American Legend – Cherokee Heritage

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When I was a little girl, my mother used to tell me that she was a 1/16 Cherokee. I thought having a bit of Native American blood was cool. It wasn’t until I started my research as a young adult that I question the validity of our said Cherokee ancestry.

I asked my mother where she got the story. It came from her mother. Then my mother showed me a picture I knew well. The lady in the photograph was my 2nd great grandmother Martha Matilda Morgan. She had beautiful long brown hair.

I remember spending long moments looking at the picture in one of the numerous albums on the carpet of my maternal grandmother’s house. My mother told me Martha looked Native American. She had to be the source of our Cherokee heritage.

However, through intensive research, I found no hints leading to a Native American ancestor. I was 95% sure that we had no Cherokee blood running through our veins. And yet, my mother was insistent we did.

Then came the DNA tests came. They held the secret to our heritage. My grandmother, my mother and I all took the Ancestry.com DNA test. All three tests came back negative for any Native American ancestry.

In my family history research, like many other genealogists, I have heard numerous stories like my own. Why is claiming Native American, in particular, Cherokee, so prevalent in the America?

The following article Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood? by Gregory D. Smithers who is an associate professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University helped to shed light on this subject.

Hopefully, it helps you to know why many of us have the I-am-part-Cherokee family myth in our histories: Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood?

 

 

Thank you for reading,

J. R. Findsen

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