Author Topic: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy  (Read 53518 times)

Offline MattOKC

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2013, 06:23:47 am »
The "courthouse burned in a fire" thing is SO common you'd thing there was an epidemic of arson across the known world in the early 1900s. The other explanation is "she [my Cherokee great-grandmother] denied she was Indian because of persecution, so she pretended to be Mexican instead." Nevermind the bald racism or implausibility of this claim, could there be something else going on?

Yes! In fact, it's actually very likely that many peoples' great-grandmothers DID claim to be Cherokee!

When Allotment divided Indian treaty lands into individual homesteads, many whites saw a chance to profit. Since genealogies were less accurate (if kept at all) for women's lineage (because of patriarchal family rights under the law), a scam was concocted to have women claim Cherokee identity in order to "access" (that would be "steal" in today's parlance) Indian allotments. This means two amazing things. First, far from trying to hide being "Cherokee," it became advantageous to contrive such a claim. And second, these sad people who think they have a cool Cherokee ancestor have seriously misunderstood history. They don't have a Cherokee great-grandmother; they more likely have a WHITE great-grandmother who was part of a con to steal land FROM the Cherokees!

Offline milehighsalute

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2013, 03:25:40 pm »
not to mention real cherokees have huge family bonds......i cant imagin many cherokee women chasing white men down for marriage....i know it happened but cmon....how many women actually want to lay down with the people who abused them and thier people every night.....oh nevermind thats any modern injun woman...wow now im off-track.....i'll shut up now before i talk myself into a corner

Offline Litsehimmel

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2013, 08:48:10 pm »
Hi,

The records about my native ancestor were unfortunately destroyed in a flood, which is pretty common here in The Netherlands *wicked grin*

Seriously though, I am a semi-professional genealogist and working with info from The Netherlands can be just as frustrating and annoying. The times I see faulty information just being copied and pasted by loads of folks on the net are just too numerous to count. As a former research journalist, the one important thing I have learned is that nothing, and I mean nothing should be accepted as truth if it can't be backed by at least one reliable source.

For my own family tree I have spent hours and hours delving through dusty records, just searching for that one clue or registration that will justify any hunch or theory I might have. Even though I have gotten pretty good at making a hypothesis about something, and it usually pans out, I never submit it as truth unless I can back it up.

As for native american ancestry, I presumably (note, I use the word presumably so please stop groaning - smirk) have some myself. As I know the sea faring British male ancestor who married this basically unknown woman just prior to 1800 did reach North Carolina and traveled up an unknown river deep into the 'hinterland', I am cautiously thinking possibly Tsalagi. Then again, it could be Sappony, or Waccamaw-Siouan, or Coharie, or Tuscarora, or ... All my British family knows for sure is that she came from the USA, had long black hair which she 'greased', and 'missed eating corn'. She was called Ann but called herself something like Anja or Anya. No definitive records survived, so it's "just another story".
Interestingly enough, when I married my 1st husband in Asheville, NC - my complicated family history made us want to avoid a stressed marriage, and good friends of ours lived there - we had to fill in forms to apply for the wedding. We had to fill in our race, something that really took us aback as we're not used to that here in The Netherlands. Naturally, we both entered 'caucasian'. My form was not accepted until I strenuously argued that, as we would be going back to The Netherlands and not live in the USA, I would not apply for "US citizenship based on native american ancestry". I was blown away! The registrar at the Asheville Court House had taken one look at me and had known, just known, that I had native ancestry. During our 3 week stay there I often was asked what tribe I was related to. Sadly, I was never able to answer. It still seems strange to me, as my colouring (prior to the dreaded advance of pepper & salt) was basically Celtic: auburn hair and green eyes. But I have to admit that people in The Netherlands often thought I had Indonesian blood. Which I don't.

LH

Offline earthw7

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2013, 02:16:09 pm »
I have heard many story and some of the stories we just can not comfrim because of the time,
There were many people on the east coast who were either taken as slaves or married into non natives
and we never heard from them again. The problem is they were told to forget who they were and to fit in the
white society so the history is lost. There are so many tribe on the east coast that no longer exist over a
thousand tribes that are now extinct we will never know there names. So you may never know who you come from.
The way genealogy works in Indian country is hard
In Spirit

Epiphany

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2013, 02:07:20 am »
For anyone doing genealogy, this from Kathryn is important to keep in mind:

Quote
Sadly, it's pretty common for liberals (and exploiters) descended from colonial Indian-killers to try to rewrite their history and give themselves NDN ancestors. But anyone with experience spots this: you'll have a bunch of well-sourced info on the white people, then some alleged NDN with no data, no source documents, and the clincher: a stereotypical name in English. Like "Mourning Dove," or "Rushing Stream," while the only real NDNs in that area at that time have names in the relevant NDN language.

