Friday, October 30, 2015

Acceptance- when facts contradict Oral history

Grandpa always said he was part Cherokee. His grandma, a Choctaw said he was part Cherokee, so I was always willing to accept that. However, the facts don't seem to add up. I am blogging about this because I run across a lot of people who insist they must be Indian, because their ancestor had an oral history, or even because they applied. So I am going to show you a statement from my family where they did apply and tell you, it is not true. Just because I have this document doesn't change the facts. The information within the document is not the truth. Sometimes we have to take what we find with a grain of salt.

Here is a document I found for Edley Roger's son who applied as a Cherokee Citizen on the Dawes, and then on the Eastern Cherokee.

Sounds great, but Joseph Roger's the father of Edley never lived in Georgia. Edley lived in Georgia, his sister lived in Georgia, but Joseph Roger's did not. Joseph Roger's lived in what is now Lee County, Virginia and was probably born in Montgomery County, Virginia. Around 1805 he moved to Roane County, in the portion that would be Bledsoe County, and eventually Hamilton County. He got a land grant there with his brother in the Sequahatchie Valley. The land grant was recorded after his death.

DNA of  Joseph Roger's descendants show that Joseph is a son of Doswell Rogers by YDNA from Edley Roger's line and by autosomal DNA which links Joseph's descendants to more than one of the descendants of Doswell's other children and also to Thomas Rogers, the brother of Doswell. DNA is also showing a lot of DNA in common with the descendants of Elisha Wallen and Mary Blevins, indicating that most likely the wife of Doswell Rogers was a relative of Elisha Wallen and Mary Blevins (I believe probably a daughter.)

DNA is also showing a lot of DNA in common between Joseph Roger's descendants and the descendants of the Anderson family. This DNA is most likely coming from Susannah, the wife of Joseph, who most likely is the sister of Thomas Shye and the daughter of a female relative of John Anderson who resided in Montgomery County, VA.  Neither of these lines are Cherokee. Though some of the relatives we match claim to be Cherokee, they do so from the Sizemore line, and not from their Jones lineage in common with Susannah.

Since Edley Rogers parents both are showing DNA matches, we have to take what we have found, along with what we know, where they lived and the other documentation we have gathered and form an opinion. Mahala Roger's has an affidavit in this pack too. It says that her son got his Cherokee from her husband and not her. So that rules out that line completely. The papers say that Edley was 1/8 native American and that Joseph was 1/4. Yet, I haven't run across anything that suggests that either Elisha Wallen, Mary Blevins, Addenstone Rogers, or Catherine Doswell were native American. So if none of Joseph's grandparents are native American, how can he be 1/4? The answer is, he can't.

I have something similar on my Hager line. A grandson of Polly Whitley and Steely Hager claims to be native American, through Polly herself, yet we have found her family, and they were from North Carolina. Could there be Cherokee further back, yes, but the Hager who claimed they were Choctaw, claimed that Polly was a full blood, and she wasn't. So once again, just because someone filed a claim, doesn't make it true. In fact, all of his testimony in regards to Polly is false. I know that because irony of all ironies, he claims that her father was John Jones Sr, the white man who married Caty the widow of William Riddle.

I wanted to share this because I get bombarded with people who insist that something is true because of a Dawes file. It isn't always. If I can accept that in regards to my own family, then so can you.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Some of my favorite genealogy sites

Usually when I research, I have a bunch of windows open. Aside from my tree at ancestry and it's search functions, I normally am also using Whether its using their search functions, or browsing their records for probate (recently added to Ancestry also) information. Then of course there is fold3 which I use for Dawes files and for military records. I know many are on Ancestry, but I like the browse feature to narrow my search better there.

Okay, then there of course is google. I google a lot. I especially like using the book tab under googles. Sometimes it is only an excerpt, but you can find some real gems on google. Old books on genealogy, well don't forget to visit There is some great stuff on there as well.

For newspapers, well, I have to admit, I have subscriptions to genealogybank,, and But there are some great free sites too. Some papers are available for each state at the Chronicling America, but there are a few lesser known sites.

Oklahoma newspapers
Upper New York newspapers are here and this great site by a private individual Fulton Postcards.
California Newspapers
Florida Newspapers

State Archives with digital content (awesome content) that I visit often.
Georgia Archives (newspapers require Firefox, won't work now with google or windows Edge)
South Carolina Archives
Florida Memory Projects
Virginia Chancery Cases
Maryland Archives

For early tax lists of Virginia, this is a great site.

US genweb I use too, but some sites are better than others. Don't miss the Santa Rosa or Escambia sites, they both have some great information.

Accessgenealogy has some great stuff too. Don't miss the McMinn County, Tennessee transcriptions there.

Most people don't realize the 1885 annuity roll (mislabeled as a census) is on fold3 and on Ancestry under the U.S. Indian Rolls. The counties aren't labeled, but the file you want is the Union file, that is the 1885 Choctaw census. Some of the early censuses for the counties are on Ancestry, as well as probate records and court records for a few of the counties, but they aren't searchable. You have to browse each roll. The Collection for those records is found here. You have to use the browse function to find the Choctaw rolls. Roll 1 is Mississippi Choctaw related. Roll 4 is Choctaw citizenship related. Rolls 2 and 3 have census data. The Carton's (ctn) files are the court records.

Most people also don't realize there are some Alabama Territorial records in the Mississippi records on familysearch. You have to look at the counties and browse, but early tax lists can be found there. The collection you want is here.

Monday, October 26, 2015

X marks the Spot

Remember, all siblings will share some of their mother’s X chromosome. Only females will receive X chromosomes from their father, which is the entire chromosome they received from their mother. Males do not receive any X chromosomal DNA from their father, because the father gives them the Y chromosome. So, my brother shares the same maternal X chromosome donators that I do. However he has none of my father’s X donators. 

So each female has two initial donors, their mother and their paternal grandmother. If you use that basis when looking at your tree, you can easily identify which women were the donators in your ancestral line by identifying each donators mother and paternal grandmother.
Studies show that recombination in the X chromosome happens in an unusual manner. In that of your mother’s two X chromosomes, it is possible to for her to pass on one chromosome almost entirely intact. A 50/50 recombination of X chromosomes is not the norm. For this reason matches reflect deeper ancestry than the same match would on another chromosome in many cases.

Mom’s paternal (and PAL and my) Choctaw X donators
1.       Margaret Trahern- daughter of Robert Trahern and Cornelia Gardner. Born near Brazil Creek, IT. 1880
2.       Cornelia Gardner- born 1860 Unknown lineage, possible Daughter of Sam Gardner[1][i] and his wife Mary from Towson. He has a son Loring Gardner. Also possible she’s part Chickasaw.
3.       Sarah Hall- Daughter of William Hall and Susan Riddle. Sarah was born about 1821. From Okla Tannap
4.       Susan Riddle born 1793, daughter of Caty and William Riddle. From Okla Tannap
5.       Choctaw mother of William Hall, born 1760-1773. Okla Tannap
6.       Mother of William Riddle. White, born before 1750, from Virginia * line that is not Choctaw from here back
7.       Mother of Caty, (also of Mushulatubbee and mother of Sophia Pitchlynn/Joseph Kincade) b before 1750. Okla Tannap.
8.       Mother of Homomastubbee, father of Caty born before 1715

 The Unknown Donor’s of Cornelia Gardner. Her mother, her paternal grandmother, her paternal Grandmother’s mother, her paternal grandmother’s paternal grandmother, ect., her maternal grandmother, her maternal grandmother’s mother, her maternal grandmother’s paternal grandmother, etc.
For Mom and I only, the paternal Adams/Roger’s X donators known
1.       Louisa Rogers, born 1842 Hamilton County, TN
2.       Mahala Mariah Rodgers? Born 1814 TN or GA?
3.       Susannah rumored Shue born abt 1784 VA
Unknown lineages beyond Mahala and Susannah. Susannah is matching X with Anderson/Jones descendants (two sets) and with Autosomal.
Mom’s Maternal X donators
1.       Dolores Hinds
2.       Elizabeth Ruth Timmins
3.       Emma Paxton
4.       Mary Douglas
5.       Mary Brown (here ends known line)
6.       Sarah Brampton
7.       Sarah Phillips
8.       Ruth Spicer
9.       Hannah Castle (here ends known line)
10.   Mary Shakespeare
11.   Sarah Marrill
12.   Sarah Shakespeare

