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Records and histories of minorities and ethnic groups may provide clues to immigrant origins, migration information, and previous research. Research on minorities for the most part consists of consulting the same types of records for non-minorities.
The purpose of this section is to identify a few of those sources that influence minority research in Tennessee. See the United States Minorities article for sources and suggestions for searching minorities.
The Melungeons are believed to be of a mixed ancestry living in Appalachia: the mountains of eastern Tennessee and Kentucky; West Virginia; and western North Carolina and Virginia. The Melungeons are of apparent Mediterranean descent who intermarried with the local American Indian tribes. Many believe that they are descended from Portuguese sailors. The Melungeons are believed to have settled the area as early as 1567. Often the Melungeons were confused with other races, such as African Americans, resulting in loss of civil rights and property. For further information about the Melungeons, see:
Ball, Bonnie S. The Melungeons: Their Origin and Kin. [Berryville, Virginia: Virginia Book], 1977, 1969. FHL book 973 F2bLL. The record contains a brief history, a bibliography, and the names of Melungeons in Tennessee.
Melungeon Internet sites contains queries, research helps, historical background, and legislation affecting Melungeons:
DNA studies have documented Melungeons in Hancock County, Tennessee, Hawkins County, Tennessee, and Lee County, Virginia descend from African males and European females. Conclusions of this scholarly study were published in The Journal of Genetic Genealogy (April 2012). Read more at DNA study seeks origins of Appalachia's Melungeons (AP).
People of African Descent
Other Minority Records
See United States Minorities for additional resources. Other records and histories of ethnic, racial and religious groups in Tennessee are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:
TENNESSEE - MINORITIES
TENNESSEE, [COUNTY] - MINORITIES
TENNESSEE - SLAVERY AND BONDAGE
TENNESSEE - VITAL RECORDS
TENNESSEE, [COUNTY] - VITAL RECORDS
TENNESSEE, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- MINORITIES
Or see the Subject Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:
AFRO-AMERICANS - TENNESSEE
MELUNGEON - TENNESSEE