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:

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Suellen Ocean

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University, Suellen Ocean does her writing from the hills of Northern California. She began writing professionally for print and radio broadcasting in the late 1980's. Her first self-published book led to her becoming "officially" published, when in 1998 she was asked to participate in the anthology, "The Simple Life" through Berkley Books, New York. She is the author of sixteen books on diverse subjects.

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