Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Scroll to the Bottom to View Interesting Videos

There are several interesting videos at the bottom of this page I would like to point out. Several about the Lost Colony and one about the upcoming Henry Louis Gates Jr.s' African-American Lives2 which will be shown in Feb. Plus an interview with Bennett Greenspan, CEO of Family Tree DNA of Houston.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mysteries of the Lost Colony

The following excerpt is from The Knightshift Blogspot:

After we got back to our cars, Anita went on and then Lisa and I drove a few blocks to the North Carolina Museum of History to check out something that I've been wanting to see since it started in October...

For more than 400 years, one of the greatest enigmas of American history has been that of the Roanoke Colony, more commonly known as "the Lost Colony". 116 English colonists had simply vanished when Governor John White returned to Roanoke Island with fresh supplies in 1590. The only thing left behind amid the ruins of their fort was a cryptic word "Croatoan" carved in a tree.

What happened to them? Were they killed off or did they move elsewhere or did they (as some believe) inter-marry with neighboring tribes of Native Americans... which raises the possibility that descendants of the Lost Colony are living among us today?

"Mysteries of the Lost Colony" is an exhibit of the British Museum currently on display at the North Carolina Museum of History. There's lots of good stuff about the Lost Colony itself, but the real centerpiece of the show is the large number of original watercolors by John White (whose daughter Eleanor would be the one to give birth to Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World). A talented artist by trade before he was appointed to be governor of the colony, White did many depictions of the natives and wildlife of present-day coastal North Carolina. A lot of them have been reproduced in history books over the years, and it was quite a thrill to be able to see the originals, made by White himself. Toward the end of the tour, there's an interactive video with one of the actresses of CBS's CSI shows that lets you vote on what you think was the fate of the colony. When we left, "Killed" had a slim lead over "Absorbed", which is what I've come to believe is what happened to them. Maybe in the next few years the Lost Colony DNA Project will be able to come up with some indication about whether the colonists did indeed become the ancestors of the modern-day Lumbee and other Native American tribes in the state. If you want to see "Mysteries of the Lost Colony", it's on display until January 13th, 2008.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

La Navidad, the First "Lost Colony" in the New World

Christopher Columbus, anchored somewhere along the island's Atlantic coast, upped sails to begin the long voyage back to Spain with news he had discovered a western route to the Orient. The next day—Christmas, 1492—his flagship, the Santa María, lodged in a reef. He ordered his men to dismantle the ship and build a fort with its timbers onshore. Three weeks later, Columbus finally set sail aboard the Niña, leaving behind a fortified village, christened Villa de la Navidad, and 39 sailors charged with exploring the coast and amassing gold.

A year later, Columbus returned with 17 ships and 1,200 men to enlarge the settlement. But he found La Navidad in ashes. There were no inhabitants and no gold.

Over the years, many scholars and adventurers have searched for La Navidad, the prize of Columbian archaeology. It is believed to have been in Haiti. The French historian and geographer Moreau de Saint-Méry sought La Navidad there in the 1780s and '90s; Samuel Eliot Morison, the distinguished American historian and Columbus biographer, in the 1930s; Dr. William Hodges, an American medical missionary and amateur archaeologist, from the 1960s until his death in 1995; and Kathleen Deagan, an archaeologist at the University of Florida at Gainesville, in the mid-1980s and again in 2003.

And then there's Clark Moore, a 65-year-old construction contractor from Washington State. Moore has spent the winter months of the past 27 years in Haiti and has located more than 980 former Indian sites. "Clark is the most important thing to have happened to Haitian archaeology in the last two decades," says Deagan. "He researches, publishes, goes places no one has ever been before. He's nothing short of miraculous."

Moore first visited Haiti in 1964 as a volunteer with a Baptist group building a school in Limbé, a valley town about ten miles from the northern coast. In 1976, he signed on to another Baptist mission in Haiti, to construct a small hydroelectric plant at a hospital complex in the same town. The hospital's director was Dr. Hodges, who had discovered the site of Puerto Real, the settlement founded circa 1504 by the first Spanish governor of the West Indies. Hodges also had conducted seminal archaeological work on the Taino, the Indians who greeted Columbus. Hodges taught Moore to read the ground for signs of pre-Columbian habitation and to identify Taino pottery.

The Taino, who flourished from a.d. 1200 to 1500, were about 500,000 strong when Columbus arrived. They were reputedly a gentle people whose culture, archaeologists believe, was becoming more advanced. "Taino" means "noble" or "good" in their Arawak language; they supposedly shouted the word to the approaching Spanish ships to distinguish themselves from the warring Carib tribes who also inhabited Hispaniola, the island Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. Male and female Taino chiefs ornamented themselves in gold, which sparked the Spaniards' avarice. Within a few years of Columbus' arrival, the Taino had all but vanished, the vast majority wiped out by the arduousness of slavery and by exposure to European diseases. A few apparently escaped into the hills.

For two decades Moore has traveled Haiti by rural bus, or tap-tap, with a Haitian guide who has helped him gain access to remote sites. Diminutive Haitian farmers watched with fascination as Moore, a comparative giant at 6-foot-2, measured areas in his yard-long stride and poked the soil with a stick. Often he uncovered small clay icons—a face with a grimace and bulging eyes—known to local residents as yeux de la terre ("eyes of the earth"), believed to date to Taino times and to represent a deity. Moore bunked where he could, typically knocking on church doors. "The Catholics had the best beds," Moore says, "but the Baptists had the best food."

Full Article Here:

Additional Information:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

First English Christmas in the New World

The first Christmas Celebration in North Carolina of colonists was by the English Colony referred to as the Lost Colony. The colony settled on Roanoke Island, where the present town of Manteo stands. The colonists arrived in July of 1787. Food was scarce, conditions harsh and relief from England late. Governor John White sailed to England for supplies, but war with Spain put his efforts on hold. Virginia Dare was born on August 18, 1587, making her the first english child born in the new world. When John White returned August 18, 1590, the colony was gone. They found the word “CROATOAN” carved on a palisade. To this day, the fate of the colonists remains a mystery. Many have theorized that they were either murdered by indians or assimilated into their tribes.

There have been many legends and rumors over the years of blond, blue eyed indians in parts of North Carolina. A very successful play has been performed in Manteo for many years, “The Lost Colony.” Andy Griffith was a member of the cast early in his career.

For information about The Lost Colony and the play visit:

Learn more about North Carolina Click here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Changing Portrait Of DNA

Since Watson and Crick discovered DNA's structure in 1953, scientists have realized the double helix is only one part of our genetic makeup. The latest portrait of our basing building blocks.

By Mary Carmichael NEWSWEEK
Dec 10, 2007 Issue

Four years ago, a Duke University biologist named Randy Jirtle began an elegant little experiment that would ultimately lead him to confront one of life's biggest mysteries. He started with two groups of mice that gave birth to sets of identical babies carrying the same genes. The babies were raised the same way from birth. They should have looked alike but instead, they barely looked related. In the first group, the babies were overweight, prone to diabetes and cancer and covered in fur the color of rancid butter. The mice in the second group were beautiful: lean, healthy, brown. Same nature, same nurture, radically different outcomes. What was going on in there?

The difference, it turned out, wasn't due to the mice's genetic code, nor was it due to the environment. It lay instead in a mechanism that was mediating between the two. A gene in the sickly yellow babies was making a disease-causing protein called Agouti, which also affects coat color. The brown babies had the same gene, but it wasn't making much of anything. It had mostly stopped working. The brown babies' mothers had eaten a special diet during pregnancy: one rich in folic acid, which floods the body with tiny four-atom configurations called methyl groups. These methyl groups had infiltrated the growing brown mouse embryos and latched onto the flawed gene, shutting it down. This was the solution to the mystery: Jirtle had vividly illustrated why, at the biochemical level, the genetic sequence alone doesn't always equal destiny. Four humble atoms had been enough to override a serious defect in the brown babies' genomes. And what was true of the mice turned out to be true of men: there is much more to our nature than the plans laid in the genetic code.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fernback Dig Yielding Valuable Clues: Spanish Native American Clash of Cultures

Archeologists to search for lost mission

By Elliott Minor, The Associated Press

ALBANY, Ga. — Amateur archeologists will get a chance to search this summer for the lost mission of Santa Isabel de Utinahica, built in the wilderness in the 1600s for a lone friar who was dispatched to evangelize among the Indians on the edge of Spain's colonial empire.
"This was on the frontier," said Dennis Blanton, curator of native American archaeology at Atlanta's Fernbank Museum of Natural History. "It was perched on the edge of the known world in this hemisphere. A barefoot Franciscan was dropped alone into alien territory and given his marching orders to convert these Indians and probably gather a certain amount of intelligence."

