others of his place of birth with the Burns surname. Nevertheless, had my grandfather not been alive and virtually indistinguishable from a white man and had we not known the story of his mother a maid of the house his biological father, I or my descendants may have looked at the census and thought this African American step-father was in fact his biological father.

    On the other hand this same grandfather also told us his mother was a black woman who was a quarter Indian, He never mentioned anybody white on his mother’s side. However, the 1870 census from Georgia shows his grandmother born in Alabama lived with a husband listed as black. The mother of his grandmother or “Mother-in-Law” is listed as “White”. Is that the Indian he was talking about – I can’t say for sure.

    Enough said though. I’m sure other people have similar stories in their family history.

    Among the “folk stories” often mentioned by Melungeon researchers themselves are those of individual ancestors of “Portuguee”, “Jewish”, “Turkish” “Native American Indian” descent. For those interested in the major part of the Jewish influences in the Melungeons they can in fact look to the names of people that the early “Mulattos”, “bright Mulattos” and Malungu of early Virginia and other places intermingled with mainly in the 1800s. The possibly Jewish families they intermarried with were often people listed on censuses with names like Gusler, Kesler, Ramey, Osborne, etc. They are just some of the people that early Melungeons – documented free and freed people of color (originally Afro-Portuguese and mulattos of part Native Indian blood) with names such as Mullins, Johnson, Branham, Leffew, Hale, Boone, Turner mixed with in Virginia before moving on to Tenessee and Kentucky or southwards. Some of these lines are fairly easily traced, and they are at least some of the reason why most “Melungeons” are in fact now indistinguishable from whites.

    One thing I have always admired about LDS is their regard for scientific emphasis. They today show strong interest in dna in regard to human populations, amalgamation and migration.

    The above site provides a proper assessment of the state of Jewish genetics and the problem in relating mitochondrial and other dna information with reference to who is Jewish.

    It states:
    “Yet mitochondrial DNA studies have had little success in linking different Jewish groups, and mtDNA is discounted by most Jewish geneticists as being notoriously unreliable in ascertaining “Jewish” roots. Genetic researcher Dr. Ken Jacobs notes: “Jewish communities have little in common on their mitochondrial side.”7 Martin Richards writes:
    Studies of human genetic diversity have barely begun. Yet the fashion for genetic ancestry testing is booming…. Buoyed by the hype, the private sector has been moving in. Other groups, such as Jews, are now being targeted. This despite the fact that Jewish communities have little in common on their mitochondrial side – the maternal line down which Judaism is traditionally inherited. It’s the male side that shows common ancestry between different Jewish communities – so, of course, that’s what the geneticists focus on.8
    A London University College study found in 2002 that while separate Jewish communities were founded by relatively few female ancestors, this “process was independent in different geographic areas” and the female ancestors of different communities were largely unrelated.9 Nicholas Wade writes:
    A new study now shows that the women in nine Jewish communities from Georgia, the former Soviet republic, to Morocco have vastly different genetic histories from the men…. The women’s identities, however, are a mystery, because, unlike the case with the men, their genetic signatures are not related to one another or to those of present-day Middle Eastern populations… “The authors are correct in saying the historical origins of most Jewish communities are unknown, Dr. [Shaye] Cohen [of Harvard University] said.”10
    On this study, the Jerusalem Post reports: “Data on the Y chromosome indicates that the males originated in the Middle East, while the mothers’ mitochondrial DNA seems to indicate a local Diaspora origin in the female community founders.”11
    Dr. Thomas, author of another Jewish mitochondrial DNA study, notes:
    In no case is there clear evidence of unbroken genetic continuity from early dispersal events to the present….Unfortunately, in many cases, it is not possible to infer the geographic origin of the founding mtDNAs within the different Jewish groups with any confidence….The pattern in Ashkenazic Jews is of particular interest. Despite the common opinion that this population has undergone a strong founder event, it has a modal haplotype with a frequency similar to that of its host population (9.0 vs. 6.9%), providing little evidence of a strong founder effect on the female side.12…”

    “Thomas, Skorecki, and Ben-Ami write that the so-called Ashkenazi ‘Levite’ marker was most likely introduced into the Jewish population with the mass conversion of Turkic Khazars between 700 and 900 A.D….:

