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  • Thomas Ridout, of Sherborne (1754 - 1829)
    Thomas Ridout (March 17, 1754 – February 8, 1829) was a political figure in Upper Canada. He was born in Sherborne, England in 1754 and came to Maryland in 1774. In 1787, he was travelling to Kentuck...
  • John Bromley (1815 - 1842)
    “During their sojourn there, John was stolen by Indians, and some time elapsed, before his discovery. Then the Indians could not be induced to give him up, but promised to take him home for a visit onc...
  • Narciso M. Baca (1846 - 1949)
    Narciso Baca , born Oct. 29. 1846 died Saturday, Feb. 5, 1949 at his home In Adelino. He was 102 years old. At the age of 18 years, Mr. Baca was taken by the Indians and held captive by them for about ...
  • Rev. Richard Adams (c.1651 - c.1691)
    Francis Adams Born in England, came to the Colonies in 1692, died in Kingston. Husband of Mary Buck. Son of Richard from Chester, England. His father, "while making a clearing in New Hampshire to set...
  • Frank Grouard, Indian Scout (1850 - 1905)
    Indian Scout. Sandwich Islander who was the son of a Mormon Missionary and a Polynesian girl. Grouard was instrumental in the surrender of Lakoda Chief Crazy Horse in March 1877. Many blamed Grouar...

During the westward expansion of pioneers in the 17th through 19th centuries, thousands of European and African settlers were captured by American Indians.

Indians waging war against settlers and other tribes often killed adult men and took women and children captive. These captives were adopted and integrated into tribal society. Their presence helped strengthen the tribe.

Settlers in pioneer areas lived with periodic threats of Indian attack and the fear that they or their families might be killed or captured. Whites perceived Indians as savages, so in their worldview a woman who was captured would be degraded by being forced to enter into relationships with Indian men, and children would be barbarized.

Settlers went to great lengths to rescue or ransom these captives, but the efforts often dragged on for years because of the difficulty of locating them and the reluctance of the Indians to return them.

Whites had a horrified fascination with "capture stories". Lurid accounts of "White Indians" were bestsellers among whites living at a distance from the frontier. These highly sensationalized accounts of returned captives told about the horrors of captivity and the indomitable spirit that kept the captives alive through years of despair.

Such stories reinforced white views that the Indians were savages. The stories were often used to justify further encroachment on Indian lands. However, the reality was often disappointingly different. The captives who survived were those who assimilated successfully, so the captives themselves were often reluctant to return when offered the opportunity years later.