Native American Ancestry? Five Tribes… Five Nations… What’s the Difference?

Don’t get the Five Nations mixed up with the Five Civilized Tribes. The Five Nations had five tribes in it, until they had six. (The Tuscororas came later, in the early 1700’s.) Before that, the Five Nations were the Mohawks, Oneidas, Cayugas, Ohondaga and Senecas. They formed the Iroquois Indian Nation. The Five Nations means the Iroquois.

The Five Civilized Tribes were nations until Congress terminated their governments in 1907. They consisted of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole tribes. They were driven out of their homelands and “settled” in Oklahoma where today you will find many of their descendants. By the early 1900’s, the government saw them as willing to assimilate into white civilization. History shows us that the tribes put up great resistance but by the early 1900’s, they had suffered such a severe genocide, they had no other choice.

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

We Know About the Roaring Twenties but Have You Heard of the Naughty Nineties?

The Roaring Twenties must have been a fun time. Flappers, bootleggers, speakeasys and dancing the Charleston. (If that was your thing.) The Great Depression must have brought the fun to a screeching halt. Another era that is known for cutting loose is that which the Victorian Era brought. Because the social customs of the Victorian Era were so dull and sober, at the end of the 1800’s there was an attitude change. The French have given us the phrase Fin de Siècle, which means “end of the century.” What the era is also known as, is the Naughty Nineties, for it was a time when enough people broke away from convention and attracted the attention of historians, newspapers and those who wanted to join in the fun. I would assume the expression, Gay Nineties, refers to the same phenomenon. Our attitudes on how we should “behave” have been shaped by these experimental eras. Another era, The Sixties Revolution gave us many one-liners. One that applies to the Roaring Twenties and Naughty Nineties is… different strokes for different folks.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy:

Book Two, Blue Violet:

Book Three, Black Lilac:

Book Four, Ellie:

Book Five, Rose Thorn:

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue:

History… America’s “Era of Good Feeling”

After the War of 1812, the subsequent years (1817 to 1824) are recorded as a contented time for Americans. Under the presidency of James Monroe, Americans were anxious to build the country. It brought a sense of togetherness, which brought teamwork, which brought prosperity. Americans were so content during this period, it is referred to by historians as “the era of good feeling.”

One reason Americans were content was because there was virtually one political party, the “Democratic Republicans.” Today we have: Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, American Independent and those we call Independent. And there are others. With all these political parties, it’s easy to see why today, there are so many opposing views.

Not everyone living under President Monroe would have agreed that it was the era of “good feeling.” During this time, growing and building the country meant “Westward Expansion.” That expansion was into Native American lands. The taking of Indian lands resulted in a genocide of the Native people. It was a high price to pay for the rest of America’s “good feeling.”

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

Oysters… Native Americans… Colonists… Here’s What Happened

Just like everything else, humans assume that just because something is abundant, it always will be. Not true. And oysters are a perfect example. Native Americans enjoyed them in their diet. But as Native tribes were driven from prime Atlantic locations and European colonists displaced them by the thousands, they gobbled up the Native’s beloved oysters. By the end of the 1800’s, the oyster population was almost decimated. When companies started canning and preserving oysters for the growing market, it made things worse. Today, in a controlled environment, oysters are raised and harvested. They’re ready for consumption after about four years. Native Americans knew the wisdom of preserving natural resources, unfortunately for them and for the native oysters, they were out-numbered.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Southern History… The Legend of Dixie or was it Manhattan?

Most Americans have heard the song about Dixieland. And in the history books, we’re taught about the Mason and Dixon’s Line, a survey boundary line that was used to designate free states from slave states. So, it’s easy to see how people assume that Dixieland is somehow related. But there is another story and it is one far removed from the South, in Manhattan no less. The story goes that in the early 1800’s, a man named Dixie had a plantation on Manhattan Island. He had many slaves. When slavery was outlawed in the Northern United States, Dixie sold them into slavery to Southern plantations. The Manhattan Dixie story has him treating his slaves so well, they longed to return to his “paradise,” Dixie’s land. Slavery was not paradise. Occasionally, white “masters” treated their slaves well but my research shows that by and large, American plantation owners were unkind (that’s putting it mildly) to their slaves. Yet even in captivity, people by nature will find things to appreciate.

Life is beautiful. Especially when you’re free. In the last half of the twentieth century, African Americans returned to the South in great numbers. Not because it was paradise but because they had history there. And maybe they wanted to enjoy some of the fruits of their labor. After all, those beautiful plantations were built upon their backs.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era romance, Rose Thorn. Available here:

Kentucky Ancestors of the Dark and Bloody Ground

There are a lot of ways that Native Americans could have entered a European American family tree. One way is through one of the many Indian wars on what was called “the dark and bloody ground” of Kentucky. But when original native names were changed to common European names, there is almost no way to tell that they were Indian.

Even before the white man came and made war with the local tribes, Kentucky was known as the “dark and bloody ground” because there were so many Indian wars upon its soil that the ground was soaked with blood. When Indians were captured and taken prisoner, they frequently fell into slavery. Many of the women were made wives by the frontiersmen. It’s very difficult to identify these native ancestors. Constant sleuthing among the genealogical message boards is one way, although much of the information is hearsay, much of it is not. These ancestors are dead and gone but sometimes their stories live on. Message boards are a great place to find them.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Secret Genealogy IV:

Secret Genealogy V:

Genealogy: What Were Your North Carolina Ancestors Worth? 10 Pounds Sterling?

If we’re lucky, we will run across a will belonging to our ancestors. If it was three-hundred-and-fifty years ago, it may have consisted of silver candlesticks, beeswax, a wooden cupboard and a cow. That was their net worth. History reveals other wills, listing the names of slaves who were passed on to living family members as if they were livestock. They had no net worth for they had no freedom. And then there were the 400 Tuscarora Indians of North Carolina, taken prisoner by Colonel James Moore after he attacked them during the Tuscarora War, one of the many battles during the French and Indian Wars. Colonel Moore sold them into slavery for 10 pounds sterling each. Within the tribe of the Tuscarora were other small tribes, including the Coree. The Indians not captured, escaped to the north and lived among the Iroquois who labeled them the Sixth Nation.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees. Available here:

Secret Genealogy IV:

Secret Genealogy V: