Native American Ancestors

Any Native American Indian in your family tree? It seems everyone in genealogy wants to claim at least some Indian blood. That was not always the case in most of America’s history. It was something not spoken about if a grandfather had an Indian wife or an uncle lived with an Indian tribe. Sometimes looking at a few old photos can give a researcher a few clues if there might have been some Indian blood in the family tree. If an ancestor had the dark, straight hair, browner skin color, almond eyes and high cheek bones; there was suspicion of that person’s heritage.

With those with a half or a quarter less of Indian blood it was sometimes difficult to prove their lineage because that information was suppressed, not forth coming in all written documents or family records and names were changed. Most of the reliable documentation is on those Native Indians who remained with their tribes, those who lived on the reservations.

There were some fifty-five major Native Indian tribal groups. Some names are very familiar in American history. The Sioux, Mohawk, Iroquois, Creek, Navajo, Cherokee and Apache are the most well-known of tribes. Least known, but just as interesting and important are the Modoc, Kansa, Oto, Stockbridge, Menominee and Caddo Indians. There many more tribes across the United States, more than 400 in number. This tribal site provides all the names and locations.

If you suspect there is any Native Indian heritage, one of the places online to check out is Native American Indian Genealogy Besides a search box there are listings of the many Indian tribes which provides information about each tribe, their different sub-tribes or clans and locations of where the tribes primarily lived. Knowing where tribes lived over a period of time might assist in figuring if you had ancestors in the same location.

The site also has a listing of Native Indian indexes or rolls of names. For example there is the ‘Cooper Roll’ done in May 1855 of the Choctaw families who lived east of the Mississippi River and also in the States of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. There are eleven different clans of the Choctaw with a listing of family members.

Native Indians were first officially listed and identified as Indians starting with the 1860 U. S. Census. Before then there were a scattering of written documents such as the Census of the Catawba Indians who lived in 1847 in the Haywood County, North Carolina.

To begin a search for Native Indian ancestors, learn all names, nicknames, marriages and locations where relatives lived. When an unique or unusual name appears or a photo, there is where to start a search.

The old photo maybe of Fannie Sherman, with a possible maiden name of Manathon or Yingling from Pennsylvania. Fannie was born August 11, 1812 and died June 29, 1896. She was the second wife of George S. Sherman, whom she married in 1835. It was handed down in the Sherman family with no actual full name attached to it. The photo may have also been one of her daughters. The physical features are what has the family guessing for decades.

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