It was probably about 10 years ago that I started getting more involved with figuring out my Mom's family history. My Mom's Dad, Lendon Hicks, passed away in 1999. I didn't know him terribly well, we had spent time with him but we had always lived very far away from each other. I had this desire to learn more about him and his family. Little did I know what I was getting myself into - a fun and exciting but also very time consuming and often frustrating um, well - Quest.
|My grandpa Len holding me as a wee little baby|
For most people when you're starting off Family History you talk to - well - family. My Mom's family has never been that close though, living far apart and living their own lives. We didn't get together for holidays or have reunions. Right after I got married in 2004, I went with my Mom and sister to Kentucky and it was like this little mini reunion as we visited with her sister and brother who hadn't been all together like that for probably 10 years. (Now mind you, there's 11 or so kids in the family but most of them are half siblings and step siblings to my mom, she has just the two, I guess you'd call them full blooded siblings, but she had a bit of a relationship with some of the other siblings also. I didn't really know there were so many siblings until just recently actually) But I just wasn't all that close to my Mom's relatives so I didn't feel like I could call them up and ask about the family. Plus after Mom's accident I couldn't really go to her for information.
I took what info I did have and just went for the Censuses and government records. I was really getting the hang of things, how to look stuff up online and gathering all sorts of census stuff - but then I had my daughter and it's not very easy to go to a Genealogy library with a baby. I realized being a mom of young kids I needed to set aside Family History for another time when I could do it more. This wasn't easy as there was a draw to keep finding more but I had to keep saying to myself that whole idea of there being a time and season to everything. Yet every now and then something calls be back to it and I'll once again get sucked into it for a time before I set it aside - the Quest calls to me.
Wow, long post and I haven't even once mentioned the whole Cherokee thing. I'm sure someone's going to read a bit into it and wonder why the title is Cherokee Quest. Well let me get to that right now. In looking up family stuff on my Mom's side, I had heard that some of the ancestors might be Native American. I thought this was really cool since I've always liked the culture of the Native Americans - I've been drawn to the art, music, etc. and on my bedroom wall is a collection of dreamcatchers, medicine pouches and other such Native American iconographic objects that both my husband and I have collected/made over the years. (My husband doesn't have any Native American ancestors but he got attracted to the Native American culture through Order of the Arrow Boy Scout program) It seemed rational enough for my ancestors to be Native, at least in my eyes my great-grandparents had Native features, but I only had 2 pictures and a newspaper clipping to go off of and I only remember meeting them in person once.
|Carlo and Edna Hicks1990|
|Minnie Lovins Hicks picture found at findagrave.com|
|Minnie Hicks picture found at http://www.thecarls.com/index12.html|
I added that into my information and posted more on facebook and one of my mothers cousins told me that it's specifially the Cherokee tribe that Minnie is said to belong to as well as some of Edna's ancestors and there's a good chance we are related to the current Principal Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, but the only connection is the last name Hicks.
|Principal Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Band of Cherokee|
In case I've lost you and this is all confusing here's a pedigree outline:
list of Cherokees. (There's even more Fields in that list, which may be related to Edna, some of the names in that list match the Fields names I found here but sadly the years don't match.) The circled people, Minnie, Elizabeth and Jacob, are said to be Cherokee.
So this is my Quest - to discover if there's any possible way to prove that there is Cherokee connections. This is a LOT easier said than done and for many reasons. One reason is some people hid that they were Native American, as told in this story about a different Minnie (I was really hoping it was the same Minnie as mine but no such luck) that story did have the idea of the people that had Native blood being able to pass themselves off as Black but showing more of their Native look when they were older which I think shows with my Minnie. There are some books and resources out there - but from the little I've started to look into it's not easy at all. I also had very little knowledge about the Cherokee in general. So a few days ago when I took my kids to the library I checked out a few books! I found out the Cherokee didn't have a written language until the 1820's! I've also done just a bit more research online and while there are some that feel that even 1 drop of Cherokee blood makes you Cherokee - there are others that don't feel the same way. (And while it may seem cliché, I've had this song stuck in my head for days!)
Sigh. There are some great websites but to view the information you almost always have to pay a lot of money. And once again there's the whole issue of time, a lot of this takes tons of time which as I said before is not something I have a lot of right now. So I'm not sure how to go about things and if I'll ever be able to fulfill my Quest. But perhaps posting all this here will help. If you're reading this and want to see more information - the Census and other records, you can check out my facebook album.