Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America
Most of us probably think of America as being settled by British, Protestant colonists who fought the Indians, tamed the wilderness, and brought "democracy"-or at least a representative republic-to North America. To the contrary, Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman's research indicates the earliest settlers were of Mediterranean extraction, and of a Jewish or Muslim religious persuasion. Sometimes called "Melungeons," these early settlers were among the earliest nonnative "Americans" to live in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. For fear of discrimination-since Muslims, Jews, "Indians," and other "persons of color" were often disenfranchised and abused-the Melungeons were reticent regarding their heritage. In fact, over time, many of the Melungeons themselves "forgot" where they came from. Hence, today, the Melungeons remain the "last lost tribe in America," even to themselves. Yet, Hirschman, supported by DNA testing, genealogies, and a variety of historical documents, suggests that the Melungeons included such notable early Americans as Daniel Boone, John Sevier, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Andrew Jackson. Once lost, but now, forgotten no more.
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I am intrigued with the photos on the cover, because the women there look enough like my mother and grandmother to be sisters. My mother and grandmother were dark with high cheek bones. My grandmother stood out in a crowd of white people because of her darkness,something she shared with others in her mother's family. A DNA test on myself revealed that we have some Portuguese in our ancestry. This and the fact that the family migrated from Virginia and Tennessee makes me believe that we quite possibly could have descended from the Melungeons.
There is nothing hard to grasp about the fact that America was setteled by refugees from many disparate parts of Europe seeking religous freedom. That is plain fact. It is also a "fact" therefore that some should be of Jewish ancestry as they were the very types of people being moved around Europe for those very reasons at that exact time.
Why the backlash against this author?
Jews traveled to many countries in Europe and assimilated to different populations in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy The Netherlands and England for hundreds of years before settlers from those same countries came to the U.S.. We have names historically (factually) noted with this diaspora and sure enough they are in early settlers records too.
Portuguese Sailors were a large part of the English navy. (Admiral Perry is of Portuguese descent - name "Perriera" Anglicised). Why were they in the British navy? - in many cases because they were of Jewish descent and had been expelled from Spanish Iberia. Why wouldn't they end up in English colonies via English boats- they were the best sailors in the world?
Their descendants surely ended up/populated somewhere in the U.S.. Whether there is indeed a full blown "Melungeon Connection" everywhere in the early U.S. or even the just the plain facts that we are obviously a nation of often glossed over, varied roots, this book is eye opening. People don't even recognize the Huguenot contribution. Daniel Boone was no doubt, in fact, French in origin (take that with your Freedom Fries). And "Davis" (as in Jefferson) has been traceable as a variant of "David" ("The" premier Jewish surname) in the British Isles for a long time.
This book is a plain reminder of that.
I know this isn't science but the book rings so true to me when I match the supposedly "American" names up to people who I've known with Jewish features or who I assumed were Jewish despite their surnames.- Miller, Brown, Barry, Davies, Green etc. Had always suspected such and just rings too true to me.
I have Crypto - Judaic ancestry from Italy and Italians often don't want to look at that factual part of their history either.
DNA Disease and Demographics The Keys to the Mystery
1492 A Most Propitious Year
Rewriting the Past A New Origin Story
Family Trees and Family Treks Migration Marriage and Naming Patterns among the Melungeons
The TemplarFreemason Connection