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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lost Colony DNA Genotyping could answer a centuries-old mystery about a vanished group of British settlers


image: Lost Colony DNA Anne Poole (left), Research Director for the Lost Colony Research Group, and Roberta Estes (right) sifting through the dirt for artifacts. Roberta Estes

The legend of the Lost Colony of Roanoke has haunted American history for centuries. In July 1587, a British colonist named John White accompanied 117 people to settle a small island sheltered within the barrier islands of what would become North Carolina’s Outer Banks. When conditions proved harsher than anticipated, White agreed to sail back to Britain to shore up the settlement’s supplies—a trip that should have lasted a few months.
When White belatedly returned in 1590, the colonists had vanished—more than 100 men, women, and young children, their shelters and belongings, all gone. According to White’s writings, the only trace they left behind was a structure of tree trunks, with a single word carved into one post: CROATOAN.
The creepiness of the Lost Colonists’ disappearance didn’t discourage future American settlement. Nor has the lack of clues about their fate discouraged professional and amateur historians from trying to figure out what happened to them.
Archaeological digs, weather records, historical writings, genealogy—none have fully answered the question of what happened during White’s absence. But Roberta Estes, who owns DNAeXplain, a company that interprets the results of genetic heritage tests, is looking to DNA for help. Her hypothesis is that the Lost Colonists survived, and that evidence of their salvation is tucked away in the mitochondrial or Y chromosomal DNA of living descendents.
“They were stranded,” Estes says of the settlers. “They knew they couldn’t survive there on the island.” The colonists’ solution, in her estimation, was to go native.
“Croatoan,” Estes explains, was a message to White indicating that the colonists had gone to live with the Croatan Indians who lived on nearby Hatteras Island. Estes’s volunteer organization, the Lost Colony Research Group, is recruiting people from the area to submit DNA samples and family histories to test her theory.
Studying patterns of short tandem repeats (STRs) on the Y chromosomes of living men can determine whether they are likely to share a common ancestor that was a member of the Lost Colony. For example, Estes can compare the STR profile of a man whose family history suggests that his ancestors lived on Hatteras Island in the 17th century against genetic databases to see if he’s related to anyone with a Lost Colonist surname, such as Dare, Hewet, or Rufoote.
Additionally, it’s possible to scan that man’s mitochondrial or Y chromosomal DNA for evidence of Native American heritage, creating a clearer picture of what became of the vanished colonists. “It is true that with Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA you can assign them unequivocally to different ethnic groups,” says Ugo Perego, a senior researcher at the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. But, he adds, it would be difficult to tell exactly when the European ancestry was introduced.
Estes has amassed early land-grant records detailing who lived in the Outer Banks area a few centuries ago. Some of the putative Native Americans living there are thought to have adopted the last names of their European neighbors, she says. If Estes can show that the descendents of these Native American families have DNA matching families with Lost Colony surnames, that would suggest that the colonists mixed with the Croatan Indians.

Cont. here:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/31423/title/Lost-Colony-DNA-/


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Monday, December 24, 2012




Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!!!!


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Monday, October 15, 2012

Charlie and Me

  
It was a typical Outer Banks Fall day when I pulled into the parking lot of The Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center, located in Manteo, NC. Charles Ewen, Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Director of the Phelps Archaeology Laboratory, East Carolina University and President-elect to The Society for Historical Archaeology, was there to speak on the topic of Croatoan: Guidepost or Misdirection ?

This past Summer, I had the pleasure of spending two weeks digging many many test pits with him, along with several others from the Lost Colony Research Group of which I am a member. Our mission, to find where the village of Croatoan was once located on Hatteras Island. At this point my only remark on that topic can be, boy that water table is high.

But...It was a wonderful experience and I was looking forward to once again seeing Charlie and hearing his version of how he thought the dig went. He spoke to a room packed with archaeology buffs, professionals, and history lovers. It is definitely a topic that draws attention and crowds. No doubt it's because the mystery of where Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony went after they left Roanoke Island, plays such a major role in our country's earliest English settlers and let's face it, who doesn't love a good mystery ?

