Mike: It was not my original intention in this forum to argue the merits of one theory or another concerning Mangum origins. I was only trying to publicize the preliminary results of our DNA studies, which if successful will make all of this controversy moot anyway. The DNA analysis from participants in the UK, if we can get enough, will either show a link to a particular family, or it won’t. I will gladly accept DNA participants of any Mangum or related spelling surname from anywhere in the world, and personally pay for the lab fees if necessary. I feel that strongly about it’s worth.
I understand that there are those in the Mangum (and related spellings) family that adhere to alternate theories of the origin for our family. And, I have only circumstantial evidence to dispute them. Also, we don’t really know whether there was one immigrant, or several. In particular, there is a family tradition and some circumstantial evidence that Jacob Mangum was from Ireland. The BARELY POSSIBLE scenarios for the origin of John Mangum are almost infinite. He could have conceivably come from anywhere in the world. My Journal has explored many of the more likely British Isles theories of our family’s origin. I would of course, gladly publish any alternate theories of the Mangum’s origin in my Journal, including yours if you care to write an article on them. The Journal actually contains articles on several alternate theories. Rightly or wrongly our present WORKING HYPOTHESIS is that the most likely origin of our family is from the Manghams of Yorkshire, but only by a slight margin. The Mangles, Menghams, Maughams, Manninghams (who we think gave rise to the Manghams), and a number of other families have much to recommend them. We will change our working hypothesis in a heartbeat if reasonable evidence or even compelling arguments present themselves. We have not totally dismissed any of these theories, and we will re-examine our “likely scenario” theory at any time any such evidence or compelling arguments present themselves.
In part we have based our “origin theory” on the presumption that the children of John Mangum in Virginia were members of the Church of England. Certainly, William Mangum Sr. (supposed son of John Mangum) christened several of his children in the Albemarle Parish, established by the Church of England. In Virginia at the time (just before 1700) most people were the Protestant working class from England with a lot of the aristocratic class also. We have no indication that John Mangum was anything other than a member of this working class. It is only practical that we focus more (but not all) of our energy on this most likely scenario rather than other less likely scenarios. If we can possibly disprove the most likely scenario, we move on to the next likely scenario. It’s called “Ocam’s Razor” in scientific circles and simply means that the simplest solution is usually the most accurate.
We also know that Mangham was one of the several versions of the spelling of John’s surname that show up in the Virginia records. One branch of the family, the Georgia branch from Solomon Mangum, adopted the surname Mangham, it is at least possible that it was to re-establish the original spelling of the surname. We also know that one Timothy Mangham was transported to the Maryland Colony in 1668. Mangham is, therefore, one of the focal points of our research.
We believe DNA analysis will be the key in deciding whether our present theory is tenable or not. We only want to know what is true, and would happily abandon any of our theories if evidence requires it. Yes, it is statistical, but it can establish whether families are related or not, and within a range of generations.
I will send your “Mangum Origins” comments to my genealogist cohort who is an expert on the old records from the British Isles and Virginia, and let you know what he says. Give me a little time as our correspondence is by regular mail and I will be unavailable the last half of July.
In the meantime, I would very much like to have your theory of the origin of the Mangum family in the U.S., and why you think it is the most likely. I promise to give it careful consideration. I would love to know where John came from and would have no concern whatsoever what his circumstances in life were, whether vagabond, criminal or aristocrat.
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