Library of Virginia Native American Resources

The Library of Virginia maintains many collections, and found within them are several Native American resources dating from colonial days.  This document describes those resources and tells you how and where to locate and access them.

Click to access ResourcesOnNativeAmericans.pdf

Posted in Virginia | 4 Comments

Native American Haplogroup C Update – Progress!!!

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Haplogroup C-P39 is the Native American branch of Y DNA paternal haplogroup C.  It’s rare as chicken’s teeth.  Most Native American males fall into haplogroup Q, making our haplogroup C-P39 project participants quite unusual and unique.  So are the tools needed to identify branches on the Native American haplogroup C tree.

Last week, Family Tree DNA added a group of 9 SNPs found in haplogroup C to their product offering.  This was done without an announcement and without any fanfare – but it’s really important.  Without the ongoing support of Family Tree DNA, we wouldn’t have the Big Y test, nor the refining SNP tests that can be added to the Big Y in areas where the results are ambiguous.  Individuals who don’t want to purchase the Big Y can purchase these haplogroup defining SNPs individually as well.

  • Z30503
  • Z30601
  • FGC21495
  • Z30750
  • Z30764
  • PF3239
  • Z30729
  • FGC263
  • FGC31712

However, because haplogroup C-P39 is so rare – and to date – we have found several new SNPs in every man who has taken the Big Y test – and because those new, never before discovered SNPs are the bread crumbs that we need to follow to discover how our ancestors settled and dispersed across the Americas – we strong recommend the Big Y test at Family Tree DNA for all C-P39 men.  The Big Y test doesn’t just look at known SNP locations, it scans the entire Y chromosome for mutations.  Therefore, it’s both a genealogy and a research tool.

To that end, we very much want to fund this testing from the project coffers where necessary to advance our understanding.  Just to whet your appetite, we have participants now across Canada and also in the American Southwest.  We desperately want these men to take the Big Y test so we can get a much clearer picture of how they are related, and how many mutations they have individually – but don’t share – because that is how we estimate when they last shared a common ancestor.  In other words, the mutations build the branches of the tree.

This week, we’ve ordered another new C-P39 Big Y test.  If you are C-P39 – Native American haplogroup C – and have not yet taken the Big Y – please consider doing so.

If you are Native American and haplogroup C – please join the C-P39 and the American Indian projects.  You can do so from your home page at Family Tree DNA by clicking on the “Projects” tab at the upper left of your personal page, then on “join projects.”  You can search for the word “Indian” in the project list to find the American Indian project and scrolling down to the Y haplogroup projects and clicking on C will take you to the C-P39 link.

project join

If you can contribute to funding these Big Y tests, please do – even small amounts help.  The link to donate directly to the C-P39 project is:

Each individual who takes the Big Y test is also encouraged to upgrade to 111 markers.  We need as much information as we can get.

Marie Rundquist and I are co-administrators of the C-P39 project, and she wrote the following verbiage in honor of the 5 year anniversary of the first discovery of what is now C-P39 in the Native Community.  We, as a community, have come a very long way in just 5 years!

It was in 2010, five years ago, when Keith Doucet first tested for the C P39 Y DNA (formerly C3b) Native American DNA type in the Amerindian Ancestry out of Acadia Family Tree DNA study — with numbers of Doucets (and Doucettes!) having the same, Native American, C P39 Y DNA result.  It’s amazing when you think of our journey and how much this research has benefitted our knowledge of our history in North America!

Who can ever forget Keith Doucet’s discovery?

Or Emile Broome’s Y DNA discovery, also from 2010?

…and the subsequent discoveries of related Doucets and Doucettes and other project members from all regions of the US and Canada who tested in our project and whose results showed the same Native American C P39 Y DNA haplogroup type?

There is great similarity among the DNA test results for our C P39 Y DNA candidates despite differences in geographic locations and surnames, with testers from across the United States, including the American Southwest, the North East, the South, and Canada compared.  Initial Big Y DNA test results for project members have shown remarkable similarity as well.  Additional Big Y test results for tests underway and the availability of 9 new SNPs for our project members help us discover whether this trend is amplified by the additional tests or if we (the C P39 Y DNA project) can distinguish downstream uniqueness among our participants. The C P39 Y DNA test has received the generous support of its members, Family Tree DNA leadership and scientists, product managers, and volunteer administrators in establishing our superior C P39 Y DNA baseline and we are grateful for your support.

Visit the C P39 Y DNA project site to learn more.

Thank you to our project members for your continued participation!  And thank you to Family Tree DNA for their ongoing dedication, research and support.  Collectively, we discover more of our history every day!

If you haven’t tested, and would like to, please test through Family Tree DNA so that you can join the Native American focused projects there.  Here’s an article that will help you decide which test or tests are best for you to take.  Proving Native American Ancestry Using DNA

If you’d like to take a DNA test, click here.

