GWILODWÔGAN – is a word from the Western Abenaki dialect which refers to exploration, research, or investigation. This word describes this blog very well – I will be exploring and investigating historical records in search of our lost Wabanaki Ancestors. I would like to share this journey with you. I hope to assist others navigating the maze of inaccurate material out there, demonstrate good research techniques for resolving family mysteries, and with any luck, document a Native family or two along the way. So here we go on a wonderful genealogy adventure.
Who are the Wabanaki?
They are the Native American People of Northeastern North America.
Their territory includes
- New Hampshire
- portions of Quebec
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- New York State
Modern day Tribes or Nations included under the term Wabanaki are
- Abenaki of Odanak
- Abenaki of Wolinak
I want to take a moment to stress that I am not creating certified or professional genealogies on this blog. I believe it is the responsibility of descendants, rather than some stranger or organization, to prove the accuracy of the data in one’s own family tree. I am exploring the historical record to determine possibilities. Is it possible the family’s oral history is accurate concerning Native ancestors? I am making my findings public so the journey of others may be less bumpy.
I follow good research practices, but I do not adhere completely to the higher “Genealogical Proof Standard”, which does not allow for any “Preponderance of the Evidence” conclusions. I believe we need to accept circumstantial evidence in many instances because source documents for Wabanaki People are very few and far between and almost nonexistent prior to 1800. I do not believe circumstantial evidence is “proof positive” of anything. However, when a large collection of circumstantial evidence is found, I believe it demonstrates something is “very likely”. This should be sufficient to satisfy the psychological needs of descendants searching for the truth in historical periods where such proof perhaps does not exist. Of course, that doesn’t mean we should ever stop trying to prove it!