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: http://www.amazon.com/dp/148407579X

Native American Genealogy… The Exploitation of Our Ancestors Makes Them Hard to Find

We know about the Cherokee Trail of Tears. That was one of many. Indians are proud people. But I’ll tell you what, as much as our ancestors wanted to be honest about their Native American ethnicity, the truth is they kept safe by keeping quiet. Even after the killing stopped, European settlers looked down on the Indians. They didn’t understand the way that they lived harmoniously with nature. Many an Indian child was removed from their family and placed in boarding schools where they were taught to live like the Europeans who took their land. The prejudice against Indians was so strong, families with even low percentages of Native American ancestry must have felt very protective of their families and chose to keep it a secret. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500756105

DNA Is One Way to Find Native American Ancestry But Not the Only Way

1607 sounds like a long time ago. It was. It’s the date that John Smith founded the first English colony that endured in the Americas. Jamestown, Virginia. It still stands. The original settlement attracts thousands of tourists every year. Yet Jamestown was founded, 625 years AFTER the Viking, Eric the Red, spent four years trying to colonize Greenland.

Europeans have had their eyes on the beauty and resources of the Americas for a very long time. They saw the Native people as a resource. It may come as a surprise to many Americans, when they take a DNA test, that they are the descendants of the Natives who inhabited the lands that the Europeans took. However, some people’s Native ancestry doesn’t show up in their DNA so they have to resort to other ways of sleuthing it out. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500756105

Genealogy… Our Ancestors Had Good Reason to Hide Native American Ethnicity

Now that I know for sure that I have Native American ancestry, my mind has other aspects of my family tree to ponder. A big one is why did my family keep it secret? My uncle told my brother, “Soft pedal that Indian stuff.” He was taught that it was dangerous for anyone to know. My mind wanders to what about it was dangerous? Well just take a look at 1800s California. The legislature gave white immigrants the right to arrest Indians for drinking alcohol. Or for loitering. And then charged them fines and said they could work off the fines by working for the pioneers. If that wouldn’t scare anyone with Native blood, the fact that the pioneers could legally take custody of Indian children would scare the hell out of anyone with kids. It’s no wonder that some Indians hid their ethnicity. All these years later, our Native ancestry turns up on an Internet family tree or comes up when we take a DNA test. And we’re proud.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500756105

Thank Andrew Jackson For the Difficulty Finding Our Native American Ancestors

There’s a lot of blame to go around when we revisit colonial history. European immigrants and pioneers headed west in vast numbers seeking fresh farming land. Those in New Jersey traveled crudely over the Appalachians in the 1700s after New Jersey was full. They fanned out onto Indian lands, little by little, staking claims and running Natives out. President Andrew Jackson facilitated the slaughter of Natives when he put a bounty on their heads, even children. Thousands of Natives died on Trails of Tears. Their feet were frozen, their hearts broken. Those who could remain on their land by pretending to be Black Dutch, Black German or Black Irish, did so. And who can blame them? They took Anglo names and hoped for the best. Now we search and search, looking for our elusive ancestors that we were told were “Indian.” But they’re almost impossible to find. Robert Brewer could be one of those hidden Native ancestors. Perhaps he was originally known as Ta-Ki-One. Most of us will never know. Some of us do, however, with a lot of digging, find our roots. There are a few places we can look. And there’s always the option of taking a DNA test, bearing in mind that just because nothing comes up, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have Native American ancestry.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500756105

 

Southern Belles Are Not Just White… They’re Black Too

I don’t know what it is about the Antebellum South that inspires stories. The humid weather, the moss draping from the trees and the wind blowing onto hot bodies. The history. Yes, the cruel brutal practice of slavery inspires many an author to take pen in hand, I write about that too. But what inspires me the most, are the people who were caught in-between slaves and white plantation owners. They are the children of these unions. How did these beautiful people navigate the prejudice and injustice of being a little of both? They’re not just humans with skin color, they’re real people. With real quandaries. And they fall in love. These are their stories. Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CNWG6QU

Book Two, Blue Violet: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2WWMR

Book Seven, Dandelion Lane: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073WPHMWG

Book Eight, Scarlet Lobelia: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0762CJP4W

Book Nine, White Laurel: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D99T7BY

Small Amounts of Ancestry Are Not Insignificant, Embrace Your Trace

Every time I look at my DNA composition charts at 23andMe and Ancestry.com, they’ve changed. I’m alright with that, I hope they keep refining them. It’s reassuring to have them find ancestry that you knew was there. They may call it a “trace” quantity but it’s hardly insignificant. Amounts as small as 0.5% or less, are not uncommon.

I’d like to share a quote from a book that I’m reading, “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey,” by Jill Bolte Taylor:

“members of the same human species, you and I share all but 0.01% (1/100th of 1%) of identical genetic sequences. So biologically, as a species, you and I are virtually identical to one another at the level of our genes (99.99%). Looking around at the diversity within our human race, it is obvious that 0.01% accounts for a significant difference in how we look, think, and behave.”

It’s a concept that’s a little bit hard to grasp but if 0.01% is significant to a scientist, it’s significant to a genealogist. Especially this one. Embrace your trace.

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:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/148407579X

Secret Genealogy IV:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500756105

Secret Genealogy V: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HJ622DU

Secret Genealogy VI: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MY35VCP

Secret Genealogy VII:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078X5F7YP