Thursday, August 11, 2016

Woods Colts.......

Some years back I was introduced to the term 'Woods Colt', by fellow Bunch/Collins researcher Libby Bunch Smiddy. It's a term from the old time Southern Appalachian dialect that really means a child born out of wedlock.

One of the difficulties of researching mixed blood family histories of Southern Appalachia  is our Woods Colt ancestors. The surnames don't always follow the blood line's.

As Collins / Gibson ancestor  Cleland Thorpe often states "Momma's baby, Daddy's maybe"

Here are some definitions of the term Woods Colt:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
 :  a horse that is the offspring of a chance mating
  :  bastard

From the unplanned breeding of horses allowed to roam in unsupervised areas.

woods colt ‎(plural woods colts)
(euphemistic, US, Virginia) A child born out of wedlock.
(Adult / Slang)
Dated term for an illegitimate child.

Encyclopedia of Genealogy
Woods Colt
Appalachian term for illegitimate child especially utilized in Eastern Kentucky.

Dictionary of Mountain Talk
woods colt - ain't got no nown daddy

Base born and Natural born are two other terms used in the Southern Appalachians.

On a side note :
"In Portuguese we have a very old-fashioned expression: "casar na igreja verde" - "get married in the green church". The green church stands for the woods, the greens. So the meaning is to have an illicit relationship, actually out of a wedlock."

I don't think the term "casar na igreja verde" was ever used in Southern Appalachia. 

With the modern day use of  Genetic Genealogy (DNA testing), 'Woods Colt' reality has come to view. I know this from personal experience. On my Y-DNA test, I only match one Collins, who is a known descendant of my same Collins line. My most common Y-DNA matches are with a Bunch line that was from Bertie County , North Carolina.

My atDNA test (Family Tree DNA's Family Finder test) shows a much bigger story. I have matches with 2 Bunch lines, a Rhea line, Goins lines, Collins lines, Gibson lines, Sexton lines,and a Mullins line. I'm still working on sorting it all out.

The paper 'Melungeons, A Multi-Ethnic Population', written by  Roberta J. Estes, Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson, and Janet Lewis Crain, examined 'Woods Colts' but used a more tame term, "Outparenting Events", Their findings...

"Outparenting Events
During the analysis, several outparenting events were discovered. Typically known as nonparental events (NPE), these are also known as undocumented adoptions. Prior to the 1900s, adoptions were informal events when one family took the child of another family to raise when necessary. In some cases, when infidelity is involved, the father may not realize that he is raising another man's child, but in many cases, the reason is much less sinister such as a child taking a step-father's name, a family taking an orphan to raise, or an illegitimate birth where the child takes the mother's surname. All of these events result in the DNA of the surname not matching the expected genetic line. The Melungeon project had a significant number of these results, and with only three exceptions, the matching surname was within the Melungeon family group. The exceptions are neighboring surnames." The outparenting events were as follows:

"This high number and wide distribution of outparenting events involving almost every core Melungeon surname may suggest remnants of matrilineal culture."

Here are some links to articles concerning 'Woods Colts' :

NPE's and Their Resolution, Y-DNA Testing for Genealogy and the Resolution of Unexpected Results

Non Paternal Events

non-paternal event from Genealogy Today

Illegitimacy does not cause NPEs

So who's your Daddy ?

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