Thursday, May 29, 2008

Outer Banks Offers an Undisturbed Coastal Paradise

The Outer Banks:

An Undisturbed Coastal Paradise

Undisturbed beaches splattered with exotic shells and ocean treasures, dolphins dipping playfully through the ocean waves, wild horses playing in the rolling surf, sand dunes rising to the sky.The Outer Banks is a virtual paradise for the true beach connoisseur and nature lover! And it's a vacation paradise for travelers on a budget! It includes the towns of Corolla, Duck, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, and Roanoke Island, and all the way to the undeveloped shores of Hatteras Island. There are a myriad of ways to explore the coast and enjoy the family-friendly recreational activities and history that abound on the Outer Banks.


The Lost Colony play on Roanoke Island is less than an hour's drive from the heart of Nags Head. Queen Elizabeth directed Sir Walter Raleigh to send a party of 100 soldiers and scientists to explore Roanoke Island. The rest is history and is played out from June 1 to August 20 in the live production in an outdoor theatre.Aviation history was made in Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks and the Wright Brothers Memorial is a tribute to the success of Orville and Wilbur Wright. A replica of the first airplane and other historical artifacts and reproductions of the early days of flight are on display throughout the museum. Aviation recently celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Wright Brothers Memorial and a stop here along the way is both memorable and nostalgic. Fiery displays of color sparkle in the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island. You won't want to miss this incredible garden with its foliage, flowers, herbs, antique garden fountains, and statues. The Gardens were created to honor the Elizabethan heritage of Roanoke Island and North Carolina. The Gardens are a memorial to Sir Walter Raleigh's legendary lost colony of 1587, which settled, lived, and vanished on the very site where the Gardens now stand. They provide an incredibly beautiful and quiet solitude just beyond the beach. Nags Head is one of the most well-preserved beaches on the east coast, with miles of rugged shoreline, natural dunes, wildlife refugees, surf and pier fishing, affordable recreation, and historical sites. Every year we spend time there, we fall more in love with the coastal paradise. Once you give it a try, we're sure you'll be back year after year!

To read about:

  • Where to Stay

    • Where to Dine

      • Recreation

Go here:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

North Carolina: In the Beginning

Time Before History

Book Review

North Carolina's written history begins in the sixteenth century with the voyages of Sir Walter Raleigh and the founding of the ill-fated Lost Colony on Roanoke Island. But there is a deeper, unwritten past that predates the state's recorded history. The region we now know as North Carolina was settled more than 10,000 years ago, but because early inhabitants left no written record, their story must be painstakingly reconstructed from the fragmentary and fragile archaeological record they left behind.Time before History is the first comprehensive account of the archaeology of North Carolina. Weaving together a wealth of information gleaned from archaeological excavations and surveys carried out across the state—from the mountains to the coast—it presents a fascinating, readable narrative of the state's native past across a vast sweep of time, from the Paleo-Indian period, when the first immigrants to North America crossed a land bridge that spanned the Bering Strait, through the arrival of European traders and settlers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Google Books

TIME BEFORE HISTORY by H. Trawick Ward reviews what archaeologists know about the ancient history of native North Carolina from the original settlement of its Appalachian mountain ranges, its Piedmont region, and its coastal provinces some twelve thousand years ago until the encounters between native peoples and European American explorers, traders, soldiers, and settlers from the 1500s through much of the 1700s. The photos of artifacts and scenes from archaeological fieldwork complement well its chapters about native cultures during different periods of the past. Maps and other line drawings are good contributions to the book. Certainly, the book will appeal to archaeologists and historians interested in native peoples of eastern North America. Meanwhile, its lively prose is accessible to any other readers interested in the culture and history of native peoples in North Carolina.

The first chapter outlines the major characteristics of architecture and other artifacts from North Carolina during different periods of the past, as they are currently understood by archaeologists. The authors then trace the history of North Carolina archaeology, from the late 19th century to current problems and prospects for the practice of prehistoric archaeology here at the end of the 20th century.

The second chapter reconstructs the lives of the groups to which archaeologists refer as Paleoindian people, the mobile bands of hunters and gatherers who settled North Carolina between 9500 and 7900 BC, and whose presence here is reflected primarily by certain kinds of stone spearheads. Just when the original North American settlers arrived and what their lives were like are currently very hot topics in archaeology, but it is clear that ten thousand years ago, native North Carolinians were living in colder and drier woodland environments than are here today.

Continued here

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Lost Colony Genealogy and DNA Research Group Website

Open Invitation to Visit the Lost Colony Genealogy and DNA Research Group Website:

This website is to display the results of our research in support of attaining our goal which is to discover, if possible, whether any of the Roanoke Lost Colonists survived. Furthermore, others included on Raleigh's numerous voyages were also "lost" on the shores of what would become North Carolina. Perhaps they survived as well. The resources being used to solve this mystery are a combination of historical records, genealogy and DNA.

Our Mission

Our Mission....Is to gather as much data as possible to prove that at least some of the colonists did in fact survive as has been suggested by numerous historical accounts, possibly having assimilated into the indigenous tribesof the area or having been taken captive, or both. As the various tribes moved inland, the colonists would have moved with them. If the colonists were enslaved, they could have been sold or traded and not remained as a group, being scattered to various locations.

Our research group will be working to connect the genealogies with the historical records and genetic results from individuals who are likely candidates to be descendants of the Lost Colonists. We have assembled names of interest that are compiled from the Lost Colony settlers and also from the early families found in the areas where the colonists are believed to have settled. Early land transactions and grants reference individuals with many of these last names as Indians.

Possible candidates to be connected to the Lost Colony come from the following groups of individuals:

1. Those who have any of the surnames of interest and whose genealogy ends abruptly early in Eastern VA or NC.

2. Those who connect via any of these surnames to the British Isles.

3. Those whose family has an oral history of being connected to the Lost Colony.

4. Those with Native American heritage from Eastern or early NC or VA.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Opening Night Nears for Lost Colony Drama's 71st Season

Lost Colony production rises from the ashes

ROANOKE ISLAND, NC ( -- A local production company is getting ready for an opening night unlike any they've seen before.

WAVY News 10 was there last September, when a fire destroyed the Lost Colony's shop and its costumes. Eight months later, a piece of American history prepares to take the stage once again.

Friday, May 30th is opening night for the outdoor drama.

"The Lost Colony" depicts the first English settlers, who vanished without a trace. The production that battled back from a devastating fire is breathing new life into its 71st season.

Tony-award winning designer William Ivey Long's life has been a blur of fabric and thread for months. What began in his New York studio now overflows in the Lost Colony's new costume shop. Long grew up in the show. Even so, he went back to the drawing board, recreating the pieces with historical accuracy. "Now was the time to really show some of the reasons the colony may have failed. It was quite top heavy with gentry, and investors and merchants and upper class people of the 116 people that came over, only 40 were workers," said Long.

Again, opening night is May 30th at 8:30 p.m.

While the production is back on its feet, it still needs donations to help pay off the rebuilding efforts.

For more information about The Lost Colony, click HERE.

To read all this story and watch a video, click HERE.

Lost Colony Outdoor Drama Readies for Opening Night

ROANOKE ISLAND, N.C. ( -- Where there once was ash and wood, stands a two story building, dedicated to the spirit of community. "I can't think of another place that would celebrate the arts of the theater in this extraordinary manner."

The Lost Colony's costume shop is no longer lost. "Totally made by hand Roanoke Island creations, that's really what we're celebrating today with this specific shop," says award winning production designer William Ivey Long.

Long stood alongside a dozen others to celebrate the opening of the new shop. Last September a fire destroyed the shop and its costumes. Actor Andy Griffith and his wife Cindi cut the ribbon.
Griffith got his start on the very stage that burned in the 1940's. "All of the ladies dressing rooms, two-thirds of the stage burned in 1947. I was here, I was playing the first soldier that year."

And like so many others, he helped rebuild it in six days. " I was a carpenter...I was part of one of the carpenters who built the ladies dressing room. Good choice, yes."

As was then, is now says Executive Director Carl Curnutte. "People from all across the country have been contributing with costumes, donations, fabrics, the labor of the building, its just been amazing seeing the outpouring of support we've actually had."

More here:

Costumes returned to the Lost Colony

Fire destroys vintage costumes used in 'The Lost Colony'

North Carolina: Birthplace of the Outdoor Drama; Continues Rich Tradition

Outdoor Drama Takes the Stage in NC

Outdoor drama is a melding of literature and landscape. North Carolina – with its scenic beauty, history and love of storytelling – is its birthplace. Ten outdoor dramas take to the North Carolina stage this summer. Most are historical in nature, depicting actual events near the site where history happened.

Pulitzer Prize winner and North Carolina native Paul Green gave birth to outdoor drama when he wrote The Lost Colony in 1937, the nation’s oldest and longest-running outdoor drama.

Cinematic in scale and production quality, outdoor dramas are staged in huge amphitheaters with mountains, rolling hills and beaches as backdrops. They feature music and dance, huge casts of extras, special effects like pyrotechnics, beautiful costumes, battles and even horse-drawn wagon trains.

So, find an aisle seat and get ready to meet the players of outdoor drama in North Carolina.

The Lost Colony, Manteo. Performed in the Waterside Theatre, this symphonic drama depicts the valiant struggle of 117 men, women and children attempting to settle in the New World in 1587. They disappeared without a trace, and for over 400 years, this has been one of history’s greatest mysteries. Many famous actors such as Andy Griffith got their start in this drama. This year’s performance marks a triumph for the Lost Colony; despite the burning of their costume shop last year, the drama will not miss this season.

Full Article Here:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Dig on Roanoke Reveals Artifacts Previously Not Seen

Search ongoing for Lost Colony site


Director of Native American Studies Program at University of Oklahoma, Joe Watkins, Ph.D., screens dirt for potential clues leading the the disappearance of America's early settlers. With his experienced eye he carefully examines for any sign of native American or European lifestyle.

