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 - .

"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


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:

 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:

Dawes Act. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2012, from

DeGidio, W. W. (1999, Nov 6). Hall Family of Rhode Island - Virginia. Retrieved Mar 26, 2012, from

History of Women in the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved Mar 27, 2012 , from

History, N. G. (n.d.). Treat of New Echota. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from

Indians-201-Native-American-Marriage. (2011). Retrieved March 8, 2012, from

Nationl Park Service, Department of the Interior. (n.d.). Retrieved Mar 30, 2012, from Trail of Tears: . (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2012, from Historic Jamestowne:

Powell, K. (2002, Jan 10 ). THE METIS HERITAGE of the Sizemore family. Retrieved March 31, 2012, from

Sizemore. (n.d.). Retrieved Mar 27, 2012, from

Sizemore family crest. (2009). Retrieved March 9, 2012, from House of Names:

Surname history. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2012, from Sizemore DNA Project:

Surname History. (n.d.). Retrieved Mar 28, 2012, from Sizemore DNA Project:

The Metis Heritage of the Sizemore Family. (2001 , September). Retrieved March 9, 2012 , from The Multi-racial Activist:

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Trail of Tears, Stick People, and the Whitetop Laurel Band

My Native American Connection

The Sizemore family had thought themselves to be of Cherokee blood for generations. There is no doubt that there is Cherokee blood in the line.
We know that George Sizemore (b. abt 1751 d. 1820) married Elizabeth “Annie” Hart about 1772 in Surry County, Va. And that Annie was a Cherokee squaw whose Indian name was Aruna. This, according to ECA # 10133 by Frank Sizemore of Pineville, Wyoming Co. Va.
But the most important event for this belief of Cherokee heritage happened during the “Removal” – the Trail of Tears. 

As the young American nation was growing and expanding ever westward, there were more and more conflicts with the original inhabitants of that land. The tribes that lived on those lands took exception to the white settlers encroaching onto the hunting grounds they had used for untold generations.
This lead to “The Indian Wars” which was actually a series of wars between several tribes of Native Americans and the new settlers. These conflicts span a period from the Jamestown Massacre in 1622 to the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota in 1890.

The Indians were pushed further west and their numbers dwindled because of war, European diseases and in some cases, starvation. Several tribes (or remnants of tribes) would join with other larger groups for survival and thus, became mixed among themselves. It was common during this time to have a tribe that was made up of members of two, three or even more different tribes. 

In 1830 Congress passed the “Indian Removal Act” which called for the “forcible removal” of the Cherokee nation (and others) from their lands east of the Mississippi River to reservations in Oklahoma. During this forced march in 1838 an estimated 4,000 of the 15,000 Cherokees died. (National Park Service, Department of the Interior)
This is where our family history once again intersects with national history. Because it was during the Trail of Tears that some of the Cherokee escaped and were taken in by a family of Indians who had already assimilated into the local white population by the name of … you guessed it … Sizemore.

High in the Appalachian Mountains, as the story goes; the Sizemore family would stack huge piles of sticks in which to hide these escapees. This gave rise to the name “stick people” which the group was called for many years.
Consequently, this group of ‘stick people’ intermarried into the Sizemore family for generations until it was hard to distinguish between the mixed blood - or Melungeon - Sizemores and the Cherokee.
Then in 1907 the government was ordered to pay out funds to the Cherokee nation. Suddenly, it became very important to be an official Cherokee and over 2000 applications were made to the Cherokee nation by members of the Sizemore family. All of them were denied  for various reasons. 

The same decree [U.S. Court of Claims, April 29, 1907] also provided that the fund was to be distributed to all Eastern and Western Cherokee Indians who were alive on May 28, 1906, who could establish the fact that at the time of the treaties they were members of the Eastern Cherokee Tribe or were descendants of such persons, and that they had not been affiliated with any tribe of Indians other than the Eastern Cherokee or the Cherokee Nation. (Catalogue, 2009)

After the denial of their applications for membership in the Cherokee nation, the Sizemore family decided to band together to form the Whitetop Laurel Band of Cherokee led by Chief Blevins.

Testimony of Whitetop Chief William H. Blevins:

          "The word 'Chief' in my application, means that I am Chief of the
 White Top Band of Cherokee Indians, an organization of the principal Cherokee Indians living about White Top, and was perfected about ten 
years ago. We organized so as to demand our rights in a body. We thought we had not been getting them before. In 1896, we wanted to go to the Indian Territory, and organized for that purpose. When the band was first organized there were about 2,175, I believe. They were all Sizemore descendants. No 
one else was allowed to become a member if it was known…” (Powell, 2002)

*Note: This was originally produced in The Metis Heritage of the Sizemore Family by Jason Adams

Next: Mixed blood, Melungeon, or Metis?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Sizemore Family Roots

My Native American Connection 

 So, where did the Sizemore family come from?

