On April 30, 2012, The Boston Globe broke the story that Chris Child of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) had located information about a marriage license showing that Elizabeth’s great-great-great grandmother was Cherokee, Document ties Warren kin to Cherokees:
A record unearthed Monday shows that US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has a great-great-great grandmother listed in an 1894 document as a Cherokee, said a genealogist at the New England Historic and Genealogy Society.
The shred of evidence could validate her assertion that she has Native American ancestry, making her 1/32 American Indian, but may not put an end to the questions swirling around the subject….
Chris Child, a genealogist at the New England Historic and Genealogy Society, said he began digging into Warren’s family history on Thursday, when media interest emerged.
At first, he found no link between Warren’s family and Native Americans in her native Oklahoma.
But Monday afternoon, he said, he discovered a few links. Warren’s great-great-great grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, is listed on her son’s 1894 application for a marriage license as a Cherokee.
Child also found that Warren’s great-grandfather, John Houston Crawford, had lived in Native American territory, but identified himself as white in a 1900 census.
Child cautioned that the search for ancestry often takes a long time and that more information could still emerge as he continues to research the issue.
But he said Warren’s family is not included in the official Dawes Commission rolls, a census of major tribes completed in the early 20th century that Cherokees use to determine tribal citizenship.
The Globe finally gets around to correcting the story, but buries it in the “For the Record” correction section today:
Correction: Because of a reporting error, a story in the May 1 Metro section and the accompanying headline incorrectly described the 1894 document that was purported to list Elizabeth Warren’s great-great-great grandmother as a Cherokee. The document, alluded to in a family newsletter found by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, was an application for a marriage license, not the license itself. Neither the society nor the Globe has seen the primary document, whose existence has not been proven.
(Note: The correction references an article on May 1 which repeated the story; the correction now is appended at the end of the original online version.)
That’s it? After all the trouble The Globe caused, necessitating countless hours by lowly bloggers to correct the falsehood.
The Globe and the false report of a 1/32 Cherokee connection may have saved Warren’s campaign, as it came at a time when her campaign was in panic and without any evidence to substantiate her claim to Native American ancestry, which she used when a