Discovering my ancestry came about accidentally. I was actually researching for my husband and figured that once we had him all squared away, I'd go ahead and dig into my side of the family. Eventually.

We were in the living room of a friend's home and they happened to have other friends there. 

The conversation topic began to revolve around ancestry, mostly the Native American variety, since there was a rather large population of them living in the area. At this point, though,  I really wasn't even a beginner in ancestry. Not much of the conversation in the room was sinking in, ringing any bells, making a lot of sense. I was mainly a listener in the conversation.

One of the ladies asked  my background and I replied that I didn't have any Native American blood, that my grandmother told me were Black Dutch.

She looked at me with a blank stare. "Are you being silly or do you really not know what you just said?"

"Uhm … Black Dutch?"

"You really don't know, do you?"

She pulled me up by my arm and took me to a mirror. "Describe me."

She had blonde hair, blue eyes, not the darkest person I'd ever seen. Nice bone structure in her face. So what?

She said to take a look at myself in comparison to her, which I did, but was wondering what her point was.

She had me repeat a few last names from my side of the family and searched my face, as if I was going to "get it" at any second. 

Come to find out, back in the 1800s and into the early 1900s, when someone was known to be of Native American descent, it wasn't a good thing; women were raped, children taken as slaves, men beaten … it wasn't a great lifestyle and admitting that you were of Native American descent was just about a sure way of asking for trouble.

Children really were taken from loving homes and taken forcefully to English-speaking schools, where their complete Indian identities were stripped from the children, they were given English names and were hit for speaking about  their former lives or speaking their native tongue.

Euphemisms for Native American were used to protect a person's identities so these things didn't happen.

One of them was Black Dutch.

Huh. Who knew?

Did you discover your own heritage in a funny or accidental manner, kind of like I did? If you would be willing to share your story, I sure would like to hear about your experience!

Robyn