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Native American Genealogy | DNA Testing for Native American Heritage

  • Written by | 73 Comments73 Comments Comments
    Last Updated: July 27th, 2008

    Native American

    Many families have rumors of it, have heard it said that their mother or their fathers mother was “full blood” native American of one variety or another.
    How do you find out whats real and whats fiction?

    Nearly all Native Americans belong to one of five mitochondrial DNA haplogroups: A, B, C, D or X and all of these are widely distributed throughout America.

    Through a series of tragedies, many of the native Americans have no sort of records, or those which were there in the latter parts of the last century were destroyed.

    The native Americans themselves were not well treated, and in many cases, herded onto reservations where record keeping was haphazard at best.

    Additionally, in many cases, having Native American blood was a thing that was frowned on. In less open minded times, if one were able to pass as a white man or woman, in most cases they did so, leaving their heritage behind.

    Do you have Native American ancestry? DNA may give you the answer.

    If you are searching for your native American roots and finding yourself at a brick wall, there are a few things you might want to try.

    Several types of DNA testing exist that can assist you in finding your blood quantum and also suggest what your tribal affiliation may be.

    A DNA fingerprint test will be helpful if your family history so far as Native American is not known to you at all. This type DNA testing is one of the most sensitive and can help you to find even the smallest amount of Native blood, or the “hidden” variety, when you are not aware of your ancestry.

    A new study has said that about 95% of Native Americans can have their lineage traced back to only six women. The “founding mothers” are thought to have lived about 18000-21000 years ago and were part of a group living in Beringia, which is a land bridge that connected Asia and north America, long ago submerged.

    If your mother is a direct descendant of another female, that is to say, your mother, and her mother and her mother, etc were native American, and your blood was passed through the female side, Mitochondrial DNA testing can produce good results and may also offer you suggestions on what your tribe may be and where they came from.

    Likewise, paternal DNA testing, or Y chromosome testing will be helpful if your Native heritage comes to you from your father.
    You will need to have the testing done on a near male relative however, such as a brother.

    If you want to trace back your Native American roots, and want to identify even a small amount of blood, perhaps DNA testing is right for you.

    Discover your past using DNA Testing – Click Here to Find Out More!

    My Ancestry Guide - The Complete Guide to Uncovering Your Ancestry

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73 Comments

  1. #1
    Shawn
    August 10th, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    This link has expired for the DNA testing. Please review it and correct it.

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  2. #2
    Lora Schepers
    March 14th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    This link is still expired for the DNA testing. Has not been corrected since the last entry of August 10th, 2008! Please update so we can further our knowledge of our ancestors. Thanks.

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  3. #3
    Leila
    June 24th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    It sounds as though people who are part Asian would have the same or similar DNA? If so, they might not be able to discern if they have NA blood.

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  4. #4
    Wulfdog
    August 2nd, 2009 at 1:10 am

    My grandmother and her mom were taken before the DAWES commission back in the early 1900’s. Large group of ominous looking government people who badgered them into saying they were less indian than they were. My great grandmother was half Choctaw and half Chickasaw, but the men at the daws commission wouldn’t let them claim the Chickasaw, and would only let her claim 1/8 Choctaw. Obviously pictures of her and my grandmother show them to be very Native American in appearance. At one time before a house fire I had sworn afidavits from relatives of the great grand father which stated they were of full blood Chickasaw and brothers and cousins of his that stated in sworn afidavits he was full blood Chickasaw. Is there anyway of correcting this misdeed, and getting my family back its true identity and blood quantums? Thanks John

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  5. #5
    Wulfdog
    August 2nd, 2009 at 1:13 am

    Oh the reason they threw out the blood from the father who was full blood Chickasaw is because he was already dead before the dawes commission started giving out blood quantums. Even thought his wife and her daughter were there. They would not accept information or afidavits proving the girl was actually half Choctaw and half Chickasaw.

