Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fearless Females - Learning A Surprising Fact

In honor of National Women's History Month, I will be following the blogging prompts from The Accidental Genealogist blog. The prompts are interesting and I am truly enjoying this.  Here is day 19.  I have gotten a little behind in the last week so I am trying to go back and catch up.

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

When I began my research I didn't know much at all about my family.  All but one of my grandparents died before I was born.  Only one grandfather was alive and I didn't get to know him.  He died when I was 12.  I had never really sat down and talked to him. I only remember seeing him one time.  My mother had told me about her parents and a little about her grandparents.  The great thing was she sat down with me and helped me fill out the family trees of both her family and my dad's with all the information she remembered.  And she actually remembered many things.  I wouldn't have gotten very far at all without her.  She did that over 20 years ago and last year I finally started using it.  I have always had the interest, just not the time.

One of the things she told me was that her great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee Indian.  

When I started researching I was looking for Indian heritage.  I knew on my mom's dad side that they really knew nothing about his father.  He died when my grandfather was a toddler.  Since he was a Hoover in Richmond, Indiana, it is highly likely that he was a Quaker.  My grandfather's mother was a Quaker and her whole family line descended from Quakers.

On her mother's side mom knew both her grandparents but not her great-grandparents, so I assumed  the Indian must have come from this side.

In searching I found that the Manis's came from Scottish descent.  It was the Gibson side that surprised me.

As I researched my great grandmother Cora Gibson, I found some real surprises.

When Cora was one year old, she was listed as a Mulatto.  As I went back through the previous generations on both sides they were all listed as Mulatto as far back as I could track.  I started researching the term Mulatto.  My first thought was that there was an African America parent and a black parent.  I just couldn't figure out how it continued from one generation to another.

Doing this research I came across some interesting facts.  I guess anyone who was non-white could be listed as Mulatto.  If they had Indian blood they could be listed as Mulatto.  I also found a term for a group of people that I had never heard before, Melungeon.

Melungeons were a group of people who lived as a tribal type of people.  They were considered a tri-racial isolate group of people.  Supposedly, they were a mix of white, Indian, and African American.  There seems to be no real knowledge to the origins of these people.  

I previously wrote about this here.  There is a book that has my great-great grandfather's family listed in it.  It is about the Carmel Indians of Highland County, Ohio.  The were considered a Melungeon tribe.  They had started out in the Tennessee Virginia mountain area.  They were in Kentucky for a while and then moved to Highland County, Ohio.  My great-great grandfather then moved to Indiana with his family.   Once they moved to Indiana they were only listed as white.  I have talked to a distant cousin in West Virginia who has been researching these people for years.  She believes the family left the Tennessee Virginia area when they were rounded up to be herded west with the "Trail of Tears".  She has information that leads to the fact that they escaped and went to Kentucky to hide for a time.  Then they began splitting up and moving to different area.  A large contingent went to Highland County, Ohio.

As I found out these things I was at first a little shocked.  As I thought about it, I realized, I am the same person I have always been.  It doesn't matter what blood is mixed in my body, I am the person I have been because of that, or in spite of that, I don't know which.  I am proud of my heritage, whether is by a mixture of blood, or if it is truly descended from full-blooded Indian.

My daughter did a DNA test and she didn't find any African American or Indian.  Everything was pretty much European, but I know my family came from that group of mountain people on both sides of my great grandmother's family.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post! I actually never though of going back to my roots and do a research about my ancestors. It's a great idea! I hope one day I'll find out something remarkable about my ancestors :)