As more than one writer has pointed out, we can be pretty sure that there wasn’t a Native American named Sizemore before the pilgrims landed. The name Sizemore is very old British name. One source says that the name comes from England originating in Lancashire (Sizemore family crest, 2009) and one researcher says

“… There were 44 spelling variants of SIZEMORE. The earliest record was dated 1556 and largest concentration of the surname was in the county of Gloucester [England].”  (Surname History)

 Some say the name comes from Jewish roots. There is a mention of an indentured servant in Jamestown of Portuguese-Jewish descent and also that some Sizemore’s may have come from a Scots-Irish heritage.  (The Metis Heritage of the Sizemore Family, 2001 )
There is a couple living near Jamestown in Charles City, Va. around 1619. William Sismore came from England and was granted 100 acres of land on the Appomattox River. William married Martha (probably) in Virginia. [As she is known to have traveled between England and the colonies a few times.] (Surname history)

Here’s an interesting bit of history – Martha came to Virginia later than William and is possibly one of the women that the Virginia Company ordered to be sent to the colonies.

The Virginia Company of London seemed to agree that women were indeed quite necessary. They hoped to anchor their discontented bachelors to the soil of Virginia by using women as a stabilizing factor. They ordered in 1619 that "...a fit hundredth might be sent of women, maids young and uncorrupt, to make wives to the inhabitants and by that means to make the men there more settled and less movable...." ( )

 It seems the planters and other landowners were growing restless without the joys of female companionship and the company decided this was the best way to help them settle. So they sent the ‘tobacco brides’ who could be bought at the set price of 120 pounds of tobacco which paid for their passage.  (History of Women in the United States)
Meanwhile, despite fires, Indian attacks and periods of starvation, Jamestown did survive with the help of these and other new colonists.
William and Martha appear on a list of ‘the living’ in Virginia at West & Shirley Hundred Jan. 14, 1623/4 after an Indian massacre on the Appomattox River. (Sizemore)

A few years later the Sizemore name shows up more commonly as the family name spreads out in Virginia and North Carolina. Details about the early families are sketchy but things start to get interesting in the mid to late 1700’s with an important central character by the name of Edward “Old Ned” Sizemore. As we will see Old Ned is used as the patriarch of many of the lines of Indians to follow.  
Edward “Old Ned” Sizemore was born, well, one source says prior to 1725, another says about 1742. (Did I mention they didn’t keep track of dates too well?) The son of Edward Sizemore and “a Shawano woman”, he died in Oct. 1780 in Ashe County, North Carolina.
He and his brothers – John, Hiram, George, Ephram, and Owen come up frequently in the stories told later in the ECA’s (Eastern Cherokee Applications) in the early 1900’s. As it turns out, these applications are the richest source for Sizemore family genealogy research known today. But these men are the foundation of most of the Sizemore family lines in the country.
Next: The Trail of Tears, Stick People, and the Whitetop Laurel Band

Monday, March 26, 2012


My Native American Connection

We are the people no doubts, but our applications was wrong I suppose.”
ECA # 10133 by Frank Sizemore

We are Cherokee, we just aren’t allowed to claim it because our ancestors chose not to sign up on the government’s official lists and now our claims to the money are denied. (--, 2003)

This is only part of the frustration and confusion experienced by members of the Whitetop Laurel Band of Cherokee in the early 1900’s. Most of them had been told their whole lives that they were of Cherokee blood and the money? That - was a huge payout that the American government was made to pay to members of the greater Cherokee Nation. This was because of broken treaties - particularly the Treaty of New Echota Cherokee Indians (1835). (History)

As it turns out the Sizemore family are certainly of Native American blood but how much and of which tribe are subjects of debate to this very day. Who were they? Where did they come from? Why all the confusion? And what is a Me’tis?

The research into Native American heritage is a daunting task, more so than the task of finding, say, European connections, for instance. There are a few reasons for the added complications: 

For one thing, Indians did not keep track of birthdays and anniversaries the way most cultures do. There was no sense of belonging to a particular set of parents – each child had several fathers and several mothers. The tribe was a large extended family. The survival of the tribe was the most important thing.
 Tracing ones ancestor to a tribe or region is often easier than finding their mother or father. Mothers were more important than fathers as the society is matriarchal. They kept their lineage through the mother’s line and not the father’s line as we do. 

Also, polygamy was an accepted practice. A man could have as many wives as he wanted as long as he could provide for them and as long as all parties were in agreement with the arrangement. 

             Former Navajo tribal chairman Peter MacDonald explains Navajo polygyny this way:

              “A man would marry a woman, then work hard for his     family. If she had a sister who was not married, and if the man proved to be caring, a good provider, and a good husband, he would
be gifted with his wife’s sister, marrying her as well.”
             (Indians-201-Native-American-Marriage, 2011)

So it was not uncommon for a man to have many children with many wives and they did believe in having lots of babies. So, for a brave to father 20 to 30 children or more was not unheard of. This is particularly true with chiefs and successful warriors.

There is a story of one Sizemore - Chief Goldenhawk who was said to be a big hulk of a guy and not at all a handsome man.

… George “Goldenhawk” Sizemore fathered approximately 50 children, census records show Goldenhawk at one time supporting four different families with 7 to 10 children in each of them. In 1860, he was indicted for bigamy in Floyd Co. KY, and according to minutes from the hearing, the judge said, “Mr. Sizemore, I understand you have about 50 children, to which Goldenhawk replied, “I guess you’re right. But, judge, if I’d been half as pretty a man as you are, I’d had more than that.” There are no known portraits of Goldenhawk, but he was said to be one of the ugliest men that ever was, puzzling his descendants, leading them to believe he had more attractive qualities than good looks. (DeGidio, 1999)

Next: Where did the Sizemore family come from?