Professor Ewen, began the lecture by briefly explaining to those knowing and unknowing, the story of the Lost Colonist and what evidence existed that points myself and others to the belief that they ended up co-habitating with the Croatoans, leaving generations of descendants on Hatteras Island and surrounding areas of eastern North Carolina. Course as Charlie stated, all the colonies are still actually lost and nothing has been found on Hatteras Island or elsewhere to definitely pin point where they went. Perhaps this is true. Charlie did touch on the topic of the lack of publishing when it comes to the finds that have been unearthed at previous digs. With that said, it is truly hard in my opinion, to know for sure. But I am no pro, so I'll leave the archaeology up to those with a degree.

The hour went by too quickly. Questions and answers followed the lecture and I came away with the mind set that there was still much to be learned about Croatoan...it's people...past and present. As President of the Hatteras Island Genealogical Society, it is my passion to listen to the stories of the people who have lived here for generations. Perhaps they truly hold the answer to where the Croatoans and the Lost Colonist went. Time will only tell.




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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Georgia Research Endangered by Plans to Close Archives


The Secretary of State for Georgia has decided to close the Georgia archives. Someone also posted that the Georgia Virtual Vault is down and has been down for sometime. This will severely limit research in Georgia.

Please sign this petition to keep the archives open to the public.

Petition link:

http://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-ga-leave-our-state-archives-open-to-the-public


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Friday, September 14, 2012

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA now on KINDLE


Richard Hill’s groundbreaking use of genetic genealogy tests in adoption search was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. In order to share his success secrets and tips with other adoptees and genealogists, Hill created an educational web site, DNA-Testing-Adviser.com, which makes genetic genealogy understandable to all. He also provides specific test recommendations to those who contact him. As the unifying expert who bridges the fields of genetic genealogy and adoption search, he has become the go-to person for adoptees and others seeking to find lost relatives or confirm suspected relationships. The author has a BS in physics, an MBA, and more than thirty years experience in marketing. Richard gives talks on DNA testing and serves on the Advisory Board of the Mixed Roots Foundation where he is Co-Director of the Global Adoptee Genealogy Project.

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA


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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Generous Genealogist New Website

This looks to be a wonderful new website. Go here and volunteer or place a query for a look up. This is from the owner:

Hi everyone.

Quickly by way of an update.

The http://generousgenealogists.com site is about 95% functional. A couple of open items remain, but we are now open for business. If you mentioned earlier an interest in being a volunteer on the site, that database now works.

What I can use from you is help getting the word out to others about the site. In order for this to develop and grow we need as many readers & volunteers as we can get. Any help in publicizing things is most appreciated.

btw. We are still working on establishing a hosting relationship with the TrailToThePast folks.

The last (also first Newsletter is at: http://generousgenealogists.com/in-the-news/

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Genetics 101 FREE Course and Contest

 Go here to take an online course in Genetics 101. You can take a test at the end which may win you a $25. gift certificate to Amazon.com.

You will also get a certicate of completion that you can print out.

 http://spittoon.23andme.com/23andme-and-you/genetics-101/back-to-school-genetics-101/


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Friday, September 7, 2012

Roanoke Conundrum - Fact & Fiction, An International Symposium


Roanoke Conundrum - Fact & Fiction, An International Symposium

Roanoke Conundrum—Fact & Fiction has been designed as an unique gathering of scholars from around the world to the remarkable emergence of new research that is stimulating excitement and discussion on Sir Walter Ralegh’s explorations and settlements on the Carolina coast in the 1580s…and particularly the story (in fact and fiction) of  “The Lost Colony.”  We will explore not only the historical facts as we know them, but how the arts interpret history in many different forms.  Oct. 6-10, 2012.  All events are FREE and open to the public!
 Roanoke Conundrum—Fact & Fiction is sponsored by the Roanoke Island Historical Association and the National Park Service at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in association with the US Fish & Wildlife Visitor Center, the First Colony Foundation, and Elizabeth R & Company, with assistance from the Dare County Arts Council, Dare County Schools, Town of Manteo and the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences, East Carolina University.

Click here to access the 4 day schedule:
 http://thelostcolony.org/event/roanoke-conundrum-fact-fiction-an-international-symposium/

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Jennifer Shares DNA Program at Roanoke Chowan Heritage Center


Jennifer Shares DNA Program at Roanoke Chowan Heritage Center

Jennifer Sheppard provided a presentation on DNA for genealogy in Windsor, NC at the Roanoke Chowan Heritage Center Family History and Genealogy Fair on July 27th and 28th. The second annual fair was attended by 55 people during the two day event.  The Lost Colonist surname list, including other families of interest and our mission statement were provided to attendees.  At the end of the second day, Jennifer collected DNA from four individuals.  We are most anxious to see the results of Dr. Ben Speller’s test, one of the organizers of the event. 

 Click to enlarge


Sheppard’s talk was from Roberta Estes’ paper “DNA Testing for Genealogy, What Can It Do for Me?” She shared information on “DNA Basics in four paragraphs” (making it easier for those not familiar with DNA to understand the concept); how unrecombined DNA can help us with genealogy; information on mutations and how the results of your DNA test can tell you about your deep ancestry as well as your genealogy.

Jennifer related how DNA testing can lead to more and even deeper questions as her Uncle’s test did, as well as the wonderful discoveries you can make and how easy it is to connect with your matches when you are notified of your results.  The narrative also set forth project goals for the different family projects developed through DNA testing.

Some people are apparently reluctant to use their own names when testing for various reasons. Jennifer alleviated those concerns by telling people they can use a deceased relative’s name or submit the test in her name, thereby providing complete anonymity.  In the photo below, Jennifer is timing for Dr. Speller as he swabs.
  
Click to Enlarge

Dr. Speller’s comment regarding the presentation was: “We have heard only great things about your presentation”.



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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Virginia Dare!!!!!!

 

 Happy Birthday,

Virginia Dare



World Atlas 

 Virginia Dare was born on August 18, 1587, the first child born in the Americas to English parents. She was born into the short-lived Roanoke Colony in what is now the U.S. State of North Carolina. What became of Virginia and the other colonists remains a mystery. The fact of her birth is known because the governor of the settlement, Virginia Dare's grandfather, John White, returned to England in 1587 to seek fresh supplies and reported it. When White eventually returned three years later, Virginia and the other colonists were gone and they were never seen from again. This painting is of her baptism ceremony. http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/nc.htm

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

FREE and Reduced Tickets for America's Best Loved Outdoor Drama





Go here to get FREE children's tickets and a code to save on adult tickets. The famous Summer Outdoor Drama is in full swing. If you live in the area or you will be traveling there, don't miss this American History play.

 http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lost-Colony/132205938103Photo: Yummy lunch at Good Life Gourmet today!Photo: Yummy lunch at Good Life Gourmet today!



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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Before Jamestown and Plymouth Rock


“. . . had there been no Roanoke Island, and Fort Raleigh, it is doubtful if there would have been a Jamestown (in 1607) or a Plymouth Rock (in 1620).”
— Lindsay C. Warren, United States Representative from North Carolina, in a speech before the first performance of The Lost Colony on July 4, 1937

 The obvious question that follows is would there have been an English settlement at all in the New World. It is highly doubtful given the powerful hold that Spain, Portugal and France had in the Americas.

 For these brave souls who gave England a fragile grasp to cling to we should all be thankful in this the 425th year since they sailed from the known to to the unknown and vanished.




