Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lumbee Surnames: Who Knew There Were So Many?

Artwork by Hatty Ruth Miller, Lumbee  artist
Genealogical materials

BRIT004. Britt, Morris F. "Appendix T. List of Lumbee surnames with dates of appearance in the greater Lumbee Settlement (N=523 surnames) 1740-2007." 107 pages. Key source Key source

Publication type: Unpublished manuscript (appendix to forthcoming book)

Full text: PDF files of sections of the manuscript can be downloaded from the table below.

Morris F. Britt has been compiling Lumbee surnames since 1986 (see his "Indian names in Robeson County," Robeson County Register 1.3 (August 1986): 113; item 1027). He began thinking there were about a dozen names; then, in examining the 1990 federal census for Robeson County, he found that there were 120. He went on to study the 1910 federal census for Robeson County (see his "Robeson County Indian names: An analysis based upon the Census of 1910," Robeson County Register 6.3 (1991): 120-122; item 1039). He continued compiling surnames as part of his research for a forthcoming book on Lumbee origins. Once he recorded additional names discovered by Jane Blanks Barnhill for her book of Lumbee cemetery records, Sacred Grounds: "Gone but Not Forgotten" (see item BARN002), his list had grown to 523 documented surnames and—with his detailed recounting of the sources in which he found each name—107 pages.

In his preface to this list, Britt explains that he has included "not only the most frequent, prominent 'core' Lumbee surnames but all such names, however infrequent, ever identified in the Settlement from the 1740s to the present" (p. 3). He also lists the sources from which he derived the names: "land and tax records, cemetery records, death certificates, census reports, wills, deeds, petitions for acknowledgment, military and church records, and newspaper notices" (p. 3).

Britt offers important advice to researchers in his preface. To summarize: (1) many names in Robeson County can be Lumbee, White, African American, or all three; thus, a surname alone does not guarantee Lumbee ancestry. (2) Lumbee ancestors have been listed with a wide range of designations in historical records, including Mulatto, free persons not White, and free persons of color. In early Robeson and Bladen County census records and tax lists, the designation Indian appeared only once (in a 1768 Bladen tax list). Therefore, Britt says, "As a cautionary note, you cannot take any single-entry racial designation, White, African-American, or Indian, 'as gospel' " (p. 2).

Britt provides this list of surnames—in advance of the publication of his book—as an aid to researchers. It should prove especially valuable to those seeking enrollment in the Lumbee Tribe. In his documentation of the sources in which he found each Lumbee surname, Britt notes whenever the surname was "self-identified as Indian in the 1900 federal census of Robeson County." He also notes whenever a surname is included in Carol Smith Oxendine's 1982 document, 1900 Federal Census information of Indians of Robeson County (see item 1023). Smith's document lists both people self-identified as Indian in the census and those verified as Indian through research. When referring to this document, Britt uses these phrases: "1900 Robeson County Indian Census schedule," "1900 Indian Census Schedule," or "1900 Indian Census Schedule of Robeson County." One of the Lumbee Tribe's requirements for enrollment is tracing ancestry back to people listed as Indian in the 1900 federal census of Robeson County.

Because of the length of this document, it has been divided into ten parts. All researchers should download and read Part 1, which includes Britt's preface explaining how the list was compiled and offering advice to researchers. The table below shows the first and last surname included in each part of the document.

List of Lumbee surnames with dates of appearance in the greater Lumbee Settlement (N=523 surnames) 1740-2007

Part 1 Title page, introduction, Adams—Alford
Part 2 Alford —Braveboy/Braboy / Brayboy / Braceboy
Part 3 Braveboy / Braboy / Brayboy / Braceboy—Carsey
Part 4 Carter—Davis
Part 5 Davis—Groom
Part 6 Groom—Knights
Part 7 Kober—Mitchell
Part 8 Mitchell—Quick
Part 9 Quinto—Sweat / Sweet
Part 10 Sweeting—Young (end)

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This page was updated on May 7, 2008 1:18 PM

Copyright © 2007, Glenn Ellen Starr Stilling. This document may be reproduced only if this copyright notice is reproduced with it.


Anonymous said...

My family is the Gaddy family origially of Robeson County. Gaddy Township was named after our family name. My great grandparents and siblings have lived in both Back Swamp Township as well as Burnt Swamp Township. Many have moved to Anson and Moore Counties as well as other parts of the country. We have White, Black and Lumbee in my family.

Thank you.

Stan Black

Anonymous said...

Henry Sampson and Samuel Bell listed in this reported are my ancestors.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

The Lumbee/Croatan have no native American Indian language ,have no Indian words or names and have never spoken any native American language.The Lumbee self-identify as Indian.
The people now calling themselves Lumbee are a mixed race group who are mostly White-Black with a smidge of Native blood(of indeterminate tribal affiliation). They had to downplay their African or mixed heritage and exigerate and overstate their "Native American" identity because of the intense racism in the past. They have been identified as mixed black/white ancestry from the 1700s and were speaking ENGLISH even in the earliest historical references. A considerable amount of genealogical research shows the majority of the founding "Lumbee" families descend from free black males and white females that came down from early Virginia settlements.

They participated in colonial life as "individuals" not as any recognized tribe. Paying taxes, buying property, mustering in colonial and American militias same as all other colonials.
Early colonial records list Lumbee ancestors "as is all "free negors "and mulattos" on kings land and that "no Indians "live in Robeson County area.

They were "never identified as an intact tribe that entered into a treaty with the US.
They initially put forward an origin story that they were the descendants of the "Lost Colony." Then it was Croatan then a Cherokee origin and then Sioux

Anonymous said...

I am a descendent of several early Robeson/Bladen county families as well as a person of “Melungeon” origin. I’ve studied this subject for many years and I agree wholeheartedly with the comments made by “Anonymous” above.

The Lumbees descend mostly from baseline Melungeon families who migrated out of Virginia, first settling in land along the Virginia/North Carolina border (where they avoided emerging race-based taxes and laws), and then eventually making their way down the eastern part of the state during the mid-18th century into what is now Robeson County. These people were essentially part of a tri-racial group that traces their origins to the sizable population of free African-Americans who arrived prior to the age of race-based slavery and inhabited areas of Tidewater Virginia in the early seventeenth century. The vast majority of these early Africans were male and almost all married “white” women. The emergence of race-based slavery and respondent laws meant to codify race pushed these families west into the less structured frontier areas of middle Virginia. There, some did intermingle with the dwindling native population, Anglo traders who may have married native women, or escaped native slaves who may also have been of mixed race. That’s about the extent of their native origins.

As Virginia became a more precarious place for persons of mixed race, some continued west (eventually forming present-day Melungeon populations in northwestern North Carolina, West Virginia, and Tennessee). Others went south into North Carolina. By the early nineteenth century, many of these families were passing as “white” after 200 years of intermarrying with frontier Anglo families. They simply vanished into the great migrations of the South, mostly covering what remained of their African ancestral tracks with a vague story of being “part Cherokee”. Their descendants may make up 20-35% of the "white" South today (many born with straight blond hair and blue eyes just like me). Populations that remained intact and homogeneous such as those in Newman’s Ridge, Tennessee or in Robeson County intermarried with Anglo outsiders less and retained more of the physical characteristics of their African ancestors. They therefore needed a more robust cover story in order to avoid “One Drop” laws that could have stripped them of everything and the later oppression of the Jim Crow South, hence the claims of pure native ancestry.

D Franklin Freeman PhD said...

I see that there is an assumption that all of these surnames are descendants of African/European families. But no one is speaking of the 1524 letter about Black Indians in the Cape Fear and in the Cape Hatteras area. As well as many other documents/written reports of Black Indians up and down the East and West Coast.

As well, what about the migration time frame of these groups back down with those tribes that came up from South Carolina to fight in the Indian Wars. If these tribes were of different language groups - speaking one common language i.e. english would make a lot of sense for survival purposes.

I'm not saying this because I'm Lumbee and Waccamaw-Siouan; but because I have taken the time to read many books written in the early 1600's and 1700's and they talk about Black Indians, Moors from Morocco in South Carolina 1790 Sundry Act (not Virginia), and Welch and Irish (Duhare in Georgia) Tribes.

We have to be careful with accepting the status quo and take time to really do some research.

Even the Cherokee in Oklahoma (who came from the East Coast) have come back with an Ancient African DNA marker in both of the tests that have been involved with.

The assumption that these people hadn't been here for many thousands of years is being proven wrong by DNA testing.

Hopefully the Spanish will translate their documents a little quicker so we can resolve some of this.