Started by Private User on Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Profiles Mentioned:

Related Projects:

Showing 1-30 of 47 posts
Private User
11/2/2011 at 6:28 PM

Hello....I have had conversation with several people about input of Natvie American profiles in GENI....I have not found a process that would allow a standard use of the display fields to this end.
Due to multiple names , acquired titles, Tribes, nations, marriages and miscegenation it got me a bit confused.
I have put together a process sheet to at least have a starting point and express some my thoughts. I urge you to look at any of the current genealogy sites and do a search for one of the Native americans involved in our project ,King Philip's War,. The search results are all over the place.
I anticipate this process to be a group effort. I hope everyone involved will find that the end results give us a workable plkatform we all will benifit from
This will be an amicable process because i have no idea how to change the topic name
Here are the notes I put together and I know others have ideas too.... maybe together we can make it happen....


I have been attempting to set a criteria for loading NATIVE AMERICANS and descendants. I have tried several different ways of doing it without causing a brain cloud to myself or others.

One thing to take into consideration will be that at some point downline the names will become almost all anglisized (is that a word ). At this point the suffix box may become of value.

What I have been doing seems to me to be fairly straight forward and The input is fairly simple.

FN = Commonly used name ( Massasoit, Wamsutta, Wetamoe, etc.) The name used for Metacomet would most likely be an exception to the rule

MI = Tribe (Pokanoket, Pocasset, Nauset etc.)

LN = Nation (Wampanoag, Pequot, Narragansett)

DISPLAY NAME = Common Name ( Massasoit, Blah-blah-blah, etc)

ALIAS / NICKNAME / AKA = Philip, King Phillip, Pometacomet etc.

BIRTH SURNAME = Might be best used for female to indicate original Nation/Tribe in the event of crossovers due to marriages

SUFFIX = Tribe / Nation as you mentioned. I also had the idea that it would most likely be needed when the names went anglisized ( Amie's husband and chlidren, The Stanton Family, etc.) I thought of the info pages in most VR's as a model because of space restrictions...

~ = Nation
^ = Tribe

1 = Wampanoag
2 = Narraganset
3 = Pequot

1 = Pokanoket
2 = Pocasset
3 = Nauset

So a Pokanoket Wampanoag would be ~1 ^1
Narraganset would be ~2 (I am not all that familiar with Narragansetts or Pequots)

If this could enable accurate and complete search results for users .. hopefully they would see the advantage. Instead of getting multiple names, places and relations with no ryhme or reason or totally ommitted results that contain valuable info....

I have also done a few searches in GENI and by the results this is probably a good time to work out a system and implement it.

I almost forgot, Thank you Erika Isabel Howton and Jennifer Lynn Young for the help.

FN Duck©

Private User
11/2/2011 at 6:58 PM

I'm a big fan of amicable, lol! SO glad you specified that in the title. ;-)

I think this is a very timely discussion - Geni is growing by leaps and bounds and it's always a good idea to have a plan as early as possible so that we don't have to change things later!

A few thoughts off the top of my head:

I think the system Duck has outlined is a good beginning. Let's figure out how to incorporate the following issues:

1. Please know that many natives traditionally carried/carry more than one name in their lifetimes - sometimes sequentially, sometimes concurrently, depending on the tribe

2. Please be aware that once you get to the so-called Five Civilized Tribes the problem of Anglicized names becomes acute - there was a period in the 19th and early 20th centuries when the Feds/state govt's removed native children from their families and sent them to boarding schools. They were mostly given Anglo names and were severely punished for using anything but English. Many of the younger ones lost all memory of their birth families, native languages and tribal life.

What gets really hairy is when the next couple of gens tried to regain their native affiliations... sometimes names changed dramatically every generation for three or four generations. Just sayin', we need to design a system flexible enough to deal with this - and we'll need to really encourage people to really document their sources when it comes to name changes and familial lines. It's a big hairy mess and it's very important to be respectful of the often very strong feelings involved...

3. ALSO - in some instances, "Nation" was an Anglo concept that the natives didn't adhere to, or had a more fluid understanding of... so be aware that a tribe may change national affiliation periodically...

Private User
11/2/2011 at 7:04 PM

Tagging people who may be interested in this discussion:

Kenneth Kwame Welsh, (C)
Marvin Caulk, (C)
Ashley Odell
Erica Howton

Private User
11/2/2011 at 7:10 PM


Pam Wilson
Private User
Grant David Meadors
Private User
Josephine Culver
Private User
Private User
Tammy Jean Gehle
Randolph G Price
Private User
Private User
Private User
Noah Tutak
Private User

11/2/2011 at 7:35 PM

Tagging Marvin Caulk, (C)

Leave your duck hunting license at home:)

11/2/2011 at 7:38 PM

Marv taking Massasoit as an example, how would be input his name to

1. Be easily recognizable to children such as me
2. Be respectful
3. Take into account that we're talking about the 17th century

Private User
11/2/2011 at 7:56 PM

Well thanks for the input Marvin. I was wondering. How would you input Massasoit given the fields we have to work with .... without offending anyone and resulting with good infomation...

11/2/2011 at 8:20 PM

No sources were uploaded but based on just a little
research and based on

His name is


since he was the Sachem of Montaup

so I would put his display name as

Massasoit, Sachem of Montaup

In ethnic group we have

Pokanoket and Wampanoag

being part of the

Wampanoag Confederacy would be in the about me.
(so could being Pokanoket and Wampanoag)

No mention was made of his clan that I saw

Notice he has a unique name without using the
middle and last name,.
(Sachem of Montaup could be in the suffix)

Private User
11/2/2011 at 8:46 PM

There is an ethnicity field on every profile, on the "Personal" tab. Whatever you type into that field DOES show up on the overview, to the right side. I just changed my grandmother's to make certain it does show up.

I prefer NOT to work with Native American profiles, except for a small band of Eastern Cherokees whose paths crossed my early ancestors. I would prefer to transfer any other Native American profiles to proper descendants, or, if none, to a member of the clan, tribe or nation.

My particular Cherokee ancestors (Sizemores of White Top Laurel Band, Eastern Cherokee) used Anglicized names, and that is proven with the few documents found relating to them.

11/2/2011 at 8:47 PM

I used Massasoit, Sachem of the Wampannoag

Because of the way you have him named you missed

Unknown Profile

That uses First Nation that is very correct because most are now found in Canada, and of course the word "First Nation" is perfered.

11/2/2011 at 9:30 PM

I am discovering, because of this, project, that I have quite a few direct ancestors involved. As we move on in time to the French and Indian War (or Seven Years War, in Canada) we will have more tribes whose territory included what is now Canada. So to take into account the names "commonly" used there is a good idea.

I hadn't thought about using the ethnicity field for tribal identification - great point, many thanks on that.

Where would a clan identification (if known) go? I know this is particularly relevant for the Navajo, and really should be used for Cherokee. (I'm leaving off other tribes for the moment).

Already I'm learning. I thank you all very much for that opportunity.

11/2/2011 at 9:33 PM

What is a CDIB?

Private User
11/3/2011 at 5:10 AM

Marv is an expert on this, so I think we should listen to him on naming conventions for native Americans.
I will be the first to say, when I've researched for a profile, it's not always easy to determine where to put the information found. I've tried to make it "fit" using logic, and if I've made errors, I do apologize.
I've tried putting tribal or clan identification in the About Me section, but I think the ethnicity field would be a good idea.

11/3/2011 at 6:37 AM

His name was Ousamequin, but that changed multiple times in his life. Massasoit is simply the name the Puritans decided to go with.

CDIB = Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood.

I am increasingly uncomfortable myself with us attempting to work with names on these profiles. Names are fluid and emotional in most Native American communities. I've stopped working on the Mohegan and Pequot lines because, frankly, it feels inappropriate to me.

I reached out to an enrolled Mohegan friend about a week ago regarding his feelings on us having a Mohegan tree. He said he's uncomfortable with the idea any of this being on-line because they have a tribal policy of not sharing their records. It feels invasive to them, and they worry about people trying to gain membership based on on-line info. So that is a large part of where my discomfort comes in. A friend's nation doesn't even want their tree up, sp I feel a need to honor that.

11/3/2011 at 6:42 AM

I also agree with Marv that the concept of naming conventions is culturally prescriptive and does not reflect the richness of the Native American experience. So I remain opposed to us having formal "rules" on this.

My feelings in the past were to do whatever was respectful yet workable. My feelings are changing and conflicted. So like Marv, I may not want to get very involved in this. :/

11/3/2011 at 8:46 AM

I would put the Claan or band in the about me.

All the other names that Massasoit were called should be a AKA.

The two people who already had Massasoit in thier family tree are blood related to him and had his profile listed as Massasoit of the Wapanoag First Nation. Since they are of blood relations, that profile should have been used and that naming should be used.

We can not set rule for all Native Americans because each has thier own customs, even something that applys to one clan may not apply to another.

Also remember that when you use the term "Native Americans" you are speaking of all Native Americans from the Artic sown to the tip of South America. The only answer would be to have someone from each tribe do thier own.

This not being possible, if you find that you are imputing a Native American name, You first look to see if a blood relation has entered it first. If not, try to keep it simple and do not add "nice to know " info to the name.

If possible, refer to the web site of the Tribe/Nation involved. If they have that profiles name listed, use that name and make sure you upload that tribe/nation's site as a source.

11/3/2011 at 8:56 AM

We are talking about the 17th century however, not the descendants within the Max Family Group. My Cherokee friends, whom I've discussed this with for over a year, would argue back - I have the "right" to build historic trees wherever my historic interests take me. If I'm a scholar of Renaissance Italian Art, do I need to be Italian to build a Michelangelo tree? I hope not - I just need to get it as good as possible, hopefully checking Italian language skills appropriately. So you have a "right" to work on the Moytoys. And in some ways better you because you might be more believed, as there is a history of the "oral tradition" being disregarded, and you have already shown me that you do not.

So I see no reason not to build a Massasoit tree, nor is this any other issue than using (bending and folding :)) the Geni fields in a way that makes sense.

11/3/2011 at 8:58 AM

Marvin - is the Massasoit tree public or private?

How does FNDuck, who is relatively new to Geni, know that the previous tree was entered by a blood relative?

11/3/2011 at 9:05 AM

When doing Native American Genealogy , Native American sources outweigh anything written outside their tribe/ nation. Books written by non Native American writers may contain information that is incorrect or modified to fit European thinking. So the information needs to be weighed against the tribal records.

11/3/2011 at 9:12 AM

Unknown Profile

is public.

FNDuck is not a Pro. I'm not sure that he can run the relationshilp. Pros can run a relationship by pressing the push pin, then going to the managers and checking to see if they are blood related.

Is there a Plus member following this? If you are please tell me if you can run a relationship path because at this time I don't know.

11/3/2011 at 9:38 AM

I have a problem with the profile of Massasoit of the Wapanoag First Nation and many others. His name should be only Massasoit. Massasoit of the Wapanoag First Nation should be his display name. But is the Wapanoag First Nation the correct name for the tribe or should it just be the Wapanoag?

11/3/2011 at 9:39 AM

Marvin Caulk, (C) I can run a relationship path on him.

11/3/2011 at 10:11 AM

Thanks Eldon, I was sure that PROs could run it, Plus members and non-pros I'm not sure of anymore.

As I mentioned earlier, the managers are blood related. Once those profiles are merged it would be up to them to decide.

If we were 4th or 5th cousins, and I had input your father,s name into the tree for some reason, but I had spelled in dif. It only makes sense that we use the information that you used and not the information that I inputed because 1. you are more closly related and 2. You should know what your fathers name was 3. you should have more control over your blood relative than I have over an indirect relative.
Since in there is a a blood relative in this case, we should not try to change it. Most of the Wapanoag are in Canada now, and the relative, who is in the US, used the Canadian "First Nation" after it. I have to assume that he used a Canadian source. I see nothing wrong with it.