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  6. #6
    Florence Gail {Smithson}
    August 28th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    My Grandfather Robert McKinley Stidham Hes Mother Tempy Jane Cox was a Full blood Cherokee is there away To see how much I am Cherokee and if there is can you Call me? on my Cell 928-542-5002 Thank You Florence Catone

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  7. #7
    Hughie Haley
    December 4th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    My great, great, great grand father was supposely a chief of the choctaws around wilkerson county Ms. in the mid 1800’s. He had an american name of Chief Henry Johnson, His daughter Harriet married my great great grandfather William Netterville, around 1850 in Ms. Can you expand on this? I am trying to complete my family history. you can contact me at the above e-mail or 318 560 4762. Hugh Haley

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  8. #8
    lpowens
    January 17th, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Was just reading your remarks about the Dawes commission and found it interesting as my husband was always told he was part Choctaw from his grandmother’s side. But once we obtained the copies of the Dawes reports they (the grandmother’s relatives) all deny knowing that they had any indian blood and were denied any compensation. Just was wondering if you had gotten any further in establishing your Indian connection.

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  9. #9
    Floria
    March 27th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    How do I find or prove my Choctaw blood? my mother’s grandmother was Choctaw Indian but she gave my mothers mom up for adoption because she was a “street woman” how can I claim my part of Indian heritage? and is there a test to prove it if so please contact me. I am also told that I have Blackfoot Indian blood also. Her name was Betty Edwards possibly from Oklahoma on the Indian Reservation. She gave birth to a daughter named Ida, at Ida’s birth Betty put Ida on the doorstep of some man who adopted Ida. Don’t know if this man was the father of Ida or just someone who adopted her this would have been in the very early 1900’s. Ida later became an adult and married William Suell who was part Blackfoot Indian, this was in Arkansas and they had 9-10 children, 3 girls and 6-7 boys.

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  10. #10
    Floria
    March 27th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I am also trying to find my Irish heritage on my father’s side. My great grandmother’s name was Lila Jane Rowlett who married Rev. William T. Briggs. I believe 9 children were born to that union, sons Augustus Briggs, Frank Briggs, Aurthur Lee Briggs, Henderson Briggs, and Rowlett Briggs. The last known states they lived were Monticello Arkansas, Pine Bluff Arkansas, Detroit Michigan,and Chicago. My father’s father was Augustus Briggs, my grandfather. They also had some daughter’s unsure how many, but Augustus married Mattie Lee Kizzee December 24th 1924, I would love to also find the Kizzee relatives, because my father, the son of Augustus Briggs was believed to be dead by all of the family for 35 years they never heard from him, before his passing he met up with his siblings and visited his nephew In Atlanta, who is the son of his sister Annie Carroll, therefore we as a family have been fugitives to each other and I would like to find and meet my family before I die.

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  11. #11
    myra
    April 17th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I am researching my great grandmother who was creek Indian. Her name was Mary Birdi. She worked under Mr. Smith who I believe changed her name to Mary Smith. She was married to my greatgrand father, Dave Sheppard. I can not find any records and the census did not do any justice. Dave name could have been spelled in many ways such as: sheppard, shepard, shepherd, shepheard and shephard. I do not know whether, she did not admit to marrying a black man and they kept this quit or what. Please help search this information for me.

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  12. #12
    Janey Rasco
    May 3rd, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I’m 15 years old and i’m a yukka indian. i’v never met my father and i would like to know his last name at least, i dont even know what he looks like so im trying to find out and having trouble

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  13. #13
    browneyedgirl
    June 17th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    i’m 16 an cherokee indian who can’t find out here ancestors i only have one full blood cherokee indian grandmother who is still alive

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  14. #14
    Lauren
    June 28th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Floria- Your post shocked me as there are a lot of similarities. My biological father, who i am not in contact with, had a grandmother who was full Choctaw Indian and his grandfather was half Indian ( I am not sure what heritage). His grandmothers name was Ida May (not sure of last name as I was told she re-married) I was also told that she had around 10 kids. Do you think there is any correlation? Maybe just Coincidence? What state are you in?

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  15. #15
    C
    June 29th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I am trying to get a CDIB. My dad is black and his mother is listed as a mulatto. When she died, they listed her as Black. He is the oldest of ten. The native features are more evident in his sisters. They live in McDowell county, West Virginia in 1929. His mother’s name is Virginia Alberta Browning. Her skin color is not of a white or black woman. They lived in hollar number 6 later moved to Cleveland,ohio. I suspect her to be cherokee. Can someone helpout there???

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  16. #16
    Eva Nash--Epps
    July 17th, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I have been told that my great-grandmother was full blooded Cherokee . her name was Cora Jane she married a Robert L.Nash after being traded for a mule and shotgun.she remarried after Robert’s death I don’t know her name then.. I know my Grandpa’s name was Edgar Nash married Bertha Nash had Frank Nash 1935 died in 2002. born @ Forrest City ,Arkansas.My Uncle Roy Lee Nash Born in Marianna ,Arkansas 1931 died in 2011. know of aunts Jane & Betty.2 brothers of Edgar Nash would be called Burt Nash,Cecil Nash. i don’t know if there are others..don’t know if the Nash had any native american blood or not so far seems it came from my great -grandmother and I can’t find her madien name any help with any information on any of these people would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  17. #17
    chris h
    July 24th, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I need help I’ve been trying to trace my family heritage back and im stuck my mothers side we are saginaw chippewa and hunkpapa Sioux on my fathers side there is a little bit black foot and trying to trace my history is driving me insane there is no papers documents just dead ends all I have is what I’ve been told by my great gram down to my mother about our people and I have a picture of my great great gram and she is full blood sioux and you can see it plan as day and my mothers dad my grandpa he comes from chippewa so I just want to know I want to meet my blood so to say and know where we come from what my people went through and still go through im really proud of my blood and I want to get to know my people and see them and know our history and culture and customs what should I do?

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  18. #18
    gabrielle
    July 27th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I am trying to figure out my nationality and that of my son’s all together. My appearance is black yet ive been told all my life im part Cherokee (idk which tribe )as well as Cuban, Irish and possibly White and of Asian decent. I just want this solved I feel empty at times not knowing. If anyone can give any suggestions. Please dont hesitate.

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  19. #19
    Marissa
    August 7th, 2011 at 3:48 am

    My family and i need help trying to prove that my Grandmother is Yaqui Indian. Her father, Valentin Gonzales (Gonzalez) was born in Yuma (where the reservation is located) and we believe that his father Antonio Gonzales (Gonzalez) was even chief of the tribe and killed in battle. Valentin’s mother remarried and he hated his step-father so he ran away from the reservation. He then got married, later on moved to California and forged his birth certificate claiming that his born in CA and not in AZ to get SSN benefits. The hospital containing the original certificate burned down.
    So, we have nothing to prove out Native American blood. We have looked at census and everything.
    We just need help.

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  20. #20
    lori
    August 8th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    i am also stuck. i was told that my grandmother’s mother was a full blood cherokee, and that their names got changed to cloud and i am stuck when i comes right down to where the truth really is. please help. i know we have cherokee in our blood, and i am very proud of that, i just want to know on how to go about proving it. i live in dc and can access the archives but i have to have some info to go off of. thanks for any and all help.

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  21. #21
    Samanthaglenn
    August 25th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I’m 25 years old and growing up i heard stories i used to believe them as fiction but a month ago at a family reuion I heard the same story. Raulph Chester Glenn was in world war two married twice and never talked about the pass. he would never say were his family was from, only that his family’s last name was “Dare” unsure oF spelling. he was born on the michagin river were storys wee told of gypsys.he was in fortworth kentucky durning his draft.I guess i’m just wondering if anyone has heard this story? My grandparents had 12 children unknown of how many were my grandpas. children. you see my fatherlies all the time about everything I guess i’m grasping for some truth.

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  22. #22
    angela
    August 30th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    hello im trying to find my native blood line my people r in alabama by the name of reath revels he was cherokee but i cant find out any thing else how do i get more in fo

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  23. #23
    shawn
    September 2nd, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Hi I’m 15 and im trying to find out the rest of my blood line and I already know that on my father’s side my great grandmother is Creole and my great grandfather is half Cherokee and black and on my mother’s side my great grandmother is half Creole and half Cherokee can you help me?

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  24. #24
    Jes
    September 11th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    This website is very helpful and interesting. My father told us that our great-grand mother was full blood cherokee but there was fire so all records and most pictures were lost. Also my mother says there is blackfoot on her side of the family but no records either so I have really wanted to find out and try to put together a family tree but it is difficult. Florence Catone I was reading your post and you said your Grandfathers Mothers last name was Cox that is my last name wondering if there may be any relation? If you happen to see this post please repost something would love to speak to find out if we are related by any chance.

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  25. #25
    Danya
    September 19th, 2011 at 6:39 am

    I too have been told since I was young that I have Indian heritage… first it was Cherokee and then Sioux and now Wyandot. It’s been difficult to trace back. But we have come to a semi confident assumption it is Wyandot. The problem is there is no proof we can find…. the last ancesttral record is a my great great parents but they came oat from Hungary.. but when you look at my great grandmother you can see the dark hair, cheekbones etc.. passed down is the talk that her mother was Indian? But how when the last record is her mother was form Hungary? Could there have been Indian adoptions?

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  26. #26
    Dimyra
    October 28th, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    My father explained to me that my great grandmother is Choctaw Indian.I want to know how I can get help to prove that I am a decent?

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  27. #27
    SherPleasure
    November 9th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    My grandmother was Cherokee Indian . I recently took the DNA test on ancestry.com. I asked if they could tell me about my Indian heritage and was told they couldn’t tell with the DNA and now I see this advertisement . I also have East Indian in my mix My father was punjabi. The test did not tell me any of what I took the test for. Can someone explain this to me .? $ 179.00 plus shipping in not money to throw away and I still havwe not recieved my written copy of my test.

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  28. #28
    m. Friel
    November 26th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Chief Joseph’s son John Brant is believed to be the father of my great grandfather, John Dunbar, Altameha Sholto Brant,even though John Brant never married, and died young.
    Is there a DNA test for my brother or myself, (female) that can proove this???

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  29. #29
    A. Baker
    December 9th, 2011 at 3:43 am

    I am trying to do a family tree and find out my fathers blood lines. I didn’t know my dad and recently found out he had an accident 2 years ago and has died. He always told my mom that he was NA but they never discussed the tribe or anything. He lived in Wisconsin and he died in Arizona (Phoenix) Is there a website or somewhere that I can get information about his tribe or anything that can help me? I don’t know any of his family except his brother and he died also a year ago. I really want to find out this information, if anyone can help please email me at schoolgirls2@yahoo.com and use TRIBE INFO for the subject please and Thank you in advance!

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  30. #30
    danny c. rhein
    December 20th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I would like to find out if my parents and relatives are right that I am 25% Cherokee Indian.
    My grandparents on my mother’s side are both said to be 50% Indian. They would not mention it because of prejudice. Can DNA testing do it?

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  31. #31
    anichols
    December 31st, 2011 at 11:58 am

    My mother and I are looking to prove that we have native american blood. I am a quater indian from between both parents, and my mother is a quarter from her mother. Her mother hardly ever spoke of being half because they were frowned upon, but did leave a piece of information behind. She was a indian princess and married a white man, which they moved to illinois. I am very interested to find out what we have running through our veins and want to prove our heritage. If any one can help, I am very confused of what dna testing to use to do so! Thanks.

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  32. #32
    christa lewis
    February 7th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    im trying to find out about my choctaw and cherokee indian history how do i go about doing that?

