Home » Melungeons: KHS to host family history workshop June 9

Melungeons: KHS to host family history workshop June 9

This AP photo shows Jack Goins with an 1898 portrait of his step-great-great grandfather, George Washington Goins, and great-great grandmother, Susan Minor-Goins, at the Hawkins County Archives Project building in Rogersville, Tenn. Goins is of Melungeon descent and has researched Melungeon history for around 40 years.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 5, 2012) – The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) and Kentucky Genealogical Society (KGS) will host a free family history workshop, “Melungeon Ancestry,” at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 9, at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in downtown Frankfort.

For almost two centuries, the Melungeons have been an enigma in the mountains and ridges of southeastern Kentucky, northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. Neither white, nor black, nor Indian, the Melungeons occupied a tenuous position in Appalachian society. Folklore and legend obscured their origins, but they were frequently the subject of newspaper and magazine feature articles. In the late 1960s, Melungeons themselves began exploring their own history, and for the past two decades, thousands of individuals have researched the Melungeons for genealogical, historical and scientific purposes.

Speaker Wayne Winkler will trace the known history of the Melungeons and the changes in attitude that transformed the term from an epithet to a label worn proudly by its bearers. He will also examine the most frequently cited historical material associated with the Melungeons, challenge the validity of some of the assumptions made about them and discuss recent DNA studies seeking the origins of this unique population.

Winkler is the author of “Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia” (2004, Mercer University Press), the editor of the Melungeon Series at Mercer University Press and director of public radio station WETS-FM/HD in Johnson City, Tenn.

Presented by KHS and KGS on the second Saturday of each month, each free family history workshop takes place at the Center for Kentucky History. Topics range from how to begin documenting your ancestry to specialized resources for experienced genealogists. If requested at the time of registration, an optional light lunch is available for $6, payable at the door.

To make a reservation, contact the KHS Reference Desk at 1-502-564-1792, ext. 4460 or [email protected] The registration deadline for this workshop is noon Friday, June 8.