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=4063.msg34342#msg34342

Offline RedTailCoyote

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2013, 01:12:48 am »
Working in a museum, I think if I had a penny for every time someone told me that their grandparent said they're NDN...we'd be able to build a new museum.  Though recently, I've been able to add Catawba, Apache, Creek, Shawnee, and Seminole princesses to the list.

And how you can see their high cheek bones, their longer second toe, shovel teeth, lack of body hair, deformed pallet, skin spots, and growths on their molars.

On a more personal note, when I started work for the museum it caused a HUGE commotion in the family.  We were taught that we were German on my father's side.  Come to find out Grandma is 1/2 Lithuanian and 1/2 something else that was never recorded.  Great Uncle is livid because he's "been trying to get them to register on the tribal rolls for years".  The rest of the family says...well...they don't say anything to me anymore because I just want to know.  The paperwork we do have says Tom and Mary Williams (Canada) No death date...no birth date...no territory.  Then their son born in Port de Luc (or deLucy, duLuc, duLuche, etc...) with no date (can't remember first name). Then he ran with his Lithuanian wife into Pennsylvania.  Where are the records?  Wait for it....town was said to burned down.  Where's the town?  Hell if I can find it!

My time trying to find any kind of information has given me a whole new appreciation for the frustration of all the NDN people who grew up in their traditions, mixed or not, with crazy people trying to claim elaborate heritage.

Offline earthw7

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2013, 04:12:15 pm »
everyday I get someone who writes to me saying that they believe they have Native blood,
some people send me pictures or tell me they have an Indian nose, ears, eyes high cheek bones or whatever,
I do most of their background and find they are from Europe no matter what they think they look like,
Native people are very close family structures, if you dont know your family you are not native,
except in cases of adoption and fostered.
Just in the Lakota-Dakota-Nakota People, it is easy to look if you had a grandparent born before
1850 that has a white name "example" John Smith or Mary more than likely they are not Native,
The first white settler came on the plains in 1850s then it was not a friendly relationship.
The native people did not have first and last names they just had their names and when you
hear the name you can tell where they come from,
In Spirit

Offline Coastrangechild

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2013, 12:38:37 am »
My genealogy was hard to sort out. Mostly because my father is schizophrenic and made up all sorts of wild stories about our family, which I believed for a long time, and had to sort them out. No my Grandmother was NOT Annie Oakley, who actually was of a reptilian race from space. Eventually, my aunt traveled throughout the country finding records. And did some online and found some solid information.

According to her research we may have ties to a tribe in the NE - BUT even if it is true it is like my 21st grandmothers side ... and the records are spotty. So to "prove" anything is just a long shot. Really true or not it seems so very disconnected how could I, in good conscience claim to be "Native."

What is funny is that I actually do have high cheek bones and have been asked by MANY white people if I am Indian - which I always thought a very strange question. It is like asking somebody if they are Dutch because they grow tulips, but more ignorant. My aunt found a ton of pictures of our family from Sweden - and our face/cheek bones look VERY similar. In fact I found a picture of one relative from Finland in the 1800's who looks almost exactly like me. It was pretty awesome. So I do see myself in my ancestors but not in the way you are talking about.

And I experience a weird reaction from some when I say I am partially Scandinavian (I have dark features and hair). They generally say, "But you are too dark!"
I told one person it is suspected that I may have some Spanish ancestry, which is true but only a very small part ... they then went on to call me a derogatory term for somebody from Mexico.  People are just dumb. They want everything to be obvious and superficial. I blame it on Nascar. (((Just kidding)))

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2013, 08:22:58 pm »
As the Powhatan "Emperors," "Princesses" and "Medicine People" have come up yet again in another thread, copying that post here, as well.

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=4243.msg36268#msg36268

In various threads on here we've discussed the fabricated Powhatan ancestry issue. When I've referred to fabricated NDNs with fanciful English names, it was exactly this stuff:

"I am 16th Gr. Granddaughter of Elder White Feather and Scent Flower, Iroquois Leadership and Medicine People in 1600's "

What this means is she has white ancestors from the Jamestown colonies.

There are people on Ancestry.com who have merged what few Powhatans for whom we have documentation with any random NDN or suspected NDN they can find from within a hundred years and a thousand miles of where Matoaka et al lived. Those are two of those composite/fabricated people.

The normal NDNs, plus a community leader or two, who all got disrespectfully merged and misappropriated into non-Native's family trees, then turned into "Princesses," "Emperors," and now that it's more fashionable, "Medicine People," were in almost every case just some normal Native who happened to marry a white person. There is no reason to think they were medicine people, especially since they married white people and assimilated hundreds of years ago.

Other researchers and I have also encountered white people who find one woman with no recorded last name who start claiming that must mean she was an NDN. Real genealogists will be laughing your asses off right now, as we know that once you go back far enough, it's sadly the norm that many women never had their maiden names recorded. That's all about patrilineal naming conventions, and has zero to do with ethnicity.

Some of these histories involve white people who were slavers, and I think we should look very critically at claims that these young Native women *chose* to marry old white men. I think the real history for most of these women and girls was probably brutal, not romantic.

----------------------

The same person also claimed "druidic" heritage, because some "Mc" and "O" names turned up in her family trees.  :o

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=4243.msg36269#msg36269

The Druids were the educated class of ancient Celtic cultures. "Celtic" is a language grouping, not a blood type, and people don't inherit cultural knowledge via distant ancestry.

Offline earthw7

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2013, 08:38:00 pm »
I just had a call from a women in Ohio who claimed to be the granddaughter of Sitting Bull because her grandfather was the grandson of Sitting Bull, She was 72 years old so i ask how did they get to Ohio and what were they doing in Ohio? Then I asked how does she figure her grandfather was Sitting Bull's grandson. I remind her Sitting Bull died in 1890, with no living sons, at that as she said her grandfather was born in 1845 how could Sitting Bull have a grandson at the age 11 years old!
She told me now what I am going to do I told everyone all my life that I was related to Sitting Bull. I said its time to tell the truth.
In Spirit

Offline earthw7

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2014, 01:15:07 pm »
each week i get a call from someone claiming to be related to Sitting Bull and i wonder
what do these people think this man went around and created thousand of children across the world. >:(
I was talking to one of the relatives of Sitting Bull yesterday about the many people who make their claims
to Sitting Bull which are untrue. He had a small family and the government kept records on him.
My friend called me the dream crusher  because i have to tell people no you are not related
In Spirit

Offline koyoteh

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2014, 11:18:26 pm »
wouldn't the cherokee thing be kind of tricky though?

they were one of the first civilized tribes and mixed with white people right away. They even took up owning black slaves , and like the white people had black slave babies.
they began to create their own mixed culture that was very different.

when a white person tells me they are cherokee, i give them the benefit of the doubt that they might be, but i don't necessariily know where they are coming from when they say that knowing that they were slave owners and were some first to voluntarily assimilate.
i admit ignorance of the five civilized tribes. i have barely begun to speak to members of these tribes that began to inform me of their history.

first one that began to inform me a little was a choctaw lady. she reminded me of their history.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 11:23:59 pm by koyoteh »

Offline koyoteh

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2014, 11:26:25 pm »
each week i get a call from someone claiming to be related to Sitting Bull and i wonder
what do these people think this man went around and created thousand of children across the world. >:(
I was talking to one of the relatives of Sitting Bull yesterday about the many people who make their claims
to Sitting Bull which are untrue. He had a small family and the government kept records on him.
My friend called me the dream crusher  because i have to tell people no you are not related

serious question. or maybe am just curious.

what if you do run into some descendant, that was related way way down the line. Does there relationship have any kind of status?

i wouldn't think so. but maybe they are after money or something?

Offline earthw7

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2014, 02:44:44 pm »
well we have many people who have descendant of the tribes, but are not member nor they can claim
relatives unless they know thier family-being Native means family.
A person can not say i am native and not know their families
In Spirit

Offline cowichan

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Re: "But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2014, 12:27:22 am »
Earthw7 says you canot say I am native and not know your family. In the sense that you cannot claim indian upbringing without knowing your family name (and tribe and totem etc) but you can certainly be of indian blood and know none of that. My wife's mother was adopted. She managed to obtain her mother's birth certificate. Father anglo name, mother Cree name, nationality listed as native. My wife had done enough research to think she was from the White Earth reserve. For years we would attend Sundance ceremony in N Dakota and spend the weeks after or before trying to find a roll with the mother's name on it. Without success. I would not have missed it for the world. After going as far as we could checking the paper trail, we would visit the elders to see if they remembered the name. Always a dead end but always the story of those who left this reserve and moved to that reserve or " you should talk to Joe X on another reserve. We drank endless cups of tea and spent hours talking to the most wonderful old folks you could hope to meet. However cold and challenging the officialdom was, the elders always threw open the door and in short order made us feel family. My wife finally gave up the search, too painful to get her hopes up and then crushed when the trail turned cold again. At best she is 1/4 blood but doesn't appear to have a drop of white in her. Which means she has suffered from the racism all natives are subject to without the support of tribe.