From as early as I can remember I knew that I had Cherokee roots. What I didn’t know was what that meant. Looking for the answer to that question opened up a world of stories and information that will keep me researching for the rest of my life.
When I started this journey I had two goals, both related to my maternal ancestry:
- Find my grandmother’s Cherokee heritage
- Find out who my grandfather was and what happened to him.
I grew up knowing my grandmother and seeing her often. Somehow I knew that she had Cherokee ancestry but it was never spoken about by my mother or grandmother. When I was about 9 or 10 I tried asking my mother about it and she said not to talk about it. I could not understand this as I was very proud of having Cherokee blood.
Based on the little that I knew I assumed that somewhere in my grandmother’s past, going back several generations, there was a wife or husband of Cherokee descent. Once I became an adult I started trying to find out more. In the pre-internet years it was hard to find out much. I bought some books and found my grandmother and my mother’s eldest brother on the Dawes rolls.
My grandfather left my mother’s family when she was about two years old. She saw him one more time that she remembers when she was about nine. When I was six years old my mother received a phone call saying that one of her sister’s had located their father living less than two hours away. My mother and two of her sister’s drove to where he lived without calling ahead. When they knocked on the door a woman answered and told them their father had died a few months before. My mother was devastated.
Fast forward to 2009 with my mother’s 90th birthday approaching. I set a goal to find some answers about my grandmother’s and grandfather’s history before my mother’s 90th birthday.
I have found more than I could have imagined and now realize that the quest for more information will never end for me.
When I decided to start this blog I was already a couple of years into my research. I created the outline for the blog and then have put off getting started trying to figure out how to start from the beginning and record all that has transpired and then move forward in real time.
I have now made the decision to start where I am. I will blog about what I find and how I accomplish my research weekly, while posting retrospective blogs along the way on the journey from the beginning.
I have called this blog Cherokee Roots because when I started I thought that my Cherokee heritage would be the hardest to trace. I thought I would spend very little time looking up some vital statistics on my grandfather and conclude that research question while spending the majority of my time trying to trace my grandmother’s lineage.
As it turned out it was not so easy to find out who my grandfather was and with the help of books and internet resources, which grow every day, I quickly traced the ancestry of my grandmother.
What I discovered in both of those quests was that the facts were only the beginning. Understanding the times in which they and their ancestors lived, and discovering their life stories, will keep me on this journey and continue to touch me emotionally in a way I would have never imagined.
I hope my journey will provide ideas and assistance to others with a passion for discovering their family history.
Proud member of the First Families of the Cherokee Nation and descendant of my great grandfather, Moses Crittenden.
My other passion is travel. You can follow my travel writing at www.milesgeek.com.