Melungeon Conference

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    Melungeon Conference Focuses on History and DNA Technology

    History, genealogy, and the latest DNA technology will come together at

    the first annual Melungeon Historical Society conference. The public is

    invited to this event, which will be held on June 12 at the Hawkins

    County Rescue Squad meeting room, 955 East McKinney Avenue, Rogersville,


    “For nearly two hundred years, writers and researchers have speculated

    about the origins of the Melungeons,” says Wayne Winkler, president of

    MHS. “For the most part, the story of the Melungeons has been told

    through myths and legends. The Melungeon Historical Society believes

    that answers will be found through scholarly research.”

    Presentations at the MHS conference will begin at 10 a.m. and will cover

    topics such as the origin and historical uses of the term “Melungeon,”

    DNA research on Melungeon families, and other topics related to the

    multi-ethnic people first documented in the Clinch River region in the

    early 19th century. The use of DNA technology in genealogy will be

    covered by Roberta Estes, founder of DNAExplain, a Michigan company that

    analyzes and interprets individual DNA tests.

    Other presenters include Jack Goins, Hawkins County Archivist and author

    of “Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families;” Kathy Lyday-Lee, a professor

    at Elon College who taught a course on Melungeons; and Kathy James, who

    will present genealogical information on the Gibson and Collins families.

    “This conference is of special interest to those who want to learn more

    about the Melungeons,” said Winkler, “but it is also designed to benefit

    anyone interested in genealogy and especially in the use of DNA

    technology to trace family lines.”

    The conference is free, but donations are suggested to help promote the

    work of the Melungeon Historical Society.


    Wayne Winkler

    (423) 439.6441

    Cleland Thorpe

    Don Collins

    Penny Ferguson

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