finding your roots

French Canadian Native American Ancestor

Matthew Hinderman April 20, 2012

My great grandmother Saloma told members of my family she had Native American ancestry. Due to stigma during her childhood, she never spoke of her Native American roots for fear she would not be able to find work in Wisconsin and Illinois. I’ve looked up the Iowa census where she and her father were listed. Their surname was spelled at least 2 or 3 different ways. I believe they did not speak English and they spelled the name several different ways. I also found records in Canada that would indicate my 3rd great grandmother gave birth to twins and died giving birth. One of the twins died shortly after birth and my 2nd great grandmother survived. I was unable to find any native american connection. In Canada, they often look at Church records and Native Americans did not baptize babies. They also could have been Huguenot fleeing France. I found one record with the father’s name was recorded and only the first name of the mother. If she was not catholic and did not convert, she was not allowed to put her name in the catholic churches register.

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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