The Native Heritage project is an ongoing effort to document the Native American people as they obtained surnames and entered recorded history in the continental United States.
As a genetic genealogist and historian, many people seek to find their Native ancestors, only to run up against both brick walls and a plethora of myths, some of which are true, and some of which are not.
I am the volunteer administrator of the American Indian Project at Family Tree DNA. https://www.familytreedna.com/public/AmericanIndian/default.aspx
Many people discover that they have Native heritage via DNA testing but have no way to connect their surname with Native records an any location.
This project seeks to documents people who are Native in existing records. To do this, I’m taking the following steps:
1. I’m collecting every instance of documents where Native people have surnames in some record that states they are Native, of Native descent, or have Native heritage. Initially I’ve focused on the primary areas of Virginia, NC and SC and the Eastern Seaboard states. These, for the most parts, are tribes that were annihilated. Tribes west of the Mississippi were often able to maintain their tribal and cultural heritage after those east of the Mississippi has all but disappeared.
2. I’m matching the list generated by item 1 against people who are haplogroups Q and C, which are Native, to find a matches between the two lists.
3. Ultimately, I’d like to combine that information, above, with historical research that maps oldest ancestor of those who are genetically Native and village/tribe locations and perhaps, in time, we can find a correlation and a way to tell which tribe someone is descended from.
This is an unbelievable amount of work. I’ve been at it almost 10 years now. Much of my early work was in documenting mixed race migrations and historical reading and references documenting early tribal locations.
I am maintaining a separate page that shows resources I have already accessed. If you have any record of a person that shows their Native ancestry, with documentation, please contact me. I’d love to give them a voice by including their record in the project.
If you would like to take a DNA test to help document your heritage, click here.