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  33. #33
    Darcie Lynn Ross-Higbee
    February 15th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    My mother was Charlene Hildreth Pierce-Williams. She passed in 2005 & is buried in Eagletown, OK. Her mother was Opie Hill & was married to Charlie Pierce who passed in 1902 in Haworth, OK. Opies mother was full blood Cherokee & her name was Minnie and was married to “granpa” Pierce. I have a picture of them together and she is definently Native American. I have been unable to go any further with this. Please HELP. Thanks

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  34. #34
    Lester
    February 22nd, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    anichois, if you had researched Native Americans you would find that there was never an Indian Princess.

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  35. #35
    A.Cruz
    April 3rd, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Looking for any other native American Pequot, Wampanoag, Mohegan? My Great great great Grandfather was King Philip (Metacom) or lifeisallfitness@gmail.com just looking to connect with others, thanks.

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  36. #36
    Donna Franklin
    April 5th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Christa Lewis,

    I too have Choctaw and Cherokee blood. Have you checked the rolls of the five civilized tribes in Oklahoma? If your ancessors completed and filed their roll papers under Dawes, they would be listed.

    By the way, I have found a Lewis sur-name in my family tree. My family tree so far is Franklin; Watters (or Waters)and Harmon. My great grandfather, David Harmon was Mariied to Nancy Lewis, whom I believe was born in Tenneesee. Would be interesting to find we have a distance relationship.

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  37. #37
    Connie
    April 5th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I feel that of all of the posts I have seen of someone looking for help with their family that :
    Please give dates, birth, death, marrages, places they lived, any thing that can help someone to help you.
    Do keep living family Private!
    This can help others to help you.

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  38. #38
    Kevin Crazybull Chapoose
    April 30th, 2012 at 12:24 am

    My mother is Rosebud Sioux, Lakota Teton, Bigfoot, My father is Uncompaghre Ute, My mother’s maiden name is Crazybull, I am exactly 1/2 Sioux and 1/2 Ute according to my enrollment card. Do my people come from vikings, asians, or some other random people.

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  39. #39
    John
    May 3rd, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Danya.

    from Hungary.. but when you look at my great grandmother you can see the dark hair, cheekbones etc.. passed down is the talk that her mother was Indian? But how when the last record is her mother was form Hungary? Could there have been Indian adoptions?

    Our wonderfull Government back in the 1950’s and 1960’s decided to “terminate” all past treaties and land rights as well as assimilate The Native American. My biological mother’s family was part of that. I was adopted but had the original Birth Certificate release to me citing “Tribal Inclusion”. Wealth of information but still needed deciphering. Good Luck!!

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  40. #40
    Julia Boyd
    May 30th, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I was doing some random searching for family info and came across your post. I am a grand daughter of Augustus Briggs and would love to hear from you.

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  41. #41
    Gene Walker
    June 3rd, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I been trying to find my Great Grand mother Carrie Welsh She was a cherokee Indain. Name change when she got marrier to my Great Grand dad Joe McCoy. I Think they got marrie in South Carolina. My grand mother brought her mother to Grand Rapids Mi in where she died. I was around her 16 yrs before she did past away and I know it’s was hard to find other famiy member because back then they didn’t put their information out for the Whites

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  42. #42
    Kaldea17
    June 11th, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Lester You are right. There is no such position in Native American tribes as “princesses “. I always wondered where this idea started.

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  43. #43
    romney dickinson
    December 4th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I am supposed to be eleventh generation descendent of Pocahontas, but cannot trace more than a few generations forward. I am a direct descendent of Nathaniel Dickinson who came to America in 1630 near Boston. I would appreciate any info. on Pocahontas and future generations. I think the families of Byrd, Randolph, and one other family were main offshoots.

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  44. #44
    Laura Williams
    December 25th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Looking for info on Mary Polly Waters (1802-1873), my 3rd great grandmother. Rumored to be Cherokee. She was married to David Phillips (1794-1846). There are a lot of Mary Waters on the Dawes Roll. How would I know which one might possibly be her? Also related to a Mary E. Barbee that goes back to a John Barbee…also on the rolls. I’m stuck. Help

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  45. #45