Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Portugal Flagged ?

The flag to the left is the flag of Portugal used between 1578 to 1640, by Portugal.

This blog post really has nothing to do with the flag of Portugal, but rather something I ran across in the recent past that I 'flagged' (mark for attention or treatment in a specified way), concerning Portugal.

What I flagged was something I came across on the Collins DNA Project. A researcher claims to descend from Valentine Collins and shows country of origin as Portugal.

I descend from 2 of Valentine Collins' son's, David Collins my direct male line, and because of inter-family marriage, Joshua Collins. Since my Valentine Collins line(s) are brick-walled at Valentine, I have no idea what our country of origin is.  Our Y-DNA haplogroup is an African haplogroup (E1b1a1a1d1 aka E-CTS10652). Does that make our country of origin an African country ? I think probably so, but without more facts and documentation I can't be 100% sure, I'm stuck at 99%. But I do know if you go back far enough this line(s) in fact do go back to Africa.

Another issue is this researchers  Y-DNA results do not match the DNA results of 2 Valentine Collins lines that are well researched. That's a subject for another post, coming soon.

I have no reason to believe the Valentine Collins line has an origin in Portugal. No family lore, no documentation, no DNA matches, either with Y-DNA or atDNA (FTDNA's Family Finder, or GEDmatch), none in Portugal, the Azores, Brazil, or any of the Portuguese community's in the U.S.

The only 'family lore' I grew up with is 'we were once Indians'.
Y-DNA of Portugal
"A large majority of the male lineages (85%) could be classified as belonging to three basic haplogroups, R1b, J, and E1b1b. While R1b, accounting for more than half of the lineages, is a characteristic marker of many different West European populations, haplogroups J and E1b1b and its subclades consist of lineages that are typical of the circum-Mediterranean region. Haplogroup I is also found but with a lower frequency than R1b. The typical Berber haplogroup E1b1b1b (M81) has little relevance, it is only found at a frequency of 5–6%."


The Portuguese claim is an old myth concerning the people who were called Melungeons. Where this myth started I have no idea. I do know that the majority of Portuguese people are of the Caucasian race, as were the early inhabitants of Portugal (Lusitanians). This is contrary to the myth often stated that the  people who were called Melungeons got their dark skin tones from the Portuguese.
 Here are two quotes from articles on the subject by researchers that I respect.....all text is copyright the authors......

From the August 2002  issue of Tennessee Ancestors "Opening Doors in Melungeon Research" written by Pat Spurlock:

"Another tradition concerning Melungeon origins is that they are Portuguese. This is because of testimony given by some historical people stating they were Portuguese, "Portygee" or other variation, or at least that is what the listener thought was said.

Hopping from 1750 Virginia and North Carolina to the Mediterranean or anywhere else takes more than a leap of faith. To my knowledge, no researcher has yet documented these stated ties to Portugal. Assuredly, many Americans whose families came to this country hundreds of years ago may have originated in Portugal, but "Portuguese" is not an ethnic catchall to apply randomly to hearsay evidence, or even worse, to no evidence at all.

Statements made before 1900 referring to the Melungeons as Portuguese cannot, to my knowledge, be traced to original Melungeon oral history, church, civil, or legal documents. Any such post-1900 statements likely came from ideas found in newspapers and popular magazines."

This second article from  BanjoHistory.com , October 1, 2002, "Mellungeons and Myth" written by George R. Gibson:

 "It appears to me that the debate about Melungeons has more to do with creating myths about ones ancestors than it does with exploring the historical record. Some genealogists deny that any Melungeon families had African ancestry. They describe Melungeons as a people with Indian and European ancestry.

These researchers ignore the early mixing of eastern Indian tribes with Africans as well as Europeans. Some claim a group of Portuguese sailors, stranded in early America, mixed with native Indians and later with Europeans to form Melungeon families. I find no evidence for this in the historical record. If this theory were true, however, Melungeons would still have some African ancestry.

Atlantic Creoles, with both Portuguese and African ancestry, would have had a large presence among any group of Portuguese sailors in early America. There are other theories that claim Melungeons have Turkish, Gypsy, Jewish or some other ancestry. There is no doubt that there was a remarkable mixture of people in early America. There is little evidence at this time, however, to support the more exotic claims for Melungeon ancestry."


I find it interesting that both these articles were written in 2002, but yet the Portuguese myth is still alive on the World Wide Web, go figure ?
Another often overlooked important historical event was the Treaty of Todesillas:





  1. It seems to me that in the 1500's when the Portugal and the Kongo/Ndongo Kingdoms were allies; there was some intermingling which created African/Portuguese offspring. Is this idea troubling or incredible to some? Wouldn't this explain DNA relatives who have European and African bloodlines? Prisoners of war could very well have related and shared stories of Portuguese heritage that survived the middle passage! If mixed European/Africans ended up in the colonies and indentured to freedom; they could have very well married into white families or married into black families with the only traces of African or Portuguese ancestors being DNA.

  2. Steven,
    Thanks for your comment,did you see the link to the article written by George Gibson, where he mentions Ira Berlins theory of Atlantic Creoles ? Here is more on the subject:

    The point of my blog post is how can a person claim Portugal as a country of origin, when in the case of Valentine Collins, no one knows who his parents were ? My Collins line brickwalls with him. his place of birth and date of birth are also unknown.

    Genealogy can not be accurate based on theory or opinions, genealogy based on theory and opinions are myths. I use the 'creed' "I'll know what they were, when I know who they were".

  3. Didn't a line of Valentines and a line of Collins come to be recognized as FPOC?

  4. My direct Collins line (Valentine Collins is my 4th Great Grandfather) between the first US census of 1790 and 1910 were enumerated as either white, free other, free person of color, Indian, and mulatto. 1910 was the last year they were enumerated as any thing other than white, which was mulatto.

  5. Donald just some information to pass along that I know. My great grand mother was Pearlie Collins descended from Valentine Collins. When my great grand father married her, his father disowned him for marrying a "N-word" and wrote him out of his will. Her parents were listed as free person of color. I myself am white with dark hair but I have many cousins that have very dark skin and dark hair. I also had a DNA test and it listed Benin and Togo in Africa as part of my background along with the Iberian Peninsula and the Middle East and also Native American. Would like to hear your thoughts.

  6. Thanks for your comment. Who were Pearlie Collins parents ? I'm white too, and also have cousins dark hair and skin tone. My late brother was darker. I descend from two of Valentines son's, David Collins Collins is my direct male line, but because of inter-family marriage I also descend from Joshua Collins. Which DNA test did you take ? Have you downloaded your raw data to GEDmatch ? Looks like we are probably cousins.

  7. She was the daughter of William Collins and Levisa Ratliff, William was the son of Joshua Collins and Elizabeth Dale, Joshua was the son of Valentine Collins. I took the DNA test offered from Ancestry.com. I am interested in how to find my raw data.

  8. Well we are cousins then, my 3rd Great-grand mother Lydia Collins is sister to your William Collins. Who did your Pearlie Collins marry ? Below are some links concerning downloading your raw data from Ancestry. I would suggest down loading that data to GEDmatch and to FTDNA. There is a $39.00 charge to download to FTDNA, if you can afford it, I highly recommend that you do so.

    How to download your raw data from Ancestry:




    How to upload your Ancestry raw data to GEDmatch:


    How to upload your Ancestry raw data to FTDNA:



  9. Pearlie married John M Fairchild, a very prominent family, thus the scorn from his father at that time period. I will look into the DNA matching. Thanks for all the info.