Monday, March 31, 2014

Sizemore Family Photo Mystery Solved







The mystery is solved.

Some time ago I came across a photo marked “Harmon and George ‘of all’ Sizemore” it came from what appeared to be a reliable source. It can be found in many places on the internet and is always (as far as I have seen) attached to George “All” Sizemore. However after I posted the photo, comments and questions came in that cast a cloud of doubt about the accuracy of the label.
The most damning of which was the fact someone pointed out that George ‘of all’ had lived and died before photography was invented. George “All” Sizemore lived 1750-1822 (and is buried in Leslie County, Kentucky) and the first commercially available photography - the daguerreotype was introduced in 1839.

Then the question asked by many, “Well, then, who IS this?” 


I received a letter from a descendant of Harmon and Susan Sizemore, Walter L. Sizemore, who was understandably upset that his ancestors were not given their proper recognition. 
First and foremost I want to extend my apologies to the family and take this opportunity to set the record straight:

The letter says the picture is of Harmon Sizemore (1806-1909) and his wife (behind him), Susan (Sizemore), daughter of John “Rockhouse” Sizemore , with his brother, John Sisemore (1822-1900), and John’s daughter, Mary Ann (Sisemore) Seamans.  John apparently changed the spelling of his name when he moved to Arkansas in 1837. 
The picture is taken in front of John’s store in Aurora, Arkansas in the 1870’s, probably, he says, to celebrate the moving of Harmon and Susan from Leslie County, Kentucky to Madison County, Arkansas.  Harmon and John were sons of James Sizemore (before 1774-1824) and Elizabeth Fields.

So for all of us who have been wondering, the mystery had been solved at last. Now we know the true identities of the people in the picture. 

Thanks again to the descendants of these pioneers who helped in the writing of this post and
brought to light the facts that were for so many years lost in history.
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Red, White...and Blue Decendants of Pocahontas

It is not unusual to find Red and White descendants of Native American ancestors - particularly if it is a famous character - like Pocahontas, but this is my first encounter of a group called "Blue" descendants.
As I had promised, I have been working on the line that led from the famous Indian princess to my family of coalminers. I have collected census records, birth, death, and marriage certificates. Along the way I have come to appreciate military pension requests and requests for membership in the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution and have found them to be a wealth of information.
So, I am carefully documenting each generation of ancestors in this line to be able to prove that we are, indeed, descendants of the "Guardian Angle of Virginia". That is, until today, when I came across this "new" term - Blue descendants.
Note to all new and inexperienced genealogists: This is why, as much fun as it is to gallop through the  pages of Ancestry.com and other family history pages, when it comes down to it, you really must do your own research and find official documents to prove the lines we follow are actual.
As you might imagine, a red line descendant is the blood line of an Indian (in this case) and a white line descendant is from a marriage of another time (before or after) to a European or non-Indian spouse. However, in this case there is a third option - who knew?
It seems that, first of all, I should have started at the top and worked my way down rather than the other way around. But, secondly, that Pocahontas and John Rolfe had a son (their only child), Thomas Rolfe, who married Jane Poythress and they had only one child. Their daughter, Jane Rolfe, married Col. Robert Bolling. The children from this union became known as the "Red Bollings" - the direct line from our famous princess.
Col. Bolling married, secondly, Anne Stith and the children from this marriage became known as the "White Bollings" - not directly related to the princess.
Col. Robert and Jane Rolfe had a son named Col. John Bolling who married Nancy Kennon and had at least 6 kids and one of those was Maj. John Bolling - the (military) force was strong with this family...
Anyway, Yoda, this is where things get ... interesting or frustrating depending on how you look at it.
Maj. John Bolling and his wife, Elizabeth Blair continued the "red" line and had as many as 18 children (according to one source) but most of them - maybe 11- died young.
Then there is this third group who also claim to be descended from this marriage which, if true, would make the couple the proud parents of 30 children!
It seems that there was a book published about the descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe and after the publication of said book there suddenly appeared this group of people complaining that their ancestors should have been included in the list of the children of John Bolling and Elizabeth Blair. Since they appeared "out of the blue", they became known as the "Blue Bollings".
The problem with this group is that they do not appear in the will of John Bolling or in letters or papers written by one of the sons of John Bolling. Some of them may not exist at all. But at the present time or in the most recent writings I have seen, there is still little, if any, evidence to substantiate their claims.  
They may have lived near or even with the family in question. Some may be illegitimate children of one of the parents.They may have been close relatives that were being taken care of by the family. One writer has said that they may even have been orphans that were cared for by the family. At this point no one really knows or can prove it either way.
My 6th GGrandfather, Maj. Benjamin Bolling, when I found him, was listed as a son. But, alas, he is in the list of the Blue Bollings and not in the blood line of the famous Indian Princess after all. We know he was a real person. He is a historical figure who was a famous pioneer who settled in Flat Gap which became Wise Co. Va. He was quite a colorful character whose story will probably be my next post on this wonderful site.

