Genealogical Searching for Native American Ancestry? Add These Dates to Your Timeline

I don’t know how anyone can be a genealogist and not use a timeline. I find them the perfect way to organize the ancestors. I categorize them by surname and arrange them by dates. Birth, marriage, death and other important highlights.

When building a timeline for Native American ancestry, there are a myriad of historical dates that might shed light on where your ancestors went. We can keep a Native American history book by our side but we can’t include every war or relocation on our timeline. But watch for big events. Here are two:

1827 – A decision was made by the U.S. Federal Government to spend the next two years removing all Indians from Illinois.

1829 – President Andrew Jackson was in power. In 1830 he instituted the “Removal Act,” a ruling that called for all eastern Indians to be relocated to an Indian territory west of the Mississippi River. The sad history of the “Trail of Tears,” falls under this date.

It’s a good idea to study a map and get the feel for your research. Your ancestors from the east may have become westerners with this cruel act perpetrated  by Andrew Jackson.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Genealogy… Where Did Our American Indian Ancestors Go?

If you’re reading this, you either know of or suspect that you have American Indians in your family tree. I use the term “American” to differentiate between the Natives that were in America before it was America and those who immigrated from India. And if you’re reading this, like me, you wonder where did our American Indian ancestors go?

When I traveled through Indiana in 2011, I wondered where all the Native people were. Shouldn’t I see them in the stores and on the streets? I had always pictured Indians in Indiana. They were there in the history books. I saw farms and tractors but no Indians. I saw lots of corn. The Indians taught the white colonists to eat corn. Where were they now? I asked my cousin. “Where are the Indians? I haven’t seen any Indians.” “Go to Oklahoma,” she said.

I hope someday to go to Oklahoma. Before I do, I’m going to create an itinerary of Native American museums and history. I live out west where we have lots of Native Americans and the schools teach us to appreciate Native culture. Just last weekend, I passed a Native American male playing a wooden flute. Anyone who heard it would have recognized it as an American Indian tune. It was beautiful and truthfully, it sounded ominous. The man was sitting on a bench outside the front doors of a Walmart. It’s a far cry from the woodlands where his ancestors roamed freely. Those very ancestors who we search for now. On a computer.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Strange old words… Nigromance

Nigromance has nothing to do with the color of someone’s skin, or romance, it’s about the color black. It is an Old French word for the black magic art of divining with the dead.

Those of us who enjoy genealogy, know the feeling of communicating with the dead. Isn’t that what we do? Kind of? We dig up the past to reveal the lives of our dead ancestors so that we might bring them into view. It’s not unusual for genealogists to feel their spirit. That’s half the fun. Our ancestors are dead but many of us feel their presence and even wonder if they haven’t assisted us. That’s how we explain all those coincidences, to ourselves. I’d never go around telling people that “my ancestors from 1677 helped me solve their mystery,” but sometimes it feels like it.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. Available here:

and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Genealogy: How Much Native American Am I? How Much Ashkenazi Am I?

There’s a lot of guessing going on with the DNA testing companies and I don’t fault them for it. They’re doing the best that they can with the science that’s available. They’re also trusting what we tell them. By we, I mean those of us who’ve answered questions before we take the test. I wonder if that’s how they arrive at Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. They ask that question and it looks like they use it to define a population group.

After I took a DNA test at, my third cousin noticed that he got placed back into an ancestry circle that he had been bumped from. And after a second cousin of mine, took the test and had .5% Native American, I was bumped from .3% to .%5, just like her.

Who knows where the science will take us in our search for the truth of our ancestors. All I can say is that I never grow tired of genealogy. Judging by the growing numbers of people taking DNA tests, that feeling is mutual. Just make sure that you answer their questions to the best of your knowledge. Your past might depend on it.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Iberian Ancestry… Could That Be Jewish?

If or informs us that we have Iberian ancestry, could that include Jewish ancestry? To keep it simple, when we hear Iberia, think Spain and Portugal. Although, to be honest, I think of North Africa because the Mohammedans from North Africa conquered Spain many years ago and I also think of Scotland and Ireland because of the Spanish Armada in 1588. After Spain was unsuccessful with their sea attack on England, storms drove the Spanish ships to their shores. I’ve read accounts where dark hair and dark eyes of a Scots or an Irishman are suspected of being the result of the Armada’s sea disaster. (Sailors washed ashore.) Britain has plenty of Iberian ancestry. And long before the Armada, Anthropologists speak of migration from Iberia to Britain.

I am told that tests for Sephardic Jewish ancestry and that you can upload your results for free. Anyone whose DNA tests show Iberian ancestry, should explore the possibility of Sephardic ancestry. But be forewarned, Sephardic is not as easy to determine as is Ashkenazi.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry. Available here: