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Donald Panther-Yates (also published as Donald N.Yates or Donald Neal Yates) is an American genealogist, author and DNA investigator. Yates was born July 9, 1950 in a north Georgia town where his grandparents were farmers and his father ran a grocery store. He was the fourth of five children. His genealogical memoir The Bear Went Over the Mountain (Cherokee Press, 1995) draws on stories (“an exalted type of gossip”), courthouse records and then-scarce family history publications in the days before the Internet, as well as literary sources like W.J. Cash’s The Mind of the South. In various state chapters, ranging from Virginia to Georgia, Alabama and Florida, sketches of pioneer life are inspired in part by the writers of the 1930s Work Projects Administration series, when the Federal government hired out-of-work writers to pen travel and history guides, just as it commissioned painters to produce murals in post offices across the country.
“One reason why the South has such a store of family history and culture is that families lived in close proximity to each other for generation after generation,” Yates writes in the preface to The Bear Went Over the Mountain. “Sunday afternoon visits, dinner on the grounds, weddings and funerals provided occasions for affirming a rich oral tradition. When I moved to the North (where I have lived for most of my life), I realized what I had lost. I am persuaded no Southerner who has not experienced exile from the mother culture can adequately represent it” (p. xv).
Appendix III, “Southern Language,” surveys the roots of Appalachian storytelling and comments on a number of proverbs and sayings Yates recalls from his youth.
“Traditional Southern long stories, endless table talk at coffee-shops, marathon political speeches and hours-long Baptist sermons are of a piece,” suggests Phillip B. Anderson, a professor of English at the University of Central Arkansas.
“The truth is, your Southerner really does like language—not as a tool or a means of communication, but as a way of expressing and creating” (p. 249).
•1 Native American and Jewish Heritage •2 DNA Studies •3 Published Works o3.1 Books o3.2 Articles •4 References •5 External links
Native American and Jewish Heritage
In midlife, Yates rediscovered his Native American genealogy and made numerous contributions to American Indian, and in particular,Cherokee studies. In one article, he demonstrates that most of the figures depicted in William Verelst’s 1734 painting titled “An Audience Given by the Trustees of Georgia to a Delegation of Creek Indians” (now in the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington but also seen hanging in copies in the Georgia Capitol and other official buildings) were probably those of Cherokees who visited the court of king George III in 1730 through the arrangements of Sir Alexander Cumming. The article is dedicated “to the memory of Attakullakulla, my 6th-great-grandfather,” one of the Cherokees identified in the painting. Correspondences are also suggested with Kollannah (Kalanu, Raven, “war chief,” perhaps a young Oconostota, Tathtowe (Tistoe, “fire-maker”), Clogoittah and Kittigusta (Skalilosken, “speaker”).
Yates contributed the Southeast entries on ceremony and ritual, mourning and burial, oral traditions and spiritual and ceremonial practitioners in American Indian Religious Traditions: An Encyclopedia, ed. Suzanne J. Crawford & Dennis Francis Kelley, 3 vols., Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2005.
In 2002, Yates and his wife Teresa returned to Judaism at Mickve Israel in Savannah, Ga. He delivered a talk titled “Remarks on My Return to Judaism” to the congregation on December 28. In reprinting it, the synagogue made a distinction between a conversion and a welcoming back ceremony. Yates and his wife “were ‘welcomed back’ to Judaism,” it said, “though they also fulfilled all the requirements for conversion.” Of genealogical interest, several prominent Melungeon families are named in the speech:
My Coopers were Melungeon. Teresa’s Rameys were Melungeon. My Blevinses were Melungeon. Teresa’s Goods were Melungeon. My Sizemores were Melungeon. Teresa’s Whiteheads were Melungeon. Every single surname in our family tree was Melungeon, and all the Melungeons were intermarried. When we plotted our genealogy chart it looked more like a telephone pole than a tree. It only had one branch, and that was the same as the main trunk. Everybody married cousins, it seemed.
Yates and Cooper families are mentioned in the cemetery and marriage records of Beth Elohim in Charleston as well as Mickve Israel (Malcolm Stern, Americans of Jewish Descent). The yahrzeit of Yates’ mother Bessie Louise Cooper Yates, a descendant of Cherokee chief Black Fox and Daniel Boone’s scout William Cooper who died January 7, 2006, is commemorated at Mickve Israel.
In 2003, Yates started a DNA testing service, now DNA Consultants located in Phoenix. The genetics genealogy company has maintained a blog reviewing scientific advances and news on DNA testing and popular genetics since 2005. Yates continues to publish books and articles in history and ethnic studies, many co-authored with Elizabeth C. Hirschman, a professor at Rutgers University of Melungeon and Choctaw-Cherokee descent like himself. He was noted in 2008 for his testimony in a probate case where Alice Elizabeth Tiffin a.k.a. Eliza Presley has claimed that she is Elvis Presley's half-sister and sought to be declared the daughter of Vernon Presley.
•Yates, Donald N. (1995). The Bear Went Over the Mountain. Genealogy and Social History of a Southern U.S. Family. Princeton: The Cherokee Press. pp. 465. ISBN 965055108. •Panther-Yates, Donald N. (2012). The Eighth Arrow: Right, Wrong and Confused Paths According to Tihanama Elder Wisdom (Kindle Edition). Tuscany Global. pp. 104. •Yates, Donald N. (2006). Los Lunas Mystery Stone and Other Sacred Sites of New Mexico. Santa Fe: Sun Publishing. pp. 99. ISBN 0-89540-444-3. •Hirschman, Elizabeth Caldwell and Donald N. Yates (2007). When Scotland was Jewish: DNA evidence, archeology, analysis of migrations, and public and family records show twelfth century Semitic roots. Jefferson: McFarland. pp. 264. ISBN 0-7864-2800-7. •Panther-Yates, Donald N. (2009). Visits to Sacred Sites: Articles and Photography from the Santa Fe Sun-News. Phoenix: Tlvdatsi. •Yates, Donald N. (2009). Peoples of the World. An Album of Ethnic Types. Phoenix: Tlvdatsi. •Hirschman, Elizabeth Caldwell and Donald N. Yates (2012). Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America. Jefferson: McFarland. pp. 290. ISBN 0-7864-6462-3. •Yates, Donald N. with a foreword by Richard Mack Bettis (2012). Old World Roots of the Cherokee. How DNA, Ancient Alphabets and Religion Explain the Origins of America’s Largest Indian Nation. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-6956-7. •Panther-Yates, Donald (2012). Echo the Heart: The Tihanama Language. Word-list, English Glossary and Specimens. Phoenix: Panther's Lodge. pp. 38. ISBN 1-4700-3265-1. •Panther-Yates, Donald N., based on William Cornsilk Eubanks and George Sahkiyah Sanders (2011). Red Man's Origin: The Legendary Story of His Rise and Fall, His Victories and Defeats and the Prophecy of His Future. Phoenix: Panther's Lodge. pp. 48. ISBN 1-4680-1751-9. •Panther-Yates, Donald (2011). A Memoir of Chief Two White Feathers. Portrait of a Spiritual Practitioner. Phoenix: Panther's Lodge. pp. 36. ISBN 1-4679-6342-9.
•Yates, Donald N. (1984). "Chanticleer's Latin Ancestors". Chaucer Review 18 (2): 116–26. •Yates, Donald N. (1983). "Latin Paleography and the Dating of Late Medieval Manuscripts". Codices Manuscripti 9 (2): 49–65. •Panther-Yates, Donald N. (2001). "A Portrait of Cherokee Chief Attakullakulla from the 1730s? A Discussion of William Verelst's 'Trustees of Georgia' Painting". Journal of Cherokee Studies 22: 4–20. •Panther-Yates, Donald N.; Elizabeth C. Hirschman (2004). "DNA Haplotyping and Diversity: An Anthropogenealogical Method for Researching Lineages and Family Ethnicity". International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations 4: 2043–55. Guide to finding matches in world databanks and interpreting genetic information in terms of history and recent emigration studies. •Panther-Yates, Donald N. (June 2002). "Shalom and Hey, Y'All: Jewish-American Indian Chiefs in the Old South". Appalachian Quarterly 7(2): 80–89. •Elizabeth C. Hirschman; Donald Panther-Yates (2006). "Romancing the Gene, Making Myth from 'Hard Science'". In Russell W. Belk and John F. Sherry. Handbook of Qualitative Research. Edward Elgar. pp. 419–30. ISBN 978-1845421007. •Yates, Donald N.; Elizabeth C. Hirschman (Fall 2010). "Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Southern Appalachia". Appalachian Journal 38 (1): 92–111. •Panther-Yates, Donald N. (March 2011). "Cherokee Clans: An Informal History". Ancient American 15 (90): 18–25. •Yates, Donald N. (March 2010). "Mitochondrial DNA of the Cherokee". Ancient American 14 (86): 28–32. •Hirschman, Elizabeth C.; Donald N. Yates (Jan. 2008). "Peering Inward for Ethnic Identity: Consumer Interpretation of DNA Test Results".Identity 8 (1): 47–66. •Hirschman, Elizabeth C.; Donald Panther-Yates (2007). "Suddenly Melungeon! Reconstructing Consumer Identity across the Color Line".Consumer Culture Theory. Research in Consumer Behavior, 11: 241–59.
•http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/oct/08/vernon-presleys-estate-reopened-womans-claim-shes-/ •http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/oct/11/dna-lab-owner-elvis-is-not-dead/ •http://www.news.appstate.edu/2010/12/02/appalachian-journal-4/ •http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/03/10/daily15.html •http://dnaconsultants.com/Detailed/36.html
"Genealogical Speakers Guild".
•American genealogists •Elvis Presley •Jewish American historians •Native American writers •Historians of Native Americans •Writers from Georgia (U.S. state) •Genetic genealogy •Living people •American historians
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