So take heart family members and stay tuned. We may or may not be in the direct line of Pocahontas, but there are plenty of colorful and interesting stories to tell about brave, intrepid pioneers, warriors, soldiers, and Indian Chiefs who have all helped make the words "red, white and blue" famous and a proud statement in our heritage.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Famous Indian Princess Found

A Famous Indian Princess Found

What do one of the most important couples in Jamestown Colony in the 1660's have to do with a humble family in the coal fields of West Virginia in the 1950's?

It's funny the way things happen sometimes and it's always exciting to stumble onto a line of ancestors that leads to a famous character in American History.

When I started this journey, I was mainly concerned with my surname - Green. So I concentrated on my fathers family and his fathers fathers. 


I had neglected my mothers side of the chart because for some stupid reason I didn't think it would be all that interesting. Man, oh, man, was I wrong. 

So, here I am just  plugging away on Ancestry.com filling in the blanks moving from one ancestor to another...O.K. and his father was... and his parents were...chasing these lines to see how long it would take to find family in Europe when all of a sudden a name pops up with this note attached:

"GGrandson of Pocahontas"

What? Are you kidding me? 

You mean the Pocahontas, John Smith, Jamestown story? That Pocahontas?

 Well, not quite that story. But, yes, the Indian princess, "the guardian angel of Virginia" is an ancestor of mine. Wow! What a revelation, and what a cool thing to be connected to such a pivotal story in this nations history.

Well, how did that happen?

 I traced the line to Powhatan, the principal chief over a large group of tribes in what was to become the state of Virginia.

His daughter, Pocahontas, famously saved the life of John Smith who was one of the leaders of the fledgling Virginia colony. No one knows exactly why, but it is an established fact that the young princess was her fathers favorite daughter and he could deny her nothing.

As the English explorer's head was placed on a rock, his body held in place by several warriors, and several stone axes held ready to "smash the braines out of his head", the young maiden did plead with her father to spare this live. After all else had failed, the girl put her arms around Smith's head and placed her head upon his.
 Seeing this, the Chief could no longer fight and there followed a great feast and there was peace in the land ... for a few years ... until the war ... and the kidnapping of the favored daughter...
But that is a story for another day. (I promise I will flesh out the whole story and post it separately soon.)

In the mean time, Pocahontas does not marry John Smith, but a younger John Rolfe who was the man who brought tobacco to the colony.  Tobacco, of course, became the principal cash crop for the struggling colony.

So, between the Indian maiden's help and assistance to the people of the colony and the tobacco, this couple was responsible for saving the colony and the beginning of the State of Virginia. 

John Rolfe and Princess Pocahontas had one child, Thomas Rolfe, b. Jan. 30, 1615. (She was given the title of Princess by the Queen of England - she was the daughter of a "King" after all.)

Thomas married Jane Poythress and they had only one child - Jane Powhatan Rolfe b. Oct. 10, 1665 (as the mother died later that same year - possibly due to complications of childbirth).

Jane Powhatan married into the Bolling family - Col. Robert Bolling b. Dec. 26, 1646 who passed the line down through the next 4 generations when Elizabeth Bolling b. Mar. 8, 1767 married William Grancer Short b. May 15, 1768.

