#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Handed Down

This week’s 52 Ancestors Challenge prompt is a fun one: “Handed Down.”

It brings so many thoughts to mind. My mom says I got my stubbornness “handed down” from my dad. (I think I got some of it from her, too.) My cousin has the family Bible handed down from our Great-Grandma Stevens. It has some good information she shared with me. The little stove my grandmother, Willie Stevens Cook, got from Santa as a child was handed down to my mom, and eventually it will come to me. My mother and her parents handed down to me a love of reading and learning.

Of course, all my many ancestors handed down to me little snippets of their DNA, and in some cases, it’s helping me sort stories that were handed down from the facts on paper.

Set of "Book of Knowledge" Encyclopedias

Set of “Book of Knowledge” Encyclopedias

My mom’s dad, Hoyt Cook – we called him Pap-pa – always said that his mother, Dollie Allison – Grandma Cook – was part Native American. Although, when I was growing up a long time ago, we still said Indian. I remember asking him about it once and saying Creek, and him saying, “No, Cree.” I looked that up in my encyclopedia when I got home and it said that was a Canadian tribe. A couple of years ago, before his sister, my Great-Great Aunt Bonnie (or Great-Grandaunt, if you prefer) said it was Creek.

All that went right along with the story that the Allisons were made to leave Georgia and go to the reservation in Oklahoma.

Only, when I started doing this genealogy research, the Allisons went from Georgia to Oklahoma in around 1904, and I don’t think the government was forcibly moving Native Americans around at that time. Some of the Allisons stayed. Dollie’s mother, I’m told, was injured and died on the way in a train wreck in Mississippi (near Tupelo, I believe). No one can find any information on that train wreck. I say no one, meaning me very recently, and for years my second cousin once removed Pat Lowe, who started her research when at least some of Dollie’s generation were still alive to answer questions)

Dollie’s father died in Oklahoma, possibly of a broken heart. His siblings stayed. His children went back to Georgia, and then several of them moved to Florida.

Pat Lowe has told me that in all her decades of research, she never found anything to connect the family to any Native Americans.

Now, let’s talk about that DNA.

I tested first with 23andMe, and the initial results said I was .7% Native American. That’s now down to .5%. They create a timeline for all your ethnicities, and that one says, “You most likely had a fourth-great-grandparent, fifth-great-grandparent, sixth-great-grandparent, or seventh-great- (or greater) grandparent who was 100% Native American. This person was likely born between 1690 and 1780.”

Dollie wouldn’t have been half-Native American, or even a quarter, but at least maybe there’s something to the stories.

23andMe says my mom has 1% (one whole percent!) of Native American blood. Her timeline analysis says, “You most likely had a fourth-great-grandparent,” etc., etc., “likely born between 1670 and 1760.”

Well, that doesn’t make sense. It should be the same ancestor as me, right?

Looking on the other side, my dad’s brother has .2% – so maybe that threw off my timeline.

Checking the analysis at MyHeritage:

Me – 0% Native American
Mom – 1% Indigenous Amazonian (huh?)
Aunt Bonnie (who isn’t on 23andMe) – 2.9% Mesoamerican and Chilean (double huh?)

I’ve heard (meaning I read on a blog or two) that some people with known and documented Native American heritage end up showing a South or Central American result on MyHeritage.

So, I’m going with, there may be something to the stories that were handed down. They just got a little mixed up in the retelling.



About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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