Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Saga of the BC Iceman

Dateline: 08/25/99 (News updated July 24, 2001)

Modern hunters have discovered the remains of an ancient hunter at the edge of a remote glacier near the Yukon - British Columbia border.

The group who made the discovery are all teachers from the Nelson, British Columbia area. On August 14, they were hunting for Dall sheep in British Columbia's Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park (special permits are available for hunting in the park) when one of them, Bill Hanlon, noticed the first piece of wood they had seen for miles. It turned out to be part of a carved walking stick, and further examination of the area by Hanlon, Warren Ward and Mike Roch resulted in the discovery of other artifacts and a headless body. Following a 2-day hike out, they contacted the Beringia Centre at Whitehorse to tell of their find. Government archaeologists, of course, flew immediately to the scene.

The body and artifacts (including the walking stick, a finely-woven cedar hat, a spear-thrower called an atlatl, and a leather pouch containing edible leaves and the remains of a fish) have now been flown to Whitehorse and put into a freezer room to prevent deterioration. The removal of the body and artifacts from the glacier was accomplished by a team that included forensic anthropologist Owen Beattie of the University of Alberta, as well as Yukon government archaeologists, a glaciologist, an artifact conservator and representatives of the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation (CAFN), in whose traditional territory the discovery was made.

As is so often the case with such discoveries, CAFN immediately turned the find into a political issue. Spokesman Ron Chambers stated today (Aug. 25) that the discovery proves the long-term use of the land by First Nations people (thus presumably strengthening their position on land claims). CAFN had held up official news of the find for 10 days while government representatives held discussions with CAFN elders regarding possible ways of dealing with the discovery. The elders agreed to a scientific study of the remains and have given him the title of Kwaday Dän Sinchi, meaning "long ago person found". (September 28, 1999 update - artifacts radiocarbon dated to 550 years BP).

The Aug. 25 edition of the Yukon News quotes CAFN chief Bob Charlie:

"The elders have indicated that we should use this situation, what appears to be an ancient tragedy, to learn more about this person, when he lived and how his clothes and tools were made and how he died," said Charlie. This person will have much to tell us, to help us understand our past, and the history of our homeland. We wish to see these human remains treated with dignity and respect and to see the most positive outcome of this long-ago event."

In fact, the band see the find as more than a cultural boon. It's already planning to tap into research grants that will help pay its members to study the remains.

The Yukon government has stated that an agreement to turn over artifacts (including bodies) to the First Nations would be honoured. However, the find was made in British Columbia, and the cedar hat, although possibly an item obtained in trade with coastal people, may also be an indication that the ancient hunter lived near the coast, not in the interior, so that statement may be premature. It is entirely possible that the man lived in what is now Alaska (and was just passing through BC on a hunting trip or on his way to the interior), and I expect that the Alaska government will be getting involved very soon. While this is not a case of body theft, if the man can be reasonably assumed to be Tlingit or from an even earlier coastal culture, a repatriation request will likely be forthcoming.

B.C. ice man find revisited
April 25, 2008

Above: The team of scientists at the discovery of Long Ago Person Found site in 1999. Right: Kjerstin Mackie, a textile conservator at the Royal B.C. Museum, examines the remain of a robe.

Public invited to hear summary about ‘Long Ago Person Found’

Al Mackie remembers well the moment he got the call about a discovery in the farthest reaches of Northwestern B.C.

It was Aug. 21, 1999. Initial information given to Mackie, a Victoria-based scientist with the B.C. Archaeology Branch, was that a pair of hunters out tracking sheep on a glacier in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, had stumbled upon well-preserved human remains.

Not just any human remains, but those of an individual who was clearly from another time and quite possibly another place. Within two days, the appropriate calls had been made to the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations – on whose traditional lands the remains lay – and a team of scientists were dispatched to the site to expedite the removal of the remains.

“They’re fine when they’re in the ice. But at the moment that these kind of materials thaw is the moment they start to decay,” said Mackie, who worked two years full time on the project and was a key go-between working with the other interested parties.

“There was considerable urgency to recover the remains,” he recalled. “That was the first agreement we made; get them out, put them into a freezer and then sit down and talk about what we’d do from there.”

Nearly nine years later, the research continues into the discovery of Kwäday Dän Ts’inchi, as the find became known – it means “long ago person found” in the Southern Tutchone language.
As part of this week’s Northwest Anthropological Conference at the University of Victoria, the Kwäday Dän Ts’inchi Symposium will see experts in fields ranging from forensic anthropology to cultural history to ethnobotany rehash the most minute scientific discoveries in the project, and touch on the far-reaching cross-cultural issues.

Globe and Mail, CanWest News Service: The BC Iceman (as in Brit. Columbia)

Found thawing from glacier, his genes make him family for living members of Canada’s First Nations. Nine years ago, far up in the northwest corner of British Columbia near the Yukon and Alaska borders, three hunters seeking Dall mountain sheep instead found a young man’s body emerging from a thawing glacier. He’d apparently been in the ice for several hundred years.

Soon he was dubbed the BC Iceman. The body had been sheared by glacial movement but was in fairly good shape. So were tools and clothes including a gopher skin blanket and a woven hat. More formally, he’s Kwaday Dan Ts’inchi or Long Ago Person Found in the Tutchone language.
Now a reunion of sorts is being celebrated. Canadian news outlets are carrying news, from a science conference in Victoria, that his genes indicate affinity to 17 people alive today. Fifteen of the 17, it says here, are from the Wolf Clan. They are among 240 members of native Champagne and Aishihik peoples who volunteered to be tested (the community appears to be deeply interested in archeology). All live in nearby regions of northern BC, Yukon, and Alaska.

For this first burble of news reporters tended to focus, naturally, on the delight felt by some of those who are either descendents of the fellow or of some of the members of his immediate family. It seems, from some of the background gleaned this morning (see Grist) that this story deserves a much broader treatment. That is, people have been working pretty hard to put the man’s story together. It’s a saga.

One of the research projects involved sequencing of Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi’s mtDNA, which revealed that it belonged to Haplogroup A, with the polymorphisms 16111T, 16189C, 16223T, 16290T, 16319A, and 16362C.

Journal Canadien d'Archeologie pdf doc.

Download here:

The BC Iceman's remains were reportedly returned to the two tribes claiming ownship. They were cremated and reburied. Hopefully DNA samples were retained. If his Y chromosome is known, that information would be deeply appreciated.
History Chasers

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

English Delegation Visits Manteo, Jamestown and Williamsburg

5:17 PM EDT, April 28, 2008

JAMES CITY - The first ever visit by an English delegation from the town of Bideford to their sister-city of Manteo, North Carolina, will end Wednesday after a trip to Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg.The group includes Bideford's Mayor, his wife and 17-year-old daughter along with the town's vice mayor and two residents. They arrived in Norfolk on April 23 and have since been meeting their North Carolina contemporaries and seeing the sights of coastal Manteo, just inland from the Outer Banks, said Bryant Brooks, a Dominion Virginia Power spokesman. Brooks said Dominion's involvement stemmed from "wanting to be good corporate citizens" and included trip coordination between the Virginia and North Carolina locales, where the power company has a widespread service area on both sides of the border.Brooks said the trip marked the first official visit to Manteo by a Bideford delegation.

A group of Manteo representatives toured Bideford on a similar trip about 10 years ago, he said.
A historic tie between the two towns extends to the late 1500s when Sir Walter Raleigh sailed from Bideford to Roanoke Island — a site that later became known as the Lost Colony after its inhabitants inexplicably disappeared.

cont. here:,0,7165613.story

Sunday, April 27, 2008



The UK and Ireland are regarded, for the purposes of this Genealogical Information Service, as being made up of England, Ireland (i.e. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), Wales, and Scotland, together with the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Together, these constitute the British Isles - which is a geographical term for a group of islands lying off the north-west coast of mainland Europe. (Legally, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are largely self governing, and are not part of the United Kingdom.) The Administrative Regions into which the UK and Ireland are divided have changed frequently in recent years. However, in line with normal genealogical practice, this Information Service is structured according to the counties as shown in these maps of England, Scotland and Wales, and of Ireland, i.e., as they were prior to the re-organisation that took place in 1974 (1975 for Scotland).

more here

Journal of Southern History, April Lee Hatfield

Spanish colonization literature, Powhatan geographies, and English perceptions of Tsenacommacah/Virginia.

IN 1612 VIRGINIA COLONIST WILLIAM STRACHEY EXPLAINED THAT HIS Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania depicted in greatest detail that part of the Virginia Company's claims where the English had concentrated their colonizing activities. This area, as Strachey described it, was roughly contiguous with the "severall territoryes and provinces which are in chief commaunded by their great king Powhatan, ... comprehended under the denomynation of Tsenacommacoh, of which we may the more by experyence speak being the place wherein our abode and habitation hath now well neere sixe yeares consisted." Ten years later Englishman John Martin wrote, "That parte of Virginia wthin wch wee are seated and fitt to be settled on for many hundred yeares: Is wthin the Territories of [Powhatan's successor] Opichakano, ... whoe Comaundeth from the Southermost parte of the first [the James] River to the Southermost parte of the fourth River called Patomeck.... In longitude it extendeth to [the] Monakins Countrie ... west and west and by North...." The two writers used very similar boundaries to demarcate the English colony: the James River, the Atlantic Ocean, the fall line, and (in Martin's case) the Potomac River. (1)

Neither the official extent of the Virginia Company's claims nor the actual reach of English settlement, however, explains Martin's and Strachey's descriptions of Virginia's boundaries. The colony's second charter in 1609 granted the Virginia Company land two hundred miles north and south of Point Comfort, and from sea to sea. Virginia's English population occupied only a small section of the James River when Strachey wrote, and more of the James and some of the Eastern Shore when Martin wrote. (2) A half century later the extent of Virginia's population, its dependence on tobacco cultivation and export via Chesapeake waterways, and the establishment of Maryland north of the Potomac would suggest these borders for the English colony, but the 1612 English population of about 500 and the 1622 population of just over 1,200 were not nearly enough to require the area encompassed by Strachey's and Martin's descriptions. (3)

Read complete article here.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Southern Historical Association

New World Seen With an Old World Eye

You can view the difference between John White's paintings and the corresponding De Bry engravings here:

At the Yale Center for British Art, rare paintings and engravings are put to the truth test in 'A New World: England's First View of America.'
By Paul Lieberman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer April 27, 2008

NEW HAVEN, CONN. -- VISITORS who pass quickly by may detect nothing unusual about the 500-year-old woodcut of Brazil's Tupinamba Indians, shown in decorative feathered garb. But those who stop and examine it will certainly notice the severed arm in the background -- and someone about to gnaw on it. In this early depiction of the New World, made following a Portuguese explorer's trip, the natives are cannibals."People in Europe thought the unknown world was full of monsters and very frightening savages," said curator Elisabeth Fairman, leading a group past the 1505 woodcut on the wall of the Yale Center for British Art.

The frightening scene is just a setup for very different scenes to come -- in the historic watercolors that gave Britain and much of the world its first images of what became known as America, images used to this day to teach school children what Native Americans looked like and how they lived before Europeans put their stamp on this land."These are the 18 drawings . . . the iconic images everyone knows," Fairman said as the group stood before colorful renditions of friendly Indians in a land of plenty. Fish virtually jump from the water into their canoe. Corn grows in neat rows. Families wave. People sit around a fire. A dog romps. is that these images -- part of "A New World: England's First View of America" -- are something else.

"Propaganda," said Fairman, the Yale museum's curator of rare books and manuscripts. Or perhaps they can be seen, more charitably, as a limited snapshot of a small group of people at a short-lived moment -- right before the clash of cultures began to take its toll.

The watercolors were the work of John White, a British gentleman who was on several voyages sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh to the coast of what was then called "Virginia" -- after England's Virgin Queen, Elizabeth -- but is now North Carolina.

White's watercolors provided visions of Native Americans that would be viewed as near gospel for two centuries, but they were based on a mere two-week encounter with one tribe, the Algonquians, during a 1585 voyage to establish an English military presence in the New World. Two years later, White returned to lead a delegation of 115 civilians, hoping to establish a permanent settlement at the "Cittie of Raleigh," that group including his daughter Eleanor Dare, who gave birth to the first English child born in North America, the aptly named Virginia Dare.

White then left them behind to go back to England for more supplies and by the time he returned, in 1590, there was no trace of them -- not his daughter, granddaughter or any member of what became known as the "Lost Colony of Roanoke."So the settlers vanished, but White's watercolors endured, thanks to their use in illustrating popular books on the New World whose text ("A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia") was written by mathematician Thomas Harriot, who also was on the 1585 expedition.

Of course, that was long before there was technology to easily duplicate a painting. Mass reproduction in this case was achieved through engravings made by a Belgian goldsmith, Theodore de Bry, whose images of the same Indians also are part of the exhibit.And there's the catch -- the engravings made by De Bry took liberties with White's original watercolors, pushing them in a clear direction. While the Native Americans were shown as benign to start, De Bry made them even more palatable to audiences back home and clear candidates for conversion to Christianity.

One stunning example is White's "Indian Man and Woman Eating" ("Their Sitting at Meate"), showing the pair squatting around a platter of what appears to be boiled corn. But they are squatting in a way that may have seemed uncomfortable to the British audience, so the engraved version has their legs stretched out; and their facial features appear European.

Another White watercolor shows an "Indian Woman and Young Girl," with the mother looking off into the distance and the girl holding a doll that's obviously a gift from the visitors from across the ocean. In the engraving that became the circulated image, "A Cheiff Ladye of Pomeiooc," the mother's gaze is redirected at the girl, who now is playing not only with the doll but a Western rattle.

The message to the folks back home: These people may dress differently than we do, but they are not all that different."What he's paying attention to," Fairman said of White, "is how they eat, what they eat, how they catch their food, how they treat their children, how they interact with each other . . . and how you tell who's in charge, who the priests are . . . all the kind of information people in the Elizabethan court, and the people on the next voyages, need to know."

Full Article Here:,0,3125192.story

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Tuscarora War, 1711-1715

— The Tuscarora War, 1711-1715 —

Bath State Historic Site

The Indians Retaliate . . .

From the first, there had been an Indian problem in Bath County. While disease had broken the power of the Pampticough tribe in the neighborhood of Bath, there remained many other small tribes scattered throughout Bath County. Behind these small tribes lay the powerful Tuscarora, an Iroquoian tribe closely connected to the Five Nations in New York. The movement of settlers into Bath County and up the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers had been watched with fear and resentment by the Tuscarora and the smaller tribes in this area. Favorite hunting grounds were being overrun and choice village sites were becoming sites for the settlers' towns.

While the chief danger to the settlers from Indian attacks came from the many Tuscarora, the first resistance the land-hungry settlers of Bath County faced came from the smaller tribes into whose territory they first moved. The first to resist the advancing tide of civilization were the Core (sometimes called Coree) and Nynee Indians, who lived south of the Neuse River. In 1703 they were declared public enemies by the Carolina government, which was determined to carry on a war against them. While the records of this conflict are gone, the Indians evidently were defeated, for the next time they are mentioned in history, they have moved into the interior where the Tuscarora have granted them land only six miles from one of their chief towns.

Throughout Bath County during the first decade of the eighteenth century, rumors of Indian plots and conspiracies constantly spread. In 1703, Lionel Reading wrote that an Indian had told one settler that several villages had "fully resolved to make trail (trial) of it for to see which is the ardiest." The next year word spread that some of the Tuscarora towns near the Pamlico settlement were becoming unusually friendly with the Bear River Indians, with the apparent intention of inciting them to attack the whites. About this same time the Machapunga Indians began to harass the settlers, which took the form of threats, hog-stealing, and actual assault on one settler. The settler did not fail to note that the Machapunga moved their village "nigh a wildnernesse where upon the least Intimation they can easily repair without being pursued."
Throughout this period the Bear River and Machapunga Indians continued their petty annoyances, and the settlers continued to petition the government for something to be done about the situation. Little seems to have been though for the settlers remained prey to roving bands of Indians who would enter a settler's home, ransack it, kill his hogs, and assault him if he protested.

In 1707, Robert Kingham reported that the settlers on the Pamlico told him that "they expected ye Indians every day to come and cutt their throat and yet they had no person to head ym [them] or Else they would goe and secure all ye Pamticough Indians."

Obviously, relations between the early white settlers and the Indians were not as harmonious as many historians have pictured. From the first, the Indians resented the colonists' encroachment upon their territory and used every means they had to show this resentment, at times resorting to out and out war. The Tuscarora, by all odds the dominant Indian power in North Carolina, had watched the steadily growing settlements with distrust, seething over each movement into a new area. When the tide of civilization flowed into the Pamlico-Neuse region, they saw the handwriting on the wall. They now decided they must make a stand or gradually be overrun, and by the summer of 1711, apparently decided to try to destroy the whites.

Other actions by the whites also caused the Indians to act. Perhaps nothing made them hate the settlers of Bath County more than the whites' kidnapping and enslavement of their people. By 1710, this had reached such proportion that the Tuscarora sought permission of the government of Pennsylvania to settle in that colony so that their children born and those soon to be born might have room to sport and play without danger of slavery. In their quaint phrases, they begged "a cessation from murdering and taking them, that by the allowance thereof, they may not be afraid of a moose, or any other thing that Ruffles the Leaves."

Closely akin to this problem was the ill-feeling and misunderstanding surrounding trade between Indians and the white settlers. The whites felt that the Indian traders were hard men who drove hard bargains. Conversely, the Indians soon saw that the whites were cheating them in their transactions, for the traders, John Lawson tells us, esteemed it "a Gift of Christianity not to sell to them so cheap as [they did] to the Christians." The traders, knowing the Indians' weakness for strong drink, often got the Indians drunk as a means of defrauding and stripping them of their property. One observer reports that the Indians were never "contented with a little, but when once begun, they must make themselves quite drunk; otherwise they will never rest, but sell all they have in the World, rather than not have their full dose."

Certainly another reason for the Indians' decision to take up the tomahawk was the indignities inflicted on them by the white settlers. The Indians were a proud, dignified, and lordly people, unaccustomed to the condescending and often insulting way the whites often treated them. Just a few days before they sought their revenge they complained to a settler who had been unfortunate enough to fall into their hands, that they "had been very badly treated and detained by the inhabitants of the Pamtego, Neuse and Trent Rivers, a thing which was not to be longer endured." That the whites, who looked upon the Indians "with Scorn and Disdain" and considered them "little better than Beasts in Human Shape," eventually felt their wrath cannot be too surprising.

Full Article Here:

Historic Bath, North Carolina

Welcome to Historic Bath —North Carolina's First Town

European settlement near the Pamlico River in the 1690s led to the creation of Bath, North Carolina's first town, in 1705. The town's location seemed ideal with easy access to the river and the Atlantic Ocean 50 miles away at Ocracoke Inlet.

The first settlers were French Protestants from Virginia. Among early inhabitants were John Lawson, surveyor general of the colony and author of the first history of Carolina (1709), and Christopher Gale, first chief justice of the colony.

By 1708, Bath consisted of 12 houses and about 50 people. Trade in naval stores, furs, and tobacco was important, and Bath became the first port of entry into North Carolina. In 1707, a grist mill and the colony's first shipyard were established in the town. A library sent to St. Thomas Parish in 1701 became the first public library in the colony. The parish also established a free school for Indians and blacks.

Early Bath was disturbed by political rivalries, epidemics, Indian wars, and piracy. Cary's Rebellion (1711) was an armed struggle over religion and politics in the colony. An epidemic of yellow fever and a severe drought occurred in 1711. The Tuscarora War between the weakened settlers and the powerful Tuscarora Indians followed immediately. Bath became a refuge for the surrounding area until the Indian power was broken. Bath was also the haunt of Edward Teach, better known as the pirate "Blackbeard." An expedition of the British Navy killed him in a naval battle near Ocracoke in 1718.

Cont. Here:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Two Worlds Collide and a Colony is Lost

It is hard to imagine any two people more unlike than the Indigenous peoples inhabiting the Americas and the European explorers, soldiers, adventurers and others who first made contact. Each was steeped in many thousands of years of their own history and customs. Misunderstandings would arise that often lead to tragedy. Yet common ground could be found and friendships, alliances and later amalgamation were the result. This new online textbook offers a unique way to learn more about the tentative beginnings of our country.

Two worlds: Prehistory, contact, and the Lost Colony

A “digital textbook”Part one of LEARN NC’s digital textbook for North Carolina History explores the natural and human history of the state from the dawn of geologic time to approximately 1600 CE.
With the arrival of European explorers in the 1500s, two worlds collided in North Carolina. Peoples that had lived here for thousands of years — in a land that had existed for millions — were changed forever, and the stage was set for a new era that would link the peoples and cultures of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Designed for secondary students, this first module of our web-based “digital textbook” combines primary sources with articles from a variety of perspectives, maps, photographs, and multimedia to tell the many stories of early North Carolina:

LEARN NC’s “digital textbook” for North Carolina history provides a new model for teaching and learning. It makes primary sources central to the learning experience, using them to tell the stories of the past rather than merely illustrating it. Special web-based tools help you learn to read those sources and ask good questions of them. And because it’s on the web, this textbook relies on multimedia whenever possible to supplement or even replace text.
The sections that follow will tell you what to expect from this textbook and how to get the most out of it.

Start Learning NC Now:

What is a Digital Textbook?
Click here for a .pdf document explaining this concept.

Melungeon Historical Society Organized April 19, 2008

News Release:

Wayne Winkler, president of a newly formed Melungeon research group, has made the following announcement:

On Saturday, April 19, 2008, the Melungeon Historical Society held its first meeting in Rogersville, Tennessee. The organization was formed by a group of Melungeon researchers and descendents to collect and preserve historical records that pertain to the Melungeons and/or their kinfolks and descendents. MHS will use documented family genealogy, documented historical research and documented DNA research conforming to recognized professional and scholarly standards to compile and prepare records, to establish and maintain a website and/or blog to keep members informed, and to sponsor and encourage educational meetings, gatherings, lectures, and activities in genealogy and history. The Melungeon Historical Society will be a membership organization, and those interested in joining should contact Becky Nelson:

We look forward to a new era in Melungeon research and welcome all who share our desire to preserve our Melungeon heritage.

Wayne Winkler, President
Jack Goins, Vice-president, Heritage
Penny Ferguson, Vice-president, Research
Becky Nelson - Secretary/Treasurer

Board of Directors:
Tari Adams
Don Collins
Janet Crain
Roberta Estes
Dr. Harold B. Houser
Kathy James
Joy King
Dr. Kathy Lyday-Lee
Dennis Maggard
Kevin Mullins
Evelyn Orr
Joanne Pezzullo
Cleland Thorpe
Beverly Walker

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Don Luis

Fr. Rogel, while taking part in the belated relief expedition to Ajacan in August 1572, wrote the following account: "Father Master Baptista [Segura] sent a message by a novice Brother on two occasions to the renegade. Don Luis would never come, and [the Jesuits] stayed there in great distress, for they had no one by whom they could make themselves understood to the Indians.... They got along as best they could, going to other villages to barter for maize with copper and tin, until the beginning of February. The boy [Alonso] says that each day Father Baptista caused prayers to be said for Don Luis, saying that the devil held him in great deception. As he had twice sent for him and he had not come, he decided to send Father Quiros and Brother Gabriel de Solis and Brother Juan Baptista to the village of the chief near where Don Luis was staying. Thus they could take Don Luis along with them and barter for maize on the way back. On the Sunday after the Feast of the Purification, Don Luis came to the three Jesuits who were returning with other Indians. He sent an arrow through the heart of Father Quiros and then murdered the rest...."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Virginia Dare" in The North Carolina booklet

North Carolina Society of the Daughters of the Revolution
This “young mayde’ may well have been Virginia Dare, who, at the time mentioned, would have been about twenty-one years of age. The extract is of interest, also, as showing that the existence, and even the location, of certain of Raleigh's colonists were well known to the Jamestown settlers. Indeed both John Smith and Strachey make mention of scattered parties of those colonists several times, and the Virginia Company writes of some of them as “yet alive, within fifty miles of our fort, * * * * as is testified by two of our colony sent out to search them, who, (though denied by the savages speech with them) found crosses * * * and assured Testimonies of Christians newly cut in the barks of trees.” Here the veil of mystery falls around the White Fawn and her companions probably never to be raised. " Read all of it here!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rockingham County, North Carolina Early Records

From Lumbee Indians and Goins Family Blog

Collection of Records posted by Cindy Young.


Rockingham County was organized in 1785 with land from Guilford County. It adjoined Henry County, Virginia and Pitt¬sylvania County, Virginia on the south, and the settlers moved freely back and forth the state line as if in one community. Rockingham County was in the heart of Melungeon country in North Carolina.
Jim Hall wrote August 18, 1999 regarding Goinstown, North Carolina:

"There exists no formal or legal designation for the Goinstown area that I have found. There are no "Goinstown" road signs to guide you or to let you know when you are there. There is no "Goinstown" on any map that I found. There is no town of Goinstown. There is a rural area which is referred to as Goinstown. The Goinstown area still exists in Rockingham County today but I doubt that anyone could say with any accuracy where it begins or ends. So let me tell you in general terms where I think "Goinstown" was and is.

From my research I think that the area came to be referred to as Goinstown in the mid to late 1800s. But the seeds for Goinstown were planted in the 1700s. My opinion is that Goinstown historically included the NW corner of Rockingham County, NC, the NE corner of Stokes County, NC, and the southern portions of Henry County, VA, and Patrick County, VA. Many of the early Goins, Moore, Gibson and Harris families (whose descendants were listed as mulatto on later census records) lived along Buffalo Creek and Hickory Creek which runs east and west across the county line of present day Rockingham and Stokes County.

Today, Goinstown is an area referred to almost exclusively as being in NW Rockingham County [Madison Township]. Goinstown Road still runs through NE Stokes County and changes to Schoolhouse Road at the Rockingham County line. The Goinstown Road is still a dirt road.

Many of these mulatto families [Goins, Moore, Gibson, Harris] lived close to the NC/VA border and moved across the state line often leading to research confusion. I think that sometimes it was easier to travel to the county seat in Martinsville, Henry Co., VA, than to the county seat in NC.

Many of these families migrated west in the first half of the 1800s century. Some moved to Scott and Hancock County VA. Others moved to eastern KY, primarily Floyd County.

However, if you drive through the area [there are only a few paved roads as this is still one of the poorest areas of the county], you will find many Goins, Gibson and Harris mailboxes. Most of the mulatto Moores moved away by 1860.

I found the old Gibson and Harris Cemetaries. In both cemetaries there appeared to be more Goins grave markers that any other family, some dating to the early 1800s.

In the 1800s some of these families also moved south and east in the county. Some lived along the Mayo River others moved to Stoneville and Madison. I am not sure where these families migrated from. John Moore, the earliest of my Moores that I have verified, was born in Orange County, NC, in 1758. But Orange County at that time included part of present day Rockingham County so the Moores may have been in this area at the time of John's birth. Many mulatto Gibson families also lived in Orange County, NC. in the 1750s. I don't know where the Goins families migrated from. They may have migrated south from VA.

One of the few written articles that I have found about Goinstown is an article in in the book, "The Heritage of Rockingham County," by the Rockingham County Historical Society, published in 1983. It is a very short article written by Zelma Joyce Scott. The introduction written by the editor reads as follows:

'Goinstown as a community has a special story to tell. Mysterious in it's origin, it's natives tend to insulate themselves against intrusion. The roots of that clannishness may be found in the process of acculturation forced on the Indian society of North America. Historically the repeated choice for the Indian has been to join another still functioning Indian group elsewhere or merge within the conventions and associations of either the white or black man's way of life. Many of the families of Goinstown consider themselves Indian. A letter written by Douglas Rights, a noted authority on North Carolina Indians, which is preserved in the Smithsonian Institute archives, speaks of Goinstown as a mixed blood settlement in Rockingham. He points out that among the principal families are Harris, Goins and Hickman, and that Harris is one of the most familiar surviving family names among the Catawba Indians. A member of the Harris family of Goinstown had told Dr. Rights that his people had drifted off in two directions, the lighter color drifting out and associating with the whites, and the darker taking places in Negro society.'

In the article Ms. Scott states, 'These people have many features of Indian, Portuguese and other nationalities. Some local people believe they are part of the Lost Colony of Manteo....'

I talked to Ms. Scott in an attempt to get more information but she couldn't give any more details than was given in the article.

During the 1930s one of the WPA projects was to preserve old cemetery inscriptions by recording information on grave markers. Some WPA workers recorded information on the markers in the John Foy Cemetery located three miles west of Madison. This information can be found in WPA Pre-1914 Cemetery Inscriptions. I have looked at all the cards and found no other useful information. One of the typewritten cards pertains to the Walker I. Gibson family. Walker Gibson was probably in C.S.A. but his widow could not get a pension as he was regarded as a Negro.

All this family of Gibson were up to about 1895 listed by tax listers as Negroes; they called themselves East Indians [from the Indies or Indians from the East], else assumed by some to be Melanoe."

Louise Nunn, candidate for a master's degree, wrote in 1937 "A Comparison of the Social Situation of Two Isolated Indian Groups in Northern North Carolina." In her dissertation, she described a Rockingham County group that showed on the tax rolls of the county as "9 Goins families, 3 Harris families and 2 Richardson families." The group was concentrated around "Gointown, North Carolina."

Miss Nunn wrote that the Rockingham group was very unstable in 1937. The white-appearing part of the group was trying to exclude the children of dark-appearing part of the group from attending the special "Indian School" that had been built for them. She reported a definite Negroid appearance in the darker children.
"The Goinstown community is located in the northwest corner of Rockingham County, North Carolina, on the border with Stokes County. The prominent family names are Goins, Hickman, Harris, Richardson, and Kimmons. These related families can be traced back at least to the early 1800s in the area as free colored persons. The tradition is that they are descended either from 'Croatan' Indians [there was a period in the 1930s and 1940s when it was popular to describe any group of Indian people of uncertain origin as descendants of the 'Croatans'] or from remnants of the Saura tribe who mixed with non-Indians in the area. The community had a school until the early 1960s that was officially classed as Indian and has gradually merged with the white community. There is still a perception among the local whites that the Goinstown people are of Indian descent. With the location of the old Saura Town nearby on the Dan River, it is possible that these people possess, to some degree, Saura ancestry.

Of course, it is impossible to know for certain know whether Ezekiel Joines of Wilkes County was related to the Goinstown Indians of nearby Surry County. However, a number of "free colored persons" named Goins lived in the general vicinity.

Supporting the Melungeon theory, Ezekiel's son Thomas Joines married a woman named Mary Caudill. The name Caudill, like Goins, is closely associated with the Melungeons.
For that matter, so is Pruitt, the name of Ezekiel's [possible] first wife. And consider this description of Shadrack Joines, one of Thomas Joines' grandsons, as recalled by an elderly member of the family in 1960: "'Shade Joines' as he was known was a well built medium size man, had almost black hair and deep brown eyes." Shadrack's parents were cousins, Ezekiel Joines and Pheraby Caudill.

continue here

History of Perquimans County

"History of Perquimans county as compiled from records found there and elsewhere"

Thanks to researcher Linda Monticelli for bringing this book to our attention, it is free online at Eastern North Carolina Digital Library



At what date the first white man set foot on Perquimans soil, staked a claim and erected his humble abode, no one can say with any degree of certainty. Foote in his notes claims that a band of settlers moved down on the Chowan River shortly after the Indian massacre in 1622. Where they took root he does not vouchsafe. As Chowan River has its headwaters in Virginia, with the Blackwater River as one of its tributaries, the inference may well be drawn that those early settlers followed the water courses, in their journey down to the new country instead of overland migration, as it is a well known fact that the forest and land adjoining the Dismal Swamp was at that time an impenetrable tangle of trees and undergrowth, full of danger for man and beast, with but a few Indian paths, and no man knew where they led. Therefore the immigrants fought shy of the interior, and clung to the river banks, where escape was more easy in case of attack by hostile tribes, fish could be procured for the daily fare, and houses built on high ground.

The settlement spoken of by Foote was most probably in what is now Gates County, and was then Chowan, or still in the unnamed wilderness called Carolina. Orapeak (Corapeak) in Gates County was certainly one of the first, if not the first settlement in Carolina, and the records in Perquimans prove beyond a single doubt that Perquimans County at that time ran all the way to the Virginia line, taking in this old landmark. This line was changed in 1779, and Perquimans shrank to its present boundary.

Roger Green, a clergyman from Virginia, started with a colony to settle on lower Chowan River in 1653. He came vested with power to possess lands in Carolina, but there has always been some doubt about the location of his settlement, and as the name of Green appears on the early records in Perquimans we are led to believe that some of his followers may have drifted over into the bordering county and taken up land there. As the names of his followers are not mentioned there is no authoritative way by which they can be traced, or the locality of their destination be determined. Green no doubt allowed full freedom to his countrymen, and they naturally selected land where it best suited them to “squat.” As no record remains to show where they did take up claims, the Rivers and high lands adjoining afforded the most charming sites
continue here

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Patriot Chiefs and Loyal Braves

Guy Family

by S. Pony Hill

CHAPTER 1. “A Very Large Nation”

The Colonial Period

by Steven Pony Hill, Copyright ©2005 all rights reserved.

Little is known about the Cheraw Tribe prior to their first encounters with Europeans in 1534. They were known to the Cherokee as “Ani-Suwa’li”, or “the Suwali people.” The Cheraw Tribe was actually a loose confederation of tribes who all spoke a version of the Siouan language. Known by such general names as the Cheroenhaka, Esaw, Isaw, Sara, and Saraw, this confederacy of eastern Siouan peoples included the Manahoac, Hassinunga, Shakori, Eno, Meherrin, Nahyssan, Nottaway, Occaneechi, Saponi, and Tutelo. Encountering them in 1701, explorer John Lawson described them as “the Esaw Indians, a very large Nation, containing many thousands of people.”

In the early 1600’s many important historic incidents occurred which would affect the Cheraw descendents for generations. Already suffering from constant raids from the Iroquois on their northern border, the Tuscarora to the south, and the Cherokee west, the Cheraw now faced a new threat, European colonists pushing inland from the east. Cheraw Indians being taken captive by raiding parties of Iroquois and Cherokee were being sold as slaves to the colonists and this did nothing to better the situation. From 1616 to 1630, Opechancanough, successor of Powhatan, and chief over all the Algonquin speaking tidewater tribes, expressed his displeasure with the encroaching white men by waging a bloody war. Indian captives were taken in increasing numbers from the tidewater tribes during this time and forced into slavery. Those Indians not taken as slaves were forced to wander the Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina area.

In 1657 the English forced most of the Powhatan remnants onto reservations in Virginia and the Siouan tribes were gathered in four main concentrations:

“The Monacan, along the James; the Saponi along the Rivana and James
Rivers and Otter Creek; the Tutelo in the Roanoke Valley; and the
Occaneechi on islands at the confluence of the Roanoke> and Dan Rivers.”

Arguably the most influential event to occur in the 1600’s happened in 1660 when Virginia determined that “…an Indian sold by another Indian or an Indian who speaks English and who desires baptism will now receive his or her freedom.” This allowed many Algonquin and Siouan war captives held in slavery in the colonies to regain their freedom, but it also provided incentive for their masters to downplay the Indian ancestry of those in servitude in order to retain them. These former slaves quickly rejoined their tribesmen bringing with them their acquired skills as carpenters, wheelwrights, and ferry operators. Most importantly, these newly freed Indians brought with them their new English names and Christian religion. Unfortunately they also retained the stigma of being former slaves, a condition which would cause their white neighbors to eye them with suspicion for generations.

In 1713, the confederated eastern Siouan Nations signed a Treaty of Peace with the Virginia Colonial government at Williamsburg. Among the different Nations represented were the Occaneechi, the Stuckanok, the Tottero, and the Saponi. At the invitation of Governor Spottswood of Virginia, these Indians settled a four-square-mile reservation encompassing the north and south side of the Meherrin River. On the north banks were the Nansemond and related Algonquin-speaking bands, on the south were the Siouan-speaking Tutelo, Saponi, Cheroenhaka, Eno, and also an Iroquoian-speaking band of Tuscarora who had survived the war with the Carolina settlers just 2 years earlier. Spottswood endorsed the construction of Fort Christanna where the Indian children had mandatory training in academics and Christianity. After the closing of the Fort Christanna school a few of the students followed headmaster Charles Griffin and enrolled at the Brafferton Indian School at William and Mary.

Because of the continued hostilities between these Nations and the Iroquois to the north, the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia held a conference at Albany in September of 1722 to hammer out a peaceable agreement between the Tribes on their borders. Governor Spottswood undertook negotiations for the “Christanna Indians” who were composed of “the Saponies, Ochineeches, Stenkenoaks, Meipontskys, and Toteroes.”

In addition to their traditional native enemies, it is obvious that the remnant tribes considered the encroaching white settlements as an almost equal threat. It also appears that, on the subject of trespassing whites, even the Algonquin and Siouan peoples could agree and cooperate. On October 24, 1723 the Virginia Government spoke out on behalf of the Meherrin and Nansemond Nations and warned the North Carolinians:

“Whereas, the Maherin and Nansemond Indians have this day complained
that notwithstanding the repeated orders of this government for security to them the possession of their lands, whereon they have many years past been seated, between the Nottoway and Maherine Rivers, divers persons under pretense of grants form the Government of North Carolina surveyed the lands of the said Indians and begun to make settlements within their cleared grounds.”

This report is especially interesting as it implies that portions of the Nansemond had obviously moved west of their ancestral homes around Norfolk, Virginia, and were living with the Meherrin between the Nottoway and Meherrin Rivers.

Full Article Here:

Queen's Portrait in Manteo Reportedly Worth Millions

By Catherine Kozak
The Virginian-Pilot
© April 12, 2008
Roanoke island, N.C.

Until recently, an oil painting of Queen Elizabeth I had been hanging, unprotected and barely noticed, in the gift shop at The Elizabethan Gardens gatehouse.
It is believed that the portrait was painted in 1592, when Elizabeth would have been about 60 years old. It is one of the few portraits of the queen in her declining years.
If it is authentic, it could be worth millions.

“Certainly, paintings of Elizabeth are pretty sought-after,” said Christopher Apostle, senior vice president and director of old master paintings at Sotheby’s in New York. “It would be valuable.”
The earliest known full-length image of the monarch, who died in 1603, sold at Sotheby’s in London on Nov. 22 for more than $5.3 million, Apostle said.

cont. here:’t-smiling-owners-her-portrait-are

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lost Colony Outdoor Drama to Benefit from 8th Annual Golf Classic

Former Red Sox team up with Lost Colony Golf Classic

The 8th Annual Lost Colony Invitational Golf Classic will take place Friday April 18th at Duck Woods Golf Club in Southern Shores. And......members of the 1967 Red Sox will be on hand this year to spice thing up! Tee time on the 18th is 10:00 a.m., but there's a dinner and silent auction at 5:00 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Lost Colony, America's longest running outdoor drama, now in its 71st year. There's also a cocktail party on April 17th from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Duck Woods. Admission is $40.00, which is a nominal fee considering you'll get beer, wine, hors d'oeuvres and a chance to mingle with the '67 Bosox! Space is limited! Reserve today!

Cont. Here:

Defining mixed-blood Indians in colonial Virginia and the Carolinas

“A Rose by any other name is a Cactus”

By Steven Pony Hill


Augusta County, VA (Orders 1773-1779)

19 AUG 1777….Nat, an Indian boy in the custody of Mary Greenlee who detains him as a slave complains that he is held in unlawful slavery. Commission to take depositions in Carolina or elsewhere.

17 SEP 1777….On the complaint of Nat an Indian or Mustee Boy who says he is to be set free from service of Mary Greenlee…nothing appeared to this Court but a bill of sale for ten pounds from one Sherwood Harris of Granville County, NC that through several assignments was made over to James Greenlee deceased, late husband to the said Mary….said Mulattoe or Indian Boy is a free man and no slave.
( Nat was most likely half-Indian, so therefore Mulatto or Mustee could be used interchangeably, use of these terms were influenced by the status of his servitude)

Charles City County, VA (Orders 1687-95)

DEC 1690….Thomas Mayo an Indian belonging to Jno. Evans is adjudged 14 years old.

Chesterfield County, VA (Orders 1767-71)

6 APR 1770…On motion of Sibbell, an Indian woman held in slavery by Joseph Ashbrooke, have leave to prosecute for her freedom in forma pauperis.
- Sibbell an Indian wench V. Joseph Ashbrooke, for pltf. To take deposition of Elizabeth Blankenship and Thomas Womack.
- Sybill a Mulatto V. Joseph Ashbrooke – dismissed.
(Sibell was most likely less than full blooded Indian…she was described as Indian up to the point it was determined that she was legally a slave, then she was described as mulatto…use of the term is influenced by the status of her servitude)


Dinwiddie County, VA

18 AUG 1794...registered free papers of “Nancy Coleman a dark brown, well made mulatto woman..freed by judgement of the Gen’l Court of John Hrdaway being a descendant of an Indian.”

10 FEB 1798…registered free papers of “Daniel Coleman a dark brown free Negro, or Indian…formerly held as a slave by Joseph Hardaway but obtained his freedom by a judgment of the Gen’l Court.

14 AUG 1800…registered free papers of “Hagar Jumper a dark brown Mulatto or Indian woman short bushy hair, obtained her freedom from Stephen Dance as being a descendant of an Indian.”

27 MAY 1805…registered free papers of “Betty Coleman a dark brown Negro woman…formerly held as a slave by John Hardaway…liberated by judgment of the Gen’l Court as descended of an Indian.”


Goochland County, VA

7 MAR 1756…Elizabeth, daughter of Ruth Matthews, a free mulattoe, baptized by the Rev. William Douglas of St. James Northam Parish.

26 SEP 1757….Cumberland County Court to bind out the children of Ruth Matthews, an Indian woman, to William Fleming.
(Ruth is described as ‘a free mulatto’ at one time, ‘an Indian’ at another.)


Henrico County, VA

5 MAY 1712…..Thomas Chamberlayne brings before this Court his servant Mulatto man Robin and informed the Court that he hath several times run away. Ordered to serve one year from (release date).
- Robin Indian (filed) against Major Chamberlayne…next Court.

FEB 1712….Robin Indian ordered free from Thomas Chamberlayne’s service at end of year’s service.

MARCH 1713….Thomas Chamberlayne against his servant Robin Mulatto hath unlawfully absented himself for 16 weeks.
(Robin is described as Mulatto until he is determined to be illegally held as a slave, then he is described as Indian…use of the term is influenced by his servitude…his former master tactfully uses the term Mulatto to influence the Court to return him to slavery)

APR 1722…Peg an Indian woman servant belonging to Richard Ligon appeared…be adjudged free..he be summoned.
JUN 1722…Peg a Mulatto servant born in this County whose mother was an Indian intitled to freedom at the age of thirty years, having petitioned for her freedom against her master Richard Ligon.
(Mulatto is used here to describe an Indian half-blood)

JAN 1737….petition of Tom a Mulatto or Mustee setting forth that he is the grandson of a white free woman and hast a just right to freedom but that his master Alexander Trent contrary to law or equity detains him in slavery.
(the terms Mulatto and Mustee are used here interchangeably)

JUL 1739…On the petition of Indian Jamey alias James Musttie is exempted from paying County Levyes.

NOV 1740…petition of Thomas Baugh it is ordered that the Church Wardens of Dale Parish do bind out Joe a Mulatto the son of Nan an Indian woman according to law.
(Mulatto is used here to describe an Indian half-blood)

18 NOV 1747….will of Richard Randolph…to my son John the third part of my slaves, he taking my two Negroes, Indian John and Essex as a part of his third which two Negroes I propose he should have.
(an Indian is described here as a ‘Negro’…the term is influenced by his servitude)

2 DEC 1754….Church wardens of Henrico Parish do bind out Ezekiel Scott and Sarah Scott, children of John Scott, Tommy son of Indian Nan, Henry Cockran son of John Cockran, and Isham Roughton an Indian according to Law.

5 MAR 1759….Ordered that the Church Wardens of Henrico Parish bind out Ben Scott and Roger an Indian Boy according to Law.

Cont. Here:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Black-Tie Gala to Benefit the Lost Colony

Black-Tie Gala at the Lost Colony

4/12/2008 - 4/12/2008

Experience a party on a grand scale like none other. Feast on sumptuous food; hustle to win the bid for art work, vacation packages, memorabilia and other items in a silent auction; have your sweet delights in a sweet shop; relax to the elegance of a classical ensemble; and dance the night away to the eclectic mix of Beach Music, Disco, Classic Motown, Oldies, and Big Band Swing. Proceeds to benefit The Lost Colony.


1409 National Park Dr
Manteo, NC 27954




Telephone Number(s):

Business Phone: (252)473-3414
Business Phone 2: (252)473-3414
Toll Free: (800)488-5012

Monday, April 7, 2008

Native American Resource Center

The Museum of Native American Resource Center
Universary of North Carolina at Pembroke

The mission of the Native American Resource Center is to educate the public about the prehistory, history, culture, art and contemporary issues of American Indians, with special emphasis on the Robeson County Native American community; to conduct scholarly research; to collect and preserve the material culture of Native America; to encourage Native American artists and craftspersons; and to cooperate on a wide range of projects with other agencies concerned with Native America. Our museum contains exhibits of authentic Indian artifacts, arts and crafts. These items come from Indian people all over North America, from Abenaki to Zuni. Many other items come from North Carolina Native Americans, with special emphasis on Robeson County Indian people. Particular focus is placed on the largest North Carolina tribe, the Lumbee.

According to local legends, the Indians of Robeson County are descendants of several tribal groups (three languages families - Eastern Siouan, Iroquoian and Algonkian) and John White's Lost Colony. Today, the Lumbee number over 50,000, with the majority residing in Robeson and adjoining counties.

The Center is located in historic Old Main, the first brick structure on campus (1923). Old Main is listed on the National Resister of Historic Places, and also houses the Department of American Indian Studies.

More Here:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Timeline of Events Leading Up to the Lost Colony

Introducing an excellent timeline done by Nelda Percival, webmaster and graphic artist for The Lost Colony Genealogy DNA Research Group

12 Oct 1492

Discovery of the Americas - The Spanish were especially well prepared by history to conquer, occupy, populate and exploit new lands and assimilate new people. America thus became the new frontier-land for those people used to its ways and with the military, diplomats and administrative arms at their disposal to face the challenge. By the middle of the 16th century, they had settled in the two most important viceroyalties, Mexico on the Atlantic, and Peru on the Pacific.


Pope Alexander (1431 - 1503)
Alexander VI, given name Rodrigo Borgia, Roman Catholic Pope from 1492 until his death, is the most memorable of the corrupt and secular popes of the Renaissance. Pope Alexander divides the world between Portugal and Spain, excluding all others

by Nelda L. Percival

The Lost Colony Genealogy & DNA Research Group

Cont. here:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lost Colony Region Gains Protection by Land Trust Purchase

N.C. trust buys two tracts it wants to preserve
Posted to: News North Carolina

By Catherine Kozak
The Virginian-Pilot©
April 3, 2008

More than 950 acres of wetland, hardwood swamp forest and enormous Bald Cypress have been purchased in Camden and Currituck counties for conservation by the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust.

The 648-acre Indiantown Creek Tract includes about 3 miles of undeveloped frontage along the creek and Run Swamp Canal, and the 303-acre Pasquotank River Tract has 1.65 miles of undeveloped frontage along the river.

“These are not lands that were necessarily being threatened by development,” said Lee Leidy, northeast regional director at the land trust’s Kill Devil Hills office. But they are now protected from being timbered, he said. The river tract is situated on the Camden County side of the Pasquotank River, near the Elizabeth City Shrine Club property and White Hull Shores subdivision. The Indiantown piece is about four miles from the Camden County Courthouse, off U.S. 158 and Gregory Road.

The sale of the two tracts for $400,000 from Plum Creek Timberlands was finalized March 27. Leidy said they were sold below market value.

Funds were provided by the state Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which awarded $528,000 for the land and the transaction costs.

“The significance of it is in the size and character of the swamp forest,” Leidy said. “It’s a very old-growth mature forest. It serves as an excellent filter to preserve water quality.”
The land trust, a private, nonprofit conservation organization, now owns a total of 41,000 acres throughout the state’s coastal plain, Leidy said.

Situated on the north end of the island, the property lies on ancient ridge dunes and is one of the highest points on Roanoke Island. It is in the area believed to have been used by members of the Lost Colony in the 16th century and of the Freedmen’s Colony after the Civil War.

Catherine Kozak, (252) 441-1711,

Full Article Here:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Scientists Reshape Y Chromosome Haplogroup Tree


Not for release until 5:00 p.m. EDT (US time) on Tuesday, April 1, 2008.

Scientists reshape Y chromosome haplogroup tree gaining new insights into human ancestry

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 The Y chromosome retains a remarkable record of human ancestry, since it is passed directly from father to son. In an article published online today in Genome Research (, scientists have utilized recently described genetic variations on the part of the Y chromosome that does not undergo recombination to significantly update and refine the Y chromosome haplogroup tree. The print version of this work will appear in the May issue of Genome Research, accompanied by a special poster of the new tree.

Human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes: 22 pairs of autosomes, and one pair of sex chromosomes. Females carry a pair of X chromosomes that can swap, or recombine, similar regions of DNA during meiosis. However, males harbor one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, and significant recombination between these dissimilar sex chromosomes does not occur. Therefore, the non-recombining region of the Y chromosome (NRY) remains largely unchanged over many generations, directly passed from father to son, son to grandson, and so on, along with genetic variations in the NRY that may be present. Scientists can use genetic variations, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), on the Y chromosome as markers of human ancestry and migration.

In 2002, the Y Chromosome Consortium (YCC) constructed a tree of 153 haplogroups based upon 243 unique genetic markers. In this report, researchers led by Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona recognized the need to revisit the Y chromosome haplogroup tree and incorporate the latest data. The YCC effort in 2002 was a landmark in mapping the then known 300 or so Y-linked SNPs on a single tree, and getting the community to use the same nomenclature system, explains Hammer. The rate of SNP discovery has continued to increase over the last several years, as are publications on Y chromosome origins and affinities. While this new information is useful, ironically it also brings with it the danger of introducing more chaos into the field.

Hammer's group integrated more than 300 new markers into the tree, which allowed the resolution of many features that were not yet discernable, as well as the revision of previous arrangements. The major lineages within the most common African haplogroup, E, are now all sorted out, with the topology providing new interpretations on the geographical origin of ancient sub-clades, describes Hammer. When one polymorphism formerly described as unique, but recently shown to have reversed was replaced by recently reported markers, a sub-haplogroup of haplogroup O, the most common in China, was considerably rearranged, explains Fernando Mendez, a co-author of the study.

In addition to improving the resolution of branches, the latest reconstruction of the tree allows estimates of time to the most recent common ancestor of several haplogroups. The age of [haplogroup] DE is about 65,000 years, just a bit younger than the other major lineage to leave Africa, which is assumed to be about 70,000 years old, says Hammer, describing an example of the fine resolution of age that is now possible. Haplogroup E is older than previously estimated, originating approximately 50,000 years ago.

Furthermore, Hammer explains that this work has resulted in the addition of two new major haplogroups, S and T, with novel insights into the ancestry of both. Haplogroup T, the clade that Thomas Jefferson's Y chromosome belongs to, has a Middle Eastern affinity, while haplogroup S is found in Indonesia and Oceania.

More SNPs are being discovered, and we anticipate the rate to increase with the 1000 Genomes Project, says Hammer, referring to the wealth of human genetic variation data that will soon be available. While this report represents a significant advance in mapping ancestry by Y chromosome polymorphisms, it is certain that future discoveries will necessitate continual revisions to the Y chromosome haplogroup tree, helping to further elucidate the mystery of our origins.

Scientists from the University of Arizona (Tuscon, AZ) and Stanford University (Stanford, CA) contributed to this study.

This work was supported by the Salus Mundi Foundation.

Media contacts:

Michael Hammer, Ph.D., has agreed to be contacted by email for more information (

Interested reporters may obtain copies of the manuscript from Peggy Calicchia, Editorial Secretary, Genome Research (; +1-516-422-4012).

About the article:

The manuscript will be published online ahead of print on April 2, 2008. Its full citation is as follows: Karafet, T.M., Mendez, F.L., Meilerman, M.B., Underhill, P.A., Zegura, S.L., and Hammer, M.F. New binary polymorphisms reshape and increase resolution of the human Y-chromosomal haplogroup tree. Genome Res. doi:10.1101/gr.7172008.

About Genome Research:

Genome Research ( is an international, continuously published, peer-reviewed journal published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Launched in 1995, it is one of the five most highly cited primary research journals in genetics and genomics. About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is an internationally renowned publisher of books, journals, and electronic media, located on Long Island, New York. It is a division of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an innovator in life science research and the education of scientists, students, and the public. For more information, visit Genome Research issues press releases to highlight significant research studies that are published in the journal.