    “DNA tests on Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews have revealed the possibility that at least one key section of the latter community may have genetic evidence of a potentially large-scale or even mass conversion which must have taken place sometime after around A.D. 700…. the only known mass conversion within that time frame and in that geographical area was that of the Khazars in the eighth century.”
    Etcetera, etcetera

    It is not improbable that some East European and “Turkish” influences have been interpreted by certain researchers such as Dr. Yates being Ashkenazi are simply due to East European origins of the Jews or even Eastern Europeans people of Jewish faith who had “turned Turk”

    In any case, it is important to make note of what agenda are being promoted by certain researchers both, professional and otherwise, who claim they can prove with the dna alone that the original Melungeons were largely the result of people with Jewish dna or Turkish or even “Indian” when in fact the name was almost always originally applied to people harassed for being suspected “Negroes” or having “Negroid” attributes.

    The postings of the woman “Daphne” above who likes to call herself “Glamour” or “Glamma” (for reasons which now seem obvious) is another case in point, and a prime example of people with their own agendas. She in fact has gone around on different internet web-sites in the past few months looking up my name and posting after me on various sites in attempts to convince others that what I have stated has little merit besides trying to post things she apparently believes I would be embarrassed by.

    The two phone conversations I had with her although pleasant at first were one-sided due to her inability to let me get a word in edge-wise as well as her constant overtalking of me. (Much like she has been trying to do on the web. lol!)

    I had decided from her on the phone personnae and emails that this is a highly emotional individual, unable to understand my statements without misinterpreting them and not much concerned with or able to appreciate my interests in multiculturalism and ethnic studies. Those were just two of the reasons I tried to get away from her – and unsuccessfully I might add..

    I had to end the connection with D. Jarrett/”Glamma” due to her inability to comprehend where I was coming from as an ethnic researcher and multiculturalist, as well as emails with cutting and pasting of my statements attached to long and usually irrelevant contrary comments and with little direct relationship to what I had stated. What statements I’d made about my own direct ancestors seemed to be a personal affront to her. It got to the point where I could mention the hair color of a grandmother as described by my father (still living) and it would be as if I had told some “tall tale” or that some more documented proof was necessary. Other times I made statements to make polite conversation , but they were also misinterpreted and met with long and patronizing retorts not unsimilar to the one she posted above – with a “sorry to be” such and such… at the end of it.

    The seal of confirmation on my suspicion that Daphne or “Glamma” was – although wise in some ways – basically incapable of communicating with me came her own assertion above that I said “I spoke to her grandmother”. Huh?!

    Some of the things she mentioned in fact above came to give me a good laugh after looking over them again.

    Her other outlandish misinterpretations of my statements are below. I have only posted them because they touch upon the issue of Melungeons and their major folk beliefs of where they come from.

    “Dana Reynolds asserts that because some of her ancestors had double first names such as Lula Belle, Sallie Mae, Fannie Mae, etc. they are Huguenot (French Dutch)…”

    Anyone is free to go back and see where and if I ever said or “asserted” that because I have French double names in my family tree this means that these people were French. I had only mentioned those names to buffett the knowledge that I already have on my family. This was one mention which would have been upsetting if it wasn’t so silly and funny. In fact I only know that my direct ancestor or grandmother’s grandfather Gaorg Jarrett – a European – was supposed to be (French-Dutch, German). And it can only be assumed many Huguenots had French or Dutch names that their mulatto descendants or their slaves also retained.

    People who claim to have “Black Dutch” ancestry often claimed their ancestors were called so because they were part “Indian”, but it has been suggested by others that many of the people with surnames traditionally said to be “black Dutch” such as Jarratt, Mullins, etc were often associated with families of color in early Virginia through North Carolina or else with the name “mulatto” in the censuses that had mixed with Huguenots in the early colonial period.

    A point I had attempted to get across to her was that the findings of Melungeon research contained a lot of information with respect to the genealogy of early black Americans or “people of color”. The very suggestion that this would assist was met with such retorts as “I am not Melungeon” and “us black people down here aren’t trying to be related to no white Alabamans”, – and so on. Although I understand the context of her statement, her being from the deep south, this is just an example of how this person has characteristically injected her own experiences, insecurities and agendas onto my sentences or statements.

