March 10th 2023
Growing up, my mother didn't know much about her heritage other than the fact that she was a "hillbilly" but overall mostly white. There was rumors regarding native and black ancestors in our family however, we had no pictures of them on hand. After a few dna tests and after a bit of research into the areas we were from, we discovered we come from two different tri-racial isolate groups with some Lumbee heritage mixed in way early down the line.
My mother discovered her mother was Guinea. Her mother is from West Virginia and her side of the family has a few of their common surnames.
“There is a clan of partly-colored people in Barbour County often called Guineas, under the erroneous presumption that they are Guinea ....,” observed WV historian Hu Maxwell in the 1890s. “They vary in color from white to black, often have blue eyes and straight hair, and they are generally industrious. Their number in Barbour is estimated at one thousand.
“They have been a puzzle to the investigator; for their origin is not generally known. They are among the earliest settlers of Barbour. Prof. W.W. Male of Grafton, West Virginia, belongs to this clan, and after a thorough investigation, says ‘They originated from an Englishman named Male who came to America at the outbreak of the Revolution. From that one man have sprung about 700 of the same name......’ Thus it would seem that the family was only half-black at the beginning, and by the inter-mixtures since, many are now almost white.”
Another Group that my mother has found heritage in is Melungeons. Her father is from the Tennessee/ Kentucky area and even though we do not know much about his side of the family, we were able to locate a few pictures and documents long forgotten via Ancestrydna
"Melungeon is a term that first appeared in print in the 19th century, used in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina to describe people of mixed ancestry. Melungeons were considered by outsiders to have a mixture of European, Native American, and African ancestry. Researchers have referred to Melungeons and similar groups as “tri-racial isolates,” and Melungeons have faced discrimination, both legal and social, because they did not fit into America’s accepted racial categories."
My father's family is Lithuanian Jewish on his mother's side. Not much is talked about when it comes to his father's side however, He has said that his father is Italian.
"Lithuanian Jews or Litvaks are Jews with roots in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Latvia and the northeastern Suwałki region of Poland). The term is sometimes used to cover all Orthodox Jews who follow a "Lithuanian" (Ashkenazic and non-Hasidic) style of life and learning, whatever their ethnic background. The area where Lithuanian Jews lived is referred to in Yiddish as "Líte."
Both sides of my family has been the source of my identity. I understand that I'm considered white/white passing in everyday life and that there are more people in the world that have it way worse than I. While my ancestory and heritage is diverse, at the end of the day I'm still just a little old white lady just typing away at her computer. This is mainly just to document my heritage as I don't have a place to put it and there's not very many creators that have my backgrounds especially when it's this diverse. I hope my blog can be a good resource for those who seek it.
I do plan on updating this more in the future as I learn more about both sides of my family. If anyone with similar backgrounds would like to reach out, feel free to do so! My socials are on my blogpage
Edit: I removed some words from the quotes as the quotes are directly from the sources below. I apologize for not seeing those earlier and I'll do better in the future to not miss those words.
Links and SourcesLithuanian Jews Jewish Diaspora Guineas Melungeons