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Posted in DNA | 3 Comments

Amelia County, VA Tithables 1737-1739 Indians

This 1738 transcription by Robert Young Clay contains, as did the 1737 list previously published, three lists which appear to cover the entire territory. In 1738 we find two Indians listed: Indian Will under William Walthal in the area between Deep and Flat creeks and Indian Jack with Sarah Crawley in the precinct below Deep Creek.  William Walthal does not appear in the 1737 list. Indian Jack is found with William Crawley in 1737. Robert Evans who appeared with Robin, Indian, in 1737 appears alone in 1738.

The Indians listed with George Booker and at Peter Mitchel’s quarter in 1737 do not appear in 1738. The 1739 Amelia tithables include Peter Mitchels Indian Robert but in 1739, no other individuals are noted as Indian.

A number of the tithables were labeled Negro, others were not labeled. All appear to be slaves.

Since the law passed in 1705 specifically stated that all males over the age of sixteen and all Negro, mulatto and Indian women sixteen or older would be taxed, it is possible that those not labeled either Negro or Indian were mulattos. However, a comparison of the 1737 list with this list shows that the label Negro was consistently applied in the list above Flat Creek, rarely applied in the list for the area between Flat Creek and Deep Creek and erratically applied in the list below Deep Creek. While the first two lists were consistent between the two years, the last list was inconsistent with the label being applied to a group one year and not the next. Thus the use of the word Negro appears to have been more a practice of the individual tax taker than anything else.

Published in the Va Gen Soc Vol 35, pages 66, 70, 73, 127, 128.

Posted in Slaves, Virginia | 3 Comments

Fincastle Co., VA 1773 Delinquent Tax List

Published in the Va Gen Soc volume 35 from 1997, pages 8-12

Fincastle County, Virginia1773 Delinquent Tax Lists, transcribed by Julia M. Case

When Fincastle County was created from Botetourt County in 1772, it included the present state of Kentucky, all of West Virginia south of the Kanawha and New rivers and Virginia west of the crest of the Blue Ridge and essentially south of present Roanoke and Craig counties. In 1777 Fincastle was divided into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky counties. Its records were retained by Montgomery County which explains why these delinquent accounts are found among the Montgomery County delinquent lists.

Since the present state of Kentucky was a part of Fincastle County at this time, the Indian land referenced was probably in Tennessee or Ohio.

Please note that I have included all occurrences of any surname that is listed by any individual as “Indian land.”

David Collins Indian Land 1

Sam Collins Indian Land 2

Elisha Collins 1

John Collins 1

Lewis Collins 1

Ambrose Collins 1

John Collins Junr 1

George Couch Indian Land 1

Geo. Collins Indian Land 1

Cha:” Collins ditto (above says Indian land)

Micajah Bunch Indian Land 1

James Colliins 2

Please note that Fincastle County is now an extinct county.  In 1776, it was abolished and became Montgomery and Washington Counties in Virginia and Kentucky County which would eventually become the state of Kentucky.

Posted in Virginia | 4 Comments

Meherrin Settlement History

Mosely 1733 Meherrin

The 1733 Edward Moseley map of North Carolina, above, shows the Meherrin Indian Village to the left.

Colonial Records of North Carolina – October the 28th 1726

This day was Read at the Board the Petition of the Maherrin Indians Shewing that they have lived and Peaceably Enjoyed the said Towne where they now live for such a Space of Time as they humbly conceive Entitles them to an Equitable Right in the same that They have not only lived there for many years but long before there were any English Settlements near that place or any notion of Disputes known to them concerning the dividing bounds between this Countrey and Virginia and have there made large Improvements after their manner for the better Support and maintenance of themselves and Families by their Lawfull and Peaceable Industry

Notwithstanding which Colonel William Maule and Mr. William Gray have lately intruded upon them and have Surveyed their said Towne and cleared Gounds on pretence that it lys in this Government and that the said Indians have allways held it as Tributaries to Virginia. which is not so Praying this Board to take them into their Protection as their faithfull and Loyall Tributaries and to Secure to them a Right and Property in the said Towne with such a convenient Quantity of Land adjoyning to it to be laid off, by meets and Bounds as to them shall seem meet.

Then allso was Read the Petition of sundry Inhabitants Living near the said Indians Shewing That Sundry Familys of the Indians called the Maherrin Indians have lately Encracht and Settled on their Land which they begg Leave to Represent with the true account of those Indians who are not original Inhabitants of any Lands within this Government but were formerly called Susquahannahs and Lived between Mary Land and  Pensilvania and comitting several Barbarous Massacrees and Outrages there Killing as ’tis Reported all the English there Settled excepting Two Families they then drew off and fled up to the head of Potomack and there built them a fort being pursued by Mary Land and Virginia Forces under the Comand of One Major Trueman who beseiged the fort Eight months but at last in the night broke out thro the main Guard and drew off round the heads of several Rivers and passing them high up came in to this Country and Setled at old Sapponie Towne upon Maherrin River near where Arthur Cavenah now lives but being disturbed by the Sapponie Indians they drew downe to Tarraro Creek on the same River where Mr. Arthur Allens Quarters is, afterwards they were drove thence by the Jennet Indians down to Bennets Creek and Settled on a Neck of Land afterwards called Maherrin Neck because these Indyans came downe Maherron River and after that they began to take the name of Maherrin Indians, but being known the English on that side would not Suffer them to live there, then they removed over Chowan River and Settled at Mount Pleasant where Capt. Downing now lives but being very Troublesome there one Lewis Williams drove them higher up and got an order from the overnment that they should never come on the So. side of Wickkacones Creek and they Settled at Catherines Creek a place since called Little Towne but they being still Mischievous by order of the Government Collonel Pollock brought in the Chief of them before the Governor and Council And they were then Ordered by the Government never to appear on the South side of Maherrin, They Then pitcht at the mouth of Maherrin River on the North side since called old Maherrin Towne where they afterwards Remained tho they were never Recieved or became Tributaries to this Government nor ever assisted the English in their Warrs against the Indians but were on the contrary very much Suspected to have assisted the Tuskarooroes at the Massacree. The Baron De Graffen Reed offering his Oath that one Nick Major in Particular being one of the present Maherrin Indians Satt with the Tuscarooroes at his Tryall and was among them when Mr. Lawson the Surveyor Genl. was killed by them So that these Maherrins were not originally of this Country but Enemies to the English every where behaving themselves Turbulently and never lookt on as True men or Friends to the English nor ever paid due acknowledgement to this Government. Some years agoe Col. Maule the then Surveyor Genl. obtained an Order to Survey the Lands at old Maherrin Towne which was accordingly done and Pattented afterwards since that they have paid Tribute to this Government and have been allowed by the Government to remain on those Lands. But since that a great Sickness coming among them Swept off the most of them, and those that remained moved off those Lands at Maherrin Towne and sundry at them have lately Seated their Timber and Stocks and hindring them from Improving their Lands they being unwilling themselves forcibly to Remove the said  Indians least some disorders might arise thereon praying an order to the Provost Marshall That if the said Indians do not Remove off in some convenient time they may be Compelled thereto etc.

Whereupon by the consent of both Parties It is ordered in Council That the Surveyor Genl. or his Deputy do lay out unto the said Indians a certain parcell of Land lying between Maherrin River and BlackWater River Runing three Miles up Blackwater River and then a Streight Line to such a part of Maherrin River as shall be Two miles from the mouth thereof and if the same Line shall leave out the Settlement of Capt. Roger a Maherrin Indian that then the Surveyor do lay out a Tract of 150 acres the most Convenient to his Dwelling. Which Lands when Surveyed, the Surveyor is to make return thereof into the Secretarys Office that Grants may pass for the same to the said Indians. It is further Ordered by this Board that the said Indians shall Quietly hold the said Lands without any molestation or disturbance of any Persons claming the same so as the same Persons Right or pretentions to the said Lands be Reserved unto them Whereby they or those claiming under them shall have the preferrence of taking up the same when the said Indians shall desart or remove therefrom.

The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Second Series – Volume VII – Records of the Executive Council – 1674-1734, pages 167-169.  Editor Robert J. Cain – Department of Cultural Resources Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina 1984

Posted in Jennet Indians, Meherrin, Saponi, Susquehanna, Tuscarora | Leave a comment

Department of Interior, Indian Affairs, Hiring a Genealogist

The NGS website announced this week an opening at the Department of Interior, Indian Affairs, for a genealogist in the Washington DC vicinity.  Let’s hope that whoever they hire also understands, and I mean really understands, DNA testing – as they assuredly will be bombarded with questions about how DNA testing pertains to Native people and their descendants.

bia genealogist2.jpg

DNA testing has the potential to be beneficial to applicants in the process of requesting federal recognition.  DNA testing and those results are now a permanent part of the genealogy landscape.  Let’s hope that the new BIA genealogist knows how to utilize them properly when evaluating genealogy.

This looks like a really good career opportunity for someone.  Is that someone you?

Posted in Bureau of Indian Affairs | 4 Comments

Virginia Governor Spotswood’s Letter Regarding the Tuscarora War

From the Preston Davis papers:

Found in these historic papers is a letter from Virginia’s Governor Spotswood to the King of England giving his perspective on the Tuscarora War – and who was involved.  It has long been speculated that the Seneca played a role in this event – which appears to be confirmed by Spotswood’s letter.


Febru: 27th 1711

Letter from Govr. Spotswood to his Excellency

You have no doubt heard of the Massacre committed last Fall in North Carolina by their neighboring Indians, since which they have very much distressed the Inhabitants of that province by burning their houses and destroying their Corn and stocks, and forcing the people to betake themselves to Garrisons for their own Safety: And all the news I can send you from hence, is that about the beginning of this month a body of 700 of the South Carolina Indians commanded by one Collo. Bamwell fell upon those Rogues, and cutt off six towns of the Tuscaroras, and are now in Search of the rest: They have taken abundance of prisoners and found among them a considble. Booty of English goods, and by this blow have I hope disappointed their designs of carrying on a formal War against the Province and us, in conjunction with the Senequas inhabiting your Frontier, who ’tis said prompted them to this Villany by promises of supplys of Arms and Ammunition from your Governmt., and of the Assistance of the whole Strength of that Nation. There were about thirty of the Senequas among them, some few days before Collo. Bamwell arrived, who its like have had the same Fate with the rest. I once expected to have had a share in cutting off those Indians. Our Assembly having voted twenty thousand pound for that service; but after consulting the means how to raise it they found it too large for their purses, and instead of going on as they began thought of nothing more than how to get off that hasty Resolution; In order to which they fell upon raising Funds prejudicial to the service of Great Brittain, which I could not consent to, and so that project dropp’d and I have been obliged to dissolve our Lower house, finding them runing into fruitless Contests with the Upper House about Points which they could not well defend. I am with great Truth & Esteem

Sir Your Most Obedient

Humble Servant

A Spotswood

Source: Mag of Va Genealogy Vol 36#2, page 145

Posted in Seneca, Tuscarora | 1 Comment

The Removal of the Cherokee from Georgia

Two books, volumes 1 and 2, were written by Wilson Lumpkin (1783-1870).

Lumpkin bore a very active role in the removal of the Cherokee, so his books are written from first hand experience, albeit a bit biased.  Lumpkin believed that the two cultures could not leave together peacefully based upon early experiences where his family was “exposed…to frequent depredations from hostile and savage Indian neighbors,”  according to his autobiography.  Lumpkins was born in 1783 in Pittsylvania County, VA, near the Dan River.

The copyright has expired and you can read these books online or download them for free.

Hat tip to Yvonne.

Posted in Cherokee | 1 Comment

Antiquities of the Southern Indians, Particularly of the Georgia Tribes

This book, by Charles Jones, written in 1873, is extremely interesting and reveals a great deal about the culture of these tribes.  There are areas that discuss conjurers, marriage and divorce, government, social relations, tools, burials and documentation of mounds.

Very interesting.

This book can be downloaded or read online for free

Hat tip to Yvonne.

Posted in Catawba, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Edistoes, Natchez, Savannah, Seminole, Stonoes, Westoes, Yamasee | 1 Comment

Norfolk County, Virginia Indians on 1851 Free Negro Register

In Norfolk County, Virginia court on Jan. 29, 1833 – “On the motion of Mr. Murdaugh, Resolved, That the comittee for courts of Justice be instructed to inquire into the expediency of authorizing the county courts to grant certificates to the descendants of indians and other persons of mixed blood, who are not free negroes or mulattoes, in like manner as certificates of freedom are granted to free negroes and mulattoes, which certificates shall exempt such persons from the penalties in force against free negroes and mulattoes.”

This practice remained in force in Norfolk County until 1850, at which time Indians were included in the Register of Free Negroes and mulattoes with the notation that they were Indians and were excluded from paying the tax placed upon free Negroes and mulattoes in order to fund repatriation to Africa. Understandably the American Indians, East Indians, and Gypsies had no interest in going “back” to Africa.

1851 Norfolk County Free Negro Register

# 1599 Samuel Harman – 25 yrs, 5 ft 6 – Indian complexion with a small scar near the Corner of the right eye from a cut.  How free – Indian descent – Jany 25, 1851, Jany 27, 1851 no tax

# 1600  Edward Harman – 22 yrs, 5 ft 8 1/2 – Indian complexion with a large scar….. How Free – Indian descent – no tax

# 1603 Enoch T. Bass – 21, 5 ft 9 – Indian complexion with several marks of India ink On the back of the left hand …… How Free – Indian descent – Janry 25 1851 Janry 30 1851

# 1604 Southall Bass – 22, 5 ft 8 ¾ – Indian complexion with a scar…… How Free – Indian descent

# 1620 Noah Nickens – 56, 5 ft 9” – Indian complexion with a scar under the lip…. How Free – Indian descent – Directed to be certified 22 April 1851 Registered & copied 3 May 1851

# 1621 Elvin Bass – 28, 5 ft 5 1/2” – complexion, with a small scar….. How Free: Indian descent – Ditto dates for Noah Nickens

From the work of Helen R. Rountree.


Posted in Virginia | 1 Comment