Has anyone ever told you that you may have American Indian ancestry? Have you ever wondered how you could find out? One clue may be your last name. Each tribe has particular surnames that are associated with them. Names like Coker, Jackson, Durham, and Norwood to name just a few.
There are two recognized American Indian tribal communities in Delaware: the Nanticoke community in south-central Sussex County, near Millsboro, and the Lenape community in central Kent County around the town of Cheswold.
There are two good resources for lists of surnames associated with Delaware’s tribes. C.A. Weslager’s 1943 book Delaware’s Forgotten Folk and an article by William Harlen Gilbert, Jr. “Surviving Indian groups of the eastern United States,” in the 1948 Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Both books can be found at the archives.
For additional information on the tribes and their genealogy, you can visit the “Mitsawokett” website.
You can also read a background on the Native American period in Delaware.