|I have been looking for our Black Dutch ancestors for almost 50
years,but they and/or their records must be hiding under a mushroom
somewhere, so these graphics are perfect on this page. Chuck and I
both have stories of Black Dutch on each side, with mine on my dad's
mother's side, Blunt, Davis, or Philyaw, and on Chuck's mother's side,
with Davis, possibly. I have seen many explanations of what that
term meant. This is the best one below that I have seen.
Many people could claim 'Black Dutch' ancestry
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Not long ago I was asked, "What does the term 'Black Dutch' mean? I have
heard some members of my family refer to relatives as 'Black Dutch' but I
never knew what they meant."
After researching numerous genealogical reference texts and Dutch
immigration books, I could not find a single Black Dutch listing. I then
went to the Internet and found some timely articles on the subject. This
is what I summarized from the information: There is no single definition
of the term "Black Dutch."
According to Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia, Dutch is a term that
originally referred to anything of German derivation. An example is
"Pennsylvania Dutch" that originally referred to the speech and origin of
people who inhabited certain parts of Pennsylvania at a time when Dutch
signified German. In modern usage, however, Dutch is correctly applied
only to people and the language of the Netherlands. Black, as noted in the
articles, can refer to Spanish, some of the darker races of German and
French, Native American or African American.
After the War of Spanish Succession, 1704-1714, fought by Austria,
England, the Netherlands and Prussia against France and Spain, Spanish
soldiers married Dutch (Holland) girls, and their dark-haired, olive
complexioned children were called Black Dutch. Sailors from Spanish or
Mediterranean ships are believed to have left their genetic mark, so to
speak, in northern Europe and Scandinavia, thus producing dark-featured
In the Virginia Colony, Gov. Spotswood imported a group of German Colony
Iron Workers from Alsace-Lorraine, an area of contention between France
and Germany. They had black hair, "china blue to purplish blue eyes," fair
skin, tall, and listed the Black Forest as their home. There is no doubt
some of the German-speaking immigrants to the colonies were descendants of
some of the darker races.
Another scenario is the "amalgamation" and marriage between natives and
the colonists. Patrick Henry even broached a plan to his colleagues in the
Virginia General Assembly to give 50 acres and a cow to any "white" who
married an Indian. In later years, however, it was not fashionable to have
Indian blood. Morning Star, wife of Chief Neal McCormick, chief of the
Eastern Creek Indian Nation said, "It used to be if you had Indian blood
in you and someone asked you what you were, you'd say 'Black Dutch.'"
A descendant of another Creek Chief wrote, "The term Black Dutch is used
to refer to one that has Indian Blood, and most particularly with Creek
Indian blood. Although there were a few German/Swiss in the Creek Nation,
they were in the minority. The term actually does not refer to any
connection to this nationality. The Creeks preferred the Scots, English or
Irish in that order as far as marriage was concerned. There is no
explanation as to why they preferred the Scots."
Offspring from Anglo plantation owners and their slaves is well documented
by the number of mulattos listed in historic documents and census records.
There was also a handful of Cherokees who prospered as slave owners and
produced mixed offspring.
In conclusion, the term Black Dutch can describe the progeny of
Hollander-Spanish, dark-skinned Germanic or French, a disguise for
Indian-white heritage, German-African American, or a mixture of any of the
above. Also, numerous accounts have circulated that "Black Dutch" has been
used to identify groups of Irish, Cherokee, Amish, Swiss, Sephardic Jews,
Dutch-Indonesians and Holla Main
index of names.htm.
As you can see, there is little agreement as to just what the phrase
means. The most logical conclusion is that the term Black Dutch refers to
ancestry based on folklore and hearsay. Happy researching.
Send e-mail genealogy queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. For regular mail,
enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Victoria County
Genealogical Society members will research queries requiring extensive
study. Mail queries to Relatively Speaking, c/o Martha Jones, Ph.D.,
Victoria Advocate - Lifestyle Dept., P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, Texas 77902.