Native American Sources and Results

There is a practical checklist of sources with details of contents and results derived from using these resources. Read The Wampanoag Genealogical History of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts written by Dr. Jerome D. Segel and R. Andrew Pierce. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003. On pp. 9-32, the authors provide sources, repositories and services used, and the impact of Colonial Law on their genealogical and historical research. More than fifteen record categories are described in detail.

The genealogical database is covered in 353 pages; 12 Appendixes provide lists, residents, ethnic groups by name, entries by record category, place names and names of native villages; and three-generation genealogical charts fill another twelve pages.–all of this taken from the sources.

If you have already checked Ancestry’s indexed census records and discovered nothing–read the section on census records for the Vineyard–the Indian population was not enumerated by the government. There are inhabitant lists and censuses taken independently and locally: from 1701 to 1900, more than 62 different records cover various parts of the native population.

An essential part of the genealogy sections is the listing of name variants and alternative names carried by the women. Without this knowledge upfront, a great deal of searching is needed to discover the names your ancestors will be recorded as.

The authors have added an extensive bibliography to this work. These entries identify many resources not listed in any other reference work I have consulted. It is invaluable. Alas, there is no index and  the alphabetical key to the Database is not fully adequate for quick searches which genealogists look for. The book requires careful study and digestion of the massive amounts of information included in its 680+ pages.

Whether you already know that your New England ancestry includes Native Americans  or not, if you have early genealogy interests there, you will want to examine this volume.Better yet, order your own copy and study it carefully. The Indian content of American genealogy is greater than 20% of the population as a whole. These ancestors are hidden in the sources and the mists of time. Your only hope is knowledge of what to look for in the numerous sources that are waiting for you. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS And the answers you want may be only one book away. If your interest is serious, you will want to get your copy before all the books are gone!

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.