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Sunday, October 5, 2014

New York Historical Note:

The Ramapo Mountain People is a small population of racially mixed people living primarily in Rockland Co., NY and in New Jersey.  The origin the the group is complex, controversial and disputed.

They are generally considered and claimed to be a tri-racially mix of free black and Native ancestors with some white (Dutch) ancestors.  

The Ramapough Mountain Indians, now the Ramapough Lenape Nation have lived in the general area since the mid-18th century.  In 1978, they sought official federal tribal recognition.  In 1993, their claim was denied.  I don't know if they have gained federal recognition since then.  They have representation on the New Jersey Commission on Indian Affairs and are politically active in both New York and New Jersey.  They just held tribal elections last week.

Their Native ancestry is generally considered Munsee (Euro spelling) Lenape and there are Munsee speakers among their tribal membership.  They are headquartered here in New Jersey.

Source: The Encyclopedia Of New York State  

DNA Testing and Me

I'm not sure if I've written on this previously....

I started family history research because of a store that my maternal grandmother, Margaret Eleanor Wormuth Beismer used to tell me, about Native ancestors.  I grew up thinking I had/have Native American ancestry.

I began serious research in my mid-20s, over 40 years ago.  During my research, I met both white and Native individuals whose reactions to my claim of Native ancestry were less than thrilling.  After some soul searching, I realized that, even if the story were true, I wasn't raised in a Native community with Native traditions, therefore, I'm not genuinely Native.  However, I still want to know the truth and I'm still far from it.

In addition, I'm researching ALL my ancestors, maternal and paternal; I am, after all related genetically to all of them.  While visiting one of my father's great aunts, Beatrice Odell Beams Wilson Dempsey, she told us that the Olivers are/were "Delaware" Indian and that Ruben Odell's grandfather was "Iroquois".

So, I've had Y-chromosomal testing on my father.  As I understand it, and it was recently confirmed by several techies, Y-chromosomal testing only tests the tags that are passed from father to son, down through the generations; no tags are identified, in this test, that were passed from mother to son, etc.  Which means that there are no Y chromosome linked Native ethnic tags that were passed to my father, back through his male ancestors.  That doesn't mean that he didn't have any Native ancestors, but it means that Ruben Odell's paternal grandfather was NOT Native American.  There could have been any number of women in his ancestry who were Native.  More testing is needed on my paternal line.

Back to the original impetus for my research, the great great great grandfather that Grandma Beismer claimed went "to the mountains" and brought back "a squaw" as his wife.  I had my mitochondrial DNA tested.  Similar to Y-chromosomal testing, mitochondrial tests only identify the ethnic tags passed from mother to daughter down through the female descendants.  ALL my mitochondrial DNA tests European, back through Mary Hendrickson Hulse and farther.  That doesn't mean there are no Native ancestors in my maternal line; there could be male Native ancestors.

The tests I had run are quite inexpensive; around $100 each.  When I had them done there were only a few labs that did testing specifically for genealogical purposes; now there are a lot.  I use FamilyTreeDNA, our DNA is in their database and I recently signed up for additional matching and have actually connected with yet another 4th cousin, previously unknown.

I promised myself that on my birthday, when I'm completely retired, I will spend the money and have whatever test is necessary to test ALL my DNA to put this family legend to rest, or to spur it on.  I was recently told what test to have done and that birthday is a little over a month away.

Because my DNA and Dad's have been tested, it's not necessary for anyone along either my matrilineal line or Dad's paternal line to be tested for this specific information, if you're the same gender, since the results will be the same.  Let me know what you need to know and I'll tell you what I know or direct you somewhere that can help.

Mysteries Solved:

The maiden name of Esther Oliver, great, great, great, great grandmother of all of us who trace our OLIVER line back to Ezra and Hester (Esther), was Crandall, or a variant spelling.  I was sent an except from a register that made that claim but that was a secondary or tertiary source and I try to find several documents since so many errors are made.  The most recent documentation I've found is in the New York, Town Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War.... The entry is for Esther's son, Alanson.  It clearly has her name as Esther Crandall.  Now to solve her parentage.

The maiden name of Mary Hendrickson Hulse's mother, Anna, was McClannon.  The  1850 census shows James and Mary Hulse, living next to Mary's parents, John and Anna Hendrickson.  In James' and Mary's household was a 92 yr old Mary Mc-something, unreadable.  Others also found it unreadable.  In the same New York, Town Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War.... is Richard Clark Hendrickson, my great great grandmother's brother.  His parents clearly John S. Hendrickson and Anna McClannon.  This also clears up the surname as Hendrickson, not Hendricks.  And, apparently, Anna's mother's name was Mary as well.

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