Mystery Monday – Native American Day

Today is Native American Day, in South Dakota at least, which reminded me of an old family rumor that my grandmother was part Native American.

Doris Mae Bowen

My Grandmother Doris Mae Bowen 1913-2004

She didn’t think she was, but  didn’t know.

Bessie Stanhope Tree

Her mother, Bessie Stanhope, was the great-granddaughter of James Carter and Deborah Newell.  James was born in 1765 in England and by 1788 had settled in Moose Island, Maine, which is part of Eastport and right in the heart of Passamaquoddy Tribe territory. According to many online family history pages and forum messages (example), his wife Deborah was from the Passamaquoddy Tribe. I haven’t found any evidence of this specifically, but I certainly haven’t exhausted all sources yet. The websites I’ve seen haven’t pointed to any actual source documentation either.

I have taken DNA tests with 23andMe, Ancestry DNA and Family Tree DNA and none have shown any Native American ancestry, however Deborah would be my 5th great-grandmother, so it’s possible that none made its way to me in an identifiable segment.

While it won’t prove that Deborah was Native American, I’d love to hear from any other descendants of James Carter and Deborah Newell that have taken DNA tests.

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11 thoughts on “Mystery Monday – Native American Day

  1. I have a question a little off topic if you don’t mind. I’m considering taking the dna testing but I’m not sure which to choose. Since you have done three different ones, can you recommend a favorite?

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    • Hi Donna,
      I’d be happy to. My favorite is 23andMe, not only does it provide ancestry info, but the health info is very interesting. I have most of my family tested there. If you’d like to get into the raw data, you can do that too, but you don’t have to in order for it to be useful and fun. 23andMe’s Family Tree function is horrible, about the only bad thing I’d say. I usually send a link to my Ancestry tree to matches from 23andMe and that’s worked fine.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Dave

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    • Hi Crystal, thanks for reading and commenting, always nice to meet a new cousin. I will absolutely post any updates as I find new information. By any chance have you had a DNA test?

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      • Hi Dave. No, I have not looked into the DNA testing. I will check out 23andMe and should I decide to have the test done, I will follow up with you. This is fascinating to me as my father always said there was Native American ancestry on the side of his mother. Also, I notice we are double cousins as Nathaniel and Joanna Cox are my other 4th great grandparents. Apparently 2 Carter brothers married 2 Cox sisters. Have you any background on this line? My maiden name is Libby.

        Thanks for your reply!

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  2. I was so excited to see this post about Deborah Newell and James Carter. There are my 4th great grandparents on my paternal mother’s side. I have done my DNA testing and 23andMe does not show Native American Gedmatch does but it is very small (1.2%). I have just found the info about Deborah and will continue to search.

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    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting cousin! My sister’s DNA test shows about 1% too. I’ll look you up on Gedmatch and see if it’s on the same chromosome.

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  3. Hi Dave,
    James Carter is a 3rd great grandfather of my husband. I, too, am trying to learn more about he and Deborah Newell and their antecedents. My husband has done a DNA test through 23andMe and is .2% Native American. I know there is someone in his past that is Native American, so it seems likely that it would be Deborah Newell. I’d love to learn any new additional information you find.

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  4. Hi. … just joined Ancestry to research the Carter side of my family. Never knew much beyond my grandparents (my father’s parents) who were from Eastport. Spent many summer vacations there as a child. Always heard there was Native American blood in the family. I was surprised to learn from this blog that it was Deborah. She and James are my third great grandparents. I think I will do the DNA test and see what it shows. Thanks for the info.

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