AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re:Gypsy in Complex Ethnic Populations
In Response To: Re: South Carolina Egyptiams =Gypsies ()
The descendants of the 17th century American Gypsy or "Egyptian" are heavily represented in the white and black populations of America today. The true legacy of the colonial American Gypsy, however, is most clearly demonstrated in those complex ethnic populations which were erroneously dubbed "tri-racial isolates" by 20th century investigators.
Without the benefit of modern genealogy, these racially ambiguous communities, rooted in colonial free people of color, were thought to be the descendants of whites, Africans, and American Indians, often colored by the romantic notion of escaped slaves. The Gypsy and East Indian were never considered as ethnic contributors.
Genealogical examination of the so-called Tri-Racial Isolates of the south has demonstrated that not one single group, so defined as triracial, is limited to only Indian, white, and African ancestry. Most, if not all, have been shown genealogically to include the descendants of seventeenth century Gypsy (Rom) and/or East Indian (Asian) Virginians.
Given that those widespread populations previously referred to as Tri-racial Isolates have been proven by history and genealogy to be neither tri-racial nor isolated, it is the considered opinion of this investigator that "Complex Ethnic Population" be employed as the more accurate and appropriate descriptor. It should be noted that each Complex Ethnic Population has an ancestry, composition, history and culture unique to that group. Failure to recognize the unique elements of each Complex Ethnic Population is a failure of American ethnohistory.
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