 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Colony





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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Lost Colony’ to Hold Baby Virginia Dare Auditions July 21


The Lost Colony’ to Hold Baby Virginia Dare Auditions July 21

Born on August 18, 1587, Virginia Dare is the most celebrated child in the history of the Outer Banks, if not America, and local parents are invited to audition their newborns this weekend for a starring role as the country’s first English born child in The Lost Colony‘s annual Virginia Dare birthday performance next month!
Virginia Dare Baby auditions will be held this Saturday, July 21 at 10am inside the conference room at the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island, adjacent to the The Lost Colony building and the Waterside Theatre.
You can read the official press release below.
Three-month-old Ozzie Artz of Kill Devil Hills starred as "Baby Virginia Dare" in the christening scene in 'The Lost Colony' on August 18, 2007. (photo: Artz Music & Photography)
Three-month-old Ozzie Artz of Kill Devil Hills starred as “Baby Virginia Dare” in the christening scene in ‘The Lost Colony’ on August 18, 2007. (photo: Artz Music & Photography)
Each year on the anniversary of her birth, a whirlwind of festivities take place in her honor. But the one event that locals look forward to the most is The Lost Colony‘s performance where the usual theater prop swaddled in blankets is replaced by a living, breathing, infant!
Baby auditions will be held on Saturday, July 21 at 10:00 am in the conference room of The Elizabethan Gardens located next to The Lost Colony Building in the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. The casting is open to good-natured boys or girls that weigh no more than 15 pounds.
From its earliest days, The Lost Colony featured community members in the cast and the tradition of the “Virginia Dare Baby” honors that essential connection between our community and the show. The babies may not remember it, but their parents will certainly show them pictures and tell them about it for years to come.
In addition to the special Virginia Dare Night performance August 18, The Lost Colony, in conjunction with National Park Service and The Elizabethan Gardens, will host Virginia Faire Day–a fun filled family event. For more information about the talent search, call 252.473.2127.
Ozzie Artz of Kill Devil Hills starred as "Baby Virginia Dare" in the christening scene in 'The Lost Colony' on August 18, 2007. (photo: Artz Music & Photography)
Ozzie Artz of Kill Devil Hills starred as “Baby Virginia Dare” in the christening scene in ‘The Lost Colony’ on August 18, 2007. (photo: Artz Music & Photography)


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Monday, July 16, 2012

Oldest Painted Object in North America

  Nothing like it had ever been seen. The design, known as a lightning bolt, was unmistakeably man-made. 

"When you find something like that, you're very careful in cleaning it up," Lee said. "We took a gazillion photos of it." 

Nearby, the crew found the animal's skeleton, suggesting the skull had not been taken to or away from the site. The implications were profound. Lee and his crew wanted other archaeologists to witness the skull where it lay, but this was the pre-cell phone era. They carefully draped a cloth over the skull, covered that with a dustpan and some more soil, and headed back to town to make phone calls.

"It had been absolutely dry for the past month," Lee said. "That night, we got two inches of rain."

Lee and the others feared the worst: that after being buried for 10,000 years, the sudden deluge would wash away the paint.

"When we went back to the site, everything was mud. So we let it all dry out, then slowly peeled off the cloth, and there it was, the red lightning bolt intact."

The skull was taken to a lab, where the red hematite paint radiocarbon dated to roughly 10,500 years ago. That makes the Cooper skull the oldest painted object ever discovered in North America. The image below represents where a Folsom hunter or perhaps a shaman painted several designs. Only the lightning bolt was visible to the naked eye. The story doesn't end there, however.


Skull.jpg

 Cont. here:

http://www.pbs.org/opb/timeteam/blog/2012/07/the-cooper-skull.html






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Family History and Genealogy Fair “Looking for Our People”

 Family History and Genealogy Fair “Looking for Our People” 

 Friday, July 27 and Saturday, 28, 2012

 Roanoke Chowan Heritage Center

 Hope House Road

 Windsor North Carolina





 Click here for more details and a registration form:


 http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~craingen/familygeneologyfair


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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