More here:

Fernbank digs into early Georgian history


The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 12/11/07

JACKSONVILLE, Ga. — Jacksonville, Ga. -- Was it a fight, all those centuries ago? Looking at the dirt, you can't help but wonder.
The clay fragments form an arc, as if someone swept a pot off the shelf and watched it shatter. A bead turns up in the same area as last month. This time, diggers also find a pitted sliver of iron -- a weapon, maybe?

It's not scientific to conjecture, but it's so human. Did someone smash the pot and yank the bead from his enemy's neck? Who wielded the iron?
And who torched the house?

The questions come more readily than the answers in the woods of Telfair County, where archaeologists working with the Fernbank Museum of Natural History are shoveling into the past. They are learning more about a pivotal moment in North American history, when two cultures came together under a canopy of longleaf pines not far from the Ocmulgee River.

More here:

Photos of the dig

Monday, December 10, 2007

Humans Evolving More Rapidly Than Ever, Say Scientists

By Brandon Keim
December 10, 2007

Look out, future, because here we come: scientists say the speed of human evolution increased rapidly during the last 40,000 years -- and it's only going to get faster.

The findings, published today by a team of U.S. anthropologists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, overturn the theory that modern life's relative ease has slowed or even stopped human adaptation. Selective pressures are still at work; they just happen to be different than those faced by our distant ancestors.

"We're more different from people 5,000 years ago than they were from Neanderthals," said study co-author and University of Utah anthropologist Henry Harpending.

In the study, researchers analzyed genomes from 270 people belonging to four disparate ethnic groups: Han Chinese, Africa's Yoruba tribe, Japanese and Utah Mormons. By comparing areas of difference and similarity, they determined that about seven percent of the genome has undergone significant change since the end of the last Ice Age.

If human beings had always evolved at such a rapid clip, said the researchers, genetic differences between people and chimpanzees would be 160 times greater than they are.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Family Tree DNA to Offer First Genealogy X-Chromosome Tests

chromosome-X (National Library of Medicine).

HOUSTON, Oct. 12 -- Family Tree DNA, whose growing array of DNA tests for genealogical purposes has established them as the world leader in genetic genealogy, will introduce ground-breaking new X chromosome tests (X-STR) in early October. The X-STR tests are the first ever available for genealogy applications by focusing on linked "haplotype blocks" which are inherited intact over several generations. This test will be processed locally at the company's recently established Genomic Research Center. Headed by Thomas Krahn, whose German-based DNA-Fingerprint company was recently merged into Family Tree DNA, the state of the art Genomic Research Center is located at Family Tree DNA's Houston, Texas headquarters.

Krahn, a graduate of the Technical University of Berlin, is an expert in developing new molecular biological methods to resolve questions in biological heritage. Since 2003, DNA-Fingerprint specialized in more complex ancestry testing. This will give Family Tree DNA the ability to increase its current 67-marker Y-DNA test, the highest resolution Y-DNA test offered by any company in the world today, to over 100 Y-DNA markers.

Additionally, the new lab has allowed Family Tree DNA to significantly lower the price of its Full Mitochondria Genomic Sequence (FGS), which it began to make available a year ago. The Full Mitochondria Genomic Sequence is the last mtDNA test that anyone will ever need to take because it encompasses the entire molecule (all 16,659 base pairs) and is clearly the emerging platform for all Anthropology testing. The new lab also affords the capability to offer testing for CODIS markers for those who want to compare test results against existing databases of these universally used markers, including biographical databases.

Full Article Here:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Centuries-Old Map Baffles Researchers

By Janet Crain

The 500 year old map going on display at the Library of Congress on Dec. 13th raises some extremely intriguing questions.

In fact, if the government hadn't paid $10,000,000 to purchase the map in 2003 and another considerable amount to restore and conserve the map, plus reportedly more for a chamber to house the map than was spent on those for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, I would be tempted to dismiss this map as a fraud. But surely these guys know what they are doing.

The map was discovered in the Waldburg-Wolfegg castle archives in 1901. It was created by the German monk Martin Waldseemuller. The Duke of Lorraine brought Waldseemuller and a group of scholars together at a monastery in Saint-Die in France to create a new map of the world in 1505. The effort took two years and is stunningly accurate.

Some eighty years later and for many years after that, the English searched for a Northwest Passage to the Orient. This belief that such a passage existed was not completely squelched until Lewis and Clark made the Voyage of Discovery and reported back to Jefferson in 1805.

When the early English explorations along the Eastern coast of North America were made by the colonists, some of whom were later known as the Lost Colony, it was thought that the mainland was only a very narrow strip of land with a body of water on the other side which would lead to India and provide riches through trade routes.

How many futile trips were made searching for this chimerical goal? The lives and fortunes lost were in vain. It seems a shame this knowledge was not universally shared.

You can read all about this amazing map here:

Monday, December 3, 2007

AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 | Coming Feb. 2008 to PBS

In February 2008 on PBS, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. will guide an all-new group to build on the African American Lives experience — poet Maya Angelou, actor Morgan Freeman, theologian Peter Gomes, publisher Linda Johnson Rice, athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, radio host Tom Joyner and rock 'n' roll legend Tina Turner — on a journey to discover their ancestry in AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2.

The new four-part series will draw on DNA analysis, genealogical research and family oral tradition to trace the lineages of the participants down through U.S. history and back to Africa.

PBS air date: Starting Wednesday, February 6th at 9/8C (check local listings).

Scroll Down to View Video

Saturday, December 1, 2007

National Geographic's "Explorer: China’s Secret Mummies" attempts to unravel a mystery that could rewrite history

There are probably only a handful of finds of this nature in every century. It really is extraordinary given the context of where they’re found and given what we thought we knew about the history of that region. The question is, how did they end up in this East Asian realm?” — Dr. Spencer Wells

More than a thousand years before any known contact between East and West, hundreds of mummies, many with blue eyes and light hair, were buried in a Chinese desert.

It’s a discovery that could substantially rewrite the history of contact between East and West and challenge the assumption that China developed largely in isolation.

On Sunday, December 2, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the National Geographic Channel’s Explorer: China’s Secret Mummies goes on a unique forensic journey to determine who these people were and where they came from.

The Tarim Basin in western China is an arid, forbidding landscape long thought to be one of the natural barriers that enabled the East to develop separately from the West.

But a remarkable archaeological find by a Chinese expedition in 1978 — a series of mummies, many with Caucasian features — called into question theories about East/West migration.
The mummies remained in a regional museum, all but hidden for a decade, until Victor Mair, an expert on ancient Chinese texts, chanced upon them and realized their importance.

Examining their clothes and the artifacts buried near them provided some clues about their origin. It wasn’t until earlier this year that Spencer Wells, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and director of National Geographic’s Genographic Project, went on a mission to use advanced DNA-analyzing technology to decode the mummies’ genetic identities.

Full Article Here:

Monday, November 26, 2007


Early Vistor to Roanoke

One of the illustrious figures of the sixteenth century to visit North Carolina was Sir Francis Drake, who came in June 1586. Like Sir Walter Ralegh, Drake was a Devon man. Born at Crowndale, near Tavistock, about 1543, he was the son of Edmund Drake, a sailor who became a yeoman farmer. In 1549 when the Roman Catholic peasants of the West Country rebelled against the new prayer book, the Drakes, who were Protestants, lost all their possessions and had to seek refuge first in Plymouth and later in Kent, where they lived aboard an old ship. There the elder Drake preached to the sailors. Because the family was persecuted for its religious beliefs under Mary Tudor, Francis grew up a staunch Protestant.

Beginning his career in 1566, at about age 23, Drake became an ocean sailor by joining his relative, John Hawkins, in the slave trade with the Spanish colonies in the New World. Stopped by a large Spanish force at San Juan de Ullua in 1568 Hawkins and Drake made an agreement with them but when it was to their advantage, the Spanish attacked. After the ensuing battle Drake hastily returned to Plymouth and was later accused by Hawkins of desertion. From these expeditions Drake learned much about ships and the Western Hemisphere, and he developed a great hatred for the Spanish. For the rest of his life he conducted a personal war against Spain.

Drake returned to the Caribbean in 1569, 1571, and 1572, and attacked Panama in the latter two voyages. In 1572 he was wounded while two of his brothers died in battle. When he returned to England, Queen Elizabeth had made peace with Spain and he had to go into hiding, possibly in Ireland, where he reappeared in 1575. At that time he announced that he was going to the Mediterranean to open up the spice trade in Alexandria, but his true plan was to circumnavigate the world. In 1581, after his return from this successful and profitable voyage, Queen Elizabeth knighted him.

Relations with Spain continued to deteriorate, and in 1585 Drake returned to the West Indies. On Hispaniola he captured the supposedly impregnable city of Santo Domingo. Later in Columbia he captured Cartagena. By now with one-third of his men dead and many others unfit for service, Drake was unable to attack Havana. After sacking St. Augustine, he sailed up the coast to Roanoke Island where he arrived on 26 June 1586. There he visited Sir Walter Ralegh's colony headed by Ralph Lane, planted in 1585. He found a disheartened group of men. The once-friendly Indians were now hostile, and the supply ship was late. Drake offered Lane victuals for one month and a ship, the 40 tun Francis. He also agreed to take some of Lane's weaker men back to England and to replace them with his own men. A major storm, however, forced the Francis out to sea and caused a change in plans. Drake offered Lane a larger ship, the 170 tun Bark Bonner but it was too large to pass through the inlets. Instead Lane and his colonists decided to return to England with Drake.

This expedition did not make great profits for investors but it did inflict great damage on the Spanish Empire and led almost directly to the launching of the Armada that Philip II began to assemble. The Spanish planned to attack in 1587; but, learning of these plans, Drake attacked Cadiz and Lisbon, where he destroyed ships, and at Cape St. Vincent, where he burned barrel staves needed for casks for food and water. These actions delayed the Armada until 1588 and caused it to sail with unseasoned casks which leaked water and allowed food to spoil.

Full Article Here:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

DNA Tests Find More Branches Than Roots

Published: November 25, 2007

HENRY LOUIS GATES JR., whose PBS special “African American Lives” explores the ancestry of famous African-Americans using DNA testing, has done more than anyone to help popularize such tests and companies that offer them. But recently this Harvard professor has become one of the industry’s critics.

Gates says his concerns date back to 2000, when a company told him his maternal ancestry could most likely be traced back to Egypt, probably to the Nubian ethnic group. Five years later, however, a test by a second company startled him. It concluded that his maternal ancestors were not Nubian or even African, but most likely European.
Why the completely different results? Mr. Gates said the first company never told him he had multiple genetic matches, most of them in Europe. “They told me what they thought I wanted to hear,” Mr. Gates said.

An estimated 460,000 people have taken genetic tests to determine their ancestry or to expand their known family trees, according to Science magazine. Census records, birth and death certificates, ship manifests, slave narratives and other documents have become easier to find through the Internet, making the hunt for family history less daunting than in years past.
Yet for many, the paper or digital trail eventually ends. And for those who have reached that point, genetic DNA tests may help to provide the final piece of the puzzle.

The expectations and reasons for taking the test vary. For some, the test allows them to reconnect with African ancestors after centuries of slavery wiped out links between African-Americans and their forebears. Others want to see if they have links to historical figures like Genghis Khan or Marie Antoinette. For still others, it’s an attempt to fill gaps in family histories and find distant cousins they might not otherwise have known.

The demand has spawned an industry. Almost two dozen companies now offer such services, up from just two or three only six years ago. The field is so hot that private equity investors have moved in: Spectrum Equity Investors recently bought, an online genealogy site, for about $300 million shortly after the site added genetic testing as a service.

But as the number of test takers and companies has grown, so has the number of scientists or scholars like Mr. Gates who have questioned assertions that companies make about their tests. One of the most controversial issues is the ability of the tests to determine the country or the ethnic group of origin for African-Americans or Native Americans.

Mr. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, said his experience and similar stories from others have prompted him to enter the field.

Mr. Gates recently teamed up with Family Tree DNA, a DNA testing and genealogy firm in Houston, to provide genetic testing and genealogy work for African-Americans. The new venture is called AfricanDNA.

“What we hope to do is combine this with genealogical and other records to try to help people discover their roots,” he said. “The limitations of current genetic DNA tests mean you can’t rely on this alone to tell you anything. We hope to bring a little order to the field.”

Full Article Here:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lost Colony Exhibit Draws Thousands, On Track To Be Most Popular In 13 Years

Posted: 9:13 AM Nov 22, 2007
Last Updated: 9:13 AM Nov 22, 2007
Reporter: Tom Skinner

The North Carolina Museum of History is charging admission for its new exhibit, but that isn't stopping visitors.

In fact, an average of more than 500 people visit the museum every day to see "Mysteries of the Lost Colony," which is paired with another exhibit, "A New World: England's First View of America."

The exhibit is one month into its 12-week run. So far, attendance is approaching 15,000.
Director Ken Howard says the exhibit is on track to meet his prediction of 40,000 visitors, which could make the exhibit the most popular attraction since the museum opened at its current location in 1994.

Full Article Here:

The First Thanksgiving: Jamestown

The First Thanksgiving

By Kristine Vick

CBN News Reporter

In 1619, two years before the colonists arrived in Massachusetts, a band of English settlers landed in Virginia, at what is now known as the Berkeley plantation. History says the travelers immediately fell to their knees to thank God for their safe arrival. Here is a closer look at the role these settlers had in shaping what we know today as Thanksgiving.

Most people think of the Pilgrims on Thanksgiving day: 1622, the Mayflower, Squanto and his tribe sharing a feast with the Puritans at Plymouth Rock.

But the children at Stonebridge School in Virginia present a different picture. With colonial hats and feathered headbands, these children re-enact what it must have been like back in the 1600s, marking the events surrounding the first Thanksgiving at a very different time and place.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Genome, Myself: Seeking Clues in DNA

The DNA Age


Published: November 17, 2007

The exploration of the human genome has long been relegated to elite scientists in research laboratories. But that is about to change. An infant industry is capitalizing on the plunging cost of genetic testing technology to offer any individual unprecedented — and unmediated — entree to their own DNA.

For as little as $1,000 and a saliva sample, customers will be able to learn what is known so far about how the billions of bits in their biological code shape who they are. Three companies have already announced plans to market such services, one yesterday.

Full Article Here:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Joins Forces with Family Tree DNA to Launch

Innovative Partnership Offers African Americans Unprecedented Choices in Search for Roots

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE), the first company dedicated to offering both genetic testing and genealogical tracing services for African Americans, is being launched this month by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, in partnership with the Inkwell Foundation and Family Tree DNA, the world’s leader in genetic genealogy. The precedent-setting site is the only company in the field of genetic genealogy that will provide African Americans with family tree research in addition to DNA testing.

Gates, a celebrated author, educator and social critic, is a strong advocate of the value and benefits of genetic genealogy for African Americans. Noting that the process is still in its infancy, he says: “Most people don't realize it, but their roots are on the tips of their tongues. The available DNA data are not by any means complete, and these tests will not yield the names of any of the individuals on our distant family trees—just the general geographic areas in which our ancestors lived. Sometimes the tests yield multiple exact tribal matches, making it necessary for historians to interpret the most plausible result.” is the only company that offers the service of scholars interpreting multiple matches when compared to the database. A board of historical consultants will include Dr. Fatimah Jackson, Professor, Applied Biological Anthropology, University of Maryland; Dr. Linda Heywood and Dr. John Thornton, both African historians at Boston University; Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Professor of History and of African and African American Studies (Chair) at Harvard University; and Dr. David Eltis, director of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database at Emory University.

Gates comments that “sometimes African Americans will discover that their DNA can be traced to a white ancestor, especially on the father’s side, because of slavery. About 30 percent of the African American male population has a white male ancestor.” offers two premium tests. The Maternal Test (Female-mtDNA) is a high-resolution mtDNA test that looks at the mitochondria received by both men and women from their mothers. The Paternal Test, exclusively for males, is a Y-DNA test that details the inherited Y-chromosome. Both tests’ results will include placement in the ancestral tree of humankind. Tests will be processed at the Genomic Analysis and Technology Core laboratory at the University of Arizona, headed by Dr. Michael Hammer. The renowned geneticist has been associated with Family Tree DNA since the company’s inception. Both Family Tree DNA and the University of Arizona lab are respected for their commitment to stringent scientific standards and privacy guidelines.

Singular in the world of genealogy and genetics is’s Genealogy Package. This unique product offers documented genealogical tracing of lineage as far back as records permit. Although former slaves, freed at the time of the Civil War, first appeared in the Federal census in 1870, many other records of African Americans under slavery still exist. Genealogists even discovered that Gates’ 4th great-grandfather—a Free Negro named John Redman—fought in the American Revolution, leading to Gates’ induction into the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution). DNA test takers who opt for the Genealogy Package will receive a customized family tree prepared by the genealogy services group.

Genetic results of AfricanDNA customers will be compared with the database of Family Tree DNA, the most extensive comparative database of DNA test results in the world, including African results provided by leading anthropologists worldwide. These comparisons will point many AfricanDNA clients toward their African origins. A percentage of all profits will be donated to the Inkwell Foundation, dedicated to reforming the teaching of science and history in inner city schools using genetic and genealogical ancestry tracing.

Long interested in genealogical research and DNA testing, Gates is the author of
Finding Oprah’s Roots, Finding Your Own (Crown, 2007) and the forthcoming In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past, to be published next spring (Crown, 2008). He is also the host and executive producer of the critically acclaimed 2006 PBS series “African American Lives” and its follow-up, “Oprah’s Roots.” “African American Lives 2” will be broadcast on PBS in February, 2008 in conjunction with Black History Month.

Professor Gates is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American and African Studies. Gates, an influential cultural critic, has written for Time Magazine, The New Yorker and the New York Times. The recipient of 48 honorary degrees and a 1981 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr. received a National Humanities Medal in 1998, and in 1999 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Family Tree DNA, founded in April 2000, was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes, which, until then, had only been available for academic and scientific research. Today, Family Tree DNA’s database exceeds 165,000 individual test records (roughly 110,000 Y-DNA and 55,000 mtDNA tests), making it the prime source for researching recent and distant family ties. Additionally, Family Tree DNA administers over 4400 surname projects, comprising some 65,000 unique surnames.

Press Release

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Genealogical Studies Being Aided by DNA Tests

A laboratory technician
prepares samples for
DNA testing

Millions of people around the world can trace their ancestry back several generations or more through oral history, family documents or government records of such events as marriages and births. In the United States, genealogy has become a popular pursuit especially for descendants of immigrants who are interested in knowing where their forefathers originated. These genealogical researchers are being aided these days by DNA tests that can sometimes help them bridge gaps left in the paper trail. Sometimes these tests can lead to surprises.

Roberta Estes has a long list of European family surnames that she has encountered in her search through family records and public documents.

But through DNA testing she found out that she also has genetic links to sub-Saharan Africa and Native American Indians, bringing her closer to others who descend from those lines.

One of Roberta's lines has the surname Younger and many people with this name assume that they are related to the infamous 19th century Missouri outlaw band led by Cole Younger. But Roberta says DNA tests have shown not all Youngers are related.

Pointing to her research Roberta says, "There is the Cole Younger and the Younger gang line and then there is another line, even though they both come out of Virginia and Maryland at about the same time, but the DNA has proven that they are two distinct and separate lines."
DNA tests are most useful in determining genetic links between people who may have little documentation or oral history to guide them. Adrian Williams leads a group of people with the surname Williams, the third most common surname in the United States. There are many branches of the Williams line that may not be related to one another. But Adrian says a DNA test has helped him find connections with others who share his surname.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Lost Colonists Their Fortune and Probable Fate

by David Beers Quinn

"The people of England, indeed of the Western world, learned about North America; because books were published based on what Raleigh's men discovered, they could soon read for themselves of the natives and the promise of strange and wonderful resources.

The Lost Colonists provide one of the first and most challenging mystery stories of American history. They may also present to us the first example of the assimilation of people from the British Isles with Native Americans, a result that did not take place to any great extent in eastern North America or, indeed, elsewhere in that great area. The writer on this subject has to be as accurate as he can, yet willing to speculate. There are clear factual accounts of the voyage of the colonists under the leadership of John White in 1587 and their temporary establishment on Roanoke Island. There is equally clear evidence that when John White returned to the island in 1590 the settlers had gone. All traces of their having lived there during the previous three years had disappeared. Only a newly built defensive fortification remained on the island. No person certainly belonging to the 1587 colony is known to have been seen again by a white man.

We have, however, clear evidence that white settlers identified as having come from Roanoke were living in the area between the Elizabeth River and what is now Cape Henry, in modern Virginia, during the twenty years after their presumed departure from Roanoke Island. We have equally positive evidence that colonists were killed by the Virginia Indian ruler Powhatan shortly before Jamestown was founded. But not all North Carolinians are prepared to accept this evidence because it is indirect and occurs a few years, perhaps only two or three years, after the event.

Intensive searches-but not intensive enough, we might think-were made for survivors of the colony in 1608, and seven persons were heard of as having escaped the killing and reached the Chowan tribe not far from the head of Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. Held incommunicado by the Indians there, they were lost sight of and finally forgotten by the Virginia settlers. It can be conjectured with a degree of probability that some of the colonists remained with the Europeanized Indian Manteo on the Carolina Outer Banks near modern Cape Hatteras. All trace of these people was lost, however, and their subsequent fate is totally unknown, though speculation has suggested that they formed an element in later Indian populations on the Carolina sounds.

In assimilating the materials that survive on the Lost Colonists and their fate, there are many gaps in our documentation. These must be filled by working conjectures. Historians, especially of earlier periods of history, have to make assumptions that blend the materials at their disposal into a coherent story while carefully admitting where they are and are not relying directly on documents (which may be good or only imperfect evidence). Otherwise they could not make any sense of their reconstruction of an often poorly documented past. In what follows, assumptions have been made and conjectures proposed that are the best that one historian can do with the materials at his disposal. They do not lead to any dramatic conclusion except that the great majority of the Lost Colonists, after nearly twenty years of life alongside or mingled with the Indians living to the south of the Chesapeake Bay, across the border from North Carolina in modern Virginia, were wiped out in a massacre by the despotic ruler of the Indian tribes of tidewater Virginia. But our knowledge leads thereafter to strong indications, if not proof, that seven survivors remained in the possession (as slaves?) of a chief who dominated the Chowan River and possibly the lower reaches of the Roanoke River valley around 1608.

There is also a probability that the younger men left on Roanoke Island in 1587 did not rejoin the main body of settlers but lived instead with the Croatoan (Hatteras) Indians of the Outer Banks. There are bound to be differences of opinion as to what weight should be given each item of direct and indirect evidence. If new solutions are to be found, they must rest either on new documents (the finding of which is unlikely, if not impossible) or, most probably, on archaeological discoveries. If the Lost Colonists lived some twenty years on a site that it is suggested, was well inland near the present Elizabeth River in Virginia, they are bound to have left traces that Powhatan is unlikely to have destroyed completely. Such a discovery would be thrilling for all North Carolinians and Virginians, but there is no assurance that it will ever take place. Nevertheless, it is our best hope of solving what appears to be the crucial element in the mystery of the Lost Colonists and their fate."

by David Beers Quinn © 1984 by the North Carolina Division of Archives and History Permission granted to use electronically for educational purposes, September 6, 2000

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"A Report on the Condition and Tribal Rights of the Indians of Robeson and Adjoining Counties of North Carolina"

On June 30, 1914, O.M. McPherson published the following "A Report on the Condition and Tribal Rights of the Indians of Robeson and Adjoining Counties of North Carolina" excerpts below:

- The Croatan Indians comprise a body of mixed-blood people residing chiefly in Robeson County NC. A few of the class of people reside in Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Scotland, and Hoke Counties, NC, and in Sumter, Marlboro, and Dillon Counties, SC.

- They further have had a tradition among them that their ancestors, or some of them, came from "Roanoke in Virginia"

- excerpt of letter of Hamilton McMillan of Fayetteville NC dated July 17, 1890: "The Croatan tribe lives principally in Robeson County, NC though there is quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter County, SC there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. Whereas the Indians now living in Robeson County claim to be descendants of a friendly tribe who once resided in eastern North Carolina, on the Roanoke River."

- At one time the Croatans were known as "Redbones," and there is a street in Fayetteville so called because some of them once lived on it. They are known by this name in Sumter County, SC, where they are quiet and peaceable, and have a church of their own. They are proud and high-spirited, and caste is very strong among them.

This stands as one of the earliest references to the mixed-blood settlement in Sumter County. McMillan presented himself as a person well acquainted with the Sumter Co. people, and he proposed them to be Indians, and closely related to the present-day Lumbees.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Indian Food and Cooking in Eastern North Carolina

On their third day in the New World, sometime in July 1584, Sir Walter Ralegh's reconnaissance party under Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe met three natives. Having no language in common, the two groups quickly resorted to the universal media of polite discourse: food and drink. The explorers took an Indian aboard one of their ships and persuaded him to sample their meat and wine, which Barlowe said, "he liked very well." In return, the Indian caught them as many fish as his canoe could hold.

Over the next few days the Englishmen entertained Granganimeo, an Indian nobleman, and some of his retinue. He reciprocated by sending "euery daye a brase or two of fatte Buckes, Conies [common cottontail rabbits], Hares [marsh rabbits], Fishe....fruites, Melon [pumpkins], Walnuts, Cucumbers [probably squash], Gourdes, Pease, and diuers rootes." Barlowe made special note of the Indians' corn, which he found "very white, faire, and well tasted."

At length Barlowe and seven other Englishmen visited the palisaded village on the north end of Roanoke Island. Although they seem to have arrived unexpectedly while Granganimeo was elsewhere, they got a taste of local hospitality. After washing the visitors and their clothes, Granganimeo's wife and retainers served the Englishmen a feast in his five-room house. It included roasted and stewed venison and fish, boiled corn or hominy, raw and cooked pumpkins and squash, and various fruits.

Barlowe did not record what beverages the Indians served him and his companions, but he did say that the Indians customarily drank wine "while the grape lasteth" and water "sodden with Ginger [sic] in it, and blacke Sinamone [perhaps dogwood or magnolia bark], and sometimes Sassafras, and diuers other wholesome, and medicinable hearbes." (Black drink, made mostly or exclusively of scorched yaupon leaves, was common throughout the region, but the spiced beverages Barlowe describes were not, and wine, if he was not mistaken, was probably unique in the Western Hemisphere.)

For safety Barlowe and company declined to sleep in the village and spent a rainy night in open boats in the sound. Their hosts evidently took no offense, for they sent along the leftovers, pots and all, and kept watch on shore.

Not until Ralph Lane and his colonists spent eleven months in North Carolina (1585-1586) did Englishmen begin fully to appreciate the bounty of the region and the diversity of Indian cuisine. John White, who may not have stayed in the New World the whole time, made several revealing drawings of Indians cooking and eating. Thomas Harriot, a colonist with an analytical mind and a discriminating palate, devoted much of his "Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia" to a catalog of native foodstuffs.

The waters of the region yielded tremendous quantities of fish-sturgeon, herring, mullet, and other species-upon which the Indians depended for much of their protein. Crabs, oysters, clams, scallops, and mussels were another major part of their diet. In spring, when stores laid in the previous fall were depleted and crops were not yet ripe, tribes living on the outer coastal plain often sent members who could be spared to nearby estuaries to subsist on shellfish. (In the spring of 1586, worsening relations with the Indians upon whom the colonists depended for food forced Ralph Lane to adopt this practice and disperse his band to various locations where fish and shellfish could be obtained easily.) Over generations, huge mounds of shells accumulated at favored spots. One of these, the present Tillett site on the south end of Roanoke Island, shows evidence of use from around the time of Christ to the disappearance of the coastal tribes in the seventeenth century. Harriot mentioned turtles and terrapins (both "very good meate, as also their egges" ), porpoises, and "Creuises" (crayfish or lobsters or both), but did not say whether Indians ate them.

The Indians of eastern North Carolina probably had no domestic animal except the dog, but the vast forests, marshes, and swamps abounded in bears, deer, rabbits, squirrels, turkeys, doves, partridges, and water birds. Several of the nominally edible mammals were entirely new to the Englishmen, and Harriot did a poor job of describing them. Saquenuckot, for example, could have been a muskrat, opossum, mink, or raccoon; so could Maquowoc.

Harriot listed six wild root vegetables eaten by the Indians. Openauk may have been the ground nut or the Indian or marsh potato-not the Irish potato. (Sir Walter Ralegh has long received undeserved credit for bringing the Irish potato to Europe. It is native to South America, and the Spanish probably introduced it before he was born.) Okeepenauk, "of the bignes of a mans head," may have been the wild potato, a relative of the sweet potato. The English identified coscushaw as casasava. If it belonged to the arum family, it was not poisonous like raw cassava; but the Indians' elaborate preparation probably made a considerable improvement in its taste. Harriot thought that tsinaw (probably some kind of smilax) was similar to the "China root" imported to England from the East Indies. Its name may be nothing more than a native's attempted pronunciation of China. Harriot had such a low opinion of kaishucpenauk (duck potatoes?) that he pointedly omitted "their place and manner of growing." He said little more about the hot-tasting habascon, perhaps the cow parsnip, except that the Indians added it to their stewpots for flavoring and never ate it alone.

Wild fruits added further zest and balance to the Indians' varied diet. Strawberries were available for the taking, as were crab apples, mulberries, persimmons, prickly pears, "Hurtleberies" (huckleberries, blueberries, or even cranberries), and many species that Harriot did not list. The Indians undoubtedly ate all four native varieties of grape (Harriot mentioned two) out of hand even if they did not make wine. In addition, the Indians collected many nuts and seeds, including chinquapins, two kinds of "walnuts" (probably the black walnut and one or more sorts of hickory nut), the five kinds of acorn that Harriot could distinguish (and perhaps others), and a grain that sounds like wild rice but probably came from an unrelated marsh grass.

Full Article Here:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Descendants of the 'Lost Colonists' Forced to Flee Their Own Homes

Cartuca was the capital of the people whose ancestors were known to Raleigh's colonists as Croatans. That the people of King Tom Taylor of Cartuca were descended from members of the Lost Colony may be concluded from the Congressional Report of 1914-1915, by Special Indian Agent O.M. McPherson. It precluded their classification as "Native Americans," with the benefits they would derive from this status. Hugh and Clement Taylor were both members of the Lost colony, but it is not known which, if either, was an ancestor of King Taylor.

When John Lawson and Baron De Graffenried conspired and contracted for the settlement of Palatines in the geographically strategic site of Cartuca--now New Bern--in 1710, the people of King Taylor were pleased at the prospect of European neighbors. Their king was maternally descended from Sir Manteo (knighted Lord of Roanoake and Dasamonguepeuk by Queen Elizabeth) and an english adventurer named Taylor, and they were pleased at the prospect of European neighbors.

The Palatines, from the border electorate of European kings, between France and Germany, had other plans, however. They had no intentions of allowing the Indians to remain in the area of the junction of the Trent and Neuse Rivers. The site controlled heavy freight traffic to the land's interior. With a few well-placed cannons De Graffenried could control shipping there as surely as his ancestors (cousins to the English royalty) controlled the junction of the Neckar and the Rhine.

The sale of Cartuca (Core Tucka, the new Currituck)was a momentous event for the Indians. They saw it as the beginning of a new way of life for them. What sort of a new way of life was soon to become clear to them as the mysterious Corees, who became extinct.

On the night of the celebration of the sale of Cartuca to the whites, it became clear to King Taylor that John Lawson had bargained away far more than Taylor ever intended to sell. His first awareness of the real extent of his peoples' loss brought from him an eloquent plea for brotherhood and cooperation between the whites and the Indians, in the English dialect of the Raleigh colonists.

The unaccustomed spectacle of a savage in European clothing, presenting an impassioned plea for unity with the Europeans, was more than one of the Palatines could take. Michel, a geologist and mining expert, raging drunk on raw rum, jumped on King Taylor and pummeled him mercilessly.

Such behavior on such an occasion was inconceivable to the Indians. To even interrupt a tribal chief was a capitol offense, at the chief's discretion. Michel's brutality ended the festivities for the natives of Cartuca. When Michel was pulled from the battered and bleeding Taylor, John Lawson delivered an ultimatum to the Indians. They must immediately leave Cartuca--and the surrounding area!

The shock to the Indians was profound. The loss to them was suddenly clear. Their home, with its wattled Welsh peasant style houses was no longer theirs. They were expected to vacate Cartuca immediately!

After his painful humiliation before the assembly of whites and his people, King Taylor raged in drunken indignation and disbelief in his own cabin. He rambled on about his white ancestry. He spoke of the nobility of his Indian ancestors, and the appreciation shown to them by the Virgin Queen. And he moaned his grief that John Lawson and the Palatines were such ungracious subjects of a sovereign who succeeded her.

As King Taylor rambled on, loudly and bitterly, English settlers and their friendly Tuscarora neighbors from the Albemarle, who had come to the celebration of New Bern's founding, continued to carouse around the big bonfire with the Palatines. Each outburst of rage and frustration from Taylor's house brought a roar of raucous laughter from the wild gang around the fire.

Loudly some wag in the crowd pointed out to Michel that his English was not nearly so fine as that of King Taylor! Another pointed out that the beating Michel gave him only served to sharpen Taylor's tongue! At this, Michel jumped up, kicked a shower of burning embers from the fire, and vowed to kick as many sparks from the Indian leader's arsch!

Michel ran to Taylor's house, followed by the drunken mob that roared its approval, and kicked open the door. King Taylor was astonished to find his privacy so violated. As he rose to protest, the enraged German pounced on him. Michel again pummeled Taylor mercilessly, knocking him down. When the Indian chief struggled to rise, Michel slammed a boot to his body that kicked him out the door. That was the way King Taylor left his home in Cartuca.
The Indian leader sprawled unconscious in the dirt, as Michel ordered the other Indians from their home. The women of the Taylor household were allowed to hastily gather a few belongings, as the young Indian men picked up their battered father and erstwhile spokesman, of whom they had always been so proud. Then they vanished into the darkness, the way Indians always do.

This was really the opening battle of the Tuscarora War, of which John Lawson was the first officially documented victim. This was the opening battle of the war that pitted the Iroquoian Tuscaroras of Roquis Pocosin, who allied themselves with their English neighbors, against a hodge-podge of Sioux, Algonquins and renegade Iroquois (mostly Tuscaroras)--who saw their destinies prefigured in the disgraceful beating Taylor took. King Taylor--who had so prided himself on his English ancestry.....

Full Article Here:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

'Lost Colony' Works to Rebuild Costume Collection

By CATHERINE KOZAK The Virginian-Pilot
Posted: Today at 12:05 a.m. Updated: Today at 6:44 p.m.

Manteo — There's a vibe of intensity, similar to the electricity of being backstage before a show starts.

Usually it's a lot quieter this time of year at The Lost Colony Building, where the business of the nation's longest-running outdoor drama is administered.

But everyone has been on overdrive to recover from the devastating Sept. 11 fire that destroyed the production's costume shop and most of the show's costumes.

Losses, including the building and its contents, have been estimated at $2.7 million. The contents were insured for $40,000, based on the fact that they were always moving from building to building.

Since then, though, show officials said they've been overwhelmed by the outpouring from the public; the show's alumni; the theater, movie and television industries; amateur seamstresses; professional costumers; school children; community businesses; as well as public and private organizations from the Outer Banks and all over the country.

"It's amazing, absolutely amazing," Carl Curnutte, the show's executive director and producer said last month, as he briefly removed the phone from his ear to dash from his office to consult with staff.

In the center room where prospective cast members are auditioned every spring, big boards hold growing lists of names and phone numbers of people who want to help. Donations so far have totaled more than $184,000, not including a $250,000 grant from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.

"I'm of the opinion that everything we have to do is doable," said John H. Tucker Jr., the chairman of the board of the Roanoke Island Historical Association, the show's producer. "It's a monumental task, but all of sudden we have discovered that people love 'The Lost Colony.'"

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green, the play tells the saga of the 117 men, women and children who sailed from England in 1587 to Roanoke Island and vanished without a trace.

Full article Here:

Friday, November 2, 2007

Captain Arthur/Edward Barlow

by Philip R. Beltz

Because I have begun to speak on the subject, I needed a working definition. From several authorities, the Melungeons have been variously described as: "One of a group of dark-skinned people of mixed Indian, White, Negro and other Cultures which live or have lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains".

Once into the subject of Melungeons, one must read about the "Lost Colony of Roanoke." I was surprised to see Master Arthur Barlowe, and later, Captain Edward Barlow featured not only for his actions and authority; but also for his documentary writings. This is apparently the same man.

This pertains to Master, and later, Captain Arthur/Edward Barlow, of the 1584 voyage by Sir Walter Raleigh to Roanoke Island, North Carolina. This voyage began the "Lost Colony of Roanoke" story. But Captain Arthur Barlow returned to England. What happened to Arthur Barlow? What is the"official" response of the Barlow Family to this venture, 415 years ago?

I attended "THE MELUNGEON WORKSHOP" at Berea College, Kentucky on September 25 & 26, 1999. One of the speakers was an industrialist and immigrant from Portugal, Manuel Mira. Mira refers to "Master Arthur Barlowe". Mr. Mira spoke and autographed a copy of his book.

In addition, at the book sales table, I bought, "THE MELUNGEONS", by Bonnie Ball. She recounts the same story, but refers to "Captain Edward Barlow".

Please refer to Manuel Mira's:


Master Arthur Barlow is referred to on pages: 33, 34, 110, 121 and 303.
Beginning with page 33:

"The Arrival of the Melungeons - Before 1558 or 1584?"

"Sir Walter Raleigh's first expedition departed England on April 27, 1584 and arrived at the Carolina coast on July 4. Included in this expedition were Captain Master Philip Amadas, Master Arthur Barlowe, and as Master Pilot, the Portuguese Simao Fernandes, from Terceira Island, Azores, ..."

"Master Arthur Barlow, who discovered part of the country now called Virginia, gave to Sir Walter Raleigh a narrative of the voyage. After having had contact with the natives, he writes the following description:"

"They are of colour yellowish,and their haire blacke for the most part, and yet we sawe children that had very fine auburn and chestnut colour haire .... and few early descriptions mention hair of other colours, except with the assumption that it represents a mixture with the Europeans. ... reddish hair is often found in children whose hair later becomes, to all appearances, black. 46"

Citation # 46 is "THE ROANOKE VOYAGES" by David Beers Quinn, Vol. I, pp. 102, 103.
Continuing on page 34:

"A similar story is told after Master Barlowe traveled inland near a town called Sequotan where Wingina appears to be the chief of all the villages from Pamlico River to Roanoke Island ...
'neere unto which, sixe and twentie yeers past, (1558) there was a shippe castaway, wherof some of the people were saved, and those were white people, whom the Countrey people preserved. After ten daies, remaining in and out Island uninhabited, called Wococan, (an island in the Carolina Outer Banks) they with the help of some of the dwellers of Sequotan, fastened two boates of the Countrey together, and made mastes unto them, and sailes of their shirtes, and having taken them such victuals as the Countrey yeelded, they departed after they had remained in this out Island three weeks: but shortly after, it seemed they were cast away, for the boates were found upon the coast, cast aland in another Island adioyning': ..."

"These shipwrecks prove that they were common in these parts of the east coast. They may not have survived but why not others?"

"'...other than these, there was never any people apparelled, or white of colour, either seen, or heard amongst these people'"[Ibid, page 111]

"These natives in particular may not have seen any other white men, but it is known that other explorers and navigators were traveling along the east coast since the early 1500s, ..."
Continuing, slightly repeating on page 110:

"In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh obtained a charter from Queen Elizabeth I giving him the right to possess lands in the New World not already under Christian control. A voyage was planned with Arthur Barlowe and Philip Amadas in charge, and the Portuguese Simao Fernandes was the pilot. They departed on April 27 and arrived on July 13 at Roanoke, Virginia."

Full Article Here:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Can DNA Solve "The Lumbee Problem"?

How does a group of people who have American Indian ancestry but no records of treaties, reservations, Native language, or peculiarly "Indian" customs come to be accepted--socially and legally--as Indians?That question is asked on the jacket of the 2001 printing of The Lumbee Problem--The Making of an American Indian People by anthropologist Karen I. Blu (University of Nebraska Press, 2001; copyright 1980, Karen I. Blu). And that's just the surface of "the Lumbee problem."

Suppose Scots-Irish settlers in North Carolina in the early eighteenth century came upon a group of people who in some ways seemed to be indigenous, but spoke seventeenth century English and had English names. History or an episode of the Twilight Zone?

Indeed, this seems to be the history of the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina. But who are they really? Are they Indians? What is their origin?

A prominent theory is that the Lumbees are descendants of Native Americans and survivors of the Lost Colony of North Carolina.

In 1587, a group of colonists under Sir Walter Raleigh's charter landed in the Outer Banks of what is now North Carolina. This was the second or third group of colonists in the area. One group had returned to England with Sir Francis Drake. The latter group was headed by Governor John White. White returned to England to re-supply the colony; his voyage back to America was delayed by the complications of the English war with Spain and the winter weather. When White did return in 1590, the colonist were gone, but strange "clues" were found. The word "Croatan" was found carved in the wall of a structure that had been built by the colonists. The colonists were never found.

In the early 1700's, Scots-Irish settlers came upon English-speaking people in the interior of southeastern North Carolina. These people appeared to be of mixed race. It is said that in the early censuses, these people were enumerated as "mulattoes" or "free Negroes." The people themselves claimed to be Indians. They waged a legal and political struggle in t he nineteenth century for recognition as Indians.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

'Mysteries of the Lost Colonies' Opens at N.C. Museum of History

Programs planned to comple-ment exhibit.

The N.C. Museum of History will offer a variety of programs that complement the exhibition "Mysteries of the Lost Colony and A New World: England's First View of America from the British Museum," on view from Saturday, Oct. 20, to Jan. 13, 2008, in Raleigh. All programs are free, except the Curator's Tour on Saturday and the program on historic plants on Oct. 25.

"Mysteries of the Lost Colony" is presented by the N.C. Museum of History in collaboration with the Roanoke Island Historical Association, producer of the outdoor drama "The Lost Colony."

"A New World: England's First View of America" is presented in collaboration with the British Museum. For ticket information, call (919) 807-7900 or go to

• Curator's Tour: "A New World: England's First View of America," Saturday, Oct. 20, 2 p.m. A ticket to "Mysteries of the Lost Colony and A New World: England's First View of America" is required. (Free for associates members.) Presented by Kim Sloan, curator of "British Drawings and Watercolours Before 1880" and Francis Finlay, curator of the Enlightenment Gallery, British Museum. The paintings of John White gave the Elizabethan world its first glimpse of America. Join the exhibition curator for a special look at Mr. White's works.

• "Historic Plants of Colonial America," Thursday, Oct. 25, 2-4 p.m., $15 ($10 associates members). The program will take place at the Doris Duke Center, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. To register, call (919) 730-2503. Presented by Mark McVicker, nursery manager, Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. Botanists John Clayton, André Michaux and John and William Bartram were instrumental in discovering many plants in North America and introducing them to colonial and European gardens. Mr. McVicker will discuss the impact and significance of their finds. The program is presented in conjunction with the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

• "What Happened to the Lost Colony?," Saturday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m. To register, call (919) 807-7992 by Oct. 24. Presented by David LaVere, professor of history, University of North Carolina at Wilmington. "The Lost Colony" is North Carolina's legendary whodunit. Join Mr. LaVere as he presents his theory about this centuries-old unsolved mystery.

• "A Very Cold Case: A Progress Report on the Search for the Lost Colonists," Saturday, Nov. 10, 2 p.m., To register, call (919) 807-7992 by Nov. 8. Presented by Dr. Charles Ewen, professor of anthropology and director of Archaeology Laboratories, East Carolina University. Drawing upon recent archaeological research, Dr. Ewen will examine several theories concerning what happened to the colonists at Roanoke Island.

The N.C. Museum of History's hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. From Saturday, Oct. 20, through Jan. 13, 2008, the museum will be open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

The museum is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The department's Web site is

Roanoke, the Accidental Colony

by Janet Crain

The Lost Colony, an accident of fate with a tragic outcome that reverberates to this day, should never have happened. The group of colonists sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587 to establish the Cittee of Raleigh, had never intended to locate on the Island of Roanoke. But after a four month long trip marked by delays, mishaps, evasive tactics and possibly outright sabotage, these some 117 men, women and children were unceremoniously dumped on the island by Captain Fernandez. All but but two of them would vanish without a trace.

They had intended only to stop by the island where fifteen men had been left behind by Sir Richard Grenville the year before, after the failure of first settlement attempt. Governor John White and forty of his "best men" would make a short visit to check on the men, then they would continue on to their destination about 50 miles up the coast of the Chesapeake Bay. Exploration parties sent there previously had made favorable reports on the suitability of the area for settlement. But as soon as the pinnace carrying the men was in the water, Captain Fernandez ordered them to stay there on the island, forbidding them to re-board his ship, claiming he needed to return to the Caribbean as the season was growing short for privateering. Inexplicitly, he then sat at anchor for several weeks in a cruel taunting gesture to the colonists stranded on an island where something very sinister and unexplainable had obviously occurred. Among the first sights to greet the landing party were the bleaching bones of one of the fifteen Englishmen left behind the previous year. The other 14 had vanished without a trace, the fort had been destroyed and the houses had fallen into disrepair. Deer were grazing on melons which had grown up in the floors of the abandoned houses. Something was terribly wrong.

Trying to make the best of their situation, the Colonists began repairing the houses and building new more substantial ones of tile and brick. Their situation was truly precarious. Arriving too late to plant crops, they had not been allowed to take on salt, cattle, plants or fresh water at Hispaniola to replenish their dwindling supplies. They did not have sufficient food to exist for more than a few weeks. They were horrified when one of the assistants, George Howe, out crabbing alone, was killed and mutilated by Indians. Someone would have to return to England and get word to Sir Walter Raleigh that they were in peril. But who would even be able to see Raleigh and who would be believed? These men were, for the most part, middle class craftsmen and the like, unschooled in statecraft. There was only one answer after Christopher Cooper agreed to go, then withdrew his offer. The only man sure to get through to Raleigh and be believed was John White, the Colony Governor. He had been picked by Raleigh to lead this colony and was respected by him. John White did not want to leave his daughter, her husband and his granddaughter, nine day old Virginia Dare. The Colonists begged him to do so though and knowing it was their last chance, John White agreed to set sail with Edward Spicer, who had miraculously found the settlers after his flyboat became separated from them early in the voyage. White refused to sail with Captain Fernandez. He hurriedly prepared and left instructions for certain symbols to be carved if the colonists leave this location. They are to carve the name of the location to which they are relocating on door posts or trees; if they are in distress they are to carve a Moline or Maltese* cross over the name.

Continued here:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

First of many replacement 'Lost Colony' costumes finished

The Virginian-Pilot © October 19, 2007


The Richmond fabric store, the one she'd shopped at all the years she'd lived in the city, had almost everything the costumer needed.

It didn't always turn out that way. There had been times when Joan Brumbach stopped in and couldn't find a thing. But she was lucky that Saturday almost two weeks ago. She needed 125 yards of all-natural fabrics right away.

Brumbach had been charged with making the first five replacement costumes for "The Lost Colony," the 70-year-old play that lost its costume shop and everything inside in a Sept. 11 fire at Roanoke Island's Waterside Theatre.

She had less than two weeks.

The costumes, fit for four Elizabethan ladies and one gentleman, were needed for the opening of a North Carolina Museum of History exhibit in Raleigh today.

Later, they will go into "The Lost Colony" costume stock.
There are no patterns to start from. The fire got those, too. But the costume bibles - big binders full of descriptions and photographs of every look at every angle - survived because they were someplace else.

This is where Brumbach starts.

White petticoat, bum roll, colored petticoat, colonist skirt (pinned up), white colonist blouse, colonist bodice, white cap. Times four. Good colonist breeches, good colonist shirt, good colonist singlet, Plymouth vendor hat.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Gods and Men: The Meeting of Indian and White Worlds on the Carolina Outer Banks

by Michael Leroy Oberg

It was on the fourth of July in 1584 that Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, soldiers and sailors both in the service of Sir Walter Ralegh, arrived off the coast of what is today North Carolina, setting in motion the forces that would transform the life of Manteo The two explorers travelled with instructions to scout out the location for the colony Ralegh hoped to establish in America in the very near future.

By the 13th ofJuly, the English voyagers had landed on Hatorask Island, taking possession of the land in the name of the Queen 'according to the ceremonies used in such enterprises'. They then returned to their two ships, anchored off the western side of the island, and waited. On the third day, according to Barlowe, they 'espied one small boate rowing towards us, having in it three persons'. These Roanoke Indians landed at Hatorask. Two of them remained with their boat while 'the third came along the shoare side towards us'. Where 'he walked up and downe upon the point of the lande next unto us'. Several Englishmen, including Barlowe and Amadas, rowed ashore to greet him. After the lone Indian 'had spoken of many things not understoode by us, we brought him with his owne good liking, aboord the shippes, and gave him a shirt, a hatte, and some other things, and made him taste of our wine, and our meate, which he liked very well'. He then 'requited the former benefits receaved' before he departed by providing the explorers with enough fish for an impressive banquet.

The three natives returned to Roanoke Island with word that the newcomers posed no threat, for the next day, Barlowe reported, 'there came unto us divers boats, and in one of them the Kings brother, accompanied with fourtie or fiftie men, very handsome, and goodly people, and in their behaviour as mannerly, and civill, as any of Europe'. Granganimeo, the brother of the Roanoke weroance Wingina, met the English on the shore, and 'made all signes of joy, and welcome, striking on his head, and his breast, and afterwardes on ours, to shewe we were all one, smiling and making shewe the best he could, of all love, and familiaritie'.

'We were all one', Granganimeo tried to tell Barlowe. The Roanokes took great interest in the English voyagers. Trading commenced quickly. Indians offered deerskins for English trade goods. Others brought 'with them leather, corrall, divers kindes of dies very excellent, and exchanged with us'. Such intercultural exchange provided the foundation for a fragile middle ground on the coast of Hatorask Island, as Indians and Englishmen each took steps to incorporate the other into their own conceptual world, and to make sense of the strangers they then were encountering.

After several days, and after the Indians 'had beene divers times aboord our shippes', Barlowe and seven others sailed around the southern tip of Roanoke Island, and north along the island's western shore, before stopping for several nights at the Roanokes' village 'of nine houses, built of Cedar, and fortified round about with sharpe trees, to keepe out their enemies', on the northern tip of the island. Though far from trusting entirely in his hosts, Barlowe wrote that he and his companions 'were entertained with all love, and kindness and with as much bounties after their manner, as they could possibly devise'.

What Barlowe saw on Roanoke Island impressed him. The Indians were pure of heart, he wrote, and friendly. 'Wee found the people most gentle, loving, and faithful, void of all guile, and treason, and such as lived after the manner of the golden age. The earth', he wrote, brought forth for the Indians 'all things in aboundance, as in the first creation, without toile or labour'. Roanoke, or the surrounding islands, Barlowe reported, would provide the ideal location for a future English settlement.
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Other Lost Colony Turns 400 Years Old October 19th

Popham, Maine's 'lost' colony turns 400 years old Oct. 19th!

Jamestown's forgotten sister colony turns 400 this month, but few realize its role in history.

Popham Colony is an English settlement that predates the Pilgrims by 13 years.

Melanie Stetson Freeman

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October 19, 1607: English settlers officially found "the other" English colony on North America. Unlike Jamestown, Popham is settled by just men and boys. Popham, northeast of modern Portland, Maine, is established on the bluffs overlooking the spot where the Kennebec River flows into the ocean. The colony lasts only a little over one year. The colony's second leader returns to England, taking the settlers with him, when he inherits a sizeable estate in England.



The Popham Colony was the first organized attempt to establish an English colony on the shores of what we now know as New England. It was planted at the mouth of the Kennebec River in the summer of 1607 and lasted for little over a year until it was abandoned in the fall of 1608. Popham was not the first European colony in New England. The French were earlier with a brief settlement on an island in the St. Croix River between Maine and New Brunswick in 1604. Although Popham was the first claim of possession of what was then called Northern Virginia by the English, the honor of the actual founding of a "New" England belongs to the Pilgrims who established the first permanent settlement in Massachusetts Bay thirteen years later. Despite its precedence, the failure of the Popham Colony to endure has rendered it a nearly forgotten historical footnote. Its failure, however, was an important step in the ongoing experience of English colonization and the lessons learned contributed directly to the ultimate success of the Pilgrims.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Roanoke Voyages in Literature

After a pleasant visit to the Outer Banks, Ralegh's reconnaissance party under Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe returned to England in September 1584. Almost immediately chroniclers, spies, gossips, and dilettantes seized on reports of the Edenic land of Wingandacon — which turned out to be not the name of the place, but a garbled Algonquian reference to trees or to English clothing. Ever since, writers of many interests and attainments have occasionally taken on the first English attempts to colonize what is now the United States; most have paid special attention to the 1587 lost colony.

The Roanoke colonies pose several challenging questions: Who were the colonists? Who were their backers? How did they get along with one another? Why did they let relations with the Indians descend into open warfare? Where was their settlement? Was there more than one settlement? Does the restored sconce at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site make up Lane's New Fort in Virginia in toto? Is it the only substantial fortification the colonists built? What happened to the 1587 Lost Colony? Were the colonists failures? What does the whole exercise mean? Writers dealing with the Roanoke colonies have necessarily grappled with most of these questions. Even the most amateurish and tendentious of the answers they have assayed have stimulated lively, sometimes productive public debate over the scanty physical and documentary evidence the colonists left behind and over the place in history that the Roanoke colonies warrant.

Most works about the Roanoke colonies fit, seldom neatly, into one of four categories. There is no compelling reason to segregate them further, according to whether they seem predominantly factual or imaginative. Most nonfiction writers are heavily influenced by their own or their sources' imaginations. The indispensable contemporary accounts of the Roanoke colonies are by turns discursive, fictional, poetic, and dramatic. Not even Thomas Harriot's Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1588), the first fundamentally scientific description of the peoples and resources of North America, is untainted by the author's imagination. The best fiction, poetry, and drama is solidly founded in historical research, if not in historical fact, and it engenders discussion and spreads information (correct or not) as few scholarly works could do. The reader should measure the ratio of fact to imagination in each work for himself.

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