Manataka American Indian Council






Want to know more about your American Indian heritage?

So They Say You Are Black Dutch Cherokee or Black Dutch?
10 Step to Genealogy Research Cherokee Proud
American Indian Genealogy Links





The good thing about genealogical research is that it is getting easier. Genealogy is the fastest growing hobby today. More people are looking for their roots than ever before. New software and the internet are contributing to quicker access and more reliable information.  



The bad thing about genealogy research is that it is very time consuming and requires a great deal of patience.  It can become expensive with long distance phone calls, stamps, travel, books, copy fees, and computer software.  



The rewards are great.  There is an old saying, "Whenever you search for your ancestors, you honor them.  Whenever you honor your ancestors, they in turn will honor your children's, children's, children."  



In today's fast-paced, impersonal world, it is nice to have roots to ground ourselves and provide a sense of pride and direction.  Families have a sense of security and know where they are going when they know where they have been.  



Here is a warning!  If you are attempting to prove your American Indian ancestry because of some government benefit  program, do not waste your time. Self-serving purposes do not honor your ancestors, so your ancestors will hide from you.  There is more to qualifying for the so-called benefits than just proving lineage.  Check it out before you waste your time.  If your purpose is to give your family a gift of knowledge, then you are on the right path.  






"So They Say You Are Black Dutch…?"
By Takatoka


At a family reunion in the summer of 1998,  I listened to my elder brother say he heard our grandfather, John M. Moore, was Black Dutch.  He explained that our great-great grandfather could not speak English well.  He had coal black hair, dark complexion and lived at the confluence of the Black and St. Francis Rivers in Northeast Arkansas before the Civil War.   

My brother is an honest man with strong convictions and I did not doubt his words, but wondered if what he was saying was correct. So, I got on the internet and began searching for Black Dutch and Black Irish. 

One of the first sites I clicked to was Pitter Seabaugh's Arkansas history pages. According to Pitter, a Northern Cherokee, "...the terms were borrowed Native Americans to avoid persecution…"  The following is from Pitter's research:

On the Museum wall of The Oakville Mounds Park & Museum" in Moulton, Alabama:  "Before the Indian Removal Act in 1830, many of Lawrence County's Cherokee people were already mixed with white settlers and stayed in the country of the Warrior Mountains. They denied their ancestry and basically lived much of their lives in fear of being sent West. Full bloods claimed to be Black Irish or Black Dutch, thus denying their rightful Indian blood. After being fully assimilated into the general population years later, these Irish Cherokee mixed blood descendants, began reclaiming their Indian heritage in the land of the Warrior Mountains, Lawrence County, Alabama. During the 1900 U.S. Census only 78 people claimed their Indian heritage. In 1990, more than 2000 individuals claimed Indian descent. Today more than 4000 citizens are proud to claim their Indian heritage and are members of the Echota Cherokee's tribe."

According to Jane Week, Executive Director of the Alabama Indian Affairs, for hundreds of years the Indian community has interacted with the European communities, who had come to this new and wonderful country.  Through intermarriage many of our people are not likely to look Indian. Their blood quantum has diminished, but it does not diminish their ethnic pride or rights.

It was reported in "Lumbee Footprints", a new book by Gloria Holback,  that  "...times were hard for the Lumbee whose main source of income was in the turpentine industry.  Cut out of work and with families to feed, many found it necessary to leave the area within the next ten years to seek work in the turpentine industry in other states. Some families found success.

"Their stories were reported back to members of their Robeson County relatives. Others learn that their absent relatives have been subjected to horrible mistreatment in other states, even some murdered. Many return, but those who remain in other states have had to pass for white to protect their families. They came home only for infrequent visits with parents and siblings."

"As the years went by, some did not allow their descendants to have any information about their American Indian bloodlines. They passed the family off as Black Dutch, Black Irish, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Italian or anything that the family elders felt could not and would not be checked out by the white people in their new community." (Holback's words were taken from a telephone conversation with Dr. Adolph Dial in 1993 as they appear on her webpage, "Gloria's Hamlet". 

