Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
See my website at

17 April 2008

Bliss Broyard's book, One Drop

Memoir explores roots, prejudices, and New Orleans' peculiar racial history.

by Susan Larson for the Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
October 22, 2007

A review of Bliss Broyard's book about the revelation that her famous father had been "passing" for white most of his life. She only found out the truth after his death. This article includes excerpts from an interview with Bliss Broyard.

11 April 2008

Who knew you could find ethnicity in fingerprints?

Discovery Channel :: News :: Da Vinci Fingerprint Reveals Arab Heritage?
Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

Part of article (for full article, click on link)
. . . After scouring manuscripts and notebooks, the researchers found two other fingerprints that matched and completed the Ermine markings. The result was an entire fingertip, possibly belonging to the left forefinger.

Fingerprints are unique and don't change over a lifetime. Analysis of the skin's arches, loops and whorls — a science known as dermatoglyphics — has shown that there is a link between fingerprints and populations.

In the case of Leonardo's fingertip, patterns and ridges pointed to the Middle East, the researchers concluded.

"The fingerprint features patterns such as the central whorl that are dominant in the Middle East. About 60 percent of the Middle Eastern population display the same dermatoglyphic structure found in the fingerprint," Capasso said.

The discovery would support Vezzosi's claim that Leonardo's mother was not a local peasant girl as previously thought, but a Middle Eastern slave. . . .

10 April 2008

Defining Mixed-Blood Indians

Defining Mixed-Blood Indians

“A Rose by any other name is a Cactus”
~ Defining mixed-blood Indians in colonial Virginia and the Carolinas ~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)

NOTE: The above is just a fraction of the similar items posted at this site. Click on link for the rest of the data.

04 April 2008

Project to safeguard Aboriginal secrets

Project to safeguard Aboriginal secrets - 03 Apr 2008 - NZ Herald: World / International News:

Partial quotations [follow link for entire article]:

"Vines says that most Aborigines do not make wills, and that inheritances can be enmeshed in issues such as property and children.

'Is it common law property or native title? What happens to children and other relatives in a kinship system totally unlike that of Western society?

'Without a will, there is no executor to make decisions about disposal of the body and if there is a dispute, it has to go to court. 'That's a difficulty in itself.'

Vines says the Australian system reflects Western kinship structures, not the Aboriginal family structure, in which words indicating kinship often do not exactly match Australian legal meanings."

Clue to early Americans lies in origin of the feces | Seattle Times Newspaper

Clue to early Americans lies in origin of the feces | Seattle Times Newspaper

Archaeologists have found 14,300-year-old fossilized feces in a cave in Oregon.

DNA analysis of the dried excrement shows the people who lived in the caves were closely related to modern Native Americans. Their genetic roots reach across the Bering Strait to Siberia and eastern Asia.

"These are probably the ancestors of some of the Native Americans living in America now," said Eske Willerslev, director of the Centre for Ancient Genetics at the University of Copenhagen.

[For full article, click on link.]

The Deliveryman: An Ill-Fitting Tongue

The Deliveryman: An Ill-Fitting Tongue

Thursday, April 3, 2008
An Ill-Fitting Tongue

Today I attended a guest speaker seminar about radio and the internet and learned about Melungeons, an ethnic group of mixed-race people living in Appalachia. They are generally considered a tri-racial mix of European, African, and Native American descent, though hereditary lines vary from family to family. In his study, the researcher found that various Melungeon people living throughout the region and in diaspora had sort of found each other through the internet after a few of them had linked up while studying their genealogy. They have had several annual gatherings since.

This is an interesting group, certainly marginalized -- as the researcher put it, they were 'other' to the 'others,' spited even among the maligned Appalachian and Black populations. I realized as I looked them up this evening that I served my mission in a couple places with Melungeon populations. If I met any at the time, I wasn't aware of it.

[Continued on other topics]

Cyndie's Musings: William Goyens, Jr of Nacogdoches, TX

William Goyens, Jr of Nacogdoches, TX

Cyndie discusses her ancestor William Goyens Jr and his family origins in North Carolina. She speculates on white versus black, but notes her family were free people of color and considered to be Croatan or Lumbee. She relates an interesting story of a NC cemetery, where some of her family are buried, stating that the bodies were buried in a standing up position. It looks as if some of her other posts may be quite interesting too.