    As someone who has taught cultural anthropology and Sociology of the Family courses, and dealt with Special Education students and “oppositional behavior” studies I can positively “assert” with confidence that when people grow up in stressful situations or feel undervalued they not infrequently become defensive, engage in projection or creating mental scenarios that suit their own needs. This is happening now more than ever in U.S. society for whatever reasons, but it happens also on both a national, group and on a personal level. As for ethnic, educational and media research that I have done for a living for some years one learns what is most important is that one is able to reason and think logically. Both genealogical and ethnic research require some degree of objectivity and ability to reason. Unfortunately, not all people are adept in using such methods even at the most basic level or framework of thinking due to whatever factors. I believe ethnohistorical and other knowledge also has to be taken into account when one wants to truly discover genealogical “roots”.

    “Glamma” says in her post above something about, “Dana Reynolds assertions about the origins of Gypsies”
    “Glamma” spent time searching through the internet to find an amateurish blog of a rather interesting individual who spouts much racial rhetoric and who touts herself a housewife and anthropology “student”. Unfortunately, the owner of the site uses the name anthropology in the title of her blog which has made many think she has some anthropological background aside from a few courses she took in college. This person on the net who controls the site not surprisingly has a similar tendency to distort information she receives or reads without understanding. The site attracts neo-Nazis or members from sites such as Stormfront because of her interest of proclaiming black Africans had little to do with ancient Egypt, “the Moors of Europe”, Berbers, etc. Speaking of people with an agenda, the owner of the site has even said on-line the reasons she has so much anti-black rhetoric on her site was because she found out “Berbers” “don’t like to be referred to as ‘black’”.

    I posted a couple of times on the site about gypsies, but stopped posting after realizing the owner had not only the habit of taking off people’s postings that didn’t agree with her views, altering ancient paintings and sculptures, and twisting what one has said, much like “Glamma”.

    Although there is some controversy, the Roma “gypsies” are people mostly thought to have emerged mainly from the Jat or “black Zutti” populations living between Afghanistan and the Makran coast in Pakistan. They supposedly moved north into Iran and west into the Middle East and North Africa.

    The woman who controlled the site has a penchant for ignoring historical information and I posted the following early documentation of the people variously called “gypsies”, Zingani, Kali in Europe on her site.

    “The men were very black, with their hair frizzled, the women were the most ugly and the blackest that were ever seen. .. they had sorceresses amongst them , who by pretended to look into peoples hands, to tell them what had or would happen to them…” p. 153 of The Christian journal and Literary Reigster published I 1827 by T & J. Swords

    “On the 17th of April 1427, appeared in Paris 12 penitents of Egypt, driven from thence by the Saracens; they brought in their company one hundred and twenty persons…They had their ears pierced their hair was black and crispy, and their women … were sorceresses who told fortunes.” The quote was from The Bible in Spain by George Henry Borrow, 1869.

    I have always assumed the gypsies were originally a dark skinned Indian people who in their travels through North Africa and Egypt in particular must have picked up certain traits of hair that made them different most Jats.

    Apparently the woman didn’t like these early descriptions of “the gypsies” or perhaps it was the mention of Egypt or something, but she began – I m’ guessing in order to change the subject – claiming that I had stated the gypsies originated in Africa – something I would have never ever stated. Similar to Daphne ( alias “Glamma”) the owner of the site rarely takes a statement she disapproves of for what it is, but rather distorts it to her own ends. Unfortunately for many people out there on-line they learn I am posting to cut thru the glamour and not to add to illusions. And many have a problem with that.

    Well – the moral to this story is that one must be careful whom they contact thru the internet even if its thru One must also be cautious about what they see on the internet from so called “researchers”, as web-sites are not always coming from trustworthy, reputable or even psychologically balanced sources. But more importantly one must also assess what is motivating people.

    I believe that being descended from people who have recognized their origins as African, Native American, European and South Asian, that I favor a more multicultural agenda, not a black nationalist one nor one based on mixed race nationalism, White, Christian, Jewish or Muslim nationalism. I think the U.S. can not afford such ideology especially at the present time.

    Lastly, sometimes the agenda people have is based on a personal vendetta and childishness. Daphne (slightly than my 48 years) said she had found and posted,

    “Dana Reynolds own personal, although not so private, health issues via the internet” a site I had posted on with my full name and authorization to publicize..

