Black Dutch


Ancestors fearing genocide

Fled to the Stick People to hide


They blended their blood with theirs

Fearing The Trail Of Tears


And now after...oh... so many years and generations

Still clinging to the old while embracing a new nation


Though only one drop of blood may be kin

Know that their Legacy is still there..


And their Prophesy is still singing on the wind…


©May 19, 2009

Faye Sizemore

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A few different groups of people have used the term "Black Dutch," often as ancestral reference.[1,2,3,4,5]

According to researcher James Pylant, based on his extensive survey of American families claiming Black Dutch as part of their heritage:

"There are strong indications that the original "Black Dutch" were swarthy complexioned Germans. Anglo-Americans loosely applied the term to any dark-complexioned American of European descent. The term was adopted as an attempt to disguise Indian or infrequently, tri-racial descent. By the mid-1800s the term had become an American colloquialism; a derogative term for anything denoting one's small stature, dark coloring, working-class status, political sentiments, or anyone of foreign extract.[3]

English speaking colonists were unable to pronounce the word “Deutsche” (Germans) and the word “Deutsche” became “Dutch.” For example, “Pennsylvania Dutch” (more strictly, Pennsylvania Germans) are the descendants of German immigrants who came to Pennsylvania prior to 1800. -Casey Taylor, May 2 2009

German Gypsies (Roma People) are also known as Black Dutch, and there is some overlap in surnames between present-day Gypsies and the American families with a "Black Dutch" tradition.

Sometimes mixed-race people such as Melungeons have identified themselves as "Black Dutch" to facilitate acceptance as white.[1, 2]

Native Americans, mainly Cherokee, sometimes created a false, "Black Dutch" heritage to remain on their own land and to purchase new land.[5] This occurred often after the Trail of Tears, mainly in Oklahoma. The Cherokee would not admit to their actual heritage for fear the land would be taken away from them. In fact, many people born even in the early 20th century claimed Black Dutch heritage for this reason.[citation needed]


1. Bible, Jean Patterson (1975). Melungeons Yesterday and Today. Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press.

2. Elder, Pat Spurlock (1999). Melungeons: Examining an Appalachian Legend. Blountville, Tennessee: Continuity Press.

3. Pylant, James (1997). "In Search of the Black Dutch", American Genealogy Magazine 12 (March 1997): 11-30.

4. Cassiday, Frederic G. (1985) Dictionary of American Regional English, Vol 1, A-C. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

5. Rozema, Vicki (2007) Footsteps of the Cherokees: A Guide to the Eastern Homelands of the Cherokee Nation, Second Edition. John F. Blair, Publ.