Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Melungeon Ancestry

I have learned that my family history may include Melungeon ancestory on both my mother's and father's sides.  Melungeons, often referred to as American Indian or north African decent, are a fascinating group of people from Mediterranean ancestry that settled in the NC area in the 1700's-1800's.  Typical is my father's coloring of ruddy skin with black hair and bright blue eyes, plus his family is from Salisbury, NC.  I have heard stories about a great grandmother that was an indian, and wonder if this is the connection.  The Melungeons took on simple names, and my maiden name of Wise is amoung them.  My mother's ancestors came from Spain (with Greek ancestry) and may have married Melungeons, as they settled in the same area.  I don't know for sure, but it looks right, plus, Momma's got the physical traits.

A rule of thumb to test if  we iz or we ain't is the inherited trait of a bump on the back of the head and shovel teeth. I have both. "Shovel teeth" is a ridge at the back base of the front upper teeth.  When my mouth is closed, my lower teeth sit nicely in that ridge, and I was surprised to learn that the whole human race doesn't have such a clever bite. The ridge drives my dentist crazy, as he's just waiting for cavities to form in the crevasses, which in 52 years, still hasn't.

So what is to learn about this heritage?  Health problems!  Mediterranean deseases that are very rare in the United States and are similar to symptoms that I have suffered from for years now: fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and other unexplained pains and fevers.  I very well may have a illness called Familial Mediterranean Fever.  The fix  is a pill called colchicine that is derived from crocus (a Mediterranean flower).  How about that??

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