    Thankfully being into alternative healing practices and with the alternative herbal remedies my family has had for some generations the number of times that I have been to the doctor can probably be counted on 1 1/2 hands. Several months after breaking my ankle I went to a medical center for a checkup to see if the uncoated aspirin I had taken without advice 5 times a day in the first few months had done any damage. The time spent at the center was excellent and I posted on line. So now what?

    I’m not quite sure what kind of new thoughts Glamma may have deluded herself into this time but, any logical person would assume I wouldn’t have had my full name attached to the post if it was that “personal”. If she found it was “too much information” than what motivation did she have posting it on your site.

    Daphne, (Glamma, D. Jarrett, Cyberstalker or unprofessional) or whatever she wants to project she is – came to this web-site under the pretense of saving the viewership from being confused by my supposedly ignorant, mean and unfounded assertions to you and about Melungeons. I, however, believe her motivation and intentions in coming to the site were much less than noble, and that she needs to take something for her “depression” which appears borderline manic, and stop pretending to be humble with that greeting of “Namaste” (which she has been the opposite of ) and which she customarily uses at the beginning of her posts and emails. And if she perceives that she can do so perhaps she should lift herself up, get a life and stop competing with and hanging on to those of others.

  33. Hello,
    I just came across this website. Many of the surnames listed are in my family tree, including Rose and Perry. My Rose family came from North Carolina and settled in what is now McDowell County West Virginia.

    Several years ago we had an ancestry DNA test done on my brother and the results were very surprising, with our blue eyes and fair skin we have the J2 gene. After we ran it through the haplotype predictor many times with same results, we descend primarily from Spanish people. I had always heard we were “Black Dutch” from some of the older family members. There were always whisperings about being Jewish but never any evidence, until the DNA test. The results were 70% Spanish, 25% Jewish, and 5% English. No one in my family speaks Spanish, Portugese or any other Iberian language. We are very disconnected from those groups of people.

    So what does this mean for my family? Are we Sephardic Jews? We don’t practice the religion, no one in my family has for a very long time. I am very glad to learn who I am.

  34. Kara- IMHO it sounds like you are a descendant of the Sephardic Jews. Welcome to the club. It is an interesting and fun place to be.

    Look for clues in your family. For instance, my mother’s family has kosher practices. My mother is diligent about checking eggs for blood. She washes meat because she is very careful not to mix food with blood. My mother’s family also did not eat pork or allow a pig on their farm. They believed the presence of a single pig would “contaminate” the cows.

    My father’s family did not practice kosher, but named their children unique Sephardic names as far as into my father’s generation. If your family is naturally reserved and guard their privacy with a vengeance; this is Sephardic behavior. There are unique traditions associated with birth, death, holidays etc…. that also reveal Sephardic clues. Check gravestones and family heirlooms for more clues. If your family has a tradition of “Primitive Baptist” type worship this is also a clue. Also if they were Masons.

    Good luck and happy hunting. Please stop by and let us know how your search goes.

  35. You have a very informative site. I came across your web page while looking for the DNA evidence of Reynolds being of Roma or Punjabi ancestry. All of the comments on this site are very interesting and have kept me up way to long this night. I have seven children and some are blond and some are dark, one is darker than the rest and has a rare auto immune disease that one of her doctors said was typical of someone with Eastern Ancestry. On my husbands line we have a Reynolds from Gibson, Tennessee. And we have Ross’ out of Guilford, North Carolina and then Gibson, Tennessee. A Barnes from Chester,Pennsylvania, USA, then from Kentucky and lastly Cedar CO., Missouri.

  36. No, not the same, she has poly glandular failure with type I diabetes, Hashim’s Thyroid (no thyroid),poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and her adrenals are fatigued. We have Arnold’s, Smiths, Barnes, etc. How do I find out if they are Melungeon or of Eastern heritage? I have a lot of genealogy on both sides of our family. My other daughter works for a genealogy company here in Utah and has a free Mitochondrial DNA kit. Would that show what we would need to know?

  37. Janice, Your ancestors could be Melungeon and Eastern heritage. Many other peoples besides the English settled the Americas. History was written by the English and they put their own spin into things. The English sailed the world and established colonies. They brought back a diversity of peoples with them. MOorish peoples in Europe came to America. As the Ottoman Empire collapsed, many Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews came to America. Millions of East Indians immigrated to Europe and many came to America. These diverse peoples found acceptance in the Melungeon communities.

    Check with your daughter to see what the test would show. I had my test done at DNA Tribes see:
    and I have heard Family Tree DNA has a good DNA test.

  38. I am so happy I found you!:) I have been doing more digging and I have one of my husbands line back to Palantine Germany through the Jochem(Yoakum)line. My daughter works for and has a free Mitochondrial DNA test that would only show mothers but it is free and surely would show someting since this line is on my husbands mothers line. But it does not show tribes. Other names in the family are in this article at:

    The family comprised of George See and his wife, Margaret Judy (Tchudi) See, their sons Frederick (1712), Michael (1730), and George (1732), their daughter Eleanor (1710), and her husband, Mathias Yoakum; seemingly all were born in Silesia, or the Palatinate. John Bernhard See, who arrived November 25, 1740 was their son. He was then 26 years of age according to the captain’s list of the “Loyal Judith.” The long interval between John and the two younger sons may be explained by the fact that other children were born but died. Circumstances seem to indicate that these dates are approximately correct. In list 78, November 25, 1740, Palatines imported in the ship Loyal Judith, Lovell Paynter, Commander from Rotterdam, last from Deal – 265 passengers. Johan Bernhard See.

    Thank you,

  39. I sent off the Mitochondrial DNA test this morning with my husbands DNA on it. I hope it will show something. I had the other one with my dads DNA for the Y chromosomes before he died. But it does not show tribes. I have a daughter inlaw that is having a lot of strange symptoms right now. I think I had better send her over your information.
    Thanks again.

  40. I’ve learned a new word today and it is Melungeon. Until I stumbled across this site, I’d never heard it. Given the stories that have circulated through my family, from genration to generation, it is something that offers some answers.

    Dana, if you are amenable, could you contact me regarding your research on the Sheffey family? I have been researching the black/mulatto Sheffey and Roane families of Southwest Virginia. Until I read your post, I hadn’t come across anything in the public records that even hinted that the Sheffeys might indeed have Native American blood.

    While some of the Sheffey and Roane slave family lines are sketchy, I have traced one of the main Sheffey lines back to a Jememiah Sheffey, born around 1770, and most likely a slave of Henry L Sheffey. As for the Roanes, I have traced most of the modern lines back to slave George Henry Roane born 1806 and his five brothers and sisters.

    Many thanks.

  41. hi Brian – Sorry I hadn’t seen your email. Someone from a journal had contacted me about publishing something I had put on-line concerning early Berbers and “Moors”, so i was working on that and hadn’t been getting on line as much. yes I see your site and hope i can contact you through there as it looks like you have some of the same names of the family one of my Hales of Franklin Co./Henry counties married into in the late 19th or early 20th century.

  42. In response to Janice query she might want to do some deep ancestry dna checking. I think she meant Hashimoto’s disease (not Hashim’s). – which is fairly common or prevalent in India and to a lesser extent east Asia, Malaysia, Singapore, China etc. It is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and if you have this problem in your family you might want to also do some research on it on-line.

    The Reynolds in my family between Virginia and North Carolina claimed to have both blackfoot and Shawnee ancestry and to have come originally from South Carolina, I was never told they had East Indian blood although I did find some a Reynolds living with and possibly related to the partially East Indian line of my family.

  43. In response to Daniel Phillips. The al-Nukkar were originally Ibadites of North Africa and Sahara were derived from earlier Jewish or Judaized Berbers of Tahart in Sahara. Sorry I’m just now getting to this. Forgot where I saw the post.

  44. I am also a great granddauther of Keziah Messenger Benson from her daughter Lovina Keziah Benson. Thanks for your help and service. We are the light of CHrist. Best ever Ireta

  45. Anyone with nerve damage has to be sure they are getting all the essential B vitamins which are necessary for a strong nervous system. Helps with fatigue too.

    I have long heard the St. John’s Wort to be very good for treating nerve damage or problems. Fish oil supplements high in DHA are also relatively something natural one can take, with little in the way of side effects. Nerve problems (like most health problems) tend to be aggravated by caffeine, tobacco and alcohol intake and artificial sugars, including cane sugars and other highly acidic foods which ARE toxic to the body.

    MSM also definitely helps repair nerve damage. (That I know from personal experience.) All the supplements with instructions for usage just spoken of can be bought at any pharmacy or nutritional store on the shelves.

Comments are closed.