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What are the Physical Characteristics of the Melungeons?

There are some physiological characteristics which are not entirely documented, but seem to be passed on through the lines of some Melungeon descendants. There is a bump on the back of the HEAD of SOME descendants, that is located at mid-line, just ABOVE the juncture with the neck. It is about the size of half a golf ball or smaller. If you cannot find the bump, check to see if you, like some descendants, including myself, have a ridge, located at the base of the head where it joins the neck, rather than the Anatolian bump. My ridge is quite noticeable. It is larger than anyone else’s that I have felt, except my father’s. I can lay one finger under it and the ridge is as deep as my finger is thick. Other ridges are smaller. To find a ridge, place your hand at the base of your neck where it joins your shoulders, and on the center line of your spine. Run your fingers straight up your neck toward your head. If you have a ridge, it will stop your fingers from going on up and across your head. People who live in the Anatolian region of Turkey also have this “bump.”

There is also a ridge on the back of the first four teeth - two front teeth and the ones on either side (upper and lower) of some descendants. If you place your fingernail at the gum line and gently draw (up or down) you can feel it and it makes a slight clicking sound. The back of the teeth also curve outward rather than straight as the descendants of anglo-saxon parentage do. Teeth like these are called Asian Shovel Teeth. Many Indian descendants also have this type of teeth. The back of the first four teeth of Northern European descendants are straight and flat.

SOME Melungeon descendants have what is called an Asian eyefold. This is rather difficult to describe. At the inner corner of the eye, the upper lid attaches slightly lower than the lower lid. That is to say that it overlaps the bottom lid. If you place your finger just under the inner corner of the eye and gently pull down, a wrinkle will form which makes the fold more visible. Some people call these eyes, “sleepy eyes, dreamy eyes, bedroom eyes.” Many Indian descendants also have these kinds of eyes.

Some families may have members with fairly dark skin who suffer with vitiligo, a loss of pigmentation, leaving the skin blotched with white patches. Some descendants have had six fingers or toes. There is a family of people in Turkey whose surname translated into English is “Six Fingered Ones.”

This page was submitted by Nancy Sparks Morrison and the opinions in this page are strictly the author's, based upon her reading and research of various materials noted herein.

Nancy Sparks Morrison
Genealogist
Roanoke, Virginia 24015
USA
Email: nmorri3924@aol.com

Nancy Sparks Morrison, 1998, 1999.


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This page was last modified on: Thursday, 01-Jul-1999 13:32:32 MDT