In my research of trying to find out just what a Black Dutch or Black Irish was, I found that some have associated them with the Melungeon. The Melungeons live mostly in the Appalachian Mountains. They are people whose ancestry has been shrouded in mystery. They are most likely the descendants of the late 16th century Turks and Portuguese stranded on the Carolina shores. Sir Francis Drake liberated some 200 young Turks on the North Carolina coast.

They later intermarried with Powhatan, Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Catawba Indians. These two groups combined later, settled in the Appalachians, and with further intermarriages with the Cherokees.  The word Melungeon is both Portuguese and Turkish, and meaning "cursed soul."  Today, Melungeon descendants can be found among all racial and ethnic groups.  Like the Cherokee, these people were not out to advertise the fact that they were Melungeon, rather they were trying their best to hide it.  There are also many Melungeon roots in southeastern Kentucky families.

Melungeon families had to hide their heritage.  "Free Persons of Color" laws, were used to take their land and bar them from courts and schools.  There are family stories of being Black Dutch, and being Cherokee.  Many of these families just seem to show up with no past.

The Cherokee was type cast early in the white history of this country.  We were light skinned, and they just assumed we were mixed with the whites. The Cherokee actually had complexions that ranged in a variety of skin colors. These ranged from very light to very dark.  They assumed that the darker ones were part black.  They drove many of our people off their lands because of the darker skin. Many would not leave.  They hid out in the woods and in the mountains.  Many were forced to live as "white" citizens just to survive. Most lost their Cherokee heritage. Until 1909 they could not vote or hold office. They drove away or forced many onto Indian territory. This forced our people into hiding, and making it better to be "Black Dutch, Black Irish" or anything that was dark, than to be an American Indian.

To get another opinion on the term Black Dutch we went to Shirley Hornbeck, an extraordinary genealogist.  According to Hornbeck, "...Some say that the term "Black Dutch" refers to Sephardic Jews who married Dutch protestants to escape the Inquisition, many of their descendants later moving to the Americas, the "black" referring to their dark hair and complexions; perhaps rarely, German immigrants from the Black Forest region, e.g., "For the most part, the Black Dutch came after 1740."  Others disagree and say it is doubtful that the Black Dutch were of Jewish or (Holland) Dutch heritage.

By the mid-1800s the term had become a colloquialism; a derogative term for anything denoting one's small stature, dark coloring, working-class status, political sentiments, or anyone of foreign extraction. It has been used as a derogatory expression labeling German Union troops in the Civil War.

Some genealogists suggest that the Black Dutch were either an offshoot of the Melungeons or one of the tri-racial isolate groups in Appalachia. 


Other Interesting websites concerning Black Dutch/Black Irish:
Rootsweb - Messages
Appalachia - Melungeon  Black Irish  


Were our people Black Dutch or were they Cherokee?   In our opinion, they were both.  How do we arrive at that conclusion with so much controversy over the term Black Dutch?   We did more research. 

Going back to Northeast Arkansas, we studied the land records and other histories of the area and discovered the same land once owned by John Moore was occupied by Cherokees who came with Chief Duwali (Bowles) in 1794.  After a devastating earthquake of 1812,  Chief Bowels and some of his people moved south along the Arkansas River in present day Conway County. Many stayed on their farms along the White, St. Francis and Black Rivers. After the Cherokee lost their homes to the Treaty of 1828, the John Moore family moved to Oregon and Lawrence County Missouri but returned to Arkansas before 1850.  Fearful of discrimination they returned to Arkansas reborn as Black Dutch.     

Tracing our family history before 1794 was not as easy.   Finally after years of searching, the connection came when reading the genealogy of Nancy Ann "Polly" Moore.   Polly Moore was the daughter of  Pathkiller, Chief of an 'Overhill' Cherokee town.
Read Legend of Pathkiller   Polly married Robert A./ (Alec?) Moore and had eight children.  Their fourth son, Samuel Moore (1805-1856) was father of John M. Moore.

While living in, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and finally Arkansas, the Moore clan married both Cherokee and whites to thin and strengthen the Cherokee blood through the years.  Thus, we claim to be Cherokee Proud!





Read genealogy books.  Buy family tree software.  Review genealogy web sites (such as link below.  Join a local genealogy club.  The first step is to learn how to do genealogy research.  Learn the tricks of the trade.  It will save time and money in the long run.   Most of all - have fun searching.


Make a list of known and potential resources of information.  Your list should  include family, military, churches, schools, data bases, newspapers, and local, state, and federal government offices.  Be careful about paying professional researcher until you have exhausted all resources.  Leave no stone unturned.


Assemble all birth, death, land and other records, including but not limited to, education, military, church, family Bibles, etc. on yourself, parents and grandparents, and other ancestors.  Make a separate file for each person. Include letters, stories and other clues as to identity and location.



Make a chronological list of all known facts. Use the list when writing to sources. Never send  originals of any document.  In a separate file assemble old family stories, letters, keepsakes, news articles, and anything that may give a clue to the identity of your ancestor.   Stay organized.  Keep documents safe.


Contact relatives from other branches of your family to see who may share information.  Often there is someone in your extended family (2nd/3rd/4th cousins),  who have your same interest.  Enlist other family members to assist.  Keep lines of communication open!   This is very important.



Contact all the sources on your lists. Contact government agencies, schools, churches, newspapers, land offices, military, etc. should be short. Ask for specific information.  Do not make it your letter too detailed. They will not read it.



Visit libraries, cemeteries, land offices, courthouses and other official' type sources. Clerks in these offices do not have time to respond to every letter in detail, but a personal visit will sometimes encourage more assistance.  Often, they will allow you access to records.



Publish your findings. Write all you have discovered and send copies to your extended family to help insure continued interest and safe-keeping.  Again, while writing, ask specific questions.  Continue to update as often as necessary. Remember to keep organized.



Do not get discouraged. The process can be long and tedious.  Remember to keep your eyes and hears open to any small detail.  Write everything down regardless of how insignificant or far fetched. You never know when the smallest detail will lead to a gold mine of information.



Go back to Step 1 and begin the process again.  Perseverance is the key to success.  Set goals!  Make X number of contacts per month. Keep the lines of communication open with elder relatives.  Do not get discouraged - there is someone waiting to find you.   Good searching!


Native American Research Tips

excerpts from 'Tribal Ties' By Nancy Hendrickson

Most genealogists depend on federal and state census records to lay a basic foundation of research. Tribal Indians weren't counted in early federal censuses, however. In fact, census records from 1790 to 1850 included only Indians living in settled areas who were taxed and didn't claim a tribal affiliation. Indians on reservations or those who lived a nomadic existence were not taxed, and therefore not counted.

The 1860 federal census added a category called "Indian (taxed)." From 1870 to 1910, the census had an "Indian" category, but it didn't include reservation Indians until 1890. Most of that census was lost to fire, though, so 1900 is the first available census that lists most Native Americans. Special counts were made of several tribes, with the best-known being the Dawes Commission Rolls, taken between 1898 and 1914. These rolls listed members of the Five Civilized Tribes. Cherokee researchers should also check the Guion Miller Rolls, taken in the early 20th century. This lists applicants for a federal fund to compensate families of Cherokee who lost land as a result of the Indian Removal Act, the 1830 law that relocated most of the Cherokee Nation to what's now Oklahoma.

Once you've identified a tribe, your search will probably take you to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), where you'll find records from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). NARA's collection includes special censuses, school and land records. You may also find your ancestor on annuity payrolls or land allotments. Annuities resulted from treaties or acts of Congress in which the government made annual payments to tribal members. Allotment records were created when the government allotted land to individual tribe members; these are arranged by tribe. They usually include applications, registers of allotters' names, plat maps and improvements made to the land.

American Indians: 

A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications


Lists NARA's various holdings, including the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Record Group 75). You'll find a complete description of NARA's Native American holdings in Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians compiled by Edward E. Hill (National Archives and Records Administration, $25) To order, send payment to National Archives Trust Fund, NWCC2, Dept. 2001, Box 100793, Atlanta, GA 30384. Many BIA field records are now in regional offices of the National Archives. Each NARA branch has different BIA records; for example, records relating to the Kiowa Agency are in Fort Worth, Texas, the Zuni Agency in Denver, and the Potawatomi Agency in Kansas City, Mo. Depending on the location, you may be able to tap agency employee records, Indian index cards, vital statistics, sanitary and school records, individual history and marriage cards.

Meg Hacker, director of archival operations at the National Archives, Southwest Region, encourages researchers to contact the National Archives regional office in the area where their tribe is located Write that office with as much information as you have (without reciting your whole family history), and the staff will try to point you to the available records.

Another option is to contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs to obtain the phone number and address of the tribal membership office. Next, contact the tribe to see if it has records of your ancestor. You can access a tribal leaders directory at (in HTML or PDF format) or by contacting the BIA at 1849 C St. NW, Washington, DC 20240.

If your Native American ancestor served with federal troops, NARA may have a record of his veteran's benefits. The National Archives military records section has a separate alphabetical file for each American Indian veteran who served prior to 1870.


By Dr. Tony 'Mac' McClure
A fascinating, reliable resource of information. Guides family researchers in easy steps to an often elusive area of the forest where proof of ancestry hides in the undergrowth, waiting to be discovered. Contains in-depth census rolls information, but because many Cherokees were never put on the rolls, also includes numerous other little known places to search.  Also includes ribbons of Cherokee culture, history, traditional dress, language, music and dance enabling the reader to better understand and honor those they seek. Fully illustrated with maps photographs (many in color) & microfilm document copies. Widely acclaimed as 'the Bible' on Cherokee genealogy in print today.  336pp.  $37.95

THE EVERYTHING FAMILY TREE BOOK: Finding, Charting, and Preserving Your Family History

by William G. Hartley and Barry Littmann, Illustrator

Learn how to do research, charts, and records for personal accounts of your family's past generations, and preserve this history for future generations. Includes fold-out family Tree Chart for recording a family's history. Soft Cover, 292pp  $23.95



by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack & Emily Anne Croom.   

This excellence reference combines essential genealogy guidelines with online directories and region-specific travel information to help make your family history search more successful, efficient, and fun. It's an invaluable reference for beginning and experienced genealogists alike. You will learn how to overcome the biggest obstacles in the search for your ancestors, including using the Internet to access faraway resources and deciding where to go next when online options are exhausted. Contributors include Sharon Carmack, Emily Croom, Nancy Hendrickson, Maureen Taylor, Jim and Paula Warren, and others. For ease of use, the U.S. and Canada are divided into seven sections. Each section is introduced with a brief history and resource guide, along with the basic methods of finding and using its regional records. Soft Cover, 336pp.  $24.95



by George G. Morgan

Trace your family roots back many generations with help from this easy-to-use guide. Learn to set up a family tree, locate and evaluate vital records, select the appropriate hardware and software for the search, make the most of the Internet, and much more. Inside, you'll find invaluable research strategies, advice on getting past "brick walls," and information on the latest print and online genealogical resources. Explore your family history -- you never know what you might discover. Soft Cover, 432 pp.  $ 34.95


Proceeds from book purchases go to support the nonprofit, cultural, educational and religious purposes of the Manataka American Indian Council.  Thank you for your support.

Notice: Occasionally books may be discontinued or out of stock without prior notice. With written permission, your order may be filled from the 'shelf'.  Shelf books are new, but some may be slightly discolored or sale tags may be still attached. 


Abenaki Genealogy

Cyndi's List

Native American Genealogy

African - N/American Genealogy

Dawes and Guion Miller Rolls

Native American Genealogy 101

American Indian Net

Everton Publishing

Native American Grave Readers

Genealogy Web 1

Native Genealogy - 3 Fires Page

Broken Threads

Genealogy Web  2

Native Genealogy Web Ring

Catalog of National Archives Microfilm

Genealogy Web 3

Oklahoma Indian Territory Project

Cherokee by Blood

Indian Genealogy

Surname Web

Cherokee Genealogy

Metis Genealogy

Sweetness Wickiup - Genealogy

Cherokee Proud

Metis Genealogy 2

Virtual Library - Amer. Indians

Choctaw/Cherokee Proud Family

Mieirs Genealogy Page

Wind Through Her Hair List

Cave Cove Genealogy Links

Miwok Genealogy Search Page






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