Where are we Going? How are
we Getting There?
recently received a letter from a gentleman with a very basic question.
Where are you going and how are you getting there?
I referred him to the website, but that still did not answer his
question, so I have decided that perhaps it's time for an update for the
Lost Colony project.
are we going?
question of what happened to the Lost Colonists is deceptively simple.
The answer is terribly complex.
In a nutshell, if the Colonists did survive, they did so not as
Englishmen, but as Indians. If
some or all of them survived, they would have been assimilated into the
Native culture. They
probably would NOT have retained their English surnames past a
generation or so. If they
did retain some memory of their English surnames, it was likely NOT in
the context of paternally associated names.
Most of the colonists were men. If the men survived, which they
may not have, they would have necessarily married Native women.
The Algonquian and the Iroquoian cultures were both matriarchal,
meaning that kinship was through the maternal side.
The father was almost considered unrelated to his children.
The woman's brothers and uncles were who fulfilled what in our
society today we think of as a father's role.
This means that if surnames did initially survive, that within a
generation or so, it would not be the father's surname that the children
took, but the mother's.
are we looking for?
thing is for sure, the Hatteras Indians that John Lawson encountered in
1701, who claimed to have descended from the colonists, did NOT carry
surnames. Had they carried
surnames, they would have told Lawson and he assuredly would have
mentioned it. By this time,
some 114 years after the Colony was lost, or about 5 generations, the
memory and history of their ancestors being colonists was very much
alive, but the names were not. To
put this in perspective, what was the name of your
great-great-grandmother's father? Bet
you can't tell me without looking it up on your computer.
They didn't have computers or written history - so for them to
know the name of their great-great-great grandparents would not be
something we could expect of them.
However, the history of those people was intact.
They were English, colonists, and they watched forever for
Raleigh's ship in the mists off the coast.
answer the question, we are looking for DNA, genetics, combined with
genealogy, to solve this mystery.
are we getting there?
that we know the Natives had a matriarchal society, and that there were
no Native surnames in 1701, how will we ever find these people?
colonists are among the natives. Unfortunately,
for many reasons, Native people are difficult to find and to track.
Let's talk a bit about the culture of the times and what happened
to the Native people.
the male colonists might not have survived.
There are two distinct possibilities.
possibility is that the colonists did exactly what they said, they went
to live with the Croatoan Indians on Hatteras Island, and the people of
Hatteras in 1701 that Lawson met were their descendants.
If this was the case, then the men likely did survive, or were
not systematically killed because they were men.
The Hatteras would have welcomed their guns and metal objects and
the colonists would have strengthened the Croatoan tribe and provided
them much needed strength against their enemy tribes.
Tuscarora carry a legend that indicates that most of the colonists did
not survive. They killed
the men and adopted some of the women.
A few of the people with blonde and red hair were sent to live
with the Indians of the area now Mattamuskeet.
This legend will be portrayed at length in another article, but
if this is true, some of the colonists survived, but few, if any, men. This makes the genetics significantly more difficult.
the Hatteras Indians history, and their physical traits which included
hazel eyes and light colored hair, certainly not Indian traits, it's
clear that they were mixed with Europeans from some source.
Given their oral history, the best candidates are indeed the
did the Indians obtain last names?
people began to take, or were given, English names in the late 1600s and
early 1700s in some cases. For
the most part, I suspect that these were nicknames given to Natives that
the English traded with. We
know about Core Tom, for example. English
couldn't very well say words like Garanganimeo, so they shortened them
to something that sounded familiar to them, and the Indians, wishing to
trade, learned their new names.
example, in 1650, a Virginia exploring party set out to reach the
Tuscarora settlements. On the way they secured a Nottoway Indian guide
1662, the first deed from the Indians was signed.
The purchaser was George Durant and the chief who signed it was
Kilcocanen or Kistotanen who stated that he was "King of Yeopim"
who was selling the land on behalf of his people.
He could obviously not write in English and signed with a mark.
In 1773, John Durant was King of the Yawpim Indians.
the time that treaties arose and needed to be signed, some of the men
had taken English names, and some had not.
1699 a man named "Sothell" was king of the Bear River Indians
as noted in some articles of agreement with settlers.
Seth Sothell had been the governor of NC, dying in 1692 in Bertie
County. In 1701, John Lawson refers to Southell as King of the Bay
River Indians, likely the same tribe but by a different name.
1705 Tom Freeman is noted as the chief of the Chowan.
1711, John Hancock and Tom Blount were the chiefs of the upper and Lower
Tuscarora groups of villages. Cor(e) Tom as also noted as a chief.
1739, the Indians Charles Eden and John Squires sold part of the
Mattamuskeet lands. Charles
Eden was the governor of NC from 1713 to 1722.
John Squires was also a successful white man living in this area
as well. In the 1739
transaction, we know positively these men were Indians because they are
identified as such, but they have the same names as white men living at
the same time in the same area. The
differentiating factor is that the Indians cannot sign their names and
the white men can.
times Indians took names of people they respected or those with whom
they were establishing kinship bonds.
Kinship is what connected the Indian world, and when one created
a treaty or bond, as an Indian, you were creating a kinship of sorts.
do we find Indians?
many times Indian surnames did not get passed paternally, as we would
assume. Therefore, we must
find Indians by tracking hints. In
some cases, we know where they were.
They lived in family groups.
We can look at court records, tax lists and other types of legal
records today to find listings of "free people of color", or
sometimes "mulattoes". They were never listed as white and were seldom listed as
can still watch for surnames, especially in groups, but we cannot assume
that the surname passed paternally.
Therefore, we are looking for relationships that look like
illegitimate children. Furthermore,
the Indians and the English had very different ideas of morality and
marriage. The English
required a marriage license (which was not free) and a preacher.
The Indians did not require either of those things and people
were married "in the Native way", which was much less
restrictive. Much of the
English law was based on inheritance - who was a legitimate son, meaning
born within wedlock, and would inherit the father's land.
Indians didn't have to worry about such things.
They had no understanding of ownership in that context, and if
Indians did own something, it was generally as a tribe, not as
course, there are always exceptions to every rule.
In 1701, we find the first known deed where an Indian sold land
personally, Peter Cornelas
(Cornelius) sold land to Peter Ganst on the Cashie River, very near to
what would eventually be the Tuscarora Indian Woods Reservation.
Cornelius is a known Tuscarora name and is later found signing
deeds for the Tuscarora in 1766 and then in New York.
However, once the Indians began to own land personally, they
entered the world of signed legal documents and the English-based legal
system where ownership and inheritance was indeed determined by wills or
the laws of the system, primogeniture. From the point where the Indians
transitioned from traditional Native ways to English law, we can
generally track their surname, but we can't be sure just how the surname
was passed to the male offspring.
way of finding Indians is a long-standing oral history that is
corroborated by some documentation.
It seems that everyone has the "Indian Princess" story
in their family, but finding the story plus some other piece of evidence
is quite different than a general disconnected oral history.
example, we know the Machapunga Indians lived on the Alligator River.
Indeed, recently, we have a documented Native American haplogroup
from a woman whose family originates in that area and carries the oral
history of a Native ancestor.
can DNA work if the names changed?
at the beginning of this article I said that the question was
deceptively simple and the answer very complex.
Well, now we're to the complex part - but it's not the genetics
that is making the answer complex.
It's the surname changes.
know that the eastern portion and the northern portions of North
Carolina were settled by Virginians, many from the Jamestown area,
beginning in the mid-late 1600s. We
can positively track many of our early Hatteras Island settlers, for
example, down from Virginia to the Carolina counties. There were four groups of folks who arrived.
First were the aristocratic Virginians.
They brought with them their money, their lifestyle and their
were the white poorer people. These
people were not land owners in Virginia, may have been indentured
servants, and were often looking for a new beginning, or just a
beginning at all. Some of
these people would own land in North Carolina, but most were not in the
first wave and did not own land in the early counties.
Many of these folks came later, after 1700, and by 1771, North
Carolina had its own private war, East against West, the haves vs the
have-nots. But that history
will have to wait for another time.
were the slaves that came with the Virginians.
Slaves were divided into two groups for purposes of this
discussion. There were of
course African slaves who were either directly imported or who had been
here for a generation or two.
were the Indian slaves. These
slaves were captured by the tribes from Carolina and Virginia and sold
to the traders who sold them to the Virginia planters.
Often the males were killed, as was the custom in intertribal
warfare, and the women and children were sold into slavery.
If the males were not killed, they were often sent to the West
Indies as they were considered unmanageable otherwise.
At this time, the Indian slaves knew they were Indian, and at a
later time in the late 1700s and 1800s, many of their descendants would
sue for their freedom as having been improperly enslaved.
But at the time NC was being settled, these Indians were
enslaved, disconnected from their tribes, and would remain in that
condition for generations. For
the most part, these Indians were not coastal tribal Indians, with some
possible exceptions due to the Tuscarora War in 1711-1713.
These Indians were from tribes further west and further south.
Most of those captured Tuscarora were taken to South Carolina.
However, once enslaved, the Indians lost their continuity and
connection with the tribe and their home geography.
Indians we are looking for are those who were not enslaved and who were
able to remain in their home geography, or close, at least long enough
for the family to become trackable as they migrated outside of the
Eastern North Carolina area.
areas would be Hatteras Island, Dare County, Hyde County, Tyrrell
County, Currituck County, Bertie County and some of Martin County.
Of course, the Lumbee are found in Robeson and surrounding
counties as well.
Y chromosome is passed from father to son, unmixed with any DNA from the
mother. So no matter how
the male obtained his surname, his DNA is still the DNA of his ancestors
on his father's side. Therefore,
we should be able to match the DNA to the ancestral family if enough
markers have been tested and enough genealogy has been done by the
people the participants match.
now only to the Y chromosome project, we find ourself with the following
If the male colonists did NOT live, we are looking for a needle
in a haystack that cannot be found.
We can never prove they did not survive, only that they did
survive, if they did. In
order to increase our chances, we are very focused on Hatteras Island,
which I will discuss shortly.
If the male colonists did live, it's very unlikely that they
correctly recalled their paternal surname through 5 or 6 generations of
matrilineal culture (to 1700) or longer to readopt it later.
We see that when Native people adopted surnames, they took the
names of a white person with whom they had contact, establishing a
"tribal" kinship with them.
Therefore, the people who carry the Lost Colonist surnames from
this area are probably NOT the descendants of the colonists.
Having said that, there is the ever-present exception to the
rule. In this case, it may
be the Berry family who has the oral history that they descend from both
of the Berry colonist males. They were even introduced at the 1937 premier of the Lost
Colony play in Manteo as the colonists' descendants.
Unfortunately, we do not have a male Berry from that family line
yet who has tested. There
are a few other names who may well be candidates, Gibbs being one of
if the individuals who are found early in NC by these surnames are not
from the colonists themselves, they may well be from the same families
in England. We know there
were connections between the Jamestown group and the colonist group, and
there may well be far more connectivity that we know. So we still need the people with the colonists surnames from
eastern NC and Virginia to test, as we need to establish the English
If the colonists did survive and assimilate into the Native
tribes, we need to test as many people as we can identify who were
Native and identified as such in the early records.
While these people have non-colonist surnames, they may indeed
carry colonist DNA. If, for
example, a descendant of John Durant, King of the Yaupim, tests and we
discover that he does not carry Native paternal DNA, but matches the
Dare family, that's pretty conclusive evidence that Ananias Dare
survived and his descendant was John Durant of the Yaupim Indians.
The challenge here is twofold.
finding provable descendants of Native people is difficult.
They were often impoverished and lived on the fringe of society,
not participating in traditional church or social systems such as
marriages, deeds and courts. However,
our saving grace may well be early tax records and searching not so much
for individuals but pockets of "free people of color" that
include known Native surnames.
many people who are Native today, who have not entirely lost their
culture or their tribe, are very reticent to take a DNA test.
Some are concerned that somehow it will be used against them.
Some are concerned that they will be found to be "not
Native" genetically. Certainly
that is a possibility on the paternal line with all of the trader
activity and social cultures within the Native community that supported
the trader networks.
The last situation is much more difficult to work with.
It's the situation where someone does not match their paternal
surname but does match a colonist surname.
Unless they are from Eastern NC, they are very unlikely to know
about the Lost Colony, or the Lost Colony project, and these people may
well escape our notice, even though they may hold a very big clue as to
the fate of the colonists. In
the genetic world, the situation where a person does not genetically
match his surname line is called a non-paternal event.
