Do you have a persistent story of Native American heritage in your family?
Mark Green’s wife did. Her ancestor Nancy Pittman’s mother was supposed to be a Cherokee Indian. If your family was from the south, chances are you have some similar story.
Mark tracked her story both through DNA and the Cherokee records. Her DNA showed 1% Native Ancestry, but the records pertaining to the Guion-Miller Roll provided additional information. It’s most interesting, because although the paperwork having to do with her 1907 application is ambiguous, with the application subsequently denied, the DNA, some 100 years and a few generations later, isn’t.
Here’s Mark’s article about the family story, his research and what he found. Sometimes a little footwork goes a long way – and there are lots of records available having to do with the Cherokee and 5 Civilized Tribes who were removed to Oklahoma.
My family has this story too. My g-g-grandfather born 1812 in Mulberry Gap, TN said that his mother was an Indian – a Cherokee. Most of his grandchildren and g-grandchildren and some g-g-‘s had/have the look of a Native American. But it is not showing up in the DNA.
My family history is some what the same. I have copies of enrollment applications for relatives in my family from 1906 to 1910. I have copies of records from the Cherokee Indian Agency (TN) 1801,
listing my ancestor. In 1792 he is listed as living at what is now the area of Kingston, Tennessee,(then called South West Point). My family oral history was that we were decendants of Cherokee
people that lived in and around Hawkins and Green County Tennessee around 1780. The area today is part of Sullivan, Washington,and Blount County.
I was born in Sullivan County. My family still lives in east Tennessee.
I had my dna done, I don’t know how to determine what percentage is what. I do know I grew up with people who was Cherokee and not enrolled, nor was their grandmother or grandfather . This did not bother these people. It did not bother my grandfather.
So then sometimes I wonder , why do I care, why do I search through all these old records and read for hours . I have learn that the card will make no difference on who I am, but reading my family history , learning how they survived and lived . This showed me I am who they said I was.
I hope this might make sense to some.
The same thing happened with me and my search. I to took the DNA test and came up with little to no Indian ancestry, taken into the fact that I was also informed that any indian DNA 5 generations or older will not show up, so I guess there’s still a chance. I never knew DNA was that limited until I got involved and ended up with more questions than answers. Im from sc. I always just assumed my great aunt Lilly Norris was native American just based on her features and ways. As a young boy I was very much intrigued by her and interested in her. I would stay for weeks at a time in her run down shack in Tabor city nc. A one room little wood house just outside of town with a wood burning stove that served both as a stove and heater. I ate many a collard greens she grew in her back yard and corn bread cakes straight out of the grittle. She made her own quilts and bonnets and I never felt more comfortable or slept better than I did at her old cabin, dispite the cracks in the walls that let the moon light shine in at night. As I became a man I noticed my 1st cousins on my fathers side, dads sister Jill and her children looked like my aunt Lil. Where did they get there beautiful skin? So I started asking questions. Everyone living on my fathers side stated that they were always told that the indian blood came from the “Neelys” in our lineage. Latter I was put in touch with a common ancestor named “Joe West” through a local genealogist “Marion Banks McGee. Joe who lives in Colorado now has enough indian blood in him that he is affiliated with several tribes in rather high status. I contacted Joe and he told me a story Id never forget, but have never been able to substantiate either. Being from the south, especially the Carolinas where Indians lost there tribal identities yet continue to exist to this day that there was a band with the last name of “neely/nealy” that knew they were indian , yet had lost all tribal identity and were referred to as just the “Neely Indians of Tabor City NC.” Neely just happens to be my paternal great grand mother from Tabor City’s maiden name. After slavery was abolished the neely Indians took over the manual labor jobs on the Norris plantations and farms. According to Joe and how the story goes is that the Norris men took many of the Neely indian women for wifes etc., thus the so called story of the neely Indians and how I could have by paper a direct connect with Indian heritage. But again the DNA does not support this. Not in my case anyway. I guess the truth can be bitter to swallow sometimes. Anyone have a drink a water for me? Maybe one day in the near future DNA will not be limited to 5 generations. In closing as far as looking like a cowboy goes, don’t forget ole “Will Rogers” 1/2 indian as well as the late actor “Ben Johnson” also born on the osage reservation on Oklahoma was of Cherokee and irish decent. Both had been cowboys.
Good luck to all!
I had a GGGrandmother named Minnie Neely from the Carolinas that died in 1917 according to her death certificate. The certificate says she was born in 1886 to Andy and Synthia Neely, but I have not been able to find any record of either of them. Minnie’s husband’s name was not on the certificate, but I know he was a Johnson and they had 2 children. One was Anna, my GGrandmother. She didn’t remember much, just that she thought she lived on a reservation at one point. Her parents were school teachers and after her mother died when she was 4, her dad left her down here to stay with an aunt while he went to PA to find work and a place to live. He remarried someone from Shelby, NC and they all lived in PA. Im looking for any connections on the Neely side and would appreciate any information.
My Great Grandmother (my father’s Grandmother) was supposedly a full blooded Blackfoot Native American from somewhere in Northern America. She was a twin. And here first name is legally known as “Nealy”. My Great Grandfather, Dewitt Mills, brought her from up north down to Texas when they married – 1920’s, I think. My Nana, “Nealy”, has no birth certificate and there is no marriage certificate for here and my Papoo, Dewitt Mills. I remember her distinctly from my young child hood.
My Great Grandmother (my father’s Grandmother) was supposedly a full blooded Blackfoot Native American from somewhere in Northern America. She was a twin. And her first name is legally known as “Nealy”. My Great Grandfather, Dewitt Mills, brought her from up north down to Texas when they married – 1920’s, I think. My Nana, “Nealy”, has no birth certificate and there is no marriage certificate for her and my Papoo, Dewitt Mills. I remember her distinctly from my young childhood. She had a long grey braid, always. She let me sit in her lap and she would sing me songs and I would pick flowers from the field and bring them to her. She passed away when I was six and I would draw flowers for her on her birthday. She used to appear to me in my dreams. My family kept many of her Native American belongings after she and my Papoo passed. I am hoping I might be able to learn more about her and her tribe as I feel a very strong connection with Native American culture and way of life. Any ideas where to start??