2012 Hatteras Dig

The 2012 Dig For those of you who follow along, the Lost Colony Research Group has sponsored archaeological digs now on Hatteras Island in 2009, 2010, 2011 and now, 2012. This year’s dig was somewhat different since we feel we have located the original site of the colonists on Hatteras Island in previous years. Additionally, we welcomed to our project this year Dr. Charles Ewen at ECU as well as two additional professional archaeologists.We have been very blessed. Our new project archaeologist is Jennifer Gabriel.As you also know, due to modern day pirates called treasure hunters, we have to keep the sites where we dig a well-guarded secret. Besides, the last thing a property owner wantsto find is their yard looking like swiss cheese when they return home one day, meaning that someone with a metal detector has trespassed and not only stolen historically important items, but ruined the area for subsequent archaeology. So while I can’t tell you exactly where we were, suffice it to say that we are still on Hatteras Island and we are still pursing the colonists. We actually dug in several location this year as our dig time in the field was expanded to two weeks. I will post two or three different blogs that shows some of our different activities and the group as well. We never had a better group, or a better time. Were it not for the extreme heat, the massive number of mosquitos and ticks, it was almost likea vacation.Refrains from the nursery rhyme, “ The Old Gray Mare, She Ain’t What She Used to Be ” played through my head every morning as I got my old, achy self out of bed to go and digsome more.However, this dig was blessed from the beginning. Dawn found a lucky penny and we saw a beautiful double rainbow from the deck of the house that we rented on the firs tmorning. Did I mention that there were 37 steps up and down. If not, I probably will mention that several times  Houses on Hatteras are built on stilts so that the flooding doesn’t damage the contents. However, that means that the first floor is really the secondfloor, and so on. Please ignore the small print below and go here to truly enjoy the full sized version:  

2012 Digging on Hatteras

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Crabfest 2012

By Roberta Estes

One of the Hatteras traditions is “pickin crab.”  In the local lingo, this means Blue Crab when it’s in season, which means now.  You can steam it yourself or you can order it by the bushel, fresh, steamed with Old Bay, and ready for eating.  That’s just what we did.  If you go to a restaurant, you’ll pay about $50 for a dozen.  Bought this way, it’s about $15 per person for about a dozen each, depending on the size.  Not only is this a great value, you get to participate in a communal eating experience second to none.  And in the process, we’ll even drop in an archaeology lesson.



Your crabs, freshly cooked and warm, arrive in a waterproof box.  The first thing that you must do is to find a way to completely cover the table.  Also, if carpet is involved, if you can, move the party outside (unless there are seagulls).  Seagulls love crab.  If this leaks into the carpet, you may smell the party for a long time afterwards.


Oh yes, and an order of hushpuppies is definitely in order as well.  Just don’t try to eat anything that requires silverware.  You’ll understand momentarily.


Dr. Charlie, a NC resident is demonstrating the technique of obtaining the crab from within the shell.  Hey, did you know these things came with a pop top?  Yes, all you need then is butter and beer to make the meal complete.

Normally, after the pop top thing, one uses nut crackers and picks to obtain the crab from the claw.  However, if you don’t have enough to go around and there is a wait for the tools, there are also alternate ways in to the crab…as aptly demonstrated by Jenn.  I love an innovative woman!!!

 
Here’s the entire table as we began.  Rolls of paper towels are mandatory.


 I can still hear Andy……”You’re doing bloody what and you’re eating it?  No, no way I can do that.”  Andy made a nice meal on hush puppies and some select clawmeat.  Apparently English crabs need less messy work up front!  By the end of the meal, he was already thinking about Crabfest Bideford as a huge public meal.  It’s hard to have more fun than this.

