Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. begins its 10-week run on PBS, The Spittoon will feature posts from 23andMe’s Ancestry Ambassadors featuring their own stories about using DNA to dig into ancestry.By Tim Janzen, M.D.Many American families have a family legend that they have a Native American ancestor in their family tree. My family is no different.
We have two such stories, one from my mother’s father’s side of the family and one from my mother’s mother’s side.The account of our American Indian ancestry on my grandfather Paul Youngman’s side is the best documented. The story from my grandmother Maude (McIntire) Youngman’s side is less well documented. Both stories are of interest and can potentially be established as being true using 23andMe’s Ancestry Painting tools as well as the Native American Ancestry Finder.First I would like to provide some background about the family stories. Good genealogical records trace my grandfather’s ancestry back to Tarhe, a Wyandot Indian chief who was born about 1742, likely near Detroit, Michigan. Chief Tarhe was a relatively well-known Indian chief during that time period. He was the holder of the Treaty of Greenville that was signed in 1795 after General “Mad” Anthony Wayne defeated a large force of Indians in the Battle of Fallen Timbers.Chief Tarhe married Ronyouquaines, who is said to have been the daughter of Chevalier La Durante, a French Canadian who lived on Mackinac Island just off the northern tip of Michigan. Ronyouquaines was captured by the Wyandot Indians and was adopted into their tribe. Their daughter, Myeerah, married Isaac Zane, who was also captured by Indians at the age of 8 in 1762 and was adopted into the Wyandot Indian tribe. Their daughter Sarah Zane married a third captive, Robert Armstrong, who was taken by Indians near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a young boy around 1783. Robert Armstrong’s son John M. Armstrong (b. 1813) married Lucy Bigelow and they moved to Kansas in 1843 with the rest of the Wyandot Indian tribe after the Wyandots were forced to give up their land in Ohio. My grandfather, Paul Youngman, documented much of this history in a book that he wrote in 1975 titled Heritage of the Wyandots.My maternal grandmother, Maude (McIntire) Youngman, said that her mother Harriet (Lawrence) McIntire also had Native American ancestry. In 1963 my grandmother’s cousin wrote a letter to my grandmother stating that their great-grandmother Margaret Perry (b. 1816) was a Choctaw Indian. The Chocktaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States. My grandmother believed this information to be true when I discussed it with her in the 1970s. Harriet Lawrence’s brother David Lawrence also told his grandchildren that his mother Mary McCleary (b. 1850) had American Indian ancestry.
www.timjanzen.com and has given many presentations about Mennonite genealogy in the United States and Canada. He is the co-administrator of the Mennonite DNA project at www.mennonitedna.com. He also serves on the ISOGG Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree Committee. Tim is married to Rachel Janzen and they have four children.
Exploring Potential Native American Ancestry Using 23andMe
May 2, 2012