Saturday, November 21, 2015

Edmund Barlow England to Charlestown, Massachusetts

english origins
Edmund Barlow is one of those mystery men who just suddenly appear in the records of Massachusetts. No prior information for him can be found which is very frustrating to anyone trying to trace his ancestry. Now, you will see on the web and that Edmund Barlow was born on 1 Oct 1626 in Bolton, Lancashire.[1] I have looked for some kind of proof that would authenticate this birth date but so far I have had no luck. A search of the British website for Edmund Barlow born between 1615 and 1630 brings up about 10 results. I wish I knew why they chose to go with the 1626 Edmund. For now, my confidence level in this information is not high, so I'm going to stick with unknown origins for Edmund.

coming to america
Well, here's another question we can't answer about Edmund. When did he arrive in Massachusetts? Don't know, I'm afraid. His name appears in a court record in 1653. The case involves his in laws the Pembertons. So we know at least he was in Massachusetts by the early 1650s. [2]

Edmund and at least two of his son were mariners by trade. This information comes from the 1685 land grant to his son Thomas, in which he gives his occupation as mariner. [3] This may explain why Edmund did not have much land as he earned his living at sea. In fact, it seems that what land he had, he got from his father in Law, James Pemberton in his will. [4]

The choice of going to sea seems to have been a dangerous occupation. Both of Edmund's sons who became mariners died in foreign places. Edmund Jr. is said to have died in Suriname and Thomas was buried in Barbados. [5]

children of mary and edmund
None of the births for the children of mary and edmund were recorded. Neither Mary nor Edmund were members of the Church. So, the exact dates of their births is not known.

1. Mary b. abt. 1652, m. John Chadwick ancestors, she died 1724.
2. Edmund b. abt. 1655, d. 1695 in Suriname, his father probated his estate.
3. James, b. abt. 1659, mentioned in Grandfather's will, d. in Connecticut March 1690.
4. Thomas, b. abt. 1665, buried in Barbados in 1691.
5. Elizabeth b. abt. 1665, m. James Whiting
6. Sarah b. abt. 1670, m. Thomas Grover
7. Deborah b. abt. 1676, m. James Hovey, d. in Connecticut 1749.

Edmund outlived his three sons, dying himself in 1697. At least two of his daughters lived long lives. Mary Pemberton Barlow died after her husband, but her death was not recorded.

This has been a pretty boring bio. Unfortunately I can't find anything interesting about Edmund, there's just not much written about him. Maybe I'll have better luck with the Chadwicks.

Sources/ Citations

1. Edson Barlow, "Edmund Barlow of Malden Massachusetts," Barlow Genealogy 1998-2004, ( : accessed 21 November 2015).

2. Middlesex County, MA: Abstracts of Court Files, 1649–1675. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003), (Unpublished abstracts by Thomas Bellows Wyman, "Abstract of Middlesex court files from 1649," n.d.) Court case involving Ed(ward) Barlow and his In laws James and Mary Pemberton.

3. "Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986,"  digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 21 November 2015), Middlesex > Deeds 1684-1693 vol 9-11 > image 238 of 741; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

4. "Middlesex County Probate Files, 1648-1871," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 21 November 2015), James Pemberton, 1662.

5. Thomas B. Wyman, "The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, 1629-1818," (Boston : D. Clapp, 1879), digital copy, Internet Archive ( : accessed 21 November 2015), 59.

"Middlesex County Probate Files, 1648-1871," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 21 November 2015), Edmund Barlow, 1697.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

James Pemberton (1608-1662) England to Malden, Massachusetts

english origins
At least two men named James Pemberton immigrated to New England in the early 1630's. [1] They have been confused by some genealogy researchers in the past but their lives have been fairly well documented and luckily they did not live in the same town at the same time. One James lived in Newbury and Boston and the other, our James, lived in Charlestown and Malden. [2] James of Newbury and Boston was said by Walter Watkins to have come originally from Lawford Essex, and he identified Lancashire as the English home of the Quaker Pembertons who immigrated to Pennsylvania. [3] The English origins of our James Pemberton are unknown. [4]

If you do a search of you will find a Dr. William Pemberton and Anne Heaton listed in multiple family trees as the parents of James Pemberton, baptized on 20 March 1607. First of all, there was a James baptized on that date, in London. But his father was identified as John Pemberton. [5] Not that this really matters because we do not know where James came from. One old genealogy claimed that James was at one time the a Knight and the Mayor of London, this is also incorrect.

It's always fun to be able to trace our ancestors across the pond to their English home, unfortunately this is not the case for James. Maybe someone will trace his roots, but until then, beware of any claims for his ancestry.

coming to america
Well, we don't know from where, but we do know when. James was one of many men who applied for freemanship at the General Court held in Boston on the 19 of October 1630. Although he applied, there is no record of him taking the oath. In fact, there is no record of him at all until three years later, in 1633. It is possible that he returned to England for at time. [6]

In  December of 1633 James was admitted to the town of Charlestown and he was a married man. [7] His wife Alice was admitted to the church at Charlestown on 31 August 1633, so we know he was back in Massachusetts by then. [8] Did he return to England to get his wife? What's interesting is that his wife was a church member, but he was not. This meant that he could not take the Freeman's Oath. We do not know anything about Alice, other than her name.

the mystic side  
James was given land in Charlestown, but he also received land in the divisions on the Mystic side, which eventually became the town of Malden. In 1640 the 'mystic side' was set apart from Charlestown and became its own town, Malden.

children of james and alice [9]
Like all reproductive puritans, James and Alice had regularly spaced children, about every two years or so. Unlike most families, they only had four. All four were baptized in Charlestown. Nothing is heard of Alice after the 1642 baptism of John. The only reference to James is his baptism.

1. James, baptized 14 September 1633, no further record, not named in father's will

2. Mary, bp. 3 April 1636, m. abt. 1656 Edmund Barlow

3. Sarah bp. 30 December 1638, m. 30 October 1668, Samuel Gibson

4. John, bp. 24 April 1642, m. by 1668 Deborah Blake

what did he do?
Sometimes the only way to assess what someone was in life is to look at what they left behind in death and this is the for James. The probate and inventory for his estate show a very modest estate valued at only a bit less than eighty five pounds. He owned his house, some land and not a whole lot more. [10] It does not appear that he had a secondary occupation. Did lack of sons hinder James? Most puritan families were significantly larger than James' and he had only one son alive when he wrote his will. Without the 'free' labor of unmarried sons, James may not have been able to farm as much as his neighbors.

Captain Robert Keayne of Boston and Rumney Marsh Farm, left a bequest of 40 shillings to James Pemberton. Keayne said that James was sometimes his servant but now his partner on his farm. This has led many to believe that this was the James Pemberton of Malden, but it was not. In 1683, James Pemberton, age 51, and his wife Sarah, testified in court that they were tenants on the farm of Robert Keayne. Since our James was long dead in 1683, this cannot be our guy. [11]

second marriage
In 1651 an unusual document was generated in Malden in support of their Minister Mr. Matthews. The petition is signed by 31 women, no men, just women. Margaret Pemberton's name appears on that petition. There is no record of the death of Alice, she obviously died sometime after the 1642 birth of her son John and before October of 1651, the date of the petition. Nothing else is known about Margaret Pemberton, only that she survived James. [12]

court records
James appears in two published court records from Middlesex County. The first was in 1653. He, his wife Margaret and his son in law Edward Barlow were involved in some type of dispute with Richard Dexter, his wife Bridget and their daughter Elizabeth. The issue was to be resolved by a group of local men. [13]

In 1654 James was a member of jury who performed an inquest into the accidental shooting death of a twelve year old boy. [14]

James also appeared before the General Court of Massachusetts in a land dispute. He claimed ownership of an Island, known as Pemberton's Island. The Court confirmed that the land was his.

James wrote his will on 23 March 1660. The first bequest he made was to his Edward Barlow, the husband of his daughter Mary. He gave them the upland that they were living on. He also gives them his orchard and fresh meadow, his wife Margaret to get one half of the grass from the meadow while she lived. His daughter Sarah, unmarried at the time was to get ten pounds. His house and the remainder of he estate he split between his son John and his wife, John to have it all on Margaret's death. [15]

James died about two years later. His estate was in probate on 1 April 1662. Presumably he was buried in Malden. It would seem that James lead a very quiet modest life. He made his mark on his will, so he was not able to write his name. There is no record of him taking the Freeman's Oath or becoming a member of the church. He did not seem to have any civic duties, other than serving on the jury.


[1] Jeanette T. P. Barnard, "Two James Pembertons," The Essex Genealogist, 19 (February 1999): 206, American Ancestors ( : accessed 9 November 2015).

[2] Barnard, "Two James Pembertons."

[3] Walter K. Watkins, "The Pemberton Family," The New England Historic and Genealogical Register, 46 (1892) :392-396, American Ancestors ( : accessed 9 November 2015).

[4] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to N. E. 1620-1633, Vols. 1-3, (Boston: The New England Historic and Genealogical Society, 1995) p. 1419-1420.

[5] England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1538-1812, database with images, ( : accessed 9 November 2015) City of London, St. Augustine Parish, Watling Street, entry for James Pemberton baptism 20 March 1607.

[6] Anderson, Great Migration Begins, 1420.

[7] Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700, online database, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 9 November 2015), entry for James Pemberton and first wife Alice, second wife Margaret.

[8] J. F. Hunnewell, Records of the First Church of Charlestown, 1632-1789, (Boston: D. Clapp and Sons, 1880), Google Books ( : accessed 10 November 2015).

[9] Anderson, Great Migration Begins, 1420.

[10] Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Probate File Papers, 1648-1871, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 9 November 2015), James Pemberton will, written 23 January 1660, filed 1 April 1662, accessed in Middlesex cases 16000-17, page number 17117-2

[11] Mellen Chamberlain, Jenny Chamberlain, and William Richard Cutter, A Documentary History of Chelsea: including the Boston Precincts of Winnisimmet, Rumney Marsh and Pullen Point, 1624-1824, Vol 1, (Boston : 1908), 663.

[12]Deloraine Corey, A History of Malden, MA, 1633-1785, (Malden 1899), 134.

[13] "Middlesex County, Massachusetts Abstract of Court Records, 1643-1674," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 15 november 2015, 1654 inquest for Caleb Johnson.

[14] "Middlesex County, Massachusetts Abstract of Court Records, 1643-1674," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 15 november 2015, 1653 Dispute between James Pemberton and Richard Dexter.

[15] Middlesex Probate Papers, James Pemberton.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cleopatra 'the Shawano' Powhatan and the Genealogical Proof Standard

Searcher or researcher
Families come in all shapes, sizes and styles; so do the the people who search for them. We may share a common love for genealogy, but we don't always share the same methodology in its pursuit. Most ancestor hunters fall into one of two categories; searcher or researcher. So ask yourself, are you a searcher or a researcher? Do you know the difference? Up until quite recently, I would not have been able to answer that question.

I am currently finishing up an internet genealogy course based on the Thomas W. Jones book, Mastering Genealogical Proof. This course, which I highly recommend, in fact I cannot recommend it enough, has been a real eye opener. I have always been serious about my genealogy, but this class has helped me evaluate/reevaluate not only my research process, but that of others. This process, the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) is critical for genealogy researchers. In fact, no reputable genealogist would consider conducting research without it.

(keep reading, I'll get to Cleopatra)
So what does it mean to be a searcher? I think there are several types of searchers. First, there is the serious searcher. A serious searcher is looking for their ancestors, but not in the most productive manner. They kinda jump around from books to web to other documents. They never properly cite sources or more importantly take the time to closely evaluate the source. Is it original, derivative, authored, is the evidence primary, secondary, unknown and is the evidence direct, indirect or negative? The serious searcher reaches a conclusion, which may be correct, but they cannot adequately communicate to others how they got there. This was me. (and it will be a long slog turning from searcher to researcher).

Then, there is the "I want this to be easy" Searcher. They just go on and copy someone else's tree, and voila, done. Who knew genealogy was so easy, it only took me a week to complete my tree and here's the exciting bit, I'm related to Sitting Bull, Henry VIII and Charlemagne. Next week I'm going to learn Mandarin Chinese.

A third type of Searcher is the one who already knows the answer. They flit from website to website looking for someone else's 'research' that fits the answer they want. Did Great Grandma tell you that you were related to someone on the Mayflower? Searchers jump from ancestry tree to ancestry tree looking for one that "proves" Grandma right. Did Grandpa tell you that your Great Grandma was a Shawnee princess, search until you land on website that tells you, heck yeah, Grandma was not only a Princess but the long lost daughter of Chief Powhatan. This searcher will dismiss any and all evidence to the contrary.

In a nutshell, searchers often start with an answer, and look for confirmation. Researchers start with a question and look for evidence, which after careful evaluation, can be used as proof.

Be a researcher not a searcher. A searcher will read about one or two paragraphs of this blog and decide on the spot if this article is headed in the direction that will confirm their answer. If it's not looking good, off they go to the next website. A researcher will read and reread the article, make notes and look at the sources. A researcher will look up those sources and read them themselves. A super researcher will look for the original sources of my sources. A researcher will evaluate the evidence and then make their own logical conclusion.

cleopatra and the GPS
Cleopatra was an Indian woman born in what is now the Tidewater Virginia area, perhaps around the year 1600 or so. Nothing is known about her other than her English name and that Thomas Rolfe, son of Pocahontas, called her his mother's sister. Based on the relationship between Pocahontas and Cleopatra it is believed that Cleopatra was the daughter of Powhatan. If I was doing research on Cleopatra I would need to start with a question. Let's say my question was: When was Cleopatra born? Who was Cleopatra's husband? Or who was her mother? What was her Indian name?

Do you have a 'research' question about Cleopatra? Start, or continue, your research with my article on Cleopatra and her family. Check out my sources and see if they are real, who knows maybe I just made them up to look impressive. Maybe I misread or misinterpreted them. Use some critical judgement. When you leave this page, go do some more research. Reach your own conclusions, not mine and not someone else's. If you find something new come back and give me a answer to your question. And don't forget to bring your sources with you.
Finally!  Here is what I know about Cleopatra

chief powhatan
The Tidewater region of Virginia was, at the time of Cleopatra's birth, under the control of a paramount chief who was and is known by the name Chief Powhatan, but whose real name was Wanhunaconacook (this is one of several contemporary spellings of his name). [1] Powhatan, as I'll call him, was the head of a confederation of about thirty or so Algonquian speaking tribes living in and around the Chesapeake Bay, they called their land Tsenacommacah. Very little, if anything, was known about Powhatan or his people prior to the arrival of the English. The Spanish had made a brief attempt to establish a beachhead with the purpose of converting the Indians to Christianity, but the small contingent of Jesuits were quickly murdered by the local Indians. [2] What we do know of Powhatan and his family comes from the contemporary writings of the English explorers and colonists who came to Virginia and documented what they saw and learned as they explored their new home.

According to current members of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, the parents of Powhatan are unknown. Forget about Murmuring Ripple, Dashing Stream and Morning Scent Flower and all those other names you see on the internet because they belong in a file folder labeled junky genealogy. It is possible that John Smith and others asked Powhatan about his ancestors, but the names were not recorded, and if they were I believe they have been written like his, Wahunsenacawh (the original English spelling), and not some dubious English translation. Another reason some scholars believe that Powhatan did not/would not reveal his ancestors names has to do with the Algonquian culture and that they did not speak of the dead for fear of causing grief for their survivors or for fear of ghosts, as the dead were believed to come back and make people ill. [3]

We do know that Powhatan inherited his right to lead from his mother. As a matrilineal society the power of the tribe passed through the female line. Leadership was transferred to the oldest son and then to his brothers and finally their sisters. When Powhatan died he was succeeded by his brother Opitchapam and then Opechancanough. A third brother, Kekataugh, did not succeeded to the ultimate leadership position, but he did rule the Pamunkey Tribe, along with Opitchapam and Opechancanough. [4]

the recorder
William Strachey was born in 1572, a world away from Powhatan. His home was in Saffron Waldon, Essex, England. After attending Cambridge University he embarked on a diplomatic career which eventually lead to his boarding the ship The Sea Venture in 1609. Destination: Virginia. Also on board was the new Lt. Governor of the fledgling colony, Sir Thomas Gates, and John Rolfe and his wife. Despite being shipwrecked in Bermuda, most of the crew and passengers made their way to Point Comfort, on the Chesapeake Bay on 10 May 1610. Sadly, but significantly, Mrs. Rolfe and her new baby, Bermuda, did not survive. [5] 

Arriving in Jamestown on 24 May 1610, the newcomers were shocked by what they found. Of the original 240 or so colonists, only about 60 were still alive. This period has come to be known as "The Starving Time."  Having no extra supplies, Lt. Governor Gates was on the point of abandoning the town when Sir Thomas West, the new Governor, arrived with life sustaining supplies. The colonists would stay. [6]

William Strachey was appointed secretary and recorder of the council set up by the new Governor. I don't know if it was always his intention to write a pamphlet on Virginia, but he began to make note of what he saw around him.  He interviewed, extensively, two English speaking Indians, Machumps and Kemps. According to James Horn, Strachey first met Machumps in England, where he spent some time. From these two men he gathered information on the the Powhatan Indians, their lives and culture. Strachey did not stay long in Jamestown, he returned home in 1611. Back in England he began work on a manuscript about his time in the Jamestown and all that he had learned about the people who inhabited the area. He titled the manuscript "The Histoire of Travaile in Into Virginia Britannia." [7]  Most of what we know of Powhatan and his family comes from his writings.

the wives of powhatan
According to the Indian Kemps, Powhatan had numerous wives. At the time (1610-1611) of Strachey's interview, Kemps named twelve of the current favorites. One of the wives' named was Winganuske. She was the sister of Machumps. [8]

Strachey wrote that Powhatan was said to have had at that time, twenty sons and ten daughters. Winganuske, a favorite of Powhatan, had a small child in addition to these thirty. Pocahontas was also named, in addition to the fore mentioned thirty. [9]  What he does not tell us is the name or sex of Winganuske's child or the name of the mother of Pocahontas. In fact, here are his exact words:

I say they often reported unto us that Powhatan had then lyving twenty sonnes and ten daughters, besyde a young one by Winganuske, Machumps his sister, and a great darling of the Kings; and besides young Pocohunta, a daughter of his using sometyme to our fort in tymes past, now married to a private captain called Kocoum, some two years since.[10]

Strachey's grammar and syntax can make his exact meaning difficult to pin down. What is clear is that Strachey did not list the names of Powhatan's children. This will be an important point in the next section of this article. 

the children of powhatan
In the next chapter of his book, Strachey describes the power structure of the Powhatan Confederacy including the role of the weroance, which he and John Smith described as a commander. Strachey wrote a brief bio for many of the weroances, of whom he says there were about thirty four. The first weroance described was Parahunt, who Strachey said was a son of Powhatan.  He was also known as Tanxpowhatan (Little Powhatan). Parahunt was the leader of the Powhatan Tribe. [11] 

Oholasc was Queen of the Tapahanock tribe which paid tribute to Powhatan. Oholasc had a young son, whom Stachey said was the supposed son of Powhatan. His name was Tatacope and he was to be the weroance of the Tapahanock once he came of age.[12] Another weroance was a son of Powhatan was Pochins; Strachey said he was the young weroance of Kecoughtan. [13] 

According to Helen Rountree, Powhatan took wives from the tribes under his control. This created not only political ties, but family ties to his power base. Once the wife gave birth she was returned to her own people. She would raise the child for the first few years and then send it back to be reared in the house of Powhatan. The wife would then be free to remarry. For this reason, most, if not all, of Powhatan's children were half siblings, sharing only their father. [14]

other children
Only three other children have been identified as the offspring of Powhatan. Matachanna, a daughter, who in 1616 was married to the priest Uttamatomakkin. She may have traveled with Pocahontas, John Rolfe and Uttamatomakkin to England, but there is no record of her doing so. Pocahontas also had a brother named Nataquoud. [15]

Nataquoud was present at the aborted execution of John Smith. Smith wrote about him later saying he was the most manliest, comeliest and boldest spirit he has seen in a "savage". [16] Helen Rountree also says that there was another daughter whose marriage was recorded, but whose name was not. At the age of eleven she married an important tribal leader, three days journey away. That leaves us with Cleopatra.

As I stated earlier, the only thing we think we know about Cleopatra is that she was the daughter of Powhatan and the sister of Pocahontas. We know this because Thomas Rolfe, several years after his return to Virginia, petitioned the Governor for permission to see her. Thomas' petition was heard in the Council on 17 December 1641. He asked for permission to see 'Opechanko', to whom he was allied and Cleopatra, his mother's sister. [17]

internet version of cleopatra
The internet tells us a very different story about the life of Cleopatra. According to stories all over the web, Cleopatra married her uncle Opechancanough and is the mother of at least two children, including, Hokolesqua Cornstalk and Princess Nicketti. (see my blog on Nicketti) Very recently she, Cleopatra has been called 'Cleopatra the Shawano Powhatan', alleging some kind of Shawnee heritage. The wikitree profile for her is a really amazing mess of names. The one thing that these internet bio's cannot/will not tell us is the source of their information. No one is able to say, I know this about Cleopatra and this is how I know it. Below is one wikitree bio for Cleopatra.

Cleopatra the Shawano Powhatan
Born about 1602 in Orapaks, Virginia, Cleopatra the Shawano Powhatan Wife of Opechancanough Mangopeesomon Opechan Stream Powhatan — married[date unknown] [location unknown] Mother of Nicketti Mangopeesomon Opechan Powhatan and Hokolesqua Opeechan Stream (Cornstalk) Shawnee Died 1680 in Henrico, Virginia, United States
Daughter of Wahunsenacawh Powhatan and Amopotuskee (UNKNOWN) Powhatan
Sister of Nanatahoack Powhatan, Mehta Powhatan, Tahacoope Quiquocohannock Powhatan, Cleopatra Scent Flower (Scent Flower) Powhatan, Tomoco Powhatan,Mantequos Powhatan, Taux Powhatan, Parahunt Powhatan, Namontack Powhatan,Cornstalk Wind Clan Powhatan, Quimca Powhatan, Pochins Powhatan, Secotin Powhatan, Opachankeno Powhatan, Nataquos Powhatan, Pamouic Powhatan, Mehtafe Powhatan,  Matachanna Powhatan,  Tatacoope the Shawano Powhatan, Powcanoe Powhatan, Taux the Shawano Powhatan, Secotin Powhatan, Mantequos Powhatan,Pochins the Shawano Powhatan, Pamouic Powhatan, Mahtafe Powhatan, Tahacoope Quiquocohannock Powhatan, Matoaka Amonute Powhatan, Namontack Powhatan, Nantaquas the Shawano Powhatan, Quimeca Powhatan, Parahunt the Shawano Powhatan,Cleopatra Powhatan, Tomoco Powhatan and Unknown Powhatan

Okay, so what are we looking at here. I did take out some of the duplication in the original wikitree to make it easier to read, but for the most part this is the information on that site. Where did all these names come from? What does "the Shawano" mean? Who was Cornstalk Windclan Powhatan and where is the documentation for him/her? There is no source of documentation offered. If you have done much searching you have most likely seem the sentence that reads something like this: "we know the names of many of Powhatan's children from the testimony of Machumps." But here's the problem with that, Machumps never named the childen of Powhatan. While in London, he 'testified' that Powhatan killed the remnants of the Roanoke Colony. He talked to Strachey about the Powhatan people, but there is no list of names of Powhatan's, children.

bearclans, windclans and cornstalks
Remember that junky genealogy folder, add bear clan, wind clan and cornstalk to it. Also, add shawano while your at it. This wikitree claims that the mother of all/most of these children was Amopotuskee, a Shawnee Indian woman from the Bear Clan in the Shenandoah Valley some 185 miles away. Other wikitrees, for the same people, have different mothers. Cleopatra has four or five profiles, each with different information. When questioned about this, one of the profile managers claimed that there were four women named Cleopatra.This should send up red flags for any researcher who is looking for documented evidence. My advice: although wikitree is a great site, avoid this Powhatan mess.

shawnee heritage
Most of this information/misinformation seems to be based on the un-sourced Shawnee Heritage Books. All I will say about them is: if you can't provide a source for your information, then all of your content is not worth the paper it's written on. And claiming 'psychic ability' as a source of your information is more than slightly off-putting.  I'm certainly not paying $45.00 for book with no sources. I have also read enough bad reviews of these books to be concerned with their content. I would urge you to tread with caution when using the books as a source for your genealogy. Use it as a starting point, but like any good genealogist, seek confirmation in original, primary sources. 

what about oral history
Oral history can be a great resource for genealogy. Treat it as a launchpad for more research, not as the gospel truth. You only have to watch one episode of The Genealogy Roadshow to see people's oral history researched and revealed as fiction. Usually there is some nugget of truth to the stories passed down by family members, but it's less shiny and bright than they had been lead to believe. The further back in time the story stretches, the more likely it is to be incorrect. 

That being said, here is some oral history from the Mattaponi Tribe who were once members of Chief Powhatan's federation. The Mattaponi say that the mother of Pocahontas and Mattachana was a Mattaponi Indian woman. The 'matta' in Mattachana indicates that her mother was of that tribe. Their oral history of Pocahontas goes on to tell us that after she was kidnapped by the English, her Indian husband, Kocoum was murdered. During her captivity Pocahontas was brutally raped, possibly by Sir Thomas Dale. She gave birth to the child and later married John Rolfe who claimed the son as his own.[18] 

Now, how many people who say they are descended from Thomas Rolfe have changed their family tree once they read that oral history? Not everyone who claims an oral history that includes Cleopatra can be correct. Whose oral history has the most weight, today's Indian descendants of Powhatan or Caucasian folks whose great granny said she was an Shawnee Indian who hid out and did not get put on a reservation?

what is a mangopeesomon?
In the above wikitree some of the Indians have been given a surname. I understand that wikitree makes you supply a name but why this mishmash: Nicketti Mangopeesoman Opechan Powhatan. In 1622, just prior to their attack on Jamestown, Opechancangough and his brother Opitchapam changed their names. Opechancangough became Mangopeesomon. This was his personal name, changed for his own personal and spiritual reasons. I see no reason why it should be applied to anyone else. 

who was don luis?
In 1561 a Spanish Caraval was blown off course and dropped anchor in a wide river in the Chesapeake Bay. They sailors did some exploring and make repairs to the ship. The encountered at least two Indian males who for some reason opted to go to Spain with them. The fate of only one of the Indians is recorded.

Paquiquineo, described as a young Indian, was renamed Don Luis de Velasco by the Spanish. He traveled to Madrid and met with King Philip II, and spent some time in the New World, visiting Mexico City. After nine years away from home, he longed to return to his homeland. To make a long story short, Don Luis convinced a group of Jesuit Priests to return with him to Virginia and set up a mission to convert the Indians to Christianity. Shortly after they arrived they began to build an outpost on the Pamunkey River near a village whose people were subjects to Don Luis' family. [19] However, upon his return, Don Luis reverted to his Indian heritage, cast off his Christianity and slaughtered all the Jesuit Priests, dramatically ending any hope the Spanish had for adding Virginia to their list of conquests. 

It has been suggested that Don Luis and Opechancanough are one and the same. Author Don Horn suggests that this is possible. He also says that if they were not the same man then they would at least be contemporaries and would have known of each other. [20] According to the EncyclopediaVirginia entry for Don Luis, scholar Helen Rountree does not believe they were the same person. [21]

From a historical perspective, the two men might or might not be the same person. Where does this leave us from a genealogical standpoint? If there is no historical proof, then there is no genealogical proof. There is only speculation. Without proof you have nothing. 

who was hokolesqua
According to the example wikitree, Hokolequa Ope[e]chan Stream Cornstalk was the son of Cleopatra and Openchancanough. Hokolequa, for a nice change, was a real Indian and his life is documented. He was born, probably around 1720 in Pennsylvania. He was called Cornstalk by the Anglo-Americans. He was a Shawnee leader who fought against the British, siding with the French. He was killed in 1777. As this man was born some sixty years after the death of Opechancanough, simple math should tell you that it is not possible for him to be his son. [22]

why do we care
Hokolesqua is said, according to the above wikitree, and many other web generated family trees, to be the husband of Pasmere Powhatan. Pasmere was the daughter of Pride Powhatan and an Englishman named 'Thomas Pasmere Carpenter'. Thomas is the central figure in another myth connected to Cleopatra. According to the legend, Thomas Pasmere Carpenter married Pride Powhatan, daughter of Cleopatra and Opechancanough. Their children are said to be Shawnee, but their grandchildren somehow become Cherokee. This myth has been thoroughly investigated and found to be totally false.

Thomas Passmore was a carpenter by occupation who immigrated to the Virginia Colony by 1624, when he received a land grant. [23] In this grant he is called Thomas Passmore, of James City, Carpenter. He arrived a single man, but later married an English woman named Jane. He did not marry an Indian woman and he did not run off to Tennessee. He did however, go to Maryland, where Thomas Passmore, Carpenter of St. Marie's Parish bought and sold land, appeared in court, served on juries, and was mentioned in probate cases. [24]

back to cleo and the gps
So here we are back to Cleopatra. I have look high and low for her and the help of several excellent researchers, thanks Jim Glanville and Susan Reynolds! The GPS tells us that we must do an exhaustive search, I think I did a pretty good job so far. I have even followed the supposed family to look for clues. Step two; cite your sources, see below. Step three; analyse sources to assess their usefulness. I have found only one source, it is the Randolph Manuscript Volume 3 page 234. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of the Bland Manuscript which is in turn a copy of some of Virginia's original records. [25]

Our single source for Cleopatra is a derivative record, meaning it was copied from an original, and in this case it seems to be a copy of a copy. Because we cannot compare this derivative to the original we have no idea if any mistakes were made. The information is primary, it was likely written at the time of the council meeting. The evidence when applied to questions concerning Cleopatra gives us a direct answer to only one question, was Cleopatra the sister of Pocahontas. We are left with any number of unanswered genealogical questions, when was she born, who was her mother, was her father Powhatan, who did she marry, did she have any children? None of these questions can be answered by this tiny scrap of information.

How then has she come to be in so many family trees? Good question, I blame the 'copy and pasters' on the internet. At the beginning of my article I asked "are you a searcher or a researcher"? If you a serious searcher or researcher, copy my citation list and dive into the hunt. Let me know if you have anything I don't or if you find any new 'evidence'. If you are a 'copy and paster' or you already know the answer to your Cleopatra questions, I'm glad ya'll made it all the way to the end of this article and hope you have a nice day!  



[1] Francis Mossiker, Pocahontas: The Life and the Legend, (New York: DeCapo Press, 1995).

[2] James Horn, A land as God Made It, Jamestown and the Birth of America, (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 9.

[3] Helen C. Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough, Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown, (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005).

[4] Frank E. Grizzard and D. Boyd Smith, Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social and Cultural History, (ABC-CLIO, 2007).

[5] Natalie Zacek, "William Strachey 1572-1621", Encyclopedia Virginia
( : accessed 20 October 2015).

[6] Zacek, "William Strachey."

[7] Zacek, "William Strachey."

[8] William Strachey and Richard Henry Major, The Historie of Travaile Into Virginia Britania: Expressing the Cosmographie and Comodities of the Countrie, Togethir with the Manners and Customes of the People, (London, 1894); digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 20 October 2015).

[9] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 54

[10] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 54

[11] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 55-56

[12] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 57

[13] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 60

[14] Helen C. Rountree, "Marriage in Early Virginia Indian Society," article, Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 30 May. 2014. Web. 23 October 2015.

[15] Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough, 35.

[16] Thomas Wentworth Higgins, A Book of American Explorers, (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1877) 258.

[17] Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough.

[18] Phoebe Mills Farris, "Pocahontas' First Marriage: The Powhatan Side of the Story," article, American Indian, ( : Spring 2014 issue; accessed 1 November 2015).

[19] Horn, A Land as God Made It, 15-16.

[20] Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough.

[21] Brendan Wolf, "Don Luis de Velasco/Paquiquineo (fl. 1561-1571)," article, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Encyclopedia Virginia, ( : accessed 31 October 2015).

[22] "Hokolesqua," Ohio History Central, article, Ohio History Connection,  (http://www.ohiohistorycentral,org : accessed 3 November 2015).

[23] Thomas Passmore patent, 14 August 1624, Land Office Patents [Book] 1, 1623-1643: 10; Colonial Land Office Patents, 1623-1774; Virginia State Archives; digital images, "Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants," Library of Virginia ( : accessed 7 November 2015).

[24] William Hand Brown, Clayton Coleman Hall, Bernard Christian Steiner, Archives of Maryland, Vol 4, (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1877).

[25] xxxx Glanville, Blacksburg, VA [e-mail for private use] to Jeanie Roberts, e-mail, 2 November 2015, "Cleopatra in the Randolph Manuscript," local folders, Powhatan Indians, privately held by Jeanie Roberts [e-mail and address for private use] Texas, 2015

[26] xxxx Reynolds, [e-mail for private use] to Jeanie Roberts, e-mail, 6 November 2015, "False Indian Genealogy," local folders, Powhatan Indians, privately held by Jeanie Roberts [e-mail and address for private use] Texas, 2015.

unusual notes for Opechancanough found on message boards:

1. As for myself the belief in Opechancanough as my 8th grandfather fits because while stationed in England in the 50’s I had a strange urge to kill English women and children.This of course bothered me greatly so much so that I would not even tell my shrink.Finding out about Opechancanough had let me realize that it was bred into me and I am not really a potential mass murderer.For this reason I embrace Opechancanough as mine and honor his name for being probably the first native American to fight for Indian rights.I even call my new grandson "Opi" even though my son named him (xxxxx).

2. Chief Opechancanough had brought back a woman from his attack on Jamestown in 1622. Her name was Mary Sizemore. They had a child named Goldenhawk Sizemore. Goldenhawk left the Powhatan's to live in the "white" world. As he was traveling south, he met a woman named Agnes "Aggie" Cornett Shephard, who was supposedly half Cherokee. Many of the Sizemore's are decended from this union as one of Goldenhawk's descendants was George All Sizemore, who had some 50+ children.
Want to leave a comment? Please be thoughtful, leave your sources if you are making a claim.

Roles of Men, Women and Children in 17th Century Puritan Massachusetts

In 17 th century pur itan Massachusetts , the roles of men , women and children were very clearly defined . Men were the ...