Kinfolks: Falling Off the Family Tree - The Search for My Melungeon Ancestors
Arcade Publishing, 2007/04/11 - 241 ページ
In this dazzling, hilarious memoir, best-selling author ofKinflicks Lisa Alther chronicles her search for the missing--oftenmysterious--branches of her family tree.Most of us grow up thinking we know who we are and where we come from. LisaAlther's mother hailed from New York, her father from Virginia, and everyday they reenacted the Civil War at home in East Tennessee. Then one nighta grizzled babysitter with brown teeth told Lisa about the Melungeons:six-fingered child-snatchers who hid in cliff caves outside town.Forgetting about these creepy kidnappers until she had a daughter of herown, Lisa learned that the Melungeons were actually a group of dark-skinnedpeople--some with extra thumbs--living in isolated pockets in the South.But who were they? Where did they come from? Were they the descendants ofSir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony, or of shipwrecked Portuguese or Turkishsailors? Or were they the children of European frontiersmen, Africanslaves, and Native Americans? Theories abounded, but no one seemed to knowfor sure.Learning that a cousin had had his extra thumbs removed, Lisa set out todiscover who these mysterious Melungeons really were and why hergrandmother wouldn't let her visit their Virginia relatives. Were thereMelungeons in the family tree? Lisa assembled a hoard of clues over theyears, but DNA testing finally offered answers.Part sidesplitting travelogue, part how--and how not--to climb your familytree, Kinfolks shimmers with wicked humor, illustrating just howwacky and wonderful our human family really is.