If you have early roots in the American southeast, you already know there is a strong Scots-Irish connection with the various tribes. I’m speaking mainly of the Catawba, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Muscogee (Creek). This includes both black and white families prior to 1840.
Intermixture also occurred with the Scots, Welsh, Germans and English. Regardless, what you need to be aware of is if you have strange terms such as “Shanty Irish” or “Black Dutch” passed down in your family, this is usually the first clue to a mixed-blood heritage.
Actually, I hear “Black Dutch” all the time and people are very confused about that. Basically, terms such as this were given as explanations for mixed-blood heritage in an era where the color of skin affected civil rights such as land ownership, bearing arms, marriage, and slavery itself. Depending on who one marries, the children of a “Black Dutch” could “pass for white” solving these sticky issues. In this case “Black Dutch” was usually code for Cherokee or Chickasaw.
I would like to share three of my favorite books. The first is for background, Theda Perdue, Mixed Blood Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South (Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 2003). The next two are genealogical: Rachal Mills Lennon, Tracing Ancestors Amopng the Five Civilized Tribes: Southeastern Indians Prior to Removal (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002); and Tony Mack McClure, Cherokee Proud: A Guide for Tracing and Honoring Your Cherokee Ancestors, 2nd ed.(Somerville, Tennessee: Chunannee Books, 2009).
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