I’ve been following this fellow as he struggled to rewind the mixed threads of his ancestral heritage from Northeast North Carolina. Like him, I too grasp at and struggle in an effort to build on the meanings of discoveries as they are revealed. Interpretations of things from the past sometime bring down the walls, allowing us to see clearly to earlier times. And yet, often such finds only serve to reinforce the fact that we simply don’t know and may never know enough to make honest judgments.
The following post by Justin Petrone is refreshing as he addresses an error based on the reality that we can’t safely discuss the past until we’ve gained an idea of what it was like. And in that, we will certainly make mistakes from which much too can be learned. Understanding the unbending relation between present tense and past, we’ve all heard what Donald Rumsfeld once said about the matter: “reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know”.
MY WORK ON Manning and Bird/Byrd has been a mistake. The notation “Ind” means indentured, not Indian, and “T. Ind.” means “total indentured,” not “Tuscarora Indians.” In addition, toying with the algorithm on Ancestry, as well as to test some theories, I have put hypothetical ancestors on my tree who were copied by other genealogists, without doing any of their own research. Therefore, I am responsible for erroneous information being circulated and recirculated, as we all play genealogical bingo. Mea culpa.
Genetic genealogy has created a rabbit hole of theories of relationships, linking common British surnames (Smith? Jones?) with kinship, and then linking that to various surviving historical records that contain the names of indigenous ancestors. What’s the appeal? Well, I think there is great interest in the “vanishing race” of the East Coast Indian, but also a historical narrative that badly needs to be reconstructed beyond the myths…
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