finding your roots

Discovering Appalachian and Melungeon Roots

Kathryn Martin May 30, 2012

My father’s side of the family all originally came from Kentucky and Tennessee, from “the hills.” As far as we know, they were Appalachian hill folk. Like many others who share our ancestry, we are European in background at least, but may also have Native American and possibly Melungeon heritage. One of my great-grandmothers from Kentucky was listed as being part Melungeon. I was interested to discover today that if you are melungeon, you may also be part African American and be descended from intermarriages between indentured servants of both African and European descent (

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  • Ericka

    August 5, 2012 at 3:01 am

    My great grandfather was from Tennessee and I recently discovered he was not Jewish/Indian mix but listed as “mulatto” or “negro” as was my great grandmother and grandmother. It was not until my mother’s generation that they started listing them as “white”. I found out at 42! It is truly interesting. While doing the ancestry there does appear to be some Indian ancestors as well as African American. Truly fascinating!

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About the Series

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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