The line passes down that family for another 4 generations until Mary Elizabeth Short b. Apr. 16, 1877 marries William R. Bishop b. Feb.15, 1875.

Now, it just turns out that Mary Elizabeth and William Bishop have a daughter named Ethel Mae Bishop b. Jan. 1, 1905 who lives to be my mother's mother. 

And so, there you have it. From the tidewaters of Virginia to the coal fields of West Virginia. From the daughter of a great Indian chief to the daughter of a coal miner in 300 short years... ain't genealogy fun!



Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Greenberry mystery solved

Is it Greenberry "Green" Atkins or is it Greenberry Adkins Green? Is our Ggrandfather actually an Adkins and not a Green? What do 2 Mary's, 2 Nancy's, and 3 Greenberry's add up to and what is up with all these "Polly's"? Was it some kind of law that every family should have at least 1 girl named Polly?


Greenberry “Green” Adkins b. 1840 Yancy Co. NC
Greenberry’s niece, Nancy, had a son that she named (obviously after her uncle or possibly her brother) – Greenberry Green b. 1866.

Let's start here: 
 
Joshua Green, born 1792 in Yancy Co. NC married Elizabeth Sparks b.1802 Yancy Co. NC 

Joshua & Elizabeth Green had several children including; Mary “Polly” Green b.1819 and her sister, Nancy Green b.1823.

Mary “Polly” married Alexander Adkins abt 1843.

 One article says that Adkins was the father to Mary’s first 5 children. They must have separated for some good reason because she relocated to Wyoming Co. West Virginia with 5 kids and no husband.  She carried the Adkins name on the 1850 census after which she started using her maiden name, Green. Mary’s daughter, Nancy,(not to be confused with her sister Nancy) is 3 years old and listed as born in NC as well as a son listed as Green (berry?) Adkins (not to be confused with her brother Greenberry).

So between 1843 and 1850, she had 5 kids, left her husband and is living with 3 kids in WVa (some of the kids were living with other family members). On the 1860 Census she appears as Mary Green and 13 year old Nancy Green is listed in her mother’s household.

Alexander Adkins removed from Yancy Co. NC to Wise Co., Va. along with the families of ‘Lias Green and Billy Green. This is only 3 counties away from his estranged wife. Alexander had married Lavina "Viney" Green – sister to ‘Lias and Billy. I often wonder if it was not the news of this marriage that made Mary change back to her maiden name. 

It is said that some of the children that came into Wyoming County with Mary listed their father as Alexander Adkins and their mother as Polly Green. One daughter, Millie, listed her father’s name as John McKinney when she married John Sizemore. It occurs to me that this may have had something to do with the couple's dramatic split.

I have not found a record or article that mentions Nancy Green ever marrying before she had a son named Greenberry Green so at this point I have to assume that she had the child out of wedlock and was using her maiden name. In the 1870 Census she is living in the household of her brother Greenberry Atkins (not to be confused with her uncle Greenberry  Green) with her 5 year old son, Greenberry Green. Are you confused yet?

Articles about Greenberry refer to him as “Greenberry Green, son of Nancy Green who later married Nathaniel Rose.” Frustratingly void of the juicy details, grrr.

Nancy did, indeed, marry Nathaniel Rose and had several children with him who bear the surname Rose.

On the wedding certificate when Greenberry marries Juda Morgan, he lists his parents as _____(blank) & Nancy _____,

I am still trying to locate the marriage certificate of Greenberry to my Ggrandmother – Mary Ann (another “Polly”) Perdue. They are listed on the 1900 Census of Center District, Wyoming Co. WV as Greenberry Green and Polly Ann with 6 children all with the surname Green.

Polly must have been a very common name in that era – their son – my grandfather – Daniel married 1st  a woman named Ann "Polly" Taylor and 2nd my grandmother, Lula Jewell.

So there you have it: 2 Mary's, at least 2 Nancy's, 3 Greenberry's and a passel of Polly's. Isn't genealogy fun?

And what does it all add up to?  Well, I could very well have grown up as an Adkins but I didn't because my family name was handed down from father to daughter to daughter to son to be handed down to me by my great grandfather - Greenberry Green.

P.S.

Mary Polly Green never remarried but she had such an impact on her community that the town now known as Itmann, W. Va. was for several years know as "Poll Green". She is last seen on the 1880 Census living in the household of her son. She died shortly afterward and is said to be buried on a hill overlooking the confluence of Barkers Creek and the Guyandotte River.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Latest DNA Results are In


The Latest DNA Results are In

Good morning, Readers,

Last night I found that my 'Family Finder' DNA test had been completed and the results had been posted on my page.

A little nervous and apprehensive, I went to my page and started to look through the results. And the good news is ... there is no bad news. The other news is there are no surprises.

A-hem, drum roll please ... "In the category of 'percentage of heritage' we have only 2 contestants (OK, maybe this was a little bit of a surprise - I really expected more variation) ... and the count is ... 97% Western European and 3% Native American."
And the crowd goes … "What the...?"

These 2 populations are the two I most expected to see, although, I was a little concerned about the Native American percentage but it was expected. The ancestors that are not accounted for are the Germans and the French.  Now, this test only goes back to the 5th and 6th generations and these other European lines may not come into the family until after that, but I thought they were a little closer. I'll have to go back and check my Gedcom file (family tree) and look at that.

Anyway, my brothers and cousins, there you have it - 97% Western European and only 3% Native American. So much for applying for those Federal grants for NA status. Oh, well, I know some of you are disappointed.

This does, however, confirm most of my research that shows our family coming from England, Ireland and Scotland and, of course, the Indian blood that we were told we had. 

Concerning that - I came across a very interesting website while researching for another project: An entire Green family of Chickamauga Cherokee - very interesting - you can check that out here - http://chickamaugacherokee.org/green/ .


"Now for something completely different..." (thank you, Monty Python).
We know that there was a lot of controversy around several 'facts' about the Sizemore family and none more than the Black (Caribbean Indian) and the possible Jewish people in some of the lines in that family.
In my last project 'My Native American Connection', I mentioned a character which I had read in at least two other researcher's papers. This was an "indentured servant". This (Portuguese-Jewish) slave is said to have been listed in the colony of Jamestown with the name Sizemore.
For whatever reason, at the time I did not give the source of that information as it was ( I thought at the time ) just a passing bit of information that had very little to do with my main subject. 
However, I was reminded that even though this blog is for the edification and education of my family, that there are people who are reading this as part of the research they are doing for their families. One of these people was very upset and wants the proof of that statement.
I have found evidence of the flight of the Jews from parts of Europe during and after the Spanish Inquisition and at least two people named Sizemore in the early history of Barbados and Portuguese (Jewish) slaves being brought to Barbados. The possibility that a rich landowner could have taken (bought) one or more of these slaves and brought them to the young British colonies is certainly not out of the question.
However I have yet to lay my hands (or eyes) on ‘the list’ from Jamestown on which this person was listed or the one that one Sizemore was listed as, or should I say, indicated that he was a ...  dark-skinned man. These are said to exist as some researchers have quoted them – I just haven’t found them yet. And as we have said ‘Always do your own research’ because you can’t trust everything you read.
Coming next – “Proof of the ‘Portuguese-Jewish Sizemore of Jamestown”

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Conclusion


My Native American Connection


The Sizemore family has had a long, colorful history that has become part of our national fabric. The name is found as early as the 1500’s in England as, probably, Jewish merchants who came to the Colonies as landowners. They fought in every war from the Revolutionary War onward. Some were heroes and at least one may have been hung as a Tory (British sympathizer) during that war. That’s a story for another day.

They mixed with the Native American tribes of Shawnee and Cherokee and probably Creek. They helped members of the Cherokee nation escape the terrible Trail of Tears and they blended into the white American society. They refused to sign the original rolls of recognized tribes for different reasons. Not the least of which was to save the land and property they controlled at that time. 

Because of this, they were denied their rights and government money that were owed to them and then went out and started their own band, the infamous Whitetop Laural Band of Cherokee. 

As with any search into genealogy, we find discrepancies in dates and places, names and nicknames. The people who wrote these stories and records were only human and could only do the best they could with the information they had at the time.

