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Do Melungeon People Have Red Hair?

In the 1900s, researchers discovered that there seemed to be many descendants of what was known as the Melungeon people. However, once researchers started to dig deeper into this line of people, they discovered that their roots may go back as far as the 1500s.

There are several claims that people have made about the Melungeon descendants, especially when it comes to their appearance.

One of those claims is that the Melungeons tend to have red hair, but is this true? Do Melungeon people have red hair? Is there any basis to back up such claims? That’s what we’ll be looking at in this article.

Firstly, Who Are The Melungeon People?

The Melungeons are a group of people in the southeastern United States, who reside primarily in the Appalachian mountain region.

There are a lot of theories regarding the Melungeons. According to one publication, Melungeon people aren’t technically a specific group. Instead, it’s a bloodline that was created when different people came together. This particular publication mentions that people who are considered Melungeon are essentially a combination of different ethnic groups. This includes African Americans, European Americans, and Native Americans.

Yet, when people find out they are of Melungeon descent, they often find it difficult to get any concrete information about what it means. Lisa Alther, for example, is a novelist with a number of best-selling books. She released one non-fiction book that focused on the fact that she had experienced difficulties researching her ancestry and where she came from, particularly after finding out that she had some relations with these people.

A Look at Melungeon Hair: Do They Have Red Hair?

The question of whether Melungeon people have red hair stems from the unique physical features observed within the Melungeon community. While red hair is not exclusive to Melungeons, it is a trait that can be found among some (if not many) individuals in these communities.

Now, if we take a closer look at certain reports and studies, we can see that there are a couple of specific traits that are often associated with Melungeon people. One thing that many have in common is the fact that Melungeons are usually linked to dark hair.

In Citizen-Times report report, Kathy Lyday, an Elon University professor, explains that the melungeon people are known to have relatively dark hair. They also have dark skin, and their eyes are usually blue. This essentially means that it is unlikely for red hair to be one of the main traits among melungeons.

At the same time, though, we have to consider that most people who find out they are of Melungeon descent today are of mixed groups. This means what was once said to be a Melungeon will not exist in the same way today. As different ethnic groups blend and have kids, genetics from different people are carried down to those children. And, of course, this can easily include genetic traits that result in red hair. Thus, it’s entirely possible for Melungeons to have red hair in the modern day.

Can Melungeons have Red hair?

As said earlier, yes, Melungeon people can indeed possibly have red or auburn hair in the modern day. If this is the case, it would also be likely that the individual will have fair skin. Even though these traits seem quite opposite from what the Melungeons are described as in many reports and publications, it’s always important that we keep things like DNA and genetics in mind.

So, how can red hair manifest within Melungeon populations?

Well, there are a few theories about why some Melungeons have red hair. One idea is that it is a result of their European ancestry. The Mediterranean and Iberian regions, which have been suggested as potential sources of their heritage, have a higher prevalence of red hair compared to other populations. Also, Red hair is a common trait among people of Celtic descent, and the Melungeons are believed to have some Celtic ancestry.

That being so, some consider that the presence of red hair in the Melungeon population may be linked to their European ancestry.


There are a lot of different ways that Melungeon people have been described over the years. It does seem like if you’re of Melungeon descent, many believe that you might be more likely to have red hair.

However, the same can be said for the bright blue eyes that some people associate with this bloodline. It might mean that you have a higher chance to showcase these properties, but it doesn’t guarantee them. Thus, some Melungeon people might have red hair, but this doesn’t account for all of them.

Amna El Tawil is a professional journalist, reporter, and an Amazon published author living in Cairo, Egypt. She graduated from MIU with a journalism degree and later worked as a reporter and content writer at various news publications. Amna's works have appeared in the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), the International Herald Tribune, Thomson Reuters, and the BBC. Amna loves researching and has also authored several books on Amazon.