By Dawn Taylor and Roberta Estes
Hi, and thanks for your interest in the Hatteras Island Family project. Many folks have questions, so we've prepared this handy reference to answer questions and provide info about our project.
Hatteras Island (in current Dare County, NC, but formerly in Hyde and Currituck) is a very unique place with an incredibly interesting history and geography as well.
Hatteras Island is the location where the Lost Colonists indicated that they went, to join their friends, the Croatoan Indians.
Hatteras Island has a long history of shipwrecks, with many families carrying the oral history that they descend from shipwreck victims.
Hatteras Island has an equally long oral history that many of the current residents descend from the original residents, the Croatoan (later the Hatteras) Indians.
The isolated geography of Hatteras Island served to discourage a lot of movement to the island after the initial land grants were awarded and free/cheap land was no longer available.
The isolated geography prevented or discouraged intermarriage with people not island residents, creating a rather closed community, allowing us the unique opportunity to reconstruct the original island residents from their descendants today. Until the 1960s, there was no road connecting it to the mainland. The Hatteras Island families intermarried within their own group, as other options were limited.
The Hatteras Indians lived on the island when the Lost Colony was abandoned in 1587, but were known to the English as the Croatoan. The colonists left the word "Croatoan" carved in a stockade post on Roanoke Island, indicating they had gone to join the Croatoan on Hatteras Island. In 1701, John Lawson, an early explorer visited the Indians living on Hatteras Island and reported that they claimed to be descended from the Lost Colonists and had light hair and grey eyes. Just a few years later, European settlers began to settle on Hatteras Island with the Native people, and by the end of the 1700s, the last of the Indians were gone, dead, moved to the mainland or perhaps intermarried into the European population. This is the evidence we seek.
The Hatteras Island Family Reconstruction project is founded upon four different types of information, that, when combined, form very powerful tools to help us understand our Hatteras Island heritage:
Genealogy - We are fortunate that the island has had at least three individuals who collected genealogical information in the 1900s about island families. We are currently transcribing this information from 2 of those 3 sources into a genealogy program to be shared with others seeking their family origins on Hatteras Island. We welcome information from descendants to add to our project which will be made available for other researchers with proper credit given to contributors.
History - we approach this as the study of events that influenced our ancestors on Hatteras Island. In many ways, these were the same events that influenced the early seaboard colonies, but there were also events unique to Hatteras Island due to their maritime nature and location. Often understanding the history of an area helps us to answer the question of "why". Many recent articles focus on Hatteras Island and can be found in the Lost Colony Newsletters available at this link -
Archaeology - Through our sister organization, The Lost Colony Research Group, we are working with a team of experts to further expand our knowledge of the early history of the Hatteras Island residents through a series of archaeology digs. We are partnered with the University of Bristol. You can see some photos and read about this in the June Lost Colony Newsletter, found at this link - http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/nl/nl06-17-10.htm
Two digs have been completed (fall 2009 and spring 2010) and 2 additional are scheduled (fall 2010 and spring 2011).
DNA - In the past few years, genetic genealogy has become an invaluable tool allowing us to reconstruct the early families. The Y chromosome is passed from father to son directly with no admixture from the mother, and follows the surname. Comparing DNA tests from men with the same surname allows us to determine if they share a common ancestor.
Another invaluable kind of DNA testing for genealogists is the mitochondrial DNA test. Mitochondrial (mtDNA) is passed from women to all of their children, with no admixture from the father, but only the females pass it on to their children. Therefore, by testing descendants today of the Hatteras Island mothers, we can reconstruct the early families base on their DNA signatures. This is particularly powerful because often the record of early female surnames did not survive. The early Currituck County marriage records do not exist.
A third kind of test can be very useful for those who descend from island families, but not via the paternal (surname) line, nor the mitochondrial line. This new kind of test is called an autosomal test and it tests the DNA you receive from all of your ancestors with the goal of finding your genetic cousins. In addition, this test, called the Family Finder test, identifies your percentage of ethnicity. Obviously each generation divides the ancestral DNA by 50%, but this test is pretty reliable to the 7th generation or so. We have a separate project for people who take this test.
Our testing for this project is done through Family Tree DNA (www.familytreedna.com).
We have compiled a list of early island surnames from deeds, wills, tax lists, militia and other documents. These surnames represent the early island residents up through about 1800. We would like to be able to reconstruct the ethnicity of the earliest island families, especially the wives whose surnames have been lost to time. Using DNA, we will be able to reconstruct those families and help people who cannot identify their ancestors' families to reconnect.