My paternal X donators

1.       Virginia Evelyne Hardy
2.       Lula Belle Pyburn
3.       Talula Johnson
4.       Amanda Plina McCurdy
5.       Mary Jane Chitty
6.       Talula’s Mother
7.       Elizabeth Parker
8.       Mary Jane Brown
9.       Mother of James Chitty
10.   Amanda Palestine Beck
11.   Sarah Woodcock
12.   Barbara Sunday
13.   Mother of Sarah Woodcock
14.   Mother of Jesse Beck
15.   Barsheba Collins
16.   Mother of John Sunday

[1] [1Sam Gardner was born about 1829. Likely he is a son of John Gardner and Alatima. This John was the son of James Gardner and Margaret his wife. James Gardner was a son of John Gardner a white man who married into the Choctaw nation.

Challenges when researching Choctaw relatives - Using DNA as an approach.

Note: Before you leave me comments, I want to make clear a few things.
 1. No DNA does not determine tribe. What I am talking about is shared DNA with a documented lineage to the Choctaw tribe and also the admixture reports that identify Native American DNA. I know it's a long way from perfect yet.
2. I know a lot of experts out there have serious  problems with what I am talking about in regards to using X chromosome matches. Before you rush to judgement, at least read what I say. I believe there is good logic in what I am about to write.
3. This post is not about tracing a rumored Native American Ancestor. I have some of those. This is about a known and well documented member of the Choctaw Nation. I have friends who also have relatives among the Choctaw, Chickasaw, or Creek tribes who may be in similar circumstances that this may help them use similar strategies.

I tested my mother's father's first cousin's DNA recently. She is the granddaughter of Margaret Trahern and Jason Adams. I wanted to test her because she has more DNA from them. So not only would it help me identify that DNA (about 7.28 percent worth), but I was also hoping that maybe it would help break down some brick walls, help me identify more Choctaw matches, and finally, clarify some matches that seem to appear on my mom's DNA.

I was able to finally look at the batched results on Gedmatch (remember, please if you use this, donate). My mom and PAL share almost 86 cM of X dna. I didn't think much of that when I tested her, I asked her because I had corresponded with her and knew her better. There is one other cousin of my grandfather's that I would like to test, because he has the mitochondrial group that should be Native, the only living person from my direct line who would. What I realized when I looked at PAL's X matches was I wouldn't see any matches from the Roger's line there. Because as a daughter of a son of Margaret, her paternal X chromosome would only contain the X chromosome DNA passed from Margaret Trahern. Then I realized what a bonanza this could be. Then I realized if I can get my other cousin tested, he only has X chromosome DNA from his mother, which would be similar to that of my Mom's. It could potentially help me, (I  haven't identified any of her mother's X chromosomal donation, but I have identified almost 2/3 now to one side Rogers or Trahern).

As fortunate as I am to be able to take my Choctaw relatives to the generation before the American Revolution, we all, descendants of any Natives eventually will run into a brick wall. When documentation ceases to exist, and beyond which there is no recorded history. In DNA perspectives, this can be a potentially hazardous pitfall if you can only get back a few generations. Fortunately I can get back to my mother's 5th great grandmother on most of my lines. I have a big hole at her 2nd great grandmother and PAL's great grandmother Cornelia Gardner.

Mom only has 5 identified Choctaw matches at this point. One is a Mississippi Choctaw, matching only 7 cM so not likely to be identified, two are descendants of full bloods so recently that tracing their lineage to my own level would be about impossible, and they are both also at the 7 cM level, and the fourth is the Uncle of my genealogical buddy, who I have a paper trail for and a match appropriate for that, but I can't "confirm" that's the connection. Not yet. PAL has a handful of known relative matches showing up in our Choctaw line, and a few not known. But she and mom share an X chromosome match (so do I) with someone who also has a Choctaw X donator that I used to see on the same mailing lists.

While I realize that X Chromosomal matches don't pass on in the same way, and that it can go back much further than an Autosomal match might, what I do know is some things about my mom's x donator's that I think can be an advantage in using those to help break down the brick wall I have in my Choctaw lineage, that of Cornelia Gardner. I already have an idea on where she may come from, a family I think she could belong to. Additionally, unlike European groups, Choctaws had some customs that make it a little easier.

I know that all of my known Choctaw relatives were from, which district, and I think almost in relation to the Kunsha, which clan. So knowing that Margaret Trahern's X donator's aside from Cornelia were Sarah Hall, the full blood mother (Unknown) of William Hall, Susan Riddle, Caty the sister of Mushulatubbee, and from there the wife of Homomastubbee and his unknown mother who were all from Okla Tannap means something. I can't say that the location the Hall's (William, Sarah and Margaret) were in 1831 was where they were born. There seems to be some movement Northeast of the Okla Tannap after land cesssions, and I do think that the possibility they come from the 1805 cession of land (Washington County, Alabama) is likely.

So with all this unknown, how can that help. Well, if the matches have relatives who come from the 1st or 2nd  District, which I believe this person does, then that would tend to lead to a connection to Cornelia Gardner. Why? Because although there is some evidence in basket patterns that women did marry and leave their matriarchal groups, it was not the norm.

Which means that someone from Oklafalaya, probably has matriarchal descendants from Oklafalaya. And what is X DNA but another representation of matriarchal lineage. Except for the husband of Sarah Hall, Jeremiah Gardner, all of the Gardner's were in Okla Hannalli in 1830, and live in the 2st and 2nd districts in the new nation. Whereas almost all of my Okla Tannap relatives, well they lived in the 3rd district.

There is always the distinct possibility that the DNA is too far back to trace. But it is a clue, and it's a clue I can use much easier and more clearly than I can with my European lineages. Because I know and can identify that this lineage is only Native in origin, I know exactly who and where I have to look in her tree. Native American X donators.

I know I need Autosomal matches elsewhere. And luckily for me, I decided, out of curiosity, and a way to test the admixtures to "mark" my mom's DNA in my mapping program that was Native American.  About 1/2 of the segments (not the cM's) Mom matches PAL aside from the X are along these Native Segments. Using the chromosome painting tool on the admixture tools on Gedmatch I can go even further. None of the entire 22nd Chromosome (my mother, her nephew and PAL all match on along with me), 1/2 of the 11th, the 12th, and the segments on the 2nd, not one, belong to Native matches, and several have already been identified in the Roger family.

What this means is I don't have to waste time looking into hard to find connections, (most seem nigh on impossible!) if the match is matching PAL and mom. I just need to look to see if I have it mapped as Native or not for mom, and verify it in the painting tool with PAL. If it's native, I know where to look, if it's not, I know where to look.This would probably be ineffective if you have a small percentage of Native DNA. Not that my mom's 9 and PAL's 16 percent is large, but I think if you have a fraction of a percent, or 1-2 percent, it may not work.

As for the accuracy of the mapping, (discussed here and here in my blog), well, it's been 100 percent thus far. Every identified Choctaw match, with a documented genealogy, has matched on a segment the 23andme Ancestry Composition identified as native. I haven't mapped my own chromosomes, or that of my cousin. Oddly enough he shares over 5 percent DNA with PAL, compared to my 2.25 percent, yet he has the least amount of identified Native DNA of all four of us.

Well, the results are just in. Will keep you posted on my success. Look for a blog about the other side we share with PAL soon.