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Am I Part American Indian?

Written on: March 31st, 2010 in Research Room

Has anyone ever told you that you may have American Indian ancestry?  Have you ever wondered how you could find out?  One clue may be your last name.  Each tribe has particular surnames that are associated with them.  Names like Coker, Jackson, Durham, and Norwood to name just a few.

There are two recognized American Indian tribal communities  in Delaware:  the Naticoke community in south-central Sussex County, near Millsboro, and the Lenape community in central Kent County around the town of Cheswold.

There are two good resources for lists of surnames associated with Delaware’s tribes. C.A. Weslager’s 1943 book Delaware’s Forgotten Folk and an article by William Harlen Gilbert, Jr. “Surviving Indian groups of the eastern United States,” in the 1948 Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.  Both books can be found at the archives.

For additional information on the tribes and their genealogy you can visit the “Mitsawokett” website.

You can also read a background on the Native American period in Delaware.

Deed of sale dated November 1, 1680, conveying land called Quinquingo Cipus, located between Duck Creek and Appoquinimink Creek in New Castle County, from Meghaeksitt, Chief Sachem of Cohansy, to Ephraim Herman of New Castle for two half ancers of drink, one blanket, one musket, two axes, two knives, two double handfuls of powder, two bars of lead, and one kettle.

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