Archaeological teams are geared up to answer the on-going mystery of Fort Raleigh's early settlers.Last week, First Colony Foundation (FCF) teamed up with scholars and the premier production of Time Team America to excavate grounds in hopes of finding artifacts that would answer any of the numerous questions surrounding the mystery. Fort Raleigh is the first of five sites for Time Team America's series and the team only had three days to complete the excavation. Thus, they worked from sun-up to sun-down, ensuring not a minute was wasted.

The team consists of archaeologists, geophysicists, sketch artists, and graphic artists along with the several in the production field. Lead digger Chelsea Rose explained the teams are "looking for artifacts or evidence of features of buildings" including post-holes relative to structures.To ensure no artifacts are being destroyed or overlooked, the diggers take extra care when sifting the soil. The first few layers, according to Rose, are from blown sand that came in as part of a dune, making it easy for the team to sift through. "We've got to get to the darker layers underneath if we're going to find anything," she noted.

After the soil has been removed, the team carefully sifts through each layer with screens. Ian MacDonald, with FCF, explained the soil goes through a large screen, then a smaller window screen, to guarantee no small pieces have been ignored. "We go as quickly as reasonable," noted MacDonald, "being very thorough in the process."If the team discovers an artifact, FCF Co-Director Nick Luccketti and archaeologist Eric Klingelhofer of FCF will analyze the findings to determine its authenticity.On the second day, the team found a very small piece of what is believed to be Native American pottery. "If you look real closely you can see pieces of shell, and you learn to recognize immediately," said Joe Watkins, Ph.D., Native American Archaeologist and a member of the Time Team. "I have a point of view different that others, I use the point of view of Native Americans."

As of press time, the teams had discovered several artifacts "both prehistoric and historic," said Klingelhofer. Along with the pottery found on their second day, two small sherds of English essex black ware was found on their third day. The black-ware is believed to have been used for cups and plates. According to Luccketti, the essex black-ware is unlike any artifact from previous excavations and seem to be connected with domestic use.

Full Article Here:

Pocahantas and Virginia Dare

by Barry Wetherington

"Heyr laeth Ananias & Virginia Father Salvage mvrther AI save seaven nameswritten heyr mai God hab mercye Eleanor Dare 1591."

They found one skeleton.

On forty-six rocks are 704 words to test Elizabethan usage.

No evidence of hoax in this regard was detected by the many experts who examined them."Father wee ben heyr 5 yeeres in primaeval splendovr Eleanor Dare 1592."Here the story seemed to end. FYI, below is a very long magazine article addressing the isue of theThe Virginia Dare stone(s), suggesting that Ananias Dare's wife Eleanor,daughter of Colony boss John White, escaped the Lost Colony to the Atlanta area, and wrote many messages on stones found in that region, the article of which I have read but not critically for examination.

This is a fascinating story premise. In the total of a couple hours Iwas able to devote to it, and w/o having even seen Pearce's book, I would very much like to have some carbon-dating, etc done on these artifactsbefore arriving at any conclusions. (FN: For fairness, I have previously offered a written premise forconsideration that Pocahontas might have been just barely old enough to have been able to have been the daughter of Virginia Dare, based upon a 11-12 yr old VA Dare birthing Poca, that at age about 10, 'saved' John Smith, then, as is acknowledged, traveled to visit the queen of England, dieing just before returning, see discussion below). It is not clear to me that the developments posed here would have asignificant bearing upon that premise - nevertheless, there is one 'fact' I find VERY tantalizing. Bones were claimed found:". . . [the returning] third party had expected to find them [the 'Lost'Colony]waiting at Roanoke. But Fort Raleigh, made of logs, had been pulled down. Theyfound one skeleton."There is no mention of the present location of that skeleton. If it is available, that would present a potentially incredible opportunity. If the remains of Pocahontas could be located where they were placed when moved form their known resting place in the Church at Gravesend London England, a dna comparison of her remains to the dna from the skeleton could reveal much of interest!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New public television series focues on Lost Colony

By Catherine Kozak
The Virginian-Pilot© May 15, 2008

IN THE SUN-DAPPLED WOODS of Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Wednesday, there was an unusual amount of activity for the sedate park.

Men with big video cameras on their shoulders pointed lenses into dirt pits and at the faces of archaeologists. Nearby, beeping ground-penetrating radar flashed murky images on a small screen.

Meanwhile, a mini-excavator scooped out the top layers of previously explored soil to hasten access to the undisturbed areas that might hold intriguing artifacts.

The first episode of a new public television series, "Time Team America," is focused on the ongoing search for evidence of the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island. After arriving this week, the crew is expected to wrap up at Fort Raleigh by week's end.

As an excavation unearthed a kernel-size piece of lead-glazed earthenware from a layer of dirt, veteran archaeologist Nick Luccketti was summoned and quickly surrounded, a microphone hovering nearby.

"It's great to find it. I was hoping to find something a little more sizable. But it will do," he said into a camera, a wry smile on his face as he held the tiny broken bit.

Luccketti is a founding member of the First Colony Foundation, a nonprofit group that has renewed the archaeological exploration of the park after numerous fruitless investigations since the 1930s.

Another member of the foundation, Eric Deetz, also belongs to the TV production's archaeological team. Deetz had alerted series producer Graham Dixon to the foundation's work.

