AS EXPLAINED PREVIOUSLY, I have attempted an approach of isolating the segments of my grandmother’s chromosomes called as Amerindian or Siberian using GEDmatch tools, and then determining who matches her on those segments. Then I look at their trees to identify any shared families. While this does not confirm the ancestry came from those families, it does provide some hint as to where it might have come from.
I found a nice chunk of Chromosome 6 painted as Amerindian. I like this segment because it doesn’t look significantly admixed with European or African ancestry, which can make these kinds of efforts confusing.
Next, I used a Tier 1 tool called Segment Search to find out who else matched my grandmother on this segment. There are two people who match my grandmother on that segment: me and a woman we will call SM.
SM is an interesting match. She has a very different genetic profile from my grandmother. She is 74 percent Sub-Saharan African, according to Eurogenes K13, but she is also about 1 percent Amerindian. I decided to run people who match both kits tool using her kit and my grandmother’s kit. It does not provide a long list, but my grandmother’s cousin on her father’s side is on the list. So we know the match is through my grandmother’s father, Tom Pittman, the man whose portrait is featured on this blog.
What’s really helpful is that SM has an AncestryDNA kit. She matches my grandmother as a 5th to 8th cousin on one 16 cm segment. She also has posted a small pedigree. Her father is from Alabama, and her paternal grandmother is from the Caribbean. It doesn’t look like the connection is on that side. Her mother, however, is a Hicks from Southampton County, Virginia. This is much closer to where my ancestors were living.
A deeper search of her tree reveals she descends from mulatto Hicks, Haley, Boon, and Artis families in Southampton. A deeper look at the Artis match reveals family ties to the Turner and Rogers families, both of which were connected to the Nottoway Reservation in Southampton. I am unable to trace the lines directly, but can see that siblings married into the Turners and Rogers over multiple generations.
However, the Turners and Rogers were named on the deeds connected to the Nansemond Reservation in the 18th century.
The list of common matches with SM doesn’t yield much more information, mostly because I do not have access to these people’s trees. One individual’s name I have seen before while doing this, SLA. SLA is mostly of European descent, but is 1 percent Amerindian and 1 percent Sub-Saharan African using Eurogenes K13.
When I run SLA and my grandmother, I get an extensive list of matches, one of whom, VP, I recognize because she matches on another segment of my grandmother’s chromosomes that is painted as Amerindian. This match descends like other matches on that segment from the marriage of William Byrd and Nancy Rogers in Gates in 1814.
Next, I run SLA and SM. Who do they have in common? One common match sticks out. It’s RO. RO is mostly of European descent, but is a Bass and Bright descendant from Norfolk.
What I find interesting is that my usual Collins and Russell matches aren’t coming up in these lists, while my cousin is. However, my ancestor Hugh Collins (1839-1910) married Celia Cross (1844-1912), who was the granddaughter of a woman named Celia Bird/Byrd. Is it possible that this Amerindian ancestry was actually inherited through that line?
What we can say is that people with ancestry from people identified as Nansemond Indians on records (Bass, Bright) are matching people who lived in and around the Nottoway Reservation (Hicks, Artis, Haley, Rogers, Turner) in Southampton County, and that those people are also matching my grandmother who has ancestry from Gates County. While these people have very different ancestries today — some are majority Sub-Saharan, others are majority European — they share a small amount of Indian ancestry.
We do know that some indigenous people from what is now Norfolk, often identified as Nansemond Indians, moved to the Chowan River area, and then over time relocated to the Nottoway Reservation in Southampton County. We also have at least anecdotal information of “spin off” — marrying into African American and European American communities adjacent to Indian communities in the Chowan River area. This chunk of DNA might have belonged to common ancestors from these communities centuries ago.