You probably noticed different names being used for the same person or that the first female Native American to join the family is referred to as Shawnee and then as Cherokee from different sources. Such is the nature of historical records. 

However, the Sizemore family is one of the most researched and documented families I have worked with in my short history as family genealogist. There is a wealth of information out there for anyone willing to search but, for starters, you can check out the sources at the end of this piece. These, along with several books and websites on the different tribes are enough to keep one busy for quite a while. 

The question I can hear you asking is “How much of that is part of us?”

We know that most Sizemore descendants (who have been tested) have been found to have the Y chromosome haplogroup Q which is distinctly Native American. Further, we know that the family is a mixture of NA tribes as well as European groups. The family has been debating for years about whether they should join the group that goes by the designation of Me’tis or Melungeon. I will leave that decision to you.

Our closest ancestor that I have found from this line is Rebecca Jane Sizemore who married Thomas Munsey Cooke, my 2nd Great-grandfather.

 A group of families left North Carolina which included Sizemore’s, Greens, and possibly Rose and Atkins (all names in our family tree) and moved to Wyoming County in Virginia which later became West Virginia.

I have a copy of the 1860 Census for that county that shows my 3rd ggrandmother Mary Green and her family in the same household as 9 members of the Sizemore family including Edward and Owen. The next three houses down the road are also Sizemore families.


My wife says you have to look no farther than the pictures of my Grandfathers – Green and French – to see the resemblance of NA traits. We have Indian blood, there is little doubt but, how much? We are pretty far removed from the pioneer families that had a high percentage of Indian blood. 

However, in the next two weeks or so I should receive that very information from the Family Finder DNA test I recently submitted. I hope we won’t be disappointed.

Until then, rest in the knowledge that the blood that flows through your veins has been passed down from many different families - heroes, statesmen, warriors, preachers, farmers and patriots. We are the people - the very fabric - that made this country the greatest nation the planet has ever known.

--, S. J. ( 2003, September). My Sizemore Family History . Retrieved March 8, 2012, from Adams and Sizemore Family History Website: http://www.globalgraffiti.com/family/sizemore/native.htm

 Catalogue, F. T. (2009, March 26). Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909. Retrieved Mar 31, 2012, from Fold Three: http://www.fold3.com/page/93189061_eastern_cherokee_applications_of_the/

Dawes Act. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2012, from Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Act

DeGidio, W. W. (1999, Nov 6). Hall Family of Rhode Island - Virginia. Retrieved Mar 26, 2012, from http://genforum.com/hall/messages/5973.html

History of Women in the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved Mar 27, 2012 , from wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_women_in_the_United_States

History, N. G. (n.d.). Treat of New Echota. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from Ngeorgia.com: http://ngeorgia.com/history/cherokeehistory7.html

Indians-201-Native-American-Marriage. (2011). Retrieved March 8, 2012, from dailykos.com: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/08/1024170/-Indians-201-Native-American-Marriage-

Nationl Park Service, Department of the Interior. (n.d.). Retrieved Mar 30, 2012, from Trail of Tears: http://www.nps.gov/trte/historyculture/index.htm

nps.gov . (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2012, from Historic Jamestowne: http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/the-indispensible-role-of-women-at-jamestown.htm

Powell, K. (2002, Jan 10 ). THE METIS HERITAGE of the Sizemore family. Retrieved March 31, 2012, from Rootsweb.ancestry.com: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/APPALACHIAN-LIFE/2002-01/1010672774

Sizemore. (n.d.). Retrieved Mar 27, 2012, from Comcast.net: http://home.comcast.net/~wdegidio/Sizemore/Sizemore.htm

Sizemore family crest. (2009). Retrieved March 9, 2012, from House of Names: http://www.houseofnames.com/sizemore-family-crest?a=54323-224

Surname history. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2012, from Sizemore DNA Project: http://www.sizemorednaproject.com/history_surname.html

Surname History. (n.d.). Retrieved Mar 28, 2012, from Sizemore DNA Project: http://www.sizemorednaproject.com/history_surname.html

The Metis Heritage of the Sizemore Family. (2001 , September). Retrieved March 9, 2012 , from The Multi-racial Activist: http://multiracial.com/site/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=284

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mixed Blood, Melungeon, or Metis?


