About

The name of this blog comes from Captain John Smith’s 1608 work, “A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Note as Happened in Virginia.” It concerns my own search for Native American roots in colonial-era Virginia and North Carolina, as well as commentary and analysis on the controversies that surround the use of genetics and genealogy to prove or disprove long-standing myths about Indian ancestry, which appears to be quite common in American families of majority European and African descent.

I have worked as a journalist for 15 years and have authored several bestselling traveling memoirs. For the past decade, I have covered the life sciences market, and the adoption of new technologies to serve consumer interests. By writing about National Geographic’s Genographic Project, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, Ancestry.com’s AncestryDNA, and doing my own research, I have become well acquainted with the issues that surround Native American identity and using such tools to better understand one’s personal connection to indigenous peoples. I am at work on a book that will provide an overview of my own personal narrative as well as the debates that accompany such investigation.

4 Responses to About

  1. Two Hawks says:

    Interesting Blog!

  2. Linda Byrd-Masters says:

    Hello, I’ve only just discovered your blog and will follow closely from now on. I am a Byrd, and my family roots run deep into Nansemond County (where I’ve lived all my life). In trying to get to the bottom of a genealogical mystery (and apparently a hush-hush family secret) in my ancestry, I’ve only recently uncovered that my great-great grandmother, known only as Jane Byrd and believed to be unwed, was actually a Nansemond County or possible North Carolina Collins, specifically Margaret Jane Collins, b. abt. 1822, d. Mar 1869 Nansemond Co. Since then I’ve been trying to find out everything I can about any and all of the Collins of Nansemond Co, and your blog has begun to fill in quite a few “holes” for me. Also, when I had my late father’s sister’s DNA tested a couple of years ago, I was quite surprised to see a trace of Native American revealed. Perhaps this Collins addition to the tree explains that given what I’ve read in your blog. Anyway, I would like to thank you for sharing your information, and I look forward to keeping up with any more info you may share in the future.

  3. SaltBreeze says:

    I am a NC researcher who has worked for over six years on genetic genealogy. My initial focus was and is JORDANS who called NC home during or before the 1700s,see nc1700sJordans.com. As I have worked along I have heard many deep rooted NC families claim a Native American connection. FTDNA and National Geographic don’t have many of the early indians who called NC home established. Many of the tribes are extinct.

    It is my hope that families who track back to land that became our SOUTHERN STATES will submit DNA kits through FTDNA. It is so important to anchor your work; that is to say, kits used to establish surnames/paternal branches of unique family trees should also include family finder tests too. If enough folks submit kits using best candidates over the age of 70 I believe scientists will have the best hope to isolate markers/autosomal information specific to Native American heritage. Add that to anthropological work and it is my hope that not only can we effectively do pedigree work and connect families to their European and African connecting branches BUT we can also bring to light valuable information about Native American Tribes and the earliest chapters of history.

    The window of opportunity will not be here forever. Genealogists and family historians need to understand the need of including DNA work in their efforts.

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