So here’s the archaeology lesson.  This week, we were digging in middens.  Middens are trash heaps, and you can tell a whole lot about the people that lived there from what they left behind.  Our crabfest table looks just like the middens we were digging, which bring to mind how the people then must have eaten as well.  We found bits of charcoal, which tells us they were cooking.  We found mounds of shells, mostly oyster shells, but intermixed with pot sherds and very large fish bones, mostly vertebrae the size of human vertebrae.  These people did not go hungry.  Unlike their land-dwelling counterparts, they did not have to rely on agriculture or hunting, they could rely on what the sea could and would provide for them.  Oyster beds existed near the Outer Banks islands.  We know this because of the oyster shell mounds in some middens.  This leads one to ask whether or not these oysters were being harvested for food or pearls, or perhaps both.  We know that pearls of different colors were coveted by the native people, and the larger, the better.

An oyster is mature in 3 years and their natural lifespan is about 6, that is, of course, unless either a human or a starfish interferes.   They are eaten only in the winter months.

We don’t find crab shells in middens.  They are much less durable and quite a bit thinner than actual mollusk shells.  But rest assured, the Native people had scenes that looked a lot like this…of course without the bottled beer and the “Trust Me I’m A Doctor” T-shirt.

 
The only bad thing about crabs is that you have to work so hard to get the meat out and it’s such a slow process that you never get full.  You just get tired of eating and your hands begin to hurt from the shelling and the Old Bay.



Here’s one happy crabber – Anne.
It takes a Hatteras Native to explain about how to obtain the crab most effectively.  Lessons are in order from Dawn.  Some of us needed remedial lessons too.


Jenn, innovating again.  Necessity is the mother of invention.

Alex just couldn’t be bothered with taking the shell off.
I think we’re finally done, but there are crabs left over.  Dawn is “pickin” the left over crabs for crabcakes.  Yum.  Seafood is never better than where is it caught and fresh.


And the trash, well, that’s a matter of perspective.  Jenn took a piece of crab outside and was immediately bombarded by the local seagulls.  They loved the pieces we didn’t eat.  Apparently, as far as they were concerned, we had not gotten all of the good stuff.  So, share one and share all.
 












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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Who Are You, Really???

 by Janet Crain

Before you shell out big bucks for a population DNA test, trying to determine your ethnicity, be very aware. Costing more or less is not your best guide to their effectiveness. Both 23andMe and Family finder at Family Tree DNA of Houston use exactly the same chip. It tests over 700,000 markers and is the best on the market. 23andMe has lagged a bit behind but should be making some big changes very soon in drilling down into your ancestry. Family Finder is already doing this.

Population Finder
Reveals Ethnic Ancestry

Population Finder Population Finder is a report included with the Family Finder DNA test from Family Tree DNA. Today, this report is the single best option for measuring a person’s overall ethnic ancestry.

By comparing your DNA to that of global populations, it does what’s called a biogeographical analysis.

As part of Family Finder, it uses your autosomal DNA, which reflects the contributions of ALL your ancestors going back at least five or six generations.
Some companies market tests that claim to make finer distinctions than this. But their reports are based on such tiny population samples that the results are mostly wishful thinking.

Population Finder is the most scientifically credible ethnic DNA test available today.


http://www.dna-testing-adviser.com/population-finder.html

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Proof Greenville was born in Bideford

Surprise discovery is ‘proof’ famous sea captain was born in Bideford

Thursday, June 14, 2012 
4:30 PM
The Gazette brings you an exclusive first look at the spot a local historian believes to be the birthplace of Sir Richard Grenville.

A COAT of arms discovered in a former pub has led to the remarkable discovery of the birthplace of a famous Bideford sea captain, according to local historians.
The exact birth place and date of the explorer Sir Richard Grenville, who died battling the Spanish Armada in 1591, has long been shrouded in mystery.
But now Grenville historian Andy Powell and historical researcher David Carter believe they have proved he was born in Bideford, and would be celebrating his 470th birthday tomorrow (Friday).
“Through months of painstaking research, we have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Sir Richard Grenville was born in Bideford on June 12, 1542,” said former Bideford mayor Mr Powell.
"This could be the single most important discovery in Bideford’s history, and we will be launching a campaign to raise £1.2 million to save the building and open it as a Birthplace and Heritage Museum."
Andy Powell, Grenville historian 
“Furthermore, we have also found the site where Sir Richard Grenville’s house once stood at what is now 1-3 Bridge Street, which we believe was his birthplace.
Cont. click here

