Broken Threads



Native American Research

Researching your Native American, American Indian, Amerind - (whatever you choose to call those ancestors who were already in the Americas when the Europeans arrived) is extremely difficult and sometimes quite discouraging.  This web site is dedicated to assisting and encouraging you to explore the history of the Americas to learn more about your early indigenous ancestors.   Many links are also provided to assist in researching ancestors not originating in the Americas.

There are those who will tell you that if you and/or your ancestor are not registered today, or on an early roll, then you cannot be of Native descent.  Good ol' horse sense, and just a little review of the history of the Americas, will enlighten anyone who dares to learn the truth.  No one can change your ancestry just by declaring you have to be "listed on a roll".  In your search for your ancestors, you may discover a cousin whose family IS on the roll.  This may lead you to the discovery of your own elusive ancestry.

Many of you have heard stories from your grandparents and other elderly relatives or acquaintances.  Please do not let anyone tell you they did not know what they were talking about.  There may be some mistakes in what they told you, but remember, it is up to you to ferret out the truth by researching thoroughly and documenting!   My paternal grandmother was born in 1876 and died in 1976.  She was not only aware of what was happening - she lived through 100 years, many quite turbulent, of what we refer to as "history".

When you begin your research, start with what you know - family stories, names, dates, places - then work backward on the census.   Be certain to spend hours and hours in dusty, musty court houses, and/or libraries, checking court records, deeds, estate records, births, deaths, marriages, obituaries, and other newspaper articles.   It is not necessary to set out to "prove" an ancestor is of this or that origin.  Involve yourself in research for the pure enjoyment and self satisfaction which comes from knowing your ancestors' names and understanding their everyday lives.  Not only do you learn about them - you learn more about yourself because you are the sum total of their lives, their loves, AND their genetics.

Ah Yes! - Genetics! - DNA studies are available - you may wish to consider submitting a DNA sample for analysis.  For those who want to know more about physical attributes, blood types, alleles, hair, eyes, teeth, etc. and all that which makes up racial differentiation, please go to the library and check out a book - this is a fascinating study.  There is literature written in a simple, but thoroughly explanatory language, and there are books for those who wish a more scientific explanation.

There are many who disagree with some of what I have outlined here and some who disagree with ALL I have presented here, but it is my hope there will be those who are willing to open their minds and their hearts and realize there were those indigenous peoples of the Americas who are not on rolls - some by choice and some not.  But, whether ancestors were actually enrolled or whether they were excluded, does not change your genetics nor the genetics of those who are enrolled.  We are, and will always be, a complex composite of those who have gone before us.

If there were perfect research in a perfect world, people would help each other with kindness and consideration.  This includes respecting the opinions of others WITHOUT condemnation and flaming.  We need to remember that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I believe that right stops short of blasting another researcher because of differences.   It is true that people have had thoughts and opinions for thousands and thousands of years - some lived in a society and culture where each person's ideas and concepts were freely exchanged.   The right to express an opinion was honored, although the right to disagree was also respected and encouraged.  Others have suffered in the Dark Ages of dominance and oppression.  You, and you alone, make the choice of how you present yourself and your ideas which will ultimately reveal your preference for which type of world we should inhabit.    If you feel the need to "educate" someone, please do it in a kind way, respecting that person's ideas and concepts and most of all, be willing to have an open, receptive mind.

I have some formal higher education, although I am extremely well educated in the School of Hard Knocks.  There is one constant - the more I have learned, the more I realize my knowledge is infinitesimal  Also, I am very aware I am only one of a teeming mass of world population.  These inhabitants of our tiny planet have a myriad of ideas, concepts, lifestyles, cultures, and religions.  It is important for me to remember there are those in my neighborhood, my country, and in other countries, who are educated and experienced in ways which I may never know.   I must never forget that learning in this physical world is restricted only by a person's inability or unwillingness to open mind and heart to experiences and concepts which are as varied as the gene pool from which we have all emerged.

Shirley Norman-Gunn

Native American Links

Norman Family of KY and AR

Shirley's Broken Threads

Art's Broken Threads

Art's Gunn, Wilkes and Hilger Collection



These are my personal thoughts and ideals and are not necessarily supported by: