Anyone who has Native American ancestral lines and is interested in researching his or her family history is encouraged to attend a special seminar Sept. 8 in Mesquite.

“As first vice president, program chair and reporter of Ellis County Genealogical Society, I am frequently asked by budding researchers about how to find their Indian ancestors,” said Ina Walker of Waxahachie, who is of Potawatomi Indian ancestry, along with a French connection.

“Research for me was easy because I, my three sons and my grandchildren and great grandchildren are members of Citizen Potawatomi Nation, whose tribal grounds are located near Shawnee, Okla. The tribe has a cultural heritage center loaded with genealogies dating back to the 1700s. I knew where to begin in 2000.”

Walker said she understands the frustration of individuals who want to research their Cherokee, Comanche, Choctaw, Apache, Cheyenne, ancestors and others.

“The fact is, there are hundreds of Indian tribes in the United States and they are all different,” she said. “I don’t know them all and I never will, but I think I can guide you to someone who can.”

The Mesquite Historical and Genealogical Society is hosting the seminar, which will be presented by Arkansas native Russell P. Baker. A certified archivist, lecturer, historian and author, Baker’s presentation of interest to Indian researchers is entitled, “Oh I Wantabee a Cherokee: The Five Civilized Tribes and Their Genealogical Sources.”

“Americans searching for their roots often find ancestors from a variety of ethnic backgrounds,” Walker said. “However, those attempting to locate Native American ancestors face a special challenge. Many a ‘Wantabee Cherokee’ have been disappointed in their genealogical quest. This lecture will explore genealogical sources of the five civilized tribes.”

Other topics during the seminar are “Genealogy in the Natural State, Adventures in Arkansas Genealogical Research,” “Rediscovering Some Neglected, Forgotten, and Underutilized Genealogical Sources,” “Paleography: Reading and Understand Old Handwriting.”

The seminar will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 8 at Mimosa Lane Baptist Church, 1233 N. Beltline Road, Mesquite, with a dutch treat lunch break from noon-1:30 p.m.

Advance registration is $25. Make check payable to Mesquite Historical and Genealogical Society and mail to MHGS, P.O. Box 850165, Mesquite, TX 75185-0165.

Walk-in registration is $30.

The society holds two seminars each year and publishes a monthly newsletter and quarterly publication.

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