The colony of 117 men, women and children who had sailed from England in 1587 vanished without a clue sometime after August of that year.

As the oldest abiding American mystery, any artifact
that could help decipher their fate would be akin to the Holy Grail of U.S. archaeology.

Cont. here:

Midwest Genealogy Center Now Open for Researchers

Harry Truman's hometown hosts a new site for genealogy buffs

McClatchy Newspapers

Travelers who've caught the genealogy bug may want to make plans for a trip to Independence, Mo. The new $8 million Midwest Genealogy Center opens May 11 and houses microfilm and microfiche with Civil War histories, American Indian records, black family history records, passenger lists, plantation records and more.

Classes will be offered, as will consultation with foreign-language experts. And if you're really wrapped up in research, there's a break room, lockers and "limited" food service. More:

Cont. here:

Midwest Genealogy CenterDiscover YOUR History

The Library's goal in building the Midwest Genealogy Center is to provide a fitting and appropriate facility to house the library's nationally recognized, world-class collection.

The new library will be built on about 8 acres of land at the intersection of Lee's Summit and Kiger Roads in Independence, Missouri, and will open on June 2, 2008.

The new library will cost over $8 million and is being built without an increase in library taxes.

The new library will have over 50,000 square feet of space, on two-levels (more than 4 times larger than the current space).

The new library will have ample tables, computers, and reader-printers for researchers.

The new library will have lockers, a break area, and limited food service for patrons who frequently spend entire days exploring family histories.

The new library will include several oversize parking spaces for people visiting on daytrips, or those passing through with RVs.

The library is accepting donations to make this facility become a reality.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Statement From Family Tree DNA

Dear Fellow Genealogist,

This week an article was published in the UK newspaper Daily Mail, quoting Ancestors Magazine, under the title: "£200-a-time ancestral DNA test kits are a rip off, say experts", by Andrew Levy.

The article was based on tests by the following companies: Oxford Ancestors, Ancestry DNA, and International Biosciences.

Family Tree DNA was not contacted for testing purposes, nor mentioned in that article. Having tested over 350,000 individuals (over 100,000 of our direct customers and 250,000 participants in National Geographic's Genographic Project) we could supply anyone who asks us with thousands of examples that prove the opposite of what the article stated.

Unfortunately, the journalist's conclusion is based on opportunist companies who noted our success and jumped into Genetic Genealogy to get a piece of it, but who did not have the science or the database that would allow for a serious work. Again, note that Family Tree DNA was NOT one of the companies that the journalist approached.

About 2 years ago, Oxford Ancestors announced to the world that they found a descendant of Genghis Khan living in Florida - a Caucasian accountant. Family Tree DNA proved that Oxford Ancestors was wrong. Tom Robinson, the person in question, recounts the entire story in his blog at The Associated Press later distributed the news: "Robinson, an associate accounting professor at the University of Miami, canceled a planned trip to Mongolia after learning of the new results. He said he never sought publicity on his ancestry. “The results that Family Tree DNA gave me are pretty conclusive,” he said. “I’m certainly not going to look for any more tests on Genghis Khan.” ( )

Family Tree DNA is proud to have the largest database of its kind in the world (more than all other companies combined), to adhere to the best science in the field, and to be the expert source for journalists from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among others.

National Geographic would not have partnered with us if there was any possibility of tarnishing their century-old reputation.

Our scientists periodically have their papers published by renowned peer-reviewed journals like the American Journal of Human Genetics and Genome Research.

That article, in the end, demonstrates the following:

- While Family Tree DNA prices are in line with other companies, price is not the only thing that matters when choosing a DNA testing company

- Science and database size are important factors when choosing a testing company

You are welcome to share this e-mail with whomever you feel necessary, and we make ourselves available to anyone with questions about our work.
E-mail me anytime!

Max Blankfeld
Vice-President, Operations and Marketing
"History Unearthed Daily"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Aftershocks from Plecker's Abuse of Human Rights in Virginia

by Janet Crain

Today is May 15th, Bloggers Unite for Human Rights Day. Yesterday, we published some preliminary background material about a man many people depise, who caused a great injustice in American to American citizens in the 20th Century. His efforts would, in fact, still be implemented into the 1960's. A rigid, autocratic man, Walter Ashby Plecker fancied himself a white knight defending and protecting the racial purity of the white race. Born into a well-to-do Virginian family he became a doctor. He was married, but never had children. He listed his hobbies as birds and books. He worked hard delivering many babies in poor households lacking basic hygiene and what most consider necessities. Many of these people were black or Indian. Concerned by a high incidence of syphilitic blindness, he began dispensing silver nitrate to be put in the eyes of newborns. He also contrived an incubator that could be put together in the poorest of homes.

A devout Presbyterian, he actually believed the mixing of races to be a sin. He helped establish churches around the state and supported fundamentalist missionaries. Plecker belonged to a conservative Southern branch of the church that believed the Bible was infallible and condoned segregation. Members of Plecker’s branch maintained that God flooded the earth and destroyed Sodom to express his anger at racial interbreeding. He carried out a life long attempt to prevent this from happening, carrying his efforts to the most extreme measures.

The Eugenics Movement suited his needs perfectly. He was proud to be a scientist, practicing what he believed to be the latest scientific methods to improve mankind. He became a celebrity within the eugenics movement, which eventually began to lose support among scientists and furnish a platform for white supremacy. He spoke around the country, was widely published and wrote to every governor in the nation to urge passage of racial laws just as tough as Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. He dined at the New York home of Nazi sympathizer, Harry H. Laughlin, the nation’s leading eugenics advocate.

In 1932, Plecker gave a keynote speech at the Third International Conference on Eugenics in New York. Among those in attendance was Ernst Rudin of Germany who, 11 months later, would help write Hitler’s eugenics law.

In 1935, Plecker wrote to Walter Gross, the director of Germany’s Bureau of Human Betterment and Eugenics. Writing on state stationery, he outlined Virginia’s racial purity laws and asked to be put on a mailing list for bulletins from Gross’ department. Complimenting the Third Reich for sterilizing 600 children in Algeria who were born to German women and black men, he commented; “I hope this work is complete and not one has been missed,” he wrote. “I sometimes regret that we have not the authority to put some measures in practice in Virginia.”

The Racial Integrity Act essentially narrowed race classifications on birth and marriage certificates to two choices: “white person” or “colored.” The law defined a white as one with no trace of black blood. A white person could have no more than a one-sixteenth trace of Indian blood—an exception, much to Plecker’s regret, legislators made to appease the descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, who were considered among Virginia’s first families.

The act forbade interracial marriage and lying about race on registration forms. Violators faced felony convictions and a year in prison.

Plecker strongly supported sterilization laws, arguing that feebleminded whites were prone to mate with Indians and blacks. He had no role in administering the law, however.

The Racial Integrity Act, on the other hand, was his to enforce, and Plecker went about it obsessively. He sold copies of eugenics books in his office and mailed his diatribes against racial interbreeding at government expense, stretching the Racial Integrity Act when necessary.

Plecker served in his powerful position as the first registrar of Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics from 1912 until 1946. Working with a vengance, he led the effort to purify the white race in Virginia by forcing Indians and other nonwhites to classify themselves as blacks. It amounted to bureaucratic genocide. He not only altered records and refused to register children as their rightful identity, he wrote insulting letters to new mothers which surely caused a lifetime of grief and frustration. The aftershocks are still being felt today. Indian tribes seeking recognition cannot provide the proof of their existance required because of Plecker's altered records. Families separated due to his draconian actions will never be reunited as the brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles because they have passed on in many cases. A lifetime lost. And genealogical brickwalls and roadblocks are encountered every day by persons trying to research their families.

"Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." ---George Santayana

You can read more about this abuse of human rights here:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thousands of Citizens Denied Basic Rights in Virginia During the Twentieth Century


Walter Plecker's racist crusade against Virginia's Native Americans.
"Some of these mongrels, finding that they have been able to sneak in their birth certificates unchallenged as Indians, are now making a rush to register as white." -- W.A. Plecker

"By (Plecker's) standards, codified by the General Assembly in the 1924 Racial Integrity Act, one drop of Negro blood would cause a person to be categorized as black. That was designed to stop light-skinned people with black ansestry from "passing" as white people and thus avoiding the Jim Crow discrimination laws.

"Dr. Plecker sought to categorize many of the "Indians" in Virginia as black. He was forced to finesse the equivalent of one drop of Indian blood, however. Many of the so-called "First Families of Virginia" traced their ancestry back to the son of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, and were proud of their connection to what they considered to be Native American royalty."

Trying to locate documentation regarding Native Americans is very difficult. An outrageous example of this difficulty is the goings-on in Virginia in the early-to-mid 1900's, an era when the eugenics movement was in its heyday.

Plecker was the "vital records czar" for the state of Virginia during the era of the "one drop law." W.A. Plecker, acting as Virginia's first Registrar of Vital Statistics, was determined to designate all so-called Melungeons as other than white.

Michael Everette Bell, Ph.D. (Department of History, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, says:

"For a balanced examination of Plecker and his ideology, see the 'Richmond's History' article by Arthur Zilmence, Walter Ashby Plecker: A Contextual Evaluation."

Ron Welburn ( says:

"One of the best discussions of what Plecker was doing is in Helen Rountree's POCAHANTAS' PEOPLE: THE POWHATAN INDIANS OVER FOUR CENTURIES; read the chapter, 'The Racial Integrity Fight.'"

Virginia's former registrar of the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Dr. Walter Ashby Plecker, a small-town doctor who became registrar of the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics in 1912, spent decades trying to deny the existence of Indians in Virginia. He believed there were no real native-born Indians in Virginia and anybody claiming to be Indian had a mix of black blood and, because in Virginia at that time one drop of African blood rendered an individual completely Aftican, Plecker thereby classified Indians as Blacks. Plecker ran the Bureau from 1912 to 1946.
The "ancestral registration" provisions of the law were strictly enforced by Plecker.
In 1925, he began a campaign to force the U.S. Census Bureau to report no Indians in Virginia in 1930. The Census Bureau conceded to mark Virginia Indians with a footnote: "Includes a number of persons whose classification as Indians has been questioned." Plecker believed that all Indians had 'polluted' their blood by mingling it with free African-Americans. Plecker thus saw those who claimed Indian ancestry as opportunists seeking what Helen Rountree called a 'way station to whiteness'--in other words, he saw all Indians as blacks attempting to 'pass.'"
Nonetheless, in 1930, the U.S. Census reported 779 Indians in Virginia, noting for the first time there were 59 Indians in Caroline County.