11/3/2011 at 10:48 AM

Marvin Caulk, (C) Learning new things all the time. I am looking at this from a search standpoint so that was my reaction. There has to be a way to keep names correct as to usage and search. That is why I like to use display names.

11/3/2011 at 11:03 AM

Eldon Clark (Geni volunteer curator)

Massasoit was the name and the of the Wapanoag First Nation or the Sachem of Montaup are used as a suffix so they would not interfer with a search. Usingf it as a last name would however. That is why the computer did not match up Massasoit of the Wapanoag First Nation and Massasoit Pokanoket Wampanoag even tho they are both public.

Private User
11/3/2011 at 11:32 AM

I'm with Eldon and Erica - learning, learning, learning! Thanks, Marvin, for your expertise and guidance.

What Ashley said about rules really resonated with me. I think, as a relative newbie, what would help me the most would be a template. I don't know all of the ins and outs Marvin has at his fingertips. I just want to be able to enter a profile in as respectful a manner as possible, and in such a way that others have some chance of finding it later. Perhaps some sort of flowchart or decision tree? I dunno, just musing...

Erica, thanks so much for sharing your conversations with your Cherokee friends. I am always so afraid of stepping on toes that the question of my "right" to enter a profile, or work on an existing profile, is one that has bothered me a lot.

11/3/2011 at 11:40 AM

To be honest I can give you a quote from memory. This is while trying to persuade the extended family to get on Geni and get their tree going.:)

So they talked to their grandfather who is a "medicine man" and archivist and probably over 100 years old, but has his email going just fine. And he went through some of his "old papers" - which are ... Umm ... Aged.

The message back to me was -

PLEASE honor our history as best you can. We are all one.

Private User
11/3/2011 at 11:50 AM

Yes, that's exactly the approach that the Elders I know have requested, and that's my feeling, as well. We ARE all one. That's what Geni is best at demonstrating!

As soon as we start dividing into little groups, an Us Vs. Them mentality begins. As soon as we start to set up rules about who is "allowed" to do what, we divide instead of unite.

I agree that a blood relative may have more or better information - but not always. To use an example I used once before (in another discussion), my maternal aunt was extremely "right-brained". She was a talented musician but was also completely disorganized, "flighty", and could not be bothered with details. Regardless of the fact that she was one generation closer to her parents than I, the truth is that she did not have the skills, mindset, nor ability to do much in the way of genealogy. She would have been the very first to invite others to do that work, and she'd have been very appreciative of their efforts.

11/3/2011 at 12:00 PM

Jennifer the template already exists - the Geni fields.

What we're doing is creating some "naming conventions" - ways to utilize those fields, collaboratively agreed, and posted as a guide for working in an area of the tree. That way a little order is made from the chaos.

I think we are already very close for the King Philip's War Project, which is the concern on the table.

If someone care to summarize, please do so. If not I will try to later.

11/3/2011 at 6:12 PM

Erica, I think you are right about the truly historic tree and its notable figures. My issue comes in more with the more recent generations, like 1800s forward, where you start getting into "quantum" territory. Many tribes defend their privacy with extreme intensity, especially if there are financial ramifications possible. There are nearly 600 recognized nations surrounded by the U.S. alone. We can't poll everyone and we'll all have conflicting anecdotes that guide us and our approaches. Be aware that I tend to associate with (and donate to, and volunteer for...) hardcore on-the-rez activists/radicals and cultural survivalists, so the "we're all one" mindset is not something many of my friends preach, as that resonates with a tone of assimilationism to them. Yet another reason you probably don't want me in on this. ;)

I'm going to disagree and say that "First Nation" should not be used for Massasoit, as his territory was not in Canada and we, especially as white-identified Americans, should be not be retroactively prescriptive by using modern Canadian terminology for him. "First Nation" is not a term used by any of the Wampanoag peoples of Southern New England.

Showing 1-30 of 47 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion