Melungeon Mystery Revealed

By Susan Wenner Jackson Premium

Following centuries of speculation about its ethnic origins, a multiracial group in southern Appalachia known as the Melungeons may finally have some real answers about where its people come from.

Kevin Jones, a biologist at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, completed a two-year study of Melungeon DNA and announced the results to the Melungeon Heritage Association this summer. Among 150 people studied, 5 percent of Melungeon DNA is of African descent, 5 percent is Native American and 90 percent is Eurasian, according to Wired News. Previously, it was thought that European men had intermarried with Native Americans and African-Americans to produce the Melungeons. Now Jones plans to research genetic links between Melungeons and unusual diseases, such as familial Mediterranean fever.

Learn more about how DNA can reveal your roots in the August 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine; highlights are online at <>.

From the December 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine