Cherokee DNA Test

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About Cherokee DNA Test

Sequoyah, the most famous Cherokee Indian.
Sequoyah, the most famous Cherokee Indian.

Cherokee Indians may be defined in a legal, academic or genetic sense. Three legal definitions are used by the federally recognized tribes called Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB). There are also numerous state tribes and local communities, even in such far-flung places as Scotland and the Virgin Islands.

Many Americans have some degree of Cherokee blood, especially if they have an ancestor in the South before 1790. Academic authorities do not agree on the basics of Cherokee history, not even on what the word “Cherokee” means or where it comes from.

The Cherokee DNA Test uses genetic data that comes from a sample of 62 random admixed individuals across the country, most with reported roots in Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Samples were provided by participants in DNA Consultants’ Cherokee DNA Project from 2008 to 2014.

Cherokee Highlights

  • The tourist destination of Cherokee, North Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains
  • A system of seven matrilineal clans: Wolf, Paint, Deer, Bird, Twister, Wild Potato and Panther
  • Trail of Tears
  • Medium dark or olive skin, dark hair, but sometimes blond hair and blue eyes
  • A distinctive language and syllabary (writing system)
  • Folklore that includes stories of the Little People (fairies)

Cherokee DNA Studies Real People Who Proved the Geneticists Wrong

It was published in December 2014. Authors Donald N. Yates and Teresa A. Yates presented evidence that many of the female lineages of Cherokee descendants go back to Egyptian, Jewish, Greek and North African origins. The reasons for these “anomalous” types are still being investigated.

ballteam cherokee
Cherokee ball players in the Great Smoky Mountains about 1900

Famous surnames

Adair, Beamer, Bean, Bell, Blair, Bolling, Boudinot, Bowles, Brown, Bird, Benge, Chisholm, Cooper, Cox, Crittenden, Downing, Duncan, Elliott, Fields, Foreman, Gist, Glass, Grant, Gritts, Guess, Hendricks, Jones, Keys, Lowry, Mayes

McCorkle, Milam, Miller, Moore, Muskrat, Phillips, Procter, Raper, Ridge, Riley, Rogers, Ross, Sanders, Schrimsher, Smith, Starr, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Trout, Vann, Ward, Watie, Wilkerson.

More resources

  • Cherokee Clans, by Donald Panther-Yates, a quick and easy guide to the seven tribal clans, their strengths and famous figures. By the same author as Old Souls in a New World: The Secret History of the Cherokee Indians.
  • Cherokee Roots, by Bob Blankenship. Names on official government census rolls. Volume 1 covers the Eastern Cherokee, and Volume 2 the Western Cherokee.
  • Cherokee Words with Pictures, by Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey.
  • History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folk Lore, by Emmet Starr. Genealogies of the leading historical families.
  • Speak Cherokee Level 1, by Brian Wilkes (language program).
  • Walking the Trail: One Man’s Journey along the Trail of Tears, by Jerry Ellis.