Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Mandan

1832 painting of Mandan girl, Shakoka, by George Caitlin. The Mandan are arguably one of the most interesting of the Native tribes, in part, because of the persistent belief by some that they are not entirely Native….and haven’t been since … Continue reading

Posted in Mandan | 10 Comments

Tecumseh – Shooting Star – Panther Across the Sky

John and Eliza Tecumseh were the only two households in the Cherokee West 1869 census to use the surname of Tecumseh.  They are also listed as Mexican Indians.  Initially, I thought that Mexican Indians meant Indians who had joined the … Continue reading

Posted in Cherokee, Chickamauga, Creek, Shawnee | 3 Comments

Tassell – Corn, Old, Young and George

The name of Tassell is legendary in Cherokee history.  I’m not surprised to find three families using that surname in the 1869 Cherokee West census.  Better stated, I’m surprised there were only three families using that surname.  One used just the name … Continue reading

Posted in Cherokee | 8 Comments


In the 1869 Cherokee West Census, there are two families who took the surname Shotpouch.  It’s interesting that before the European settlement, the Indians didn’t have firearms, so the word shotpouch would have been culturally new to them, 200 years after … Continue reading

Posted in Cherokee, Cree, Names | 1 Comment


Most people have heard of Sequoyah.  He was arguably one of the most famous Cherokee.  He created a Cherokee alphabet in 1821, allowing the Cherokee language to be recorded and setting the stage for Cherokees to begin to be able … Continue reading

Posted in Cherokee | 16 Comments

Polly Cooper, Oneida Heroine

Polly Cooper was an Oneida woman who repeatedly helped the soldiers serving in the US military, beginning with the Revolutionary War.  US records neither confirm or deny this oral history – but the Oneida people treasure the shawl given Polly … Continue reading

Posted in Military, Oneida | 8 Comments

Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic Population

Congratulations to my co-authors Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson, and Janet Lewis Crain for the publication of our paper ‘Melungeons, A Multi-Ethnic Population’ published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy, an academically peer reviewed publication. I don’t know if many of our readers … Continue reading

Posted in Melungeon | 7 Comments


The slaves of the Cherokee who were freed after the Civil War were called the Freedmen.  Therefore, I expected the surname Freeman or similarly spelled names to be rampant in the 1869 Cherokee West Census but they weren’t.  Not only … Continue reading

Posted in Names | 28 Comments

Decisions, Decisions – What Constitutes a Native Name??

In these old records, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish a Native name versus a name that is being used as a last name, or a name in transition between the two.  It really doesn’t matter which records you’re working with, … Continue reading

Posted in Names | 1 Comment

Allison Family in the 1869 Cherokee West Census

The Allison family isn’t particularly unusual in these records, that’s why I’m using them for an example. There were 4 families with that surname.  We have no way of knowing if they are related to each other, based on the … Continue reading

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