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"But my grandpa said he's Indian!" Adventures in Genealogy

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My grandpa did indeed say he had NDN heritage. And he was so genial and charming when he said these and other things, so he must be right. Right? Wrong.

His people were from South Dakota. Most everyone from South Dakota are NDNs. Right? Wrong, his people were white homesteaders, originally from Quebec.

Quebec! Oh, French Canadian! Almost all of them had NDN ancestry, right? Wrong. They weren't French Canadian, they were Loyalists. And all French Canadian do not have NDN ancestry.

Now we're back over the pond, some of our ancestors lived places where there were castles in the area. We must be Royal, right? Wrong. Proximity doesn't equal heritage.

Turns out my grandpa was a confabulist, he made up false stories about our heritage, about his military service, and other things.

When I work on our actual family genealogy I have to keep in mind:

*Lots of incorrect information and family trees out there. Just because a particular bit of info or family tree is repeated everywhere on line does not mean it is correct. Records on ancestry.com and familysearch.org can be helpful, but we all have to pay attention to source.

*When I don't know, I admit that I don't know. I keep reading and researching, I don't state that my guesses are fact. I'm willing to discard any guesses that are wrong.

*I don't try to force our genealogy into any one direction, I don't try to prove we are NDN or anything else. Because if I do I'll only see what I want to see, I'll select info that I think proves my belief.

Doing the real work of genealogy is fascinating. I encourage everyone who doesn't know their heritage to find out. We might not discover anything that we can then package as NDN heritage & use to promote ourselves as extra special and spiritual - but why on earth would we want to do that in the first place?

I do genealogy all the time of my Lakota and Dakota people and it is an adventure,
I get many request for people claiming Indian blood.
Of course many are just not true.
One question i get my great great great grandma was named Mary Anderson (just a fake name) and she
belong to the sioux tribe.
I first question is which band and which reservations because we have 14 reservation and nine Canadian province of our nations?
What was her real name?
The Lakota and Dakota people did not take english first an last names until 1890 to 1900 so they just
had their Native Names and they were all in either Lakota or Dakota.
Then I ask for a date because in our part of the country first contact with non natives was 1870s before
that it was only soldiers.
We dont have surnames so at the time of Sitting Bull there was also six other Sitting Bull but not related to us and our people.

At least once a week i get I am a decendant of Sitting Bull request.
People seem shocked that the tribe keep srecord of all our people
and know who is related to who and how. I can trufully say of all the request
i get for Sitting Bull none are correct because his relatives are all here

Earth I really appreciate learning about your work

Native genealogy is different than your standard genealogy because of the language and family structures
the wives and how children relate to people, not having surnames and first names, then
the changing of names as you age,


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