Tracing French-Canadian Ancestry… How’s That DNA Test Working for You?

My husband’s mother came from a colorful line of French Immigrants dating back to the 1600’s, when brave people sailed from France to New Canada. Funny thing is, he doesn’t identify with it. And because I’m the one doing the research (and I have a bit of French ancestry) I’m the one who is developing the bond.

The French genealogical community is very colorful and culturally rich. Whether it’s from the descendants who remain in Canada after generations or those who reside in Louisiana’s Acadiana in Lafayette, the determination to keep the culture alive suffers no boredom or apathy. I am impressed by the details kept through the years by the Catholic church. Those details are found on genealogical websites, (ancestry.com geni.com, etc.) and include pictures of graves, churches, homes and home sites as well as wedding pictures. In Louisiana, the Cajun community is one of the most active social groups I’ve ever seen. Talking about sticking together, they do. The Cajuns in Louisiana are the descendants of the French who were exiled from Canada by the English in 1765 and years following. The name Nova Scotia is British but it was an Acadian homeland before that. Many of New France’s descendants are also found in Quebec.

Did you get your DNA tested and if so, how’s that working out for you? Did you find that you had the French ancestry that you expected? Was it more or less so? And what else did you find? Any surprises? And did you come across any cousin matches? If so, were they friendly? It seems like an association with the Cajun communities in the United States and Canada would be a genealogical treasure. When my brother-in-law, with his dark, curly hair, picks up the mandolin and plays it like he’s been playing for a thousand years, I become more determined. One of their French ancestors was wild on the violin. A DNA test will convince them of the need to acknowledge and explore further, the culturally rich heritage of their French-Canadian ancestry.

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. 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

Sanctuaries, Southern Borders, Presidents, Generals…

In today’s political climate, many are appalled at what’s going on in our government. People feel, rightly so, that things have gotten out of control and that politicians are running lawless and making up government positions for their cronies. But it is not unusual for presidents to customize their staff and nor is it unusual in other government departments. In 1824, John C. Calhoun was the Secretary of War. In March of that year, he created The Bureau of Indian Affairs. He created it as an agency and made it a division of his war department. He did this without approval from Congress.

Seven years earlier, tensions were growing between the Seminole Indians and white colonists along the border of Florida and Georgia. The Seminoles were providing sanctuary for runaway slaves. This tension along the southern border gave Secretary of War Calhoun, President James Monroe and General Andrew Jackson, what they felt was justification for war that resulted in the taking of land from the Seminole. Today it’s sanctuary cities and building a southern wall. It’s true what they say, history repeats itself. Again and again.

Ever wonder if you have Native American ancestry? It’s not an easy route, tracing American Indian ancestry. But there are things you can try. But first, you need to know where to look and what not to waste time on. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105 and Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns, http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

 

 

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:

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

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: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

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

Book Three, Black Lilac: http://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

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:

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

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:

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

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: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T