DNA Bust:Appalachian people boasted of Portuguese ancestry to avoid slavery were actually descended from African men & white women
As Jack Nicholson said in a few good men – You cant handle the truth!
Varied and sometimes wild claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents once known derisively as the Melungeons.
Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps from Turkish slaves or Gypsies.
Now a new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking
The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.
And that report, which was published in April in the peer-reviewed journal, doesn’t sit comfortably with some people who claim Melungeon ancestry.
‘There were a whole lot of people upset by this study,’ lead researcher Roberta Estes said, noting that many preferred their assumed origins.