Sunday, January 18, 2009

Native American Research

Been trying to track down some ancestors in my husband's lines that were Native Americans-don't know which tribe yet but it's been fascinating studying their history. Learned so much about our early American history too. It gives you a sense of where you fit in and how much things are changing and developing in our day and age. Ran into a new term for me "freedmen" seems these were slaves that were freed or became free men after the Civil War. Also found out that the Indian tribes had black slaves and intermarried with blacks as well as whites. 

It was accepted because of the lack of white or caucasian women in the wild west that white men would intermarry with Native American women. Many early trappers did this. Intermarriage served two purposes for men-getting a wife and also being accepted into her tribe and being able to get land that way. It was rare that a white woman would marry a Native American man. No blacks and whites intermarried.

Nowadays we have blurred those lines and are overcoming hopefully our past racial prejudices. I know when I was in high school one of my best girl friends married a black man. It was a shocking thing in those days and their biracial children were discriminated against. They have now been happily married almost fifty years. So glad we are moving forward and welcoming a new President who has pushed back the racial barrier that Lincoln fought so hard to destroy-slavery of one  man by another. On to the celebration of new more promising days for America.


  1. I don't know too much about this topic, but it's a fascinating one for sure, getting into the roots of US history. I have read some accounts both in Canada and the US where many early explorers and non-military supply personnel would "marry" local aboriginal women, but later, instead of staying with the tribe as you mentioned, once they had established themselves, either imported a white woman from the east to begin a "real" family, or they returned east with their fortunes to do the same, in both cases simply abandoning their former common-law spouses and children. Makes for a very intriguing history, but really tangles the web of genealogy. It's good that racial barriers are coming down, and it's also good that women have gained much better standing!

  2. Thank you for the references Lin. I went and read about the Cherokee nation as my daughter's boyfriend has some part Native. It is really sad to read how they were run off their land on the eastern seaboard and had to go to the west where they were persecuted some more. What ever gives someone the idea that they are better than another..sad...

  3. I learn so much from your genealogy posts.

    I am glad your friend and her husband have enjoyed 50 years of marriage. I watched the pre-inaugural event at the Lincoln Memorial today, and it brought me to tears more than once. Such a well-orchestrated, inclusive, exciting event. Beautiful through and through. Come what may, it feels good to feel hope now.

  4. This is a very good post, Lin. And, THanks for the links, I'll check them out. I do believe my dad's mother was part Cherokee, I'll have to ask my brother to be sure I'm right.

  5. Deborah's comments about the explorers who married native women and then abandoned them and their children made me sad. I wonder what became of them?

    You once again have shared an interesting and informative post.

    My children grew up with a bi-racial girl who lived four or five doors doors from us. She was an adorable little girl who grew into a dazzling young woman. She didn't seem to suffer from any discrimination. (and we were living in Utah) Her mother and father were accepted in our neighborhood and at one point her dad, Terry, was the neighborhood hero. President elect Obama grew up in the same time frame as your friend's children and didn't seem to suffer from much discrimination either. I think things were healing in our nation even then. Perhaps that is when the promise for a brighter future was forming. It was an embryo to be sure... but the seed was there. We've made this giant step towards brotherhood, and we can all be excited and proud. Obama pushed pack the racial barriers by running for office... the people of our nation pushed them back even further by electing him. My appreciation goes not just to him... but to all who supported him and who will support him the days ahead. This is the realization of the promise... the birth of the embryonic seed.