I prefer to call them undocumented adoptions.
is genealogy important?
our project, genealogy in two locations is very important for different
genealogy is important in order for us to establish the identity of the
colonist families. Once we can determine who the families were, we can
discover whether anyone from that family line has tested, and if not,
attempt to find a candidate. We
need to know who the colonists were in order to know if people here
matching those surnames are matching the colonist family.
have an ongoing project with both Andy Powell and Nancy Frey who are
both very focused on tracking down our English colonists.
While we have some very compelling tidbits today, we don't yet
have both a confirmed genealogy and a confirmed genetic test from that
family line. The problem is
that the colonists sold everything in order to be a part of the Lost
Colony, so when they were declared dead, or at least Ananias Dare was,
in 1594, we have only been able to find one person with any estate to be
probated. Ananias had a
son, John, in England and apparently some property or holdings there as
well, and John had a guardian established to protect his estate
interest. Of course, tracking John Dare forward in time, and being able
to prove that people descended from this John Dare is another challenge
altogether, and not something we've yet been able to do.
these types of situations, surname projects are particularly helpful as
the volunteer administrators tend to know a lot about the various family
lines and can often be very helpful.
That is certainly the case with the Dare family.
in the states is equally as important in order to establish that the
person in question was indeed found in the correct proximity to have
been a colonist descendant. If
not a colonist descendant, then at least a descendant of an individual
from very early NC or Virginia, so associated with the early adventurer
families who have shown they were likely to engage in that type of
exploration and settlement. Often it's the genealogy and DNA of these
families that connects them genetically to the correct English family.
do we know a Native Durant from an English Durant?
situation we have in early NC is that we have both Native and English
individuals with the same surnames, and we have to be able to tell them
we can track English people on their journey from Virginia to North
Carolina. In the case of
the Farrow family, we find three records that are compelling and tell
much more than the records themselves.
history on Hatteras Island is that Francis Farrow was native, but he was
not. We find a record that
Francis Farrow bound himself at age 16 in 1683 to sail from Middlesex
County England to Maryland. Then,
in 1696, we find another record of Francis in old Albemarle precinct in
North Carolina and in 1706 in Old Bath County.
Albemarle was the first area to be settled and was settled almost
exclusively by Virginians.
1716, Francis obtains a land grant on Hatteras Island.
He dies in 1721, leaves a will in which he leaves items to
numerous individuals, but maddenly, does not directly identify his
children. Based on what we
do know about Francis, he was born about 1667.
His wife Barbery in his will was given both real and personal
estate and was made executor, all of which would have been illegal at
that time if she were Native or a "person of color".
Furthermore, we know that the mother of Francis' children would
have been married to Francis long before he arrived on Hatteras Island,
just 5 years before his death. We don't know who Francis's two proven sons married, and they
may have married a Native person or mixed Native person from Hatteras
Island, but Francis did not live on Hatteras Island when his children
were being born, so his wife was not Native (based on the will) and not
from Hatteras Island.
let's say we have a John Farrow who is found on Hatteras Island in the
early1800s. We can't
connect him to the Francis Farrow line, who has now had several
generations to expand, but of course, with the surname Farrow, we assume
that John descends from the Francis Farrow line.
However, given what we know about the way Native people adopted
surnames, that might just not be true.
Perhaps John Farrow was Native or his ancestors were, and the
family adopted the Farrow surname.
The only way to sort this out is through DNA testing.
a proven male descendant of Francis Farrow tests, we have a good idea of
the genetic pattern of the Farrow family.
If a second male from a second son of Francis tests and matches
the first (or closely), then we have a confirmation of what the genetic
Y chromosome of Francis Farrow looked like.
If these folks match other Farrow or similar surnames in England
or elsewhere in the British Isles, it tells us where the Farrow family
say John Farrow's proven descendants test as well.
If they match the Francis line, then end of discussion.
But let's say instead that John's descendants carry Native DNA. At this point, it doesn't give us any information about the
colonists, but it would provide us with information about the DNA of the
Hatteras tribe, a wonderful gift. If
John 's descendant doesn't match the Farrow line, isn't Native, but does
match a colonist surname....it certainly raises the possibility that
John is "Native", but through the colonists that assimilated
into the Hatteras tribe.
is why it's important, especially in areas known to have been the home
to a strong Native population to test every line possible.
We don't really know what will be found until the testing is
do we put the pieces together?
there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle.
In order to positively find the colonists, various pieces of
research must come together including:
only do these very general topics need focus, but within them, there are
well over a hundred surnames. We obviously cannot do this work alone.
website is how we've chosen to make available the information that is
contributed by various family researchers as well as our own.
We don't have the answers to this puzzle yet, but there is a lot
of valuable information to learn along the way.
do I use the website as a resource?
there is a site map here where you can see everything on the site.
I use this often, as I can't remember where things are.
is also a site search on the home page that is extremely useful:
write newsletters monthly. These
are actually more in the form of a journal, as they contain original
research performed by our volunteer staff as well as a large number of
contributed items and research. Nelda,
our webmistress, has linked these by article for easy access.
This is how you follow along as to our current research and where
we are focused, as well as our Yahoo group.
are two surname links. The
first is alphabetical and clicking on those surnames connects you to any
research we may have about the surname.
second surname link, which is "Surnames, why we use them",
provides the surnames associated with the voyages or if they are a
surname of interest, meaning they were not a colonist surname or on a
related voyage, but they are either from Hatteras Island or suspected of
or known to be Native.
link beside the surname provides a link to the surname research itself.
If there's nothing much listed for your surname, please
example, I'm showing Dare below. This
link takes you to any information we have about the Dare surname
genealogically. There is
often a wealth of information under these links, as it is where we
"store" our research.
the case of Dare, there are several printed items.
Then, scrolling down, there is an informational menu that is
present for every surname. On this menu we find the following
Dare Family Association
Dare Parish Records
Dare Wills (England)
Extracted records from the
IGI in England
Extracted records from the
IGI in Ireland
William Powell's Dare
Dare English Demography
Dare Court Records
Dare Family Timeline
genealogy records take you to the genealogy information provided by
every individual who is a member of the project.
This is why we ask each person to complete a genealogy form.
Here's the info provided by our Dare participant:
you want to access this information alphabetically, click on the
"Surname Research" link and it will take you to the same menu
as the "Surnames by Voyage" above.
you want to look at the various DNA projects at Family Tree DNA, click
on the project links. When
arriving at their web page, you can read about the group or click on the
is available for any of our surname projects.
you are interested in the DNA or associated genealogy having to do with
any particular surname or DNA tests, click on either the mtDNA kit
numbers link at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/sur/mtdna/mtdna-kits.htm,
or the YDNA kit numbers link at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/sur/1kitnumbers.htm
and you can use your browser's search function to find any surname in
mitochondrial kits are listed by their ancestral surnames.
Some individuals have not provided their genealogical
information. I'm working on
gathering this information. Our policy for the past several years has been that until a
participant provides their genealogy info, they join request does not
you're interested in historical documents or research, you can click on
"Publications" to find articles, academic publications and
tools for you to use in your research.
"Research Materials" link provides a number of resources and
links for your use, primarily in genealogy research.
Extractions is another type of research on early free people of color.
the site map, there are several area of interest.
"History of the North American Continent" hold many files and
articles of interest including the sale of Roanoke Island in 1669.
"County Research Information Files" contains various county
information, both in NC and in England.
"Early Land Grant Files" are just that.
and Articles" is one of our richest historical sections.
The original Zuniga map showing the purported locations of
colonist survivors according to the Jamestown settlers is here along
with the Hatteras Place Names map created and contributed by Baylus
Americans, Slaves and Free Persons of Color" is another very rich
Research Source Files" includes all kinds of links and helpful
articles, including the "5 Quick Steps to Genealogy Success".
next two sections are "Primary and Secondary Research
secondary documents are generally transcriptions of primary documents.
These are the original documents we work with daily to understand
the life and potential fate of the colonists including the original
very under-utilized resource is the "My Interest List" where
individuals sign up to be listed with the surnames they are interested
in. Take a look and sign up
for your surnames.
the question of whether the colonists survived or not is a difficult
challenge. Aside from the
ongoing research I've discussed, we are also sponsoring archaeological
excavations. April 2011
marks the fourth expedition. If
we continue to research historically and genealogically, DNA test as
appropriate and work with the archaeological finds, we hope to
eventually solve the mystery of the Lost Colony.
We need everyone to contribute in whatever way they can to the
cause. DNA testing and contributing genealogy and surname
information is of primary importance.