In 1926, Mrs. G. J. Wilkins of Atlanta Georgia wrote to the Office of Indian Affairs,
“My great-grandfather on my father’s side was a full-blooded Indian with tribal relations with the Cherokees of Georgia.”
Mrs. Wilkins was referring to Abraham Helton, known by his family as Young Chicken Chetiganete. He was born in 1843. He is also my 5th great-grandfather.
Finding Native American ancestors is a boom for genealogists. It can be difficult to prove on paper. It can be more difficult to prove in your DNA…even if you have the paperwork to prove it.
I vaguely recall my grandmother mentioning that we had some Native American blood. But I was never able to find it in our tree until I found a large group of Heltons in Lumpkin County, Georgia who were in trouble with the law. Unfortunately, that was a running theme for the Heltons. Eventually, I managed to trace one set of naughty Heltons from Georgia, to my own set of naughty Heltons from Indiana. And there was my Native American connection on paper.
Still, when I tested my DNA, I was surprised it showed any amount of Native American DNA at all. But it did. About 0.3% Native American. It’s not a whopping amount, but I assumed any Native American would be too far back to show up. My mother tested 0.5%. My siblings all tested between 0.2% and 0.4%. My children all tested 0.1%. Looking at one of the reports on 23andMe, it also suggested where I might have gotten my Native American. Fascinating stuff!
You can see from Mrs. Wilkins letter at the top of this post that she said Young Chicken Cetiganete wasn’t relocated during the relocation of Native Americans in the late 1830’s. There are different stories why. This is her story. I’ve heard another story saying he scattered into the hills of Georgia. I read another story that he was only half Eastern Cherokee and his light complexion passed him as white so he was able to go undetected. There is much to research about this part of the Helton clan.
So here’s to you Abraham Young Chicken Chetiganete Helton.
Do you have an ancestor with a name that you love? Comment below, I’d love to hear about it!