2002 and 2010 DNA studies

In 2002, Brent Kennedy issued a statement about the first Melungeon DNA study. Excerpt:

The long-awaited DNA results are in and as many of us have maintained, the Melungeons are indeed a mixture of all races and many ethnic groups. The DNA samples in this study represent the oldest, most established Melungeon male and female lines in the Hancock County community, and the Wise County community.  Extensive genealogies for these two populations — and those sampled — are known and documented.  Respected members of each community assisted in the collection of the samples, and these samples can be examined separately (by community) and compared against one another.

In addition to Native American (approximately 5% of the sample), African (approximately 5%) and European (approximately 83% of the sample, but representing Europeans from north to south), the study also showed approximately 7% of the samples matching populations in Turkey, Syria and northern India.  In other words, the surviving genes from Middle Eastern and East Indian ancestors are in equal proportion to those of Native Americans and Africans.  My gut feeling is that the original, seventeenth-century percentages of all three groups (i.e., African, Native American, and Middle Eastern/East Indian) were higher than what we’re seeing today.  Time, admixture, and out-movement of some of our darker cousins into other minority groups have likely lowered the genetic traces of their earlier presence.  But enough of them were there to still be traceable among the Melungeons of today. The long discounted Mediterranean and Middle Eastern heritages are irrefutably there.


In 2010, DNA Consultants issued this report about an autosomal DNA study of Melungeons. Excerpt:

After many years in development, the results of a DNA ancestry project enrolling 40 Melungeons were published and made public, marking the end of an attempt to solve the mystery of a Southern U.S. ethnic group with autosomal DNA.

Seeming to lay to rest an old controversy in American history about Melungeons, the scientific data supporting a genetic mixture of white, American Indian and Sub-Saharan African were placed online today by the organizers of DNA Consultants’ Melungeon DNA Project.

Any media coverage in 2012 purporting to show Melungeons as shocked by evidence of subSaharan African DNA  conflicts with this evidence, but also with more than a hundred years of testimony from Melungeons themselves.