This is something I hear often from people who don't know much about their heritage, other than what they've heard from other relatives. An ancestor's appearance (dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes) is often the reason the rumor starts.
It seems like such a romanticized notion to be descended from a Native American, that I really hate to tell people, "I'm sorry, but I haven't found anything yet..."
Most of the time, the rumor is just that - an unsubstantiated, romanticized idea based on the ancestor's looks.
I would honestly be thrilled to research such a family story and find truth in it!
Goodness knows I was surprised to find that my son's 11th great-grandfather on his paternal grandmother's side was an Abenaki Chief. We had no idea until the mtDNA test results for my then-husband came back. But it was not a family rumor - just a complete surprise to all interested family members. This is the one and only time I've ever found Native American ancestry, and it was not assumed: we arrived at the answer due to science.
I think there are Native American-ancestor rumors in just about every family. We want to belong to the first people of this nation. Alas, I have yet to be able to confirm rumors for anybody for whom I have done research.
Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan