Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Were Your Ancestors Buried Along the Pearl River?

The Pearl River Swamps & Floating Coffins

In Season 1, Episode 2, Ship Manifests Have Answers (Jan  2023)  we concentrated on the swamps along the Pearl River. Known for a quick jaunt from Mississippi to Louisiana, enslaved routes to freedom, slave patrols, and Confederacy Cave Dwellers escaping the war, this flooded swamp area recently made the news due to floating coffins. Read Here:

"They" were warned of this back in May 2023: 

Vicksburg News Article, updated Sep 2023

Yet, it was still shocking to see coffins from this infamous area ready to float along with the bones of enslaved runaways, the remains of confederate soldiers, oh, and as it's one of Americas most dangerous stretches of water, there are many bodies from mishaps buried, or never recovered.

Do Caskets Float?
“Anything that’s airtight and can develop buoyancy has the potential of resurfacing," Trinkley said. When water fills a grave, whether below ground or in an above-ground vault, that casket “is going to float just like a battleship. And they will float as far and as high as the floodwaters take them, he said. They're sometimes found in tree tops when the water recedes."

Want to Know More About the Pearl River Area?
Hopefully your ancestor was not in a sealed casket. If so, hopefully the funeral home identified the body inside using the "memory tube." Read"  An Explanation as to Why Those Caskets Are Floating in the Louisiana Flood

Kathleen Brandt 
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Monday, September 11, 2023

Must Love: Rejected Native American Tribal Applications

The Basics
As with all ancestral research, the largest benefit is uncovering your ancestors.  The Federal government does not hold a comprehensive list of Cherokee Indian persons. So you must do the legwork to uncover your heritage. A paper trail of birth certificates, death and marriage certificates, and other documents may be found linking yourself to an enrolled ancestor. But for enrollment, each tribe has specific rules, and regulations that must be met. 
  1. not all Tribes or Nations are Federally recognized.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs lists all 574 federally recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives. 
  2. Prove your relationship to the tribe. So you will want to have sketched your pedigree to determine your possible blood quantum. Again, required amounts are determined by the enrolling tribe. This is not a qualifier for all Tribes. 
  3. Your ancestor could not have already been rejected.

Some Native American ancestors were accepted in a tribe, they may have even received benefits (i.e. land) but due to a breach later lost their enrollment in the tribe. 
Accepted and Enrolled 1880 and 1896; Rejected 1900 

Rejections may have occurred if your ancestor did the following
  • gave up their Native American enrollment to become an USA citizen (i.e. citizen of Oklahoma)
  • failed to remain in the territory when it may have been a requirement
  • non-Natives, or failure to prove. Sometimes ancestors were already noted as "Doubtful"!
  • unable to speak the Native language
Even settlers families may have lost their tribal rights.
Obit of Robert Lee Jordan, 1941
Know Tribal Requirements
Tribal benefits, rights, and finances, vary from tribe to tribe. Contrary to common belief, a Dawes Roll number is not a requirement for all Native American Tribes. Although many require at least 1/16th Native "blood" which could be gained from a great-great grandparent, the NY Native American Mohawks only recognize through a mother's enrollment. Then a 1/4 (25%) blood quantum must be proven. 

50% Parents
25% Grandparents
12.5% Great-Grandparents
6.25% Great-Great-Grandparents
3.125% Great-Great-Great-Grandparents
1.5625% Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandparents

To Say You are Cherokee is Not Enough
1874 Georgia rolls: archives.gov

Even the following three Federally Recognized Cherokee tribes do not have the same requirements for enrollment:
  • Yes, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahomans must prove to be a descendent from a person on the Dawes Commission Roll. No blood quantum requirement. Your family may be on a rejected roll, but your ancestors shared quite a bit of ancestral information on these applications.  
  • United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee must prove to be descendent from a person on the Dawes Roll AND have minimum of 1/4 blood quantum.
  • Eastern Band of Cherokees of North Carolina must prove to be descendant from a person on the Baker Roll AND have a minimum of 1/16 blood quantum. Be sure to listen in on the podcast above.  These records are not only on the common database sites like ancestry.com, but researchers will find additional information on the National Archives digitized site: archive.gov.
A Few Reminders
  1. Verify that the tribe of interest, ancestral connection - is Federally recognized.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs website will assist with this research.
  2. Can DNA Help Prove My Native American Ancestry? Although there are markers that may indicate Native American bloodline, DNA testing does not verify specific tribes. And even though DNA spawns great genealogical interests, it alone isn't a tool for proving ancestral relationships. Not all tribes use a blood quantum Requirement: 
There are benefits of reviewing all the relevant applications. It is here that researchers can uncover a full family since many used the same ancestor to make their claim. By cross refencing applicants you may be able to discover inconsistencies between applicants. These inconsistencies often hold additional hints about your ancestors.  

Never overlook the full information once you find a rejected applicant.  It is through the text that their hometown may be discovered, as well as names of additional generations and names of spouses.

Eastern Cherokee by Guion Miller, 1908-1910, Noah Jordan

Other Vocabulary and Contacts
  • AIHEC = American Indian Higher Education Consortium: http://www.aihec.org/
  • BIA = US Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Education, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20240-0001 You may also reach the bureau of Indian affairs at 1-800-332-9186)
  • BIE = Bureau of Indian Education; http://www.bie.edu/ Bureau of Indian Education
  • CIB = certificate of Indian blood is or proof of membership with federally recognized tribes
Kathleen Brandt 
Be Historically Correct

Accurate Accessible Answers

Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Library of Congress

3 Minute History Break
Do you know the history of this genealogist favorite?
     The History of the Library of Congress

Friday, September 1, 2023

Did you Know? ... MyHeritageDNA

Have you uploaded your DNA data to MyHeritage? What are you waiting for? It's free. 

Those who have tested with another service (ancestryDNA, familytreeDNA, 23andMe, etc.) can upload their data.  

Follow this link for instructions: https://www.myheritage.com/dna/upload

Upload to MyHeritage 1-2-3:

Create a Free Account on My Heritage Use this link: https://www.myheritage.com/dna/upload
Ask a3Genealogy about DNA Analysis Packages

Be Historically Correct 

Kathleen Brandt
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Sunday, August 20, 2023

Red Flags in Your Research?

Red Flags 
Researchers often miss the red flags because they fail to cross-reference and corroborate sources.  In the 
Vetting Sources: Rotten Trees in the Carpenter Family we were able to witness the results of not vetting your sources and failing to cross-reference data.  Through the Genealogical Proof Standard we know there are primary sources, secondary sources, direct and indirect evidence.  Let's review, shall we?

Genealogical Proof Standard 

Primary sources are original records , created at the time of the event, and most often carry less errors than secondary records/sources, which is a derivative recording of the event. 

Secondary / Derivative sources may include a transcription, translations, abstract - a copy. It has the potential of carrying errors.   

Direct evidence answers a genealogical evidence when contemporary records can be used. A good example is a birth record that names the parents. I say, however, even that must be corroborated. Why? Especially with midwives, or delayed birth certificates, or when time has past, it is possible that the community person, let's say midwife, names the wrong local brother as a father. It was just an error, but it's in the record. 

Indirect evidence is when we don't have the direct answer on one document, but we have enough data from research to answer the genealogical question. Perhaps the answer was provided through piecing together a family unit and satisfied through the data of several siblings. For indirect evidence to be useful, contradictory evidence must have been resolved.

 6 Main Red Flag Culprits

Documents are laden with errors.  This is why we must look for the Red Flags! Yes, question everything! The question to ask yourself is "Was the person telling, recording, the information a witness to the event?" 

  1. Census Records have the opportunity to carry lots of errors: dates, names, place of birth.  Plus, we don't always know the informant; so we have no idea if the informant is a reliable source. 

    Why is there such a big gap between children? The progenitor married in 1824, but besides Elizabeth, wife of Wm. Ody, there are no known children in the 1820’s.
     Matter of fact the known children who appear in an 1860 census, 36 years after the marriage,  appear to be born in the later half of the 1830’s.  This is a red flag. Is a full generation is missing?
  2. Biographical Sketches. Sure, these sketches usually have some truth to them, but was the information provided by a primary source? 

    We have a great biographical sketch provided to us in the Carpenter case. It provided clues, hints, even can assist towards our Next Steps and Research Plan. Yet, through cross-referencing we quickly learned it has obvious errors. It contradicts both direct evidence and information provided generations earlier by a primary source.
          On the podcast we learn that the bio of Elijah Coffelt is not accurate. It list David Ody/Odor [alias Carpenter] as a sibling of Rachel Carpenter, but we know both David and Rachel named different parents. David was raised by his grandparents, the parents of Rachel: George (and Elizabeth) Carpenter. 
    David "Ody" alias Carpenter, was raised by maternal grandfather Geo. Carpenter

  3. Illiteracy. There's no reason to commit to the spelling of a surname (or given name) if the family reports no education or little education.  Sound advice...corroborate, corroborate, corroborate. 
    Illiteracy in itself should raise a red flag to the researcher. Each sibling may have spelled the name differently, each document may hold a different spelling, the marriage record, death record, may have one additional spelling, and that may contradict the obituary.

    In the podcast with Nancy, we learned that she was looking for a William Ody, His marriage record clearly names him William Odor. Some military records use Oda:

  4. Land Records. There are many ways our ancestors acquired land. We musn't assume they were so successful, that they walked in, and paid for acreage using the money in their piggy jars.
    I contend that just having land is a red flag. How did they acquire it? If you are not familiar in how to conduct a land/deed trace through legal descriptions, this is a great time to learn. There are lots of free tutorials online and the courts will assist (if you’ve done your homework).
  5. Posted family trees. Riddled with errors, uncited online trees, ThuLines, and non-cited "family stories," should be reviewed with a wary eye. 
    Researcher beware! Conflating several families with similar names in close proximity has become an epidemic. It's where your real family is buried - in a tree with scrambled roots. When there's data, without sources especially with families with common names, proving or disproving posted data should be a top priority.  And, never be a part of posting a bad tree publicly. A good place to start if your family had assets is with probate and wills. Pull original probate/will (not just newspaper articles.) Probates and wills are usually held at county courthouses, but may be within a state, or county historical/genealogical repository. 
  6. DNA Analysis. We often say we use DNA tests results to confirm our papertrail. But, when I'm looking for my red flags, those hints that just are not lining up as they should, I say DNA analysis might raise a large red flag. 
     Let's say none of your DNA cousins share the same surnames in their family trees. Or your Y-DNA expected matches have a different surname. Or, your 1st cousins match with your sibling but not you. Wouldn't you agree? Your DNA test results have raised a LARGE red flag!
Kathleen Brandt 
Be Historically Correct

Accurate Accessible Answers

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Where Are the Records? NSA, CSS, CIA, Code Girls

Many do not know there is a National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), a public museum in US Intelligence Community, located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA in Maryland.  This museum has artifacts and outlines the nation's history in code making and code breaking.  Plus there's a library of cryptologic media. The museum opened back in Dec 1993. It did close for renovations, but reopened Oct 2022. However, there's also a virtual option.  

Cryptographic Equipment WWII

Our Ancestors
I have written about the Code Girls and mentioned the Museum, but the topic came up most recently while enjoying a podcast audio book, Reverse Tell, authored by Stephanie Hartell, a former CIA case office, and narrated by Steve Hall, a former CIA case officer, hosted on Not Necessarily Nefarious podcast. Yes, that's an invitation for you to read, prior to visiting the Museum.

Reverse Tell on the Not Necessarily Nefarious podcast

I know... it's unclassified fiction, but that's what we have to work with when our ancestors keep their coding/decoding jobs a secret. When they take the secrecy of their role at the NSA and CIA to their graves, what we have left is an imagination.  Luckily for us, Hartell fills in some of our creative gaps through a crafted fiction spy novel, that truly should be a TV series. You will forget it is fiction, and be thankful it's much less work than drafting stories of our own ancestors participation in the CIA and NSA. (But, I encourage you to do that too). Here's the link to Reverse Tell audio book provided in 30 minute episodes.   

Where Are My Ancestors Records?
Of course every family historian and genealogist want to get their hands on the personnel records and work histories of our ancestors. Sure, we can get their military personnel records from National Personnel Record Center (NPRC), or Archives I, NARA in Washington, DC for early war records (pre-WWI wars). 