Plecker even issued in 1943 a list of surnames belonging to "mongel" or mixed-blood families suspected of having Negro ancestry who must not be allowed to pass as Indian or White.
Plecker's successor, Russell E. Booker Jr., termed Plecker's activities from 1912 to 1946 as "documentary genocide".

Plecker helped pass the 1924 Racial Integrity Act, a strict race classification and law which institutionalized the "one drop rule," under which any person, including Indians, who was believed to have "one drop" or more of "Negro blood" was designated as Black. A person with no "non-Caucasian blood" was classified as white, as well as persons who claimed 1/16th or less "Indian blood," which applied to those who had been proud of their so-called impurity: prominent white persons who claimed to be descended from Pocahantas. To be anything but white in Virginia meant exclusion from employment, education, and basic services. The aristocratic descendants of Pocahontas--resentful of being lumped in with "Negroes, Mongolians, American Indians, Malayans, or any mixtures thereof, or any other non-Caucasian strains" twisted arms until the legislature decreed that persons with no more than one-sixteenth Native American ancestry might still be considered white.

"As for those who 'mingled their blood' with African-Americans, they, too, would be absorbed--though they might not like the consequences. Let us consider the example of the Gingashins. This eastern tribe had two strikes against it: Its members refused to give up their traditional lifeways; even worse, they intermarried freely and unashamedly with blacks.

"This was anathema to Virginia elites. Intermarriage with whites could be, and was, tolerated. Intermarriage with blacks, however, was an intolerable challenge to the arbitrary color line that had been in place since the first chattel slavery law passed in 1661. Thus, in 1813, the Gingashins made their way into the history books, becoming the first U.S. tribe to be terminated.

"Needless to say, Gingashin identity did not die with the legal decree. As late as 1855, Rountree notes, county maps showed an "Indian Town," an Indiantown Creek, and a settlement of seven houses. Eventually, however, white antagonism, not to mention opportunism, forced the Gingashins to merge into a sympathetic African-American community. Tribes such as the Pamunkeys, Mattaponis, Upper Mattaponis, Nansemonds, Rappahannocks, and Chickahominies took note of the lesson--and learned how to resist.

"A century later, armed with the awesome power of the state, Plecker declared war on these people. Consulting a listing of surnames associated with Native American ancestry--such as Beverly (from beaver), Sparrow, Penn or Pinn, Fields, Bear, and so on--and drawing his authority from century-old census records that were likely to list Indians as "mulattoes"--particularly if the census were taken in summertime, Houck notes--Plecker embarked on a crusade to re-classify every Native American in the state as an African-American." ("Battles in Red, Black and White"

Plecker changed and/or destroyed labels on vital records to classify Indians as "colored, mongrel, mulatto," investigated the pedigrees of racially "suspect" citizens, and provided information to block or annul interracial marriages with Whites. He not only did this to Indians, but other races as well.

Knowledge of this historical development is vitally necessary for those who are searching their Native heritage to understand why records in the Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics are incorrect or missing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Museum of Albemarle Tells Story of Thousands of Years

Story of Albermarle Sound
Written by Bruce Ferrell

(ELIZABETH CITY) --A new signature exhibit opened at an Elizabeth City museum this weekend -- to tell the story of the Albermarle Sound over thousands of years. The 6,200 square foot "Our Story" exhibit at The Museum of the Albermarle includes more than 750 artifacts which takes visitors through time -- including the settling of the Lost Colony and when Blackbeard the Pirate roamed the seas and finally to today. Museum exhibit design chief Don Pendergraft says the centerpiece is a 1755 farmhouse. The $1.5 million project was funded from private donations.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Recent Discoveries at Monte Verde Push Back Human Arrival Date

Ancient Seaweed Tells of Earliest Americans

Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press

Monte Verde

May 8, 2008 -- Remains of meals that included seaweed are helping confirm the date of a settlement in southern Chile that may offer the earliest evidence of humans in the Americas.
Researchers date the seaweed found at Monte Verde to more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than the well-studied Clovis culture.

And the report comes just a month after other scientists announced they had found coprolites
fossilized human feces -- dating to about 14,000 years ago in a cave in Oregon.

Taken together, the finds move back evidence of people in the Americas by a millennium or more, with settlements in northern and southern coastal areas.

The prevailing theory has been that people followed herds of migrating animals across an ancient land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, and then moved southward along the West coast. Proof has been hard to come by, however. The sea was about 200 feet lower at the time and as it rose it would have inundated the remains of coastal settlements.

Full Article Here:

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Digging for Our Roots has Long History

1st genealogy published in America – 7 May 1724

The first genealogy published in America appeared in a newspaper 284 years ago - today – May 7, 1724.

