Category Archives: Names


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


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

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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

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A Boy Named Sherry

In the 1917 draft registrations, I found the name of Sherry Poodry, born in 1896 and who registered for the draft in Genesee County, NY.  A first name like Sherry is typically a clue that I need to look at … Continue reading

Posted in Military, Names | 4 Comments

Cat Flying in Air – Kumshaka

Ok, so how did this guy get this name.  Sometimes I get these visual impressions as I read these records, sort of like when you’re reading a good book.  I used to have a friend who loved his cats, but … Continue reading

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Surname Reversion??

While working on the Emmet Co., Michigan death records, things started to fall into a pattern.  Most records groups are that way and you develope an understanding to some extent of how things were handled within a record grouping.  In … Continue reading

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Bet Ya Can’t Pick Just One….Name that is

Oh, my head hurts.  I’m busy transcribing away, working on the Massachusetts Indians who served in the Revolutionary War.  And then I find Joseph Nicholas Hawwawas. A long time ago, I learned that when I look at a record and … Continue reading

Posted in Massachusetts, Names | 3 Comments

Salt and Water

Some English translations of Native names are obvious.  And some, well, I’m left to believe that something just didn’t make it in the translation.  Here’s an example: Information on this page is from Index of Awards on Claims of the … Continue reading

Posted in Names, Seneca | 1 Comment

Names That Make Me Smile

Some of these Native names just make me smile. How about Grand John, a St. John’s Indian. Or Many Greets. How do you think that Pierre Joe Stutterer got his name? Or maybe, better yet, Sam Bananas.  Now you know … Continue reading

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Dual Names

Many Native people have surnames that are two words combined.  In some cases, how to index or categorize these names is obvious based on how the name is written.  For example, we have two people with the surname Blackhawk and in … Continue reading

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