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Visiting the Eastern Cherokee on the Qualla Indian Reservation in Cherokee, NC


Today was a wonderfully inspirational and educational fun day.  Come on along!!  We’re visiting the Eastern Cherokee Tribe on the Qualla Reservation.  You can read about them here:  http://nc-cherokee.com/ 
Here’s the tourism site:  http://visitcherokeenc.com/
Drove over the Smokies from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, NC.  Nothing on the TN side of the mountain looks anything like I remember it.  Gatlinburg was always commercial, but nothing like Pigeon Forge is today.  Wow.  Unrecognizable.  But once you cross the line from Gatlinburg to the National Park, it changes immediately and becomes peaceful.  It’s really a good thing they made it a park, otherwise it would all be developed.
 

Flowers blooming along the road, above.
On the NC side, the park abuts the Cherokee Indian Reservation.  You’d never know you were on a reservation if you didn’t know. It doesn’t resemble the western reservations whatsoever.  This just looks like a normal Appalachian town, with a focus on Native culture, of course.
I visited three locations, in addition to several stores.  The first was the reconstructed Indian Village.  This was simply pure joy.  The people here were exceptionally friendly and were all Native people living on the reservation today.  They were anxious to share about their culture and heritage.  My hour visit quickly turned into more than half a day and includes lots of extras.  They were very generous with their time.
Here is the village link, but I’ll tell you, this does not even begin to do it justice.  If you have to select just one thing to do in Cherokee, this is it!
The village is a reconstructed historic village, to scale, which includes several houses where traditional crafts and activities are being practiced.  In addition, there is a council house and a traditional town center where dancing occurs.
I went to the village first hoping to avoid the heat that was sure to be present in the afternoon.  Tribal members there doing traditional things like beads, pottery, carving, basketmaking, etc. 

The next photos shows the undercoat of a buffalo having been woven with beads during the weaving.  This was extremely soft.  I never thought of a buffalo being soft, but these are.  The mountain bison were smaller than western buffalo and became extinct in the 1790s.
Today the beadworkers use contemporary beads like the rest of us, but traditionally the cornbead was used.  It grows on a plant called the cornplant and it is hard when harvested.  There are some traditional beaded items, before the advent of European beads.  The cornbeads are the grey stand near the left.

Pottery of course was a village staple of all Native people.  Pots were used for everything from carrying water to cooking to being decorative and celebratory, like with the marriage vessel below.  The bride and groom would each drink from opposite sides, then the pot would be broken.
 

The carvers were quite interesting.  Everyone here knew a great deal about their history and heritage.  These men carve wood, bone and even feather shanks.  Notice the beautiful masks, below, one with a copper gorget.  The shells shown below are not carved.  They are crushed and used in the whitewash for their body paints.  On the coast, they aren’t used this way.  The difference in both use and culture was very interesting.

The pipe below is carved in the shape of an eagle.
The prepwork involved in basket-making and weaving is unfathomable.  By the time they begin the basket itself, much of the work is done.   Some baskets are actually watertight.

If I ever thought I wanted to do basketwork, this cured me and instilled a great respect for those who do.
The flintknappers were very interesting.  Of course, most of the food supply was dependent on arrowheads.  Some were squared off and some were round.  The ones meant for food were rounded at the shank so they could be pulled out.  The squared ones were meant for enemies and removing by pulling them out wasn’t possible.  The man below is knapping flint by knocking off the edges to achieve a sharp blade type edge.

This man also demonstrated the use of a blowgun.  Poisons weren’t used, because the animal was to be used for food.  He was quite accurate. 
 
 Cont. here:
http://nativeheritageproject.com/2012/06/11/visiting-the-eastern-cherokee-on-the-qualla-indian-reservation-in-cherokee-nc/


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