Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
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07 November 2014

Historical Melungeons: Understanding the Meaning of Social Isolates

Historical Melungeons: Understanding the Meaning of Social Isolates

12 June 2011

Black Dutch as 19th Century Slur

"'Black Dutch' As 19th Century Slur"
By James Pylant

In the article, "In Search of the Black Dutch," published in American Genealogy Magazine, several theories of the term’s origin were given, including Platte Dutch. [Read this in its entirety at (Genealogy Magazine online site-CEB].


11 June 2011

Melungeons and DNA Testing

Melungeon Families of Interest - Goals

Roberta Estes has written two articles about the Melungeon DNA project for the Melungeon Historical Society newsletter. The articles, titled, "DNA Testing and the Melungeons - 2008" and "Melungeons and DNA - 2009" can be viewed at the two following links, respectively:

Excerpted from:
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© All Contents Copyright 2001-2011 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd.Project Background, Goals, Results and News are copyright of the specific Surname Project

07 February 2010

South Carolina Lt. Gov. compares poor to 'stray animals'

South Carolina Lt. Gov. compares poor to 'stray animals'

Posted: January 25th, 2010 11:36 AM ET
CNN Political Ticker (online)

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is running for governor this year.

(CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer isn't backing away from controversial remarks he made over the weekend comparing needy people to "stray animals."

Bauer, who is one of several candidates seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination, said Friday that providing government food assistance to lower-income residents - things like food stamps or free school lunches - encourages a culture of dependence.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," Bauer told an audience in the town of Fountain Inn, according to the Greenville News. "You know why? Because they breed."

"You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply," Bauer continued. "They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
[emphasis added by CEB]

Bauer said recipients of government assistance should undergo drug testing or be forced to attend parent-teacher conferences, or else lose their benefits.His comments drew rebukes from rival candidates in both parties along with political and community leaders around the state. Responding to the uproar, Bauer told South Carolina reporters over the weekend that he could have chosen his words more carefully.
But he stood by his basic premise.

"Yes, I believe government is 'breeding a culture of dependency' which has grown out of control, and frankly, amounts to little more than socialism, paid for by hard-working, tax-paying families … against their wishes," Bauer said in an e-mail to supporters on Sunday.

Bauer wrote that the government has an obligation to help people in need, but, he said, "there's a big difference between being truly needy and truly lazy."
"We must find ways to instill some sense of responsibility or consequence into those who are now a part of the cycle of automatic hand-outs," he said in the e-mail. "Generational welfare is bad for the people on it and bad for the state of South Carolina."
Filed under: 2010Andre BauerSouth Carolina
308 Comments Permalink


January 25th, 2010 3:03 pm ET
How can anyone defend generation after generation after generation of welfare recipients. At some point you have to consider that we have bought ourselves a sour pickle.

January 25th, 2010 3:03 pm ET
I'm so glad I work 50+ hours a week to pay the crack head down the street to have more children.

~~~~The above are just two of the voluminous comments following the artiticle, which you should read for your own edification. Why study history? is a quetion often asked. Has anybody out there heard of Eugenics? of Social Darwinisn? of Hitler? Are we doomed to play the same scenes throughout the play of history for want of a good education? I'm not a Christian but did not Jesus Christ himself reputedly state that "the poor will be with us always"? Do you suppose that he meant we should let them starve because of their own deficiencis? I don't THINK so. Comment by CEB

New History Lab: Using Material Culture to Recreate Early Mordern Kinship Networks and Political Alliences

New History Lab: Using Material Culture to Recreate Early Mordern Kinship Networks and Political Alliences

by Cathryn Enis, 'Sources, Controversies, and Rediscovering Affective Significance', Saturday, 30 January 2010. From "The New History Lab," a blog sponsored by the University of Leicester, UK, written by a variety of authors. See list of past blogs and topic diagram for other items of interest.

In her research into relationships in Elizabethan gentry in Warwickshire, Cathryn has had to use material culture as evidence, rather than as illustration - an infact, she considers it a vital part of building a rich picture of identities and kinships. It is not just the traditional document that can be read as historical resource.

There are limits to what a document can represent. They may well be a rich resource of information, but they are always open to interpretation and they always leave out much. It may well be that standardised documents, such as wills as Cathryn illustrates, may tell us as much about generalised convention as about particularity and individual relationships.

The relationship which people have with material culture itself might be used to illuminate meanings that lie behind their documented use and giving of it. Objects are not simple things - rather, they are symbols, recognition of which a purely factual reading of documentation cannot always provide. {For the remainder, go to original post.}

A Momentary Diversion

Haiku, Off the Cuff--In Pain

You all sliced me deep
I didn't mean to hurt
your loves scarred my soul

Religion in My Way

I feel Eternity in the Earth
I hear Life in its Sounds
I sense Reality in its Textures
I smell the Odors of the growing, grieving Being
I taste the Completeness it its Complexity
I touch the verdant Mass of growth and decay
I see the Beauty of its Change
And they revive me

The give me life
They gave me life
I will always live here, with the All
My essence will always remain in the Unity of all Being
All Plants
All Birds, Animals, Fish and Fowl
All humankind, all nature, all

All those I love
Or have ever loved or will love
Or have never known
Or never will have the chance to know

All is One
And we seek the All, the One
Our place amongst the One-ness
Even as we are the One-ness
We are Unity and Embrace the Unity

All is One and I am All.
With you

Copyrighted to prevent use as bad examples of writing. Carolyn Earle Billingsley, Ph.D. 7 February 2010

21 July 2009

Goinstown, North Carolina (Melungeons)

The Melungeon Historical Society: Goinstown, North Carolina

Monday, July 20, 2009

Goinstown, North Carolina
Rockingham & Stokes Counties
Notes on Goinstown by Professor G.C. Waldrep III

"Goinstown's history appears to begin in the 1770's with families (chiefly Gibsons and Goinses) moving in from what is usually called the "Flat River settlement" in what is now northern Durham Co. (then Orange Co.).

This was a small fragment of that former settlement, most of whose members ultimately wound up in east Tennessee and became the "Melungeons".

"The Goinstown community went from being legally "white" (more or less, up through about 1810) to "free colored" or "mulatto" (through most of the 19th century) to "Black" (circa 1880-1910s) to "Indian" (1910s to 1954) to "white" (finally, with the merging of the "Indian" Goinstown school into the white Stoneville system in 1954).

[Follow link for the rest of this article.]

11 July 2009

Eugenics-Two New Books Reviewed

H-Net Reviews

Victoria F. Nourse. In Reckless Hands: Skinner v. Oklahoma and the Near-Triumph of American Eugenics. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008. 240 pp. $24.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-393-06529-9.

Paul A. Lombardo. Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. Photographs. xiv + 365 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8018-9010-9.

Reviewed by Lynne CurryPublished on H-Law (June, 2009)Commissioned by Christopher R. Waldrep

Intellectual Seduction: The Promise and Perils of Eugenics
In the first half of the twentieth century, a right to control one’s own body did not exist in the same sense that we take rather for granted today. The state enjoyed broad powers to infringe on individual rights in the name of protecting the public’s health and safety. While this application of the state’s “police powers” has a very long history in law, at the turn of the twentieth century changing medical understandings of the etiology of contagious diseases inspired new confidence that law could be employed in the service of preventing deadly epidemics, such as smallpox and diphtheria. In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Jacobson v. Massachusetts that states can require individuals to be vaccinated, thereby establishing a crucial precedent for public health law and policy. It was within this context that eugenics, a pseudo-scientific movement advocating social control over human reproduction, took root and thrived. “Eugenics” is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of ideas, policies, and programs, within which varying weights were assigned to the relative influences of nature and nurture. Some eugenicists, analogizing from the germ theory of disease, argued that the United States faced an extreme risk of degeneracy due to the unchecked breeding of the physically, mentally, and morally unfit whose defective “germ plasm” threatened to undermine the health and welfare of future generations. Such fears were translated into state laws, founded on the Jacobson precedent, that mandated the sexual sterilization of the reproductively unworthy, with or without their consent--and often without their knowledge. In 1907, Indiana became the first state to mandate sterilization; by 1940, thirty states had enacted laws aimed at preventing criminals and the mentally “defective” from procreating. Legal challenges resulted in two landmark Supreme Court cases, Buck v. Bell (1927) and Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942). Both opinions remain well known and, for differing reasons, controversial today. Given the contemporary resurgence of scientific and popular interest in genetic explanations for a range of physical ailments and human behavior, both rulings are highly relevant as well. It is therefore most fortunate that two excellent and engaging books have arrived bringing renewed attention to these cases. {See rest of review essay at link.}

02 July 2009

Native Americans in the Census, 1860-1890

Native Americans in the Census, 1860-1890

If you're interested in which Indians were enumerated on the census, as well as when and where, this article will be of interest to you. It's from the Summer 2006, Vol. 38, No 2 issue of Prologue, published by the National Archives. It was written by James P. Collins. a volunteer staff aide at NARA.

20 April 2009

History in black and white

History in black and white • Lifestyle ( - The Capital)

Archivist finds Scottish roots
Published 04/19/09

Chris Haley has always been interested in genealogy. But at least when it came to his father's side of the family, he figured things were pretty much covered thanks to his uncle, "Roots" author Alex Haley.

"It had been done," Chris, 46, said last week. "What would I prove that hadn't been proved before?"

How wrong he was. [Click link for entire story]

15 April 2009

Kin and the Courts: Testimony of Kinship in Lawsuits of Angevin England » Kin and the Courts: Testimony of Kinship in Lawsuits of Angevin England

Posted By Peter Konieczny on April 14, 2009
By Nathaniel L. Taylor
Haskins Society Journal, Vol. 15 (2005)

Synopsis: In the secular and ecclesiastical courts of Angevin England one finds, for the first time anywhere in Western Europe, genealogical narrative expressed within an increasingly formalized framework of judicial testimoney. In reviewing the variety of cases and proceedings from the era, one can discern three broard categories of lawsuit which hinge on genealogical testimony: marriage litigation, suits involving the inheritance of property, and suits challenging the inherited legal status of villeins. The present paper is limited to a review of the two more clearly defined types of litigation: marriage and villeinage. This preliminary qualitative study is based on a small sample of published cases from the Curia Regis Rolls in the regin of King John (for suits involving villeinage) and from the Select Please of the Court of Canterbury covering the whole thirteenth century (for marriage litigation), with additional reference to comparative material from other sources. After reviewing each type of case in turn, we will suggest common and divergent elements and note questions and directions for future research.

Read or download PDF of article.

07 April 2009

Kinship and Family Relations [in Ancient Egypt]

By Marcelo Campagno
Source: UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology [via California eScholarship repository]

Full Citation:
Campagno, Marcelo, 2009, Kinship and Family Relations. In Elizabeth Frood, Willeke Wendrich (eds.), UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, Los Angeles.

Entry link to PDF article

Excerpt from article:

The existence of terms like these that refer to larger kin groups is significant because it points toward the prominence of kinship in ancient Egyptian social organization (Campagno 2006). Kinship links were likely of great importance in the articulation of social ties both before and after the emergence of the state in the Nile Valley. In accordance with anthropological models of non-state societies, it can be hypothesized that, during Predynastic times, kinship constituted the main axis of social organization in village communities. Archaeological evidence seems to support this assumption: the grouping of tombs in clusters in cemeteries at various sites, such as Badari, Armant, Naqada, and Hierakonpolis, is similar to funerary practices known through ethnographic evidence, where such a distribution of burials reflects contemporaneous descent groups; the parallelism in the shapes of Predynastic tombs and houses (both were oval or rounded from the earliest times but included rectangular shapes from Naqada I on) may reflect a perception of continuity between the two domains, which in turn may suggest the perceived symbolic survival of the dead kin as members of the community; and indeed, the disposition of grave goods around the deceased could reflect notions of reciprocity, which are at the heart of kinship relations (Campagno 2000, 2002, 2003).

In Dynastic times, the state introduced a new mode of social organization based on the monopoly of coercion, but kinship continued to be a decisive factor in many social realms. Some pointers hint at its importance among the peasantry: the organization of agricultural tasks in family units (Eyre 1999: 52), practices involving cooperation (that is reciprocity) in the field labor, such as we see in tomb representations (discussed, for example, by Caminos 1990) or in the management of irrigation (Butzer 1976: 109 - 110), the (likely) prominent role of village elders in local decision-making (Moreno GarcĂ­a 2001), the scant interference of the state in intra-community matters—all these suggest the importance of kinship logic in the articulation of social dynamics in peasant villages.

24 January 2009

21 January 2009

Kissing Cousins

Lab Notes : Kissing Cousins by Sharon Begley, posted 30 December 2008.

I keep teaching and lecturing about the fact that there is no good reason not to marry a cousin and, in fact, humankind has obviously been doing it since our origins. As this article mentions, if you want to know more about how this taboo works, read Martin Oppenheimer's Forbidden Realtives. Anybody who raises livestock knows that back-breeding, or breeding back into a common line, accentuates good genes more often than not if the gene line is fairly clear of obvious genetic defects.

What were Polynesian Mormons doing in 19th-century Utah?

Have you ever heard of a group of Hawaaians converting to Mormonism and moving to Utah? Me neither. But there's a fascinating article about it in Archaeology magaine, November/December 2008,Vol. 61, No. 6: 55-59. The author is David Malakoff and the title of the article is: "Hawaiians of Skill Valley." You can read an abstract of the article at the magazine's site.

18 January 2009

150 years of history - Olympia, Washington

150 years of history - The Olympian

by John Dodge, published 18 January 2009, in The Olympian

Genealogists and historians need to remember that doing the history of a place can be just as significant, and as intriguing, as doing one's family. This is a great example of that.

Mentally Ill Folks Harder To Research

Mentally Ill Folks Harder To Research

By Sharon Tate Moody, Tampa Tribune Coorespondent, 18 January 2009

I think Sharon was lucky to find the information she did about someone who was institutionalized. This has come up more than once in my own research and quite often seems to be a dead end--so many records for asylums are not available or extant. But you can never assume there is no information; often, as happened to Sharon, researchers are able to find some records on an "insane" person.

Also it helps to remember that the meaning of "insane" was different before modern times. A person who was committed until the middle of the 20th century could be retarded or have Alzheimers or post-partum depression, or be an alcoholic . . . or like my own great-grandfather, have pellegra, which often results in its victims having delusions. I also get the impression that someone, especially a female, who just didn't "act right" (according to her family or husband) might be labeled "insane."

So, as Sharon writes, these people are harder to research, not impossible.

Year Without a Summer; Wikipedia Entry

Year Without a Summer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Year Without Summer

Terre Haute News, Terre Haute, Indiana- by Tamie Dehler.

Most of our ancestors were farmers. When I research my ancestors and their communities, I try to find context for their lives. Try to imagine what life was like for our ancestors, trying to farm, in the growing seasons of 1816 and 1817. I know that about this time one of my family lines migrated further south. Did this crop-killing weather and the financial ramifications have anything to do with their decision to relocate and/or to start over? The article indicates the problems were pretty far south in the US; it would be great to find some comtemporary newspapers or journals to show us exactly where and how this extraordinary weather had an impact.