Abigail Fields (Creech) - "Cherokee Woman" in Middle Name or Display Name Field

Started by Private on Sunday, August 13, 2017
Showing all 21 posts
8/13/2017 at 11:58 AM

How come a lot of Native Americans are known as "Cherokee Woman" in some part of their name? It seems like a white man or woman's demeaning attempt to turn these humans into things or collectives, like saying a slave's name contains "Slave" as his or her middle name.

8/13/2017 at 1:02 PM

The origination of this as a naming convention in on line trees is record / pedigree based, and you will actually see it apply to both genders and various ethnicities. It's an identifier and also used in the stories written by Cherokee people themselves. For example, they might have written, "Mr Fields married Abigail, a Cherokee woman.". So the parsed record became that.

We have naming convention projects on Geni where we evolved some guidelines for enslaved peoples and native peoples. Take a look at them, and raise discussions in those projects for any proposed changes.

An excellent source for genealogy of the Cherokee people is Emmett Starr. He used a specialized system that take some study to learn.

8/13/2017 at 1:09 PM

In pursuing my own family tree, which contains (by legend and DNA studies) native Americans and African Americans, I appreciate an identifier of the ethnicity. So at the very least to help genealogists should be reflected in the ethnicity field and the overview rather than being erased.

8/14/2017 at 1:40 PM

I had a similar question. A (very remote) relative by marriage was a Creek woman, whose name we don't know. NN Berryhill Putting Creek as part of the name doesn't feel proper. What's a good field to note what we know about her?

8/14/2017 at 2:22 PM

Oh yes, you'll see old style "Indian maiden" and even "squaw" in records.

I think I would in this case put "Indian maiden" in the AKA field, add "Native American" to the ethnicity field, and probably leave the last name at birth blank (with a 1760 or so birth date she may not have had one), but you may add Berryhill to her last name field, maybe with a question mark), as it is likely she was known as Mrs Berryhill whether legally married or not. (Not sure about this).

An interesting tree, please do research it more and add as many notes as you can find.

8/14/2017 at 2:24 PM

Oops sorry you do know she was Creek, so that should definitely be reflected. Ethnicity field and in the profile overview.

For earlier times (first encounters) than this profile I am sometimes adding in the suffix "of the Creek" as an identifier, but it doesn't seem appropriate here.

8/14/2017 at 2:34 PM

thanks Erica!

8/14/2017 at 2:56 PM

I think it's demeaning and maybe genealogists used to do it back when it was accepted that whites were superior but in the 21st century, in the age of Geni-alogy, it should be stopped.

8/14/2017 at 3:13 PM

You can't reverse history. Every person of color I've spoken with prefers to see a record as it was recorded "at the time" - not as we wish it was through our current perspective.

So for this website preserving the record notation of "Indian maiden" is important. So - put it in AKA and in overview notes, it's an easy solution. But erase it? No, that's destroying evidence & clues.

8/14/2017 at 3:17 PM

Dimitri Vulis I'm doing some merging for you, bringing in unconnected trees. There are some parent conflicts (naturally) - trying to research & resolve on the fly.

8/14/2017 at 3:24 PM

Oh another issue is that interracial marriage was illegal. So you may have situations where you need to change the marriage to partnership, and actually try to find out if a wife was known by her husband's name or not, regardless of the legal status of their marriage.

8/14/2017 at 5:01 PM

Thanks a lot, Erica, Seth, and all

8/15/2017 at 7:28 PM

I like that its classified as Creek maiden it allows you to search further and I have found some time back the creek maiden that was married to our Berryhill ancestor was from the Bear tribe of the Creeks

8/16/2017 at 1:14 AM

Be sure and add those notes to the profile for NN Berryhill

I put Creek in the also known as field

HOW exactly please is it EVER "demeaning" to wish to retain one's ethnicity? Especially in a diverse culture and ESPECIALLY in a TIME when most wives were European imports?

This is a serious question...

Thank you for all responses
Cynthia--a daughter of world travelers with a beautifully diverse 23&me

1/3/2019 at 4:27 PM

Cynthia, we have an “ethnicity” field (personal tab), fill it in whenever we know it! The question is, is it part of their name? And for that, we should use records. My own ethnicity is not part of my name: that was the original point in this discussion, and well taken. Names are names.

Ah! Yes... point well taken as I would be HIGHLY offended to be known as "Cynthia the chick with medium/light skin and a few freckles across her nose"

And YET...I do NOT fill in the "ethnicity" field.

1/3/2019 at 4:55 PM

You don’t need to, it’s optional.

Phew! lol

Showing all 21 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion