Genealogy… Finding Our Viking Ancestry, the Northmen. Or is it Scandinavian?

If there’s anything that confuses and or trips us up in our genealogical research, labeling has got to be right up there in annoyance. If we can’t communicate with other genealogists about what group of ancestors we’re talking about, we’re failing to communicate at all. Sure, we may nod our head for fear of acknowledging our ignorance, then go home and google it. Don’t be shy, if someone uses a term that you’re unsure of, swallow your pride and ask for clarification. (And realize they may be using the wrong term.)

The term Scandinavian confuses me. I get mixed up. There’s Danish, Norwegian and Scandinavian. Who? What? And what about Finland? And Viking? What’s that exactly? And since we’re asking, what’s Anglo-Saxon? Sometimes our brain hurts trying to accurately piece together the trails of our ancestors. Good luck with those Vikings. They spread their DNA far and wide. Viking invaders descended upon Europe. The Northmen, they called them. We have to include them among the populations of Ireland and Scotland. (Don’t forget Iceland. And Greenland. God forbid if you get them mixed up.) And don’t exclude the Russians. They’ve got a hearty infusion of Scandinavian blood, they’re so geographically close. And don’t forget about Lebanon, where the blue-eyed men of the sea took their longboats into the Middle East, eons ago. If it’s at this point, you throw your hands up and surrender, I don’t blame you. Didn’t anybody sit still? Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, and Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. Available here:

Secret Genealogy II:

Secret Genealogy III:


Genealogy… Native American Ancestors from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin

To understand our ancestry from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan or Wisconsin, it’s important to understand the history of the area. Before there were states, there was what was called the Northwest Territory. (Not to be confused with Canada’s Northwest Territories.)

I don’t know about you, but if I’ve never been to a state, the first thing that pops into my mind when that state is mentioned, is an image of that state on a US map. That’s the opposite of what we should see if we’re trying to understand the paths our Native ancestors took.

Five states were created when the Northwest Territory was carved up. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. The region before the carving was located between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River. North of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River. It’s confusing when our ancestors lived in the Northwest Territory. And before 1787, they did. That’s the date that the region was divided into the five states. And with that area so close to Canadian territory, it might not be correct to call them Native Americans. They were Native people from a Native land. A land and a world far removed from who and what we are today. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Illinois Ancestry? Looking for the Tribe of Your Ancestors

Have you been told that you have Native American ancestry? Are your ancestors from Illinois? The Illinois Indians are all but gone but perhaps their DNA lives within you.

The Illinois Indians were not just one tribe but many who lived along the Illinois River. The main tribe was the Illiniwek, from which the state is named. History tells us they were “subdued” by the Iroquois in the 1500s. With this being the case, we might look to the Iroquois for clues.

The Illinois spoke Algonquin and although they cultivated crops, their lifestyle consisted of bison and deer hunting on the plains. As for the Iroquois, they tended to live communally in longhouses. The Algonquins made use of longhouses as administerial buildings but liked to live in wigwams.

In Northeastern Illinois, two rivers meet and form the Illinois River. The Kankakee and Des Plaines. By the mid-1770s, Kankakee County, Illinois was dominated by the Pottawatomi Indians. It was to Kankakee county that immigrating French-Canadians migrated from Quebec about 1834. Many were Metis (Native people who inter-married with the French). Sometimes these Metis Anglicized their names. Therrien became Taylor, Chartier became Carter or Sharkey. To study the history of Illinois is to study the history of the Northwest Territory. Genealogists will find all the different Native tribes a challenge. Leave it to us to take it on. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Hitler… the Fear of Others Brings a Small Man Down

It’s ironic that the fear of others helped to bring about Hitler’s end. After a group of Nazi officers, who’d decided they’d had enough, conspired but failed to assassinate him, their attempt helped shatter Hitler’s nerves. Already frayed from the war and his use of health-damaging drugs, Hitler became more and more paranoid. For a man who went to prison years earlier for trying to seize the German government, he knew firsthand how conspiracies work. He was right to be fearful, the Allies were coming for him. With that fear in mind, he committed suicide the night before Germany surrendered. Suellen Ocean is the author of The Steinberg Conspiracy Series. Available here:

Book One, Chimney Fire:

Book Two, Hot Snow:

Book Three, Herr Boy:

To Iberia or Not to Iberia… That is the Question

When life frustrates us, those of us who love genealogy, turn to researching our family trees for an escape. Off to La La Land. Isn’t this fun? We’ll find our people, put them in a tree at and then be the family expert. There’s a problem with this. People don’t stay in one place. We’re fluid. We are Not fixed.

Right now, everybody wants to know, what’s an Iberian? That would be easy to answer if there were only one geographical region called Iberia. There are two, one was named by the Greeks, the other spot was controlled by Persia. And the one named by the Greeks was also named by the Romans, but differently. The Greeks said Iberia. Confusing localities are Hibernia and Siberia. The Romans called Iberia, Hispania. Not to be confused with Hispaniola. And then, once we figure out which location we’re talking about, we must fill it with people. Our people. But who were they? The original people who were invaded or the invading hordes? If we figure that out, we still have to go back and decipher what “ethnicity” made up the invading hordes. It’s not like they wrote it down. (Lucky us when we find ancient groups that did.) All we can do is follow the fluid trail that our ancestors left. I know, it hurts our brain to leave it open-ended but that’s just the way it goes. Only die-hard genealogists stick with it. Others throw up their hands and are done with it. I have to go now. I have to write a blog about deciphering Iberia. It’s a tough job. Someone’s got to do it. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees, Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy VI – Freemasons, Jewish Conquistadors and the Holy Family, Secret Genealogy VII – DNA, Jumping Into the Gene Pool. A High Tech Gathering of the Tribes, Available here: Secret Genealogy:

Secret Genealogy II:

Secret Genealogy III:

Secret Genealogy IV:

Secret Genealogy V:

Secret Genealogy VI:

Secret Genealogy VII:


Whistle While You Work? What a Fantasy

I would say that today, we have only begun to face America’s past. If I said racist past, that would signify that it was behind us or that it was only racist. Any adjective that comes to mind does not adequately describe the practice of capturing people and putting them in chains to do other’s work. And work they did. America was built with slave labor. Every Black carpenter, cook, metalworker, field hand, you name it, deserves an honorable place in American history. Men, women and children. How did they endure? One of the ways they kept their spirits up was to sing work songs. Railroad workers used steel hammers and kept time with them. Collectively singing helped to get the job done, appropriately pounding and pulling at just the right time. “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” was originally sung by slaves building levees along the Mississippi River. It was changed to “railroad” at a later date. Take a trip to New Orleans and view the levee and the beautiful homes along the river. Don’t look at them as what the white plantation owners built. View them with the knowledge that they were built by skilled slaves whose names are not only forgotten but were never written down. Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

Available Here:

History… What’s the Rosetta Stone?

I’d heard about the Rosetta Stone for years, especially ads using that expression. Honestly, I thought it was something out of King Arthur’s legend, a Holy Grail sort of thing. It wasn’t until I was looking at an encyclopedia that I ran across an entry for it. Here’s the answer. In 1799, in Egypt, a stone was found that had writing on it. By this time in history, the ability to read ancient Egyptian writings was gone. The writing on the stone was indecipherable. Scholars could not read it even though it was written in three languages. Nonetheless, because one of the writings was in Greek, the scholars were able to not only translate it, but they learned how to read hieroglyphics. This is why the Rosetta Stone is so iconic. It opened the door to ancient history. It was a key to the past. And one last thing. It was discovered in Rosetta, Egypt. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. Available here: