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Subject: Re: British Israelism/Melungeons
From: Rick Mc Callister <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
Date:Tue, 30 Jul 1996 23:36:59 -0500
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About anything and everything has been said about the Melungeons. About the
only thing that seems to be certain is that many if not most Americans in
Appalachia and the South have some Melungeon ancestry, as well as a lot of
Midwesterners and Westerners. Their unique language, of course, is called
English although the pronunciation is nonstandard and its vocabulary is
quaint. All through Appalachia, including where my family is from, you see
a lot of people of Hispanic, Italian or Arab appearance with Scottish,
Irish and German last names and the farther up the mountains you go, the
people tend to look even more Melungeon. Some of the last names common
among the Melungeons are Adkins, Brogan, Cox, Curry, Cumbo, Carriko,
Kaiser, Mullins, and  Pauley (originally Polly/Polley). There is a
Melungeon webpage, which you can look up via Alta Vista or whatever search
engine and from there you can get in touch with Bill Fields, a real live
Melungeon. Re the Israelite connection, my great-grandmother was a Kaiser
and told everyone she was Jewish but it seems that her family was really
Melungeon. In the old days, being Melungeon was considered a
disgrace--rather like being a Tinker or Traveler in Ireland. People went
out of their way to hide their origins--which accounts for many of the
interesting tales and conflicting family histories. My mother was a Pauley,
which was originally Polley or Polly and her family claimed it was a German
name but the another group of Pauleys claimed it was Huguenot and the third
group claimed their ancestors came straight from France. Unfortunately, it
can't be checked because before 1820 or so, the name doesn't exist in the
area eventhough after then, it's the most common last name around. So much
for Melungeons

>It seems that a lot of people like to tag on to the "lost tribes" idea. In
>East Tennessee and Western North Carolina there are people called Melungeons,
>whose origins are unknown. They are a dark-skinned people with a unique
>language. From time to time someone advances the theory that they are part of
>the lost tribes. Who knows?
>
>It is too bad that some light-skinned people have to grasp for justification
>of their notions of superiority, and i join you in deploring that. As for me,
>I am proud to be Celtic and that's enough for my ego.
>
>I am not the expert you were addressing, but thought you might be interested
>in my comment. Best Wishes!
>
>=Ken=

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