Melungeons are a group of mixed race people who have lived in Appalachia for at least 200 years and probably longer. They are thought to be a mix of Native American, African, Mediterranean and North European. There are Melungeons and their descendants all over the region, eastern Tennessee, western Virginia, eastern Kentucky and northern North Carolina. There are at least three groups that the name has been applied to, the first use of the name was for the Newman's Ridge group centered on Hancock and Hawkins Counties, TN, and Scott and Wise Counties, VA, then the Graysville Melungeons, between Knoxville and Chattanooga, and then the Kentucky Melungeons, in southeastern Kentucky. The term has also been used for the Redbones or Louisiana Melungeons, along the Texas-Louisiana border, and the Dead Lake People or Florida Melungeons in the Florida Panhandle. There is a lot of research, speculation and discussion on the origin of the Melungeons.

Melungeon was a derogatory term not used by the Melungeons themselves until very recently. Other terms used for them include "Black Dutch", "Black Irish", "Ramps", and "Goins". Goins is the most common surname in the group (also spelt Goens, Goings, Goines, Going, Goin, etc.).

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