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:



Small Amounts of Ancestry Are Not Insignificant, Embrace Your Trace

Every time I look at my DNA composition charts at 23andMe and, 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:

Secret Genealogy II:

Secret Genealogy III:

Secret Genealogy IV:

Secret Genealogy V:

Secret Genealogy VI:

Secret Genealogy VII:

Black, White, Hamite… Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees

Hamitic is the label given to the ethnic group living in North-East Africa. Their oral Biblical history is that they descend from Noah’s son Ham. Ever wonder if you descend from the Hamites and if so, what are their physical attributes?

Leave it to my old encyclopedia to tell us that these nomadic people are: frizzy-haired, medium-headed, red-brown and thin-lipped. Besides their Biblical history, ethnographers (descriptive anthropologists) tell us that the Hamites descended from the Himyarite kingdom, well-known by the Greeks and Romans, for establishing a highly-cultured kingdom in ancient Yemen a hundred-and-ten years before the Christian era.

The Himyarites blended with other African tribes, (including the Hottentot, Bantu and the Masai), so like the rest of us, they’re a mixture of all the people who came before us on our family tree.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy V – Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family TreesAvailable here:

Does Your Iberian Ancestry Descend from Gypsies?

Gypsies play an important role in world history. Their bold, festive, emotional music inspired composers. Their world travels are the themes of many a romantic tale and for centuries, their colorful clothes have been a favorite of Bohemians.

Because the Gypsies wandered throughout the world, one could easily ask themselves if they have Gypsy ancestry. One strong theory is that Gypsies originated in Northern India and wound up in Persia. After leaving Persia, one group migrated into Northern Africa. From there, they could have gone to Spain and Portugal (Iberia).

Gypsies made their way from Europe to America. My old encyclopedia states that during the 1950’s, the largest Gypsy settlement in the United States was in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Those searching genealogy with family history from Braddock, could have a lot of fun with that tip. Please let us know what you discover.

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

Where Did That Rh-Negative Come From? An Iberian Gypsy Ancestor?

If we don’t know why we inherited the Rh-negative blood factor, we guess. But today, thanks to scientific and genealogical study, we have options. I’ve always wondered if one of those options was that I descend from ancient Iranian Jews, because they have a higher percentage of Rh-negative than the rest of the population. Looking at a map, one can see that immigrants from Iran easily worked their way into Northern Africa and from there, into Iberia (Spain and Portugal) giving many with European roots this unusual blood type.

A little research on the migration patterns of Gypsies, shows us that their language contains Persian words, revealing that Gypsies were in Iran for quite some time. So, if you have the Rh-negative factor, you may indulge in a second theory. Your ancestors may have been Persian Gypsies because maybe there’s a connection between Persian Gypsies and ancient Iranian Jews. Iran was formerly known as Persia and both the Jews and the Gypsies have a history of wandering. No doubt their paths did cross.

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

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: