Taylor Family Research – A Fine Example

One of our blog followers posted a link to the Taylor family research page in a comment.  I took a look, and it’s a really good example.

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~craventaylors/

I wanted to point out three things.

Widen the Net

First, this kind of “surround and conquer” research is necessary, not just for Native research, for which the records can be painfully scarce, but for non-Native research as well.  Some folks call this widening the net.  When I’m researching a surname in a particular area, I use every available resource and make a spreadsheet of all occurrances of the name – including seemingly unimportant things like when someone that surname witnesses wills or deeds.  Those hints can tie the family to another family, and a location, which may turn out to be VERY important.  So, sometimes the sum of the parts is the most important piece, especially if there is no “smoking gun” for your ancestor.

Cluster Mapping

taylor cluster mapThis leads me to my second point and that is the important of mapping.  I spent about 5 years doing this type of research on the Estes, Moore and Combs families of Halifax Co., VA.  In the end, mapping groups of families and where they lived turned out to be key to recreating or assembling those families, which turned out to be the key to determining which family my John R. Estes belonged to.  The Taylor cluster map along with its key is excellent.

Native Research

The third point I’d like to make is related to Native research.  Native people were not born with English names.  English names were assigned to them in some fashion.  Often, they adopted the name of someone they respected, a trusted neighbor or someone with whom they had forged a “brother” relationship.  In this case, the first Taylor mentioned was King Taylor, a Native man, in 1711.  He had to have obtained the name Taylor from someplace.  I typically survey the neighborhood as well as looking at traders.  Sure enough, the second mention is of another Taylor, Jacob, a claimant as a result of the Tuscarora War, which occurred between 1711 and 1713, implying that he was of European heritage.  So, it’s possible that Jacob was in the area when King Taylor obtained his name.  Additional research might shed more light on this subject, or not.

One conclusion that cannot be reached is that because King Taylor and Jacob Taylor, or any other European Taylor, shared a surname implies that they were related.  Surnames were adopted by, or given to, Native people for any number of reasons and in any number of ways.

Another issue is that even if a Native person carried a European style name, such as John Taylor, for example, that doesn’t mean his sons carried the surname Taylor.  Many Native tribes were matrilineal and they did not use their European name within the tribe, only when dealing with Europeans.  So their sons could have adopted different surnames.  In other words, we cannot assume the traditional surname continuity when dealing with Native people, especially not during the time when European names were first adopted, but they were still living in tribal cultural units.

After intermarriage, assimilation and adoption of European customs, surnames were typically passed in a European fashion, but when that occurred varied widely by location, tribe and family.

Additional Taylor Records

Checking my Taylor records in the Native Names project, I found a couple more items that may be relevant to the Taylor family.

In 1704, a Thomas Taylor was living adjacent the Yawpim Indians on the North side of the Albemarle Sound when he was authorized with other men to lay out a 4 mile square parcel of land for the Indians.  This could be the person from whom the Indians adopted the Taylor surname.

In 1733 on the Mosely map, a Taylor family is settled in Beaufort County, near Beaufort Town as well.

In 1766 and again in 1769, a William Taylor signed as a Tuscarora chief in Bertie County on land sale documents.

I found this Taylor page that summarizes the early records, creates a cluster map and referenced DNA testing (even though some of the DNA info is a bit out of date) to be a great research format and I certainly wish that all of my family lines had a page like this.  Kudos to the Taylor family and webmaster!!!

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About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Tuscarora, Yawpim. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Taylor Family Research – A Fine Example

  1. I’m defended from a James Taylor Sr. He was born on 1740 in Craven County, North Carolina. I don’t know if he was a Tuscarora or not. He married Sarah Daugherty on January 10, 1784, in Craven County, North Carolina. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.

    • leigh Anne pollard says:

      Hello, My name is Leigh Anne and I am Poarch Creek Indian. I live on the reservation. I just wanted to say that I recognize the last name Daughtry. There are several people I know with that last name that are Poarch CReek Indian. Look up Poarch creek Indian Poarch Ala.

      • Sean Morrissey says:

        It is concluded that James and Sarah were not Michael W. Taylor’s parents. Michael’s mother was either Susannah or Mary with whom he was living with in the same household when he was 1 years old. I suspect that Michael was mixed-blood Tuscarora, but I can’t prove it.

  2. Lisa M Sutton says:

    Ok my grandmaw Sutton had a wedding day steal plate photo of Taylor marriage to a full blooded American Indian which she said was a Blackfoot Indian and Taylor was as white as they come with blonde hair and blue eyes which was my grandmother’s 5th removed grand paw and grand mother and i started getting white hair at 14yrs old and since no one in my immediate family went grey early shestated that i got it from her great Aunt who was full blooded Apache and sure enough my youngest son is going grey early like me but his beard is growing in red reddish brown with black hair and there is a sub tribe of Lipan Apache that were known for having red beards. And there was a Sutton man who married into the Cherokee nation and some where along the line they married and thus i have the last name Sutton but my Grandmaw was from south Texas and owned a big ranch that way back was the Texas bloodiest civil fued between family’s ; no doubt the Sutton’s and the Taylor’s so that’s what i know about were you got the American Indian DNA from my grandmother’s name was Helen Sutton don’t know her maiden name though

    • Lisa M Sutton says:

      She had 2 sons Harry & Joseph and 1 daughter Rosalia Sutton,I am the youngest daughter of Joseph William Sutton i have 2 older sister’s Jo Ann Sutton and Angela Sutton

  3. got2bjb says:

    Could this Possibly be the, Well….. I call them the Haddock Taylor’s? It’s a little hard for me to determine Due to the fact I have Three different Taylor lines. I do however have one line of Taylor’s that I can relate the Surname Estes to. Actually 4 cousins That connect The Surnames Taylor & Estes. I know My Taylor Family had obtained a lot of land between Virginia and Pitt County. There also related to Bishop, Jones, Deale, Mills

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