My Native American Connection


This is the fourth part of this series. We have talked about how the Sizemore family came from England to the colonies. At least one Sizemore came from the Caribbean as an indentured slave with Portuguese-Jewish heritage and some believe that some Sizemore’s came here who were of Scots-Irish heritage.
We also have talked about how an early colonist, George Sizemore, married and had children with “A Shawano [Shawnee] woman”. This is probably the earliest mix of European and Native American blood in this line.
Then we saw that during the Trail of Tears several Cherokee escaped and joined with (and took the name of) the Sizemore family and the descendants of this mixture eventually becoming the Whitetop Laurel Band of Cherokee. It is almost certain that this group of escapees was a mixed group as the Cherokee were known to take in stragglers from other bands of Indians toward the end of the Indian Wars.
We learned that when the government was forced to pay money to the Cherokee nation, the Sizemore family applied en masse as Cherokee but were denied. Did you wonder why that was?
The Congress of the United States created a commission in 1893 to list and account for the full number of the remaining  members of the “Five Civilized Tribes” (Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole) to “stimulate assimilation of Indians into American Society”. The Dawes Commission, named after Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts, created a list known as the Dawes Rolls to accomplish this task. (Dawes Act)
Many Native Americans did not trust the government – imagine that – and went into the hills to try to live out their lives there. Some had already assimilated into white society and were afraid that if it were known, they would lose their land and property. This did actually happen to some. So, they decided for whatever reason not to sign up on the list.
Fast forward to 1907 and now many Indians found that they were not ‘official’ because their fathers or grandfathers did not sign up on the Dawes Rolls and so, were denied the rights, privileges, and money, due them.
However, the name, although a very common Cherokee name, does show up on later rolls like the Guion Miller Rolls , but for Choctaw, Creek, Shawnee and other tribes.
So, then, what to do? What are the Sizemore family descendants?
Well, this debate continues today. Are we mixed blood – Melungeon or Metis? And what is Metis, again?
Well, about the debate, I think Jason Williams, frames it best in his piece – “The Metis Heritage of the Sizemore Family”:

Throughout history, our Sizemore family of southern Appalachia has been variably referred to as Melungeon, Mestee, Metis, Indian, part-Indian, mulatto, Stick People, white and in one branch of which I am aware, black. Most Sizemores have wondered which one is true for a long time, and just recently the answer has presented itself complete with some documentable proof.

We will get to the DNA information in just a minute. But first I think we should see what Mr. Williams says about the term Me’tis:

For those unfamiliar with the term Metis, the word is defined as anyone of mixed ancestry that includes an Indian component. Usually, and in the Sizemore case in particular, it is the founding one. The term also describes people who cannot join federally recognized tribes for whatever reason. Although the term "Métis" is certainly French, and Métis is the term most often applied to Indian/French mixtures, it has also been applied, historically and in modern times, to anyone of mixed Indigenous and non-Indigenous ancestry. Similarly, the plural French term Mélangeon has been used historically to describe us.

He further adds that Sizemore’s who have joined the Metis are not "wannabe" Indians. As one Metis explained, to the contrary, we "havetobe" Metis because our ancestors did not register with the U.S. Government. As a result most of us are culturally white, and ancestrally Indian and European. (Powell, 2002)

According to the Sizemore DNA Project website, in mid-2009, over a hundred Sizemore males had been tested and found to be in the major Haplogroup Q. I just checked and to date, that project has 136 members listed. This is not a huge sampling, I admit, but big enough to prove our point.
The Q haplogroup is associated with “indigenous people of the United States” in other words Native American Indians. Although this does not say which tribe, location or group of Indians, it is most definitely Indian. There are some Sizemore's that have been found in other groups including haplogroup R of which I am a member.
 I am not a direct descendant of “Old Ned” Sizemore but my second great grandmother, Rebecca Jane Sizemore ( b.1819  d.1861 in Wyoming Co. W. Va. ) was his great granddaughter.

Next: Conclusion