Evolution of Native Names – the Shaw Family in Michigan

Michigan’s Native people did not bear the full force of early contact with Europeans.  Many Native people were still living in Michigan, in their tribal units, speaking their own language, in the 1800s, even into the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Records do exist, in many cases, which allow us to take a look at the evolution of Native names.

When I’m working with the WWI draft records, and I see a grouping of names, I always know I have a family unit of some type and it’s not an aberration.  When I see three or four people, scattered between counties, I always wonder why.  Here’s an example using the Shaw family

WWI Draft Registration Cards – 1917-1918 – registered as Indian

 Adam Shaw b 1886 registered Lake Co., Mi.

 John Thomas Shaw b 1890 Mi registered Baraga Co., Mi.

 Aaron James Shaw b 1891 Mi registered Manistee Co., Mi.

These names are very similar.  They may or may not be a derivative of Shaw. 

 In Emmet Co., Mi.

Amos Mathew Shawa b 1884

Frank Shawan b 1882

I wanted to take a look at the various records that we do have to see what can be discovered about this surname.  Whatever lessons or trends we find can probably generally be applied to Native surnames in general.

Looking at the land allotment records from 1887, we can see that the surname Shaw was already in use then, in several counties among the Native people.  However, we can also see that Shaw was a portion of several other names spoken in the Native tongue.  It’s certainly possible that Shaw became a surname because it was part or all of a Native name and Shaw became the anglicized version.

Several land allotment records from this link are shown below.

http://www.mainlymichigan.com/nativedata/LandAllotments/Land.aspx

MI3210__.389 SHAW ADDISON C 10/22/1870 389 018N – 016W W½NW¼ 32 Mason General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3260__.406 SHAW ISAAC 5/27/1871   015N – 003W NW¼NW¼ 14 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3270__.088 SHAW JAMES 5/27/1871   015N – 004W W½SE¼ 11 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3270__.092 SHAW JOHNSON 5/27/1871   015N – 004W SW¼NW¼ 11 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3280__.033 SHAW JULIA 5/27/1871   016N – 003W SW¼SE¼ 35 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3240__.130 SHAW MARY 5/21/1873 1426 047N – 003W SE¼SW¼ 13 Chippewa General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3240__.130 SHAW MARY 5/21/1873 1426 047N – 003W SE¼NE¼ 15 Chippewa General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3280__.147 SHAW MARY 8/20/1872   015N – 003W SW¼NE¼ 10 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
958555 SHAW WILLIAM 04/30/1925 180 051N – 032W N½NE¼ 21 Baraga General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3240__.122 SHAW WILLIAM 5/21/1873 1418 047N – 003W E½NW¼ 13 Chippewa General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3270__.303 SHAW WILLIAM 5/27/1871   015N – 005W S½NW¼ 11 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3290__.014 SHAW WILLIAM 5/27/1871   015N – 004W E½SW¼ 11 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3300__.236 SHAW WILLIAM 12/14/1874   015N – 004W E½SW¼ 11 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3280__.187 SHAW BAN GE ZHICK ELIZA 8/20/1872   015N – 003W NE¼SW¼ 21 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3280__.465 SHAW BAW DAY   8/20/1872   016N – 003W NE¼NW¼ 35 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3270__.457 SHAW BAW DEECE   5/27/1871   016N – 003W SW¼NE¼ 9 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3280__.061 SHAW BAW SE GAY QUAY   8/20/1872   014N – 003W SW¼SE¼ 10 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3280__.358 SHAW BAY QUOM SARAH 8/20/1872   016N – 003W NW¼NW¼ 18 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3220__.415 SHAW BE CO SHING   1/13/1872 915 042N – 002W E½SW¼ 7 Mackinac General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3220__.306 SHAW BE GWAN SOPHIA 1/13/1872 806 037N – 006W SE¼NE¼ 12 Emmet General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3270__.300 SHAW BE NAY   5/27/1871   015N – 005W S½SE¼ 10 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3230__.210 SHAW BE QUAM DAVID 6/26/1872 1210 031N – 011W SE¼SW¼ 23 Leelanau General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3210__.162 SHAW BE QUO UM   10/22/1870 162 015N – 016W SE¼SW¼ 25 Oceana General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3270__.233 SHAW BE QUO UM MATHEW 5/27/1871   015N – 004W E½NW¼ 29 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3260__.210 SHAW BE QUO UM THOMAS 5/27/1871   014N – 005W SE¼NE¼ 17 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3270__.006 SHAW BE QUO UM THOMAS 5/27/1871   015N – 003W E½SW¼ 35 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3210__.253 SHAW BE QUO UNG MOSES 10/22/1870 253 016N – 016W S½NW¼ 21 Oceana General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3280__.051 SHAW BE QUON ELIZABETH 8/20/1872   014N – 003W NW¼NE¼ 3 Isabella General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3240__.103 SHAW BE YEA PETER 5/21/1873 1399 048N – 002E SW¼NW¼ 34 Chippewa General Allotments Feb. 8 1887 – Dawes Act
MI3240__.103 SHAW BE YEA PETER

The Durant Rolls from 1870/1908 returned 10 pages of names that included the word “shaw.”  Both the name Shaw and Shawan were shown.

http://www.mainlymichigan.com/nativedata/DurantRoll/Default.aspx

51 5 6437 SHAW ADAM         23 Grand River M   CHIPPEWA LAKE STATION Osceola    
60 12 HOF SHAW ADDISON C           Grand River       Unknown    
5 25 3828 SHAW CLARA           Sault Ste. Marie F   BRIMLEY Chippewa    
5 8 5913 SHAW CLARISSA         61 Sault Ste. Marie F     Unknown    
20 40 6116 SHAW EDWARD       6114 12 Traverse M   CROSS VILLAGE Emmet    
5 25 5858 SHAW FRANCES       5856 6 Sault Ste. Marie F   L’ANSE Baraga    
5 25 5914 SHAW FRANK         24 Sault Ste. Marie M   OSHKOSH, WISCONSIN Out of State    
20 40 6115 SHAW IDA       6114 15 Traverse F   CROSS VILLAGE Emmet    
1 1 5855 SHAW JACOB         35 Sault Ste. Marie M   ODANAH, WISCONSIN Out of State    
5 25 5856 SHAW JULIA         33 Sault Ste. Marie F CRANE – maiden L’ANSE Baraga    
51 5 6438 SHAW LIZZIE         16 Grand River F   MT PLEASANT SCHOOL Isabella    
5 25 5857 SHAW LOUIS       5856 13 Sault Ste. Marie M   L’ANSE Baraga    
5 25 HOF SHAW LOUIS           Sault Ste. Marie       Unknown    
20 40 6114 SHAW REGINA         35 Traverse F ODEIMIN – maiden CROSS VILLAGE Emmet    
5 25 5859 SHAW SARAH       5856 4 Sault Ste. Marie F   L’ANSE Baraga    
5 8 5912 SHAW SUSAN         63 Sault Ste. Marie F   SAULT STE MARIE Chippewa    
5 8 HOF SHAW THOMAS           Sault Ste. Marie       Unknown    
5 18 HOF SHAW WILLIAM           Sault Ste. Marie       Unknown    
8 5 4851 SHAWAN ANGELINE 4850       50 Sault Ste. Marie F OSAYWAWMICK – married DRUMMOND ISLAND Chippewa    
8 5 5094 SHAWAN CECELIA           Sault Ste. Marie F PINE – married GARDEN RIVER, CANADA Unknown    
20 21 6092 SHAWAN FRANCIS     6090 6091 26 Traverse M   CROSS VILLAGE Emmet    
20 39 6092 SHAWAN FRANCIS     6090 6091 26 Traverse M   CROSS VILLAGE Emmet    

From the records above, and the list of Halfbreeds, below, it looks like we might well have several sources for the eventual surname Shaw.  One source could indeed be a European male, given that the name appears on the list of halfbreeds.  Several native names inclusive of the word or syllable shaw could have evolved into the surname Shaw.  Only DNA testing would tell us definitively how many sources we have for this surname and this could potentially be affected by matrilineal naming practices.  Regardless of the genesis, it’s apparent that Shaw was a very early Ottawa/Chippewa name in Michigan.

Looking at the 1836 list of Halfbreed Ottawa and Chippewa, we find Shaw there as well.

https://nativeheritageproject.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

110 Shaw Thomas   1   33 Sault Ste. Marie 33 1/2 Chippewa Admitted 305.89 Thomas Shaw Near relation of the chief at Ste. Marie
111 Shaw Mary   1   30 Sault Ste. Marie 15 1/2 Chippewa Admitted 305.89 Thomas Shaw Wife of Thomas Shaw & related to one of the sub chiefs
112 Shaw William   1   6 Sault Ste. Marie 6 1/2 Chippewa Admitted 305.89 Thomas Shaw Child of Nos. 110 & 111
113 Shaw Sarah   1   2 Sault Ste. Marie 2 1/2 Chippewa Admitted 305.89 Thomas Shaw Child of Nos. 110 & 111

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Chippewa, Michigan, Military, Ottawa. Bookmark the permalink.

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