Ballance, Barret, Barrett, Barnett, Barnet, Bailes, Burgis, Beckley, Balance, Basnet, Basnett, Basnight, Baum, Bennett, Bennet, Black, Burton, Bright, Brooks, Burras, Burrus
Carr, Callahane, Callahan, Casey, Cirk, Clark
Dahoe, Dailey, Davis, Dring, Duncan, Durant
Elks, Etheridge, Evans
Fulcher, Farrow, Flower
Gallop, Garrish, Guthrie, Gaskill, Gaskins, Gibbs, Goodin, Gray
Jarvis, Jackson, Jennett, Jennette, Jennings, Johnson, Johnston, Jonston, Jones
Keito, King, Kirk
Lewis, Lindsey, Lindsay, Love
McCoy, Maccoy, McDearmid, MacKuen, Macuing, Mann, Masque, Mashue, Maskue, Matham, Meekins, Midget, Midgett, Midyett, Midyet, Miller
Nelson, Norton, Neal, Neel
Oliver, Oden, O'Neal, O'Neel, Oneal, Oneel
Paumer, Palmer, Penney, Payne, Paine, Pinkham, Price, Peele, Pugh
Reed, Read, Relfe, Robb, Robertson, Rollison, Rollinson, Russell
Sanderson, Scarborough, Scarboro, Simpson, Stiring, Stirling, Styron, Smith, Salter, Spencer, Spenser, Squires, Stewart, Stow, Stowe
Taylor, Tolson, Toleer, Toler
Van Pelt, Vanpelt
Wahab, Wallis, Wallice, Whedby, Whidby, Whedbee, Whedbe, Williams, Willis, White, Wells
If your paternal surname is listed above or you descend from other Hatteras Island families and you have a male who carries that surname today available to test (or who has already DNA tested), please join our Hatteras Fathers DNA project at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/HatterasFathers/default.aspx
If your maternal line, meaning your mother's mother's mother's line, on up the tree through women only on the maternal line extends back to Hatteras Island residents, you are eligible to join our Hatteras Mothers DNA project at
If you are descended from Hatteras Island residents through any of your genealogical lines, and you have taken the Family Finder test, please join our Hatteras Family Finder project at
Results for the DNA projects can be found at their links, above, and contributed information about each surname can be found under the "surname research" link at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/sur/sur-research.htm and published in our various newsletters at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/nl/anl-index.htm
Who Are We? - Dawn Taylor and Roberta Estes are the volunteer administrators of the Hatteras Family projects. This project is managed under the Lost Colony Research Group umbrella.
Dawn is a Hatteras Island native, lives on the island and has been a committed genealogist for more than 15 years. She has published several articles about the Lighthouse Keepers in magazines and other publications. Committed to preserving the Hatteras Island heritage, she joined the Lost Colony Research Group as a researcher and founded the Hatteras Island Genealogy Society. More information can be found here - http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=245433063719&ref=ts.
Roberta is one of the founders of the Lost Colony Research Group and currently serves as the Director. This group was founded in 2007 to determine whether or not the Colonists survived. Focused research has suggested that if they did survive, it was likely on Hatteras Island, leading to the archaeological digs and the Hatteras Island Family Reconstruction projects.
Roberta is one of the pioneers in the field of genetic genealogy and owns www.dnaexplain.com as well as managing over 20 volunteer DNA projects which include the Cumberland Gap, North Carolina Native Heritage and American Indian founder projects. Her specialty is mixed race ancestry.
The Lost Colony Research Group has been very blessed to have an exceptional team of researchers. You can read more about the research team at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/bio/bioindex.htm.
Additional Lost Colony Resources
The Lost Colony website includes more than 2000 pages of research, all free, at
Lost Colony Project on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lost-Colony-of-Roanoke-DNA-Project/126053773239?v=wall&mid=20b5112G3d98ba62G0G66#!/pages/Lost-Colony-of-Roanoke-DNA-Project/126053773239?v=wall -
Lost Colony Blog - http://the-lost-colony.blogspot.com/
GenealogyWise - http://www.genealogywise.com/group/thelostcolonistsofroanoke - Thanks to Andy Powell for setting this up.
Lost Colony DNA projects at Family Tree DNA:
Lost Colony Yline - (paternal surname) - http://www.familytreedna.com/public/LostColonyYDNA/default.aspx
Lost Colony Mitochondrial - (maternal line) - http://www.familytreedna.com/project-join-request.aspx?group=LostColonymtDNA
Lost Colony Family Finder - (autosomal) http://www.familytreedna.com/public/LostColonyFamilyFinder/default.aspx