Thread: Native Research
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Old 11-16-2014, 01:57 PM   #3
Josiah
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Nuts and Bolts Of Research...

Ok, so you have a name of a great great grandpa and you want to find out if he was native or to confirm a family story.

Of course you would follow my advice and start with yourself and trace him backwards linking parent to grandparent to him.
But, say you think he was adopted or you just don't have that connection you are looking for.
Well, you have come to the right place!

I will give you some examples, background and insight on research I have done on my own family. I have those connections and they are not missing for 7 generations going into the past!
It was still very difficult to confirm connections due to several factors...
1) Misspelled Names
2) Phonetic Names
3) Different or AKA names
4) Assumptions

I will start with misspelled names and phonetic names which are similar issues. Census Takers and Roll takers were not always highly educated people. They were hired to take notes working thru in many cases interpreters. An Interpreter usually spoke several languages but which one are they a master of and rarely they were a master of both languages.
In grade school I am sure you have played the game telephone. Where a line of kids are giving a phrase or word and they repeat it to the next kid, until it comes out the other end. We would always chuckle when we hear how much different the word is at the other end. Well a native sits down and thru an interpreter says who they are and who there parents are, such as with a Dawes Commission Enrollment. The Testimony would have been crossed checked with previous listing on rolls or census taken by that tribe. And I still found errors with spelling of names just checking each of the documents myself. Example: Alex Aleck Alec Aleke are the same names of my great great grandfather used on 4 different rolls. That is just his English name, they butchered his Ndn. 7 ways from sunday. But I was able to cross-check who he was by his wife's name, and birth and death dates so I knew he was a match.

Next set of issues is AKA names and Assumptions.
Again I will use my great great Grandfather who is an extreme example but is a good example. He was born 1851 in Flint District, Cherokee Nation. He was one of 7 children and was the 2nd oldest, living to 1932 to a ripe old age of 81. Thru his life he was known as Brown, Soot, Smoke, Burnt Tobacco, Alex, Alec, Aleck and Aleke. He was buried as Alex. The first four names were his translated names and the rest were his English names. From what I gather he did not start using an English name until the 1890's. I traced him using known siblings, wife's name approx. location of where he was born and resided throughout most of his life and where he was buried. He only moved about a 5 mile distance from birth to death. He was an easy one to trace in some cases the testimony of his other siblings gave me several of his names and then just reading rolls and census I found others. This was a full blood who spoke no English his entire life and his headstone is written in Cherokee which I translated using many of his names.
The other issue is assumptions, I had the Paternal Great Grandpa's last name only to discover he was not always called that, his half brother in testimony in 1907 on the Miller App addressed the issue. His father died when he was a young boy, his mother lived with another man and they took his name. It was very common for Full bloods in the 1880's to use the name of the head of house as there last name for before this period Full bloods only went by the name they were known by. In some cases siblings would share the same name, I found that example when two sisters shared the name Sarah they were only a year apart in age. Another problem with last names it was not a common practice to name the child after there father I have found examples where siblings would use different last names and belong to the same father sometimes it was a derivative of there fathers name or it was just a name they liked and would shorten it. Big Mush is the distant ancestor of a modern family that has nothing in there name to suggest this. Another example is Ask for water which is the English translation of Amadeske or what is now know as Ummerteskee. Or Deer in the Water to Deerinwater or Pumpkin pile kicker to Pumpkin just a few in the hundreds of hundreds examples.

Chances are though, if you have reason to believe the ancestor you are attempting to connect to has a first and last name and they harken from before the 1850's. They are either breeds or just White. It was very uncommon for Full bloods to have full names prior to this period...

To Be, continued...
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Last edited by Josiah; 11-16-2014 at 01:59 PM..
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