5 Resources to Access NSA/CSS Archival Records
Know up front that records may exists, but may not be releasable (NSA/CSS)

  1. Records of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS)

  2. CIA Declassified Records & FOIA Requests
    For CIA personnel records for yourself after 1946, write to the Information and Privacy Coordinator Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C. 20505. For genealogical purposes request the personnel  file under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

  3. NSA FOIA Request? For realistic expectations, be sure to read: 
    Submit a NSA FOIA Request
  4. Want A File From The NSA? You Can Ask, But You Might Not Get It

  5. The Petticoat Panel
    Did you know the CIA did a study in 1953 on the Role of Women in Intelligence? Read about Code Girls Research Here.  The audio book Reverse Tell on the Not Necessarily Nefarious podcast will peak your interest. Learn about The Petticoat Panel here. 

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Were Ancestors Native American?

Can You Prove it Using DNA?
If you were told your great-grandpa or great-grandma were Native Americans raise your hand. 

Although all the data on applications were not correct, the applicants told their story. Again, often based on folklore, they may have failed to get their information collaborated within the required timeframe, but even then, we can extract as much form a rejected application as that of an accepted admittance.  Know that sometimes, the applicant and family were rejected on a technicality. Such was the case on the Tyesky project.  

Cherokee Connection?

Before you claim Native American ancestry, let's do some Fact Checking. Sometimes with DNA, we can prove or disprove our the family lore. Not sure what the Freedmen Applications are? Read here: Dawes Rolls and Enslaved Practices.

Years ago I penned this Preface for my own family book that uncovers the fact that 2nd Great Grandpa Tobe was not Native American after all:

For as long as I can remember, I would boast, to any victim who would listen,…[about] the Indian blood I possessed…  To me, these stories were a necessary reality of unproven truths that defined the “me” of me.  I willingly accepted the twisted family stories, spinned them and massaged them into epoch size fairy tales that defied logic. Perhaps under microscopic review, one could find 20% reality but the other 80% was clearly muddied by the storyteller’s liberty.                                                             
I continued to explain that in less than two months of research, I came to some “mouth-dropped-open realities.  Tobe wasn’t Tobe,[and] we had no Indian blood…”  This scene was repeated with Dina on the Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen podcast (S2: Ep11). As Kathleen walked  through her DNA and her presumed Tyeskey Native American bloodline, you could feel it everytime she exclaimed "WHAT?" "WAIT A MINUTE."

DNA and Native American

If your 100 percent Native America was 6 generations back, your inheritance from that Mative American will be less than 2%.  This is not to say "4th Great-Grandpa" was not Native American, but that you are so removed that your inheritance can't be detected. In Dina's case though, even with abt 2% reported in her mother's DNA test results, we could prove it wasn't from the expected line (a Tyeskey Native) as she thought. She did, however,  carry detectable amounts of Native American inherited through the Harnage line. 

The family historically claimed both names. 

DNA Inheritance

Native American Bloodline




Tyeskey (first name unknown)


Mother of Jeff Tyeskey born 1816, was Cynthia Harnage


Jeff Tyeskey, 1816


Jeff Tyeskey and Alzie Harnage were the parents of Joshua


Joshua Tyeskey, 1843


Joshua was father of Jeff B Tyeskey 1843-1897. Wife of Joshua was Sealy Chariton (Harnage).


Jeff B. Tyeskey, 1874


Parents of Stanford were Jeff B husband of Mary Thompson (as per 1910; Rusk, Tx Marriage


Stanford B Tyeskey, 1895


Son of Jeff B Tyeskey. Stanford & Rose Moore are the parents of Mary B Tyeskey


Mary Bernice Tyeskey,1918


Married to Edward Austin


Dina's Mother, 1938


  2% reported


5 Pointers
So before any others suffer from the embarrassment of a genealogical morass, know that there are a few key points to remember when searching your Native American Connection: 
  1. Just because your ancestor lived in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) does not make them an “Indian”
  2. Facial features and hair texture are not valid arguments for Native American heritage.
  3. Not all Cherokee ancestors were properly listed on the various rolls. Others were rejected.
  4. As many Freedmen Indians already know: just because you aren’t officially a member of the Cherokee Nation, doesn’t speak of your bloodline. We’ve proven a few DNA connections to Native American bloodline, but more data is needed to claim tribal status.  
  5. And finally, don’t confuse family lore with fact.
For more information be sure to reference the Native American tab on the a3Genealogy blog.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible, answers