‘Gaum’ found in work about tri-racial people
October 15, 2005
by Richard Creed
An item here last week about the word gaum mentioned research showing that it is pronounced like the Turkish word gam, which means messy or sad. In the southern Appalachians, gaum means to make dirty or messy.
Researchers have turned up the relationship between gam and gaum in studying the Melungeons, people of mixed white, black and American Indian ancestry living in the southern Appalachians. The white element is possibly Mediterranean or northern European or both.
The item in the column caught the eye of Ann Newsome of Winston-Salem. She wrote: “I was surprised that I should come across a reference to Melungeons, having heard of them only recently and read a book only last week. Several things that you wrote piqued my curiosity.