It appeared in the American Weekly Mercury. It was a genealogy of King Philip V of Spain. Genealogy articles routinely appeared in colonial newspapers.

The first genealogy published in book form was in 1771 – the Stebbins Genealogy and by 1876 and the nation’s first centennial there were less than 1,000 genealogies published.

With a push from President Ulysses S. Grant the idea really took off. It was 132 years ago on May 25th that he issued a "Proclamation" to the American people asking them to remember their history, write it down and distribute it widely.

He wrote that he wanted to see "a complete record" of our history … be kept and placed in each county and in the Library of Congress”. If the Internet were available then I am sure he would have suggested that they be put online too.

Cont. here:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lost Colony Play Lifts Nation from Depression in 1937

by Harry McKown
July 2006

Conceived in the depth of the Depression, when supporting funds were hard to find, The Lost Colony was made possible ultimately as a cooperative effort by local people and several state and federal agencies. Workers from the Roanoke Island camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps build the open-air Waterside Theatre where the play was performed and later several of them joined the cast. The Rockefeller Foundation gave an organ to provide musical accompaniment. The Playmakers of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provided lighting and other technical assistance and also supplied the director, Samuel Selden. Actors came from the Federal Theatre Project and from among the islanders themselves. The project had the support of North Carolina's U. S. Senator, Josiah William Bailey and Congressman Lindsay Warren. The U. S. Postal Service issued a stamp to publicize the event and the Treasury minted a commemorative half-dollar which the Roanoke Island Historical Society was allowed to sell for $1.50 to raise money.
The drama and the setting were ready.
The question remained, would anybody come? Getting to Roanoke Island on North Carolina's Outer Banks in 1937 was a challenge. From the North it involved a ferry ride, several miles on a "floating road" over a swamp, and the rest of the way on packed sand roads. The "easier" route from the west consisted of miles of graded dirt roads and two ferry trips. Nevertheless, approximately 2,500 people attended the first performance of The Lost Colony, and by the end of the summer attendance stood at about 50,000, including President Franklin Roosevelt. Originally, the play was scheduled to run only for the Summer of 1937. It had been so popular, however, and such a boon to the local economy that it returned in 1938 and by the end of the next year it was being seen by 100,000 people a season. Except for four years during World War II, The Lost Colony has played every Summer, becoming an institution on the North Carolina coast and in the American theater. It is one of the mainstays of the island's economy and has been a training ground for young actors and theater technicians around the country. Alumni of The Lost Colony include Andy Griffith, Chris Elliot, Eileen Fulton, Carl Kasell, William Ivey Long, and Joe Layton. The Lost Colony also set the pattern for dozens of similar productions, usually referred to as outdoor dramas, staged from Florida to Alaska.
Full Article Here:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lost Colony Drama has Long History of Pleasing the Public

This Month in North Carolina History
July 1937 - The Lost Colony

Program from the first "Lost Colony" production, 1937.

On the 4th of July, 1937, a new form of American drama was born on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, as a part of the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the first English settlers in North America. The Roanoke Island Historical Association, led by W. O. Saunders, editor of the Elizabeth City Independent, and D. B Fearing, a state Senator from Dare County, approached Pulitizer Prize-winning North Carolina author Paul Green about writing a play on the Roanoke settlement of 1587. Saunders, on a recent trip to Germany, had seen the outdoor religious plays at Oberammergau in Bavaria and wanted something similar for North Carolina. Green, as a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had been encouraged by his mentor, Professor Frederick Koch, to draw literary inspiration from local history and folklore. In fact, some years earlier, Green had written a one act play based on the Roanoke Island experience. Although he considered the play a failure, Green had been inspired by a visit to the island at the time and readily took on the job of writing the new play. Green envisioned a production that would combine drama, music, dance, and pageantry all in a sweeping outdoor setting. He called his creation The Lost Colony: A Symphonic Drama of American History .

Program from the 1952 "Lost Colony" featuring Andy Griffith as Sir Walter Raleigh.
Conceived in the depth of the Depression, when supporting funds were hard to find, The Lost Colony was made possible ultimately as a cooperative effort by local people and several state and federal agencies. Workers from the Roanoke Island camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps build the open-air Waterside Theatre where the play was performed and later several of them joined the cast.
cont. here:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

New Lost Colony costume shop finished, ready for opening night

By Catherine Kozak

The Virginian-Pilot©
May 1, 2008

A WHIRLWIND CAMPAIGN that likely tapped every possible resource, twisted an arm or two, and whipped together a network of supporters from every corner has given "The Lost Colony" a new costume shop in an impressive 233 days.

With actor Andy Griffith, the outdoor drama's most famous alumnus, holding a pair of huge scissors, the ribbon was cut Wednesday at the entrance to the two-story building that replaces the shop that burned to the ground in September.

Griffith and his wife, Cindi, stayed for a few minutes at the reception inside the roomy shop, greeting veterans of the show with his familiar 100-watt smile.
"I'm proud to be here for the reopening of the costume shop," he said. "It's open - it's ready."
But it will never be like it once was.

William Ivey Long, the show's production designer, said more than 5,000 costumes were destroyed in the fire, including the historic collection made by Irene Smart Rains, the show's original costumer and the building's namesake.

Long, a five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway costume
designer, remembers the costume shop as a young child, "playing in the scraps" while his parents worked in the production.

He said he has been associated with "The Lost Colony" for
38 seasons.

Full Article Here:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Big Changes in Store at Family Tree DNA

Some Family Tree DNA Participants will find their haplogroup designation changed to the new nomenclature on May 5th.

While the name of the haplogroup a person belongs to may change, and will continue to change as more haplogroup branches are discovered and published, their actual DNA testing results and interpretation remain the same. The next issue of the Family Tree DNA newsletter, Facts and Genes, will discuss these changes in more depth and should help you better understand the changes to the Y-DNA haplogroup tree.

The Family Tree DNA website will be temporarily offline on Monday, May 5th, at 5 am CDT to facilitate this update in nomenclature and other maintenance. Service will be restored no later than 7 am CDT that day., our free publicly accessible website, will be offline and updated simultaneously.

If you would like more information about why the haplogroup nomenclature is changing and what this means to you, please visit the FAQ site below:

Y-DNA Haplogroup Nomenclature FAQ"

Public release date: 1-Apr-2008

Contact: Peggy Calicchia
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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.

Virginia Dare Leaden Plaque; Hoax or Genuine Evidence?

Did Virginia Dare die while captive of Powhatan?

If the story reported in several newspapers in 1924 is true, it must have been very exciting when Russel Kaufman and Elroy Yerovi of Washington, NC struck a metal object when digging a hole for a tree and discovered its startling message.

In 1924 (several) newspapers* reported a find in Washington, NC by a Russel Kaufman and Elroy Yerovi of a “hammered lead” note whose waxen coating was removed to reveal: “ Virgin Dare, Died Here, Captif of Powhatan, 1590 Charles R.” it also stated that the Smithsonian Institute was making further excavations. The find was on “P Street, N.W. Washington” which is about 3.5 miles from Roanoke.

The articles from Oshkosh, Wisconsin in The Daily Northwestern 16 January 1924 and Appleton, Wisconsin in the Appleton Post Crescent 21 January, 1924 are accessable here:

Other newspapers reporting the find:

*Decatur, Illinois in the Decatur Review 14 January, 1924
Appleton, Wisconsin in the Appleton Post Crescent 21 January, 1924
Mansfield, Ohio in the Mansfield News 20 January 1924
Reno, Nevada in the Nevada State Journal 18 January 1924
Oshkosh, Wisconsin in The Daily Northwestern 16 January 1924

Contributed by Pat Bowen

Virginia Dare was the first known English child born in the New World. The child of Elinor and Ananias Dare, she was among the Colonists left behind in 1587 on Roanoke Island. The fact of her birth is known because the leader of the colony, sent to establish Raleigh Citee, Eleanor Dare's father, John White, returned to England to seek assistance for the colony. When White returned three years later, the colonists were gone. Neither Virginia's fate nor that of the Colony's is known after 400 years.

It is not known where the leaden plaque is now or what conclusions were reached concerning its validity. Perhaps modern techniques could confirm or deny the authenticity of this plaque. Any further information would be deeply appreciated.

History Chasers

Washington, NC

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sir Richard Grenville's Horses Left Behind on the Outer Banks?


The Wild Bankers of Ocracoke Island

Legend has it that the "Banker" horses of Ocracoke were left by shipwrecked explorers of the 16th or 17th Century. European ships commonly carried livestock to the New World. If a ship ran aground near the coast, animals were thrown overboard to lighten the load so that the ship could be re-floated. The livestock were often left behind when the ship again set sail. Sir Richard Grenville's ship TIGER ran aground at Ocracoke Island in 1565.* There is speculation that he may have unloaded Spanish mustangs on the island.

Evidence also exists of a failed earlier Spanish colony further south along the Carolina coast in 1526. Their horses, if abandoned, may have slowly spread north to Ocracoke.
Banker horses have been documented on Ocracoke since the first European settlers came to stay in the 1730's. There have been as many as 300 horses on Ocracoke Island. They have played a major role in the island's history, serving residents as beasts of burden at work and at play, in beach rides and races.

The U.S. Life-saving Service used horses until 1915 for beach patrols and to haul equipment to and from shipwreck sites. The Coast Guard kept a small band of Banker ponies to patrol the beaches during World War II. For a period of the 1950's, islanders held annual July 4th pony "pennings". Horses and colts were rounded up and driven into the village to be corralled and then branded. Some horses were sold during the event.

Cont. here:

See also:

*With delays caused by the capture of a Spanish ship, the need to gather salt, and the purchase of supplies, the English finally arrived off Cape Fear on 23 June 1585. The next day they anchored and fished in the vicinity of present-day Beaufort Inlet. And finally on 26 June they reached Wococon on the Outer Banks. (It may or may not have been the present-day Ocracoke Inlet: inlets in this area open and close often and move continually.) On 29 June 1585 the Tyger ran aground at Wococon with the loss of most of the supplies on board.