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:

Geronimo Isn’t Just a Legend, He’s Someone’s Great-Great-Grandpa

Even though Americans were fascinated with the legend of Geronimo, his rise to fame is a sad story. That he was part of Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade makes no difference. He was still a prisoner and died four years later, never having gained his freedom or the right to return home, which for the Apaches in the 1800s, was the Southwest, especially Arizona and New Mexico. (Originally  the Apaches were from Western Canada. Using “originally” lightly.)

While he was in his fifties, Geronimo was hearty, fearless and still escaping from the army. Escaping at least three times. After the last time he was captured (he never gained his freedom), while still in captivity, he appeared in a Wild West show. Doesn’t that sound degrading?

The Apaches made a name for themselves among the white settlers, savages. Some of us have that savage blood running through our veins and we would love to uncover its origins.

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

Our Primitive Ancestors… We Can’t Go Back… But We Can Look Back

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IVI’m looking at a picture of Paleolithic (primitive) art. It is an exquisite drawing of a bison and a wild boar. The drawings are of such greatness, they could have only been completed by an accomplished artist. Let’s picture that for a moment. A man (or woman) reproducing in detail, the muscular anatomy, and emotion of the beasts that gave them sustenance. The animals that the artist so skillfully depicts (beef and swine) still provide sustenance to humans. Even today, a few hunters venture into the wild to hunt wild pigs. But we all know that most meat eaters buy their meat in the store.

It wasn’t that long ago that Native Americans hunted bison… the great buffalo herds that ranged across North America. The resources from the buffalo gave them skin to cover their tipis and leather to make clothes. The furry hides kept them warm in the form of blankets, thread was made from the hair of these beasts and from their bones were constructed tools and runners for sleds. The hooves provided a glue and the manure that was left drying on the ground was used as fuel.CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

The caves in Spain where the ancient drawings are preserved, are described as “polychrome.” I had to look that up. It means, many colors… specifically… painted on a background of many colors. I cannot think of a better and more colorful analogy of who we are today. One of the many colors, painted on the colorful background of our colorful ancestors who, if we could go back, stretch to the beginning of time.

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

And… Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Native American History… What is Peyote?

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV

Peyote is the fruit of a cactus found in Northern Mexico and the American Southwest. It looks a little bit like a mushroom. There is a fuzzy substance in it that is removed before it’s eaten. After feelings of nausea, it gives the partaker a high euphoric feeling and visions. In other words, it’s a hallucinogen. Peyote was used and is still used today by Native Americans in spiritual ceremonies. It was also eaten during war and for times of hard work because of the stimulating nature of its properties and its ability to subdue hunger and thirst. Unless you belong to one of the Native American religious groups granted legal permission to consume peyote, you will find yourself in trouble with the law if you have it in your possession. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

Genealogy: How Can I Tell If I Have Native American Blood?

If you take a DNA test, I’m not sure if you’ll get much information regarding Native American ancestry. The test won’t tell you specifically what tribe your ancestors belonged to, like Cherokee or Navajo. The best way for you to uncover your Native roots is to do a little sleuthing. And there are plenty of places to sleuth. There are numerous Indian removal lists. They will be listed for the regions where your ancestors lived. There are Native American message boards where you can compare notes and there are geographical considerations that you don’t want to overlook. A thorough search is a lot of work but peeking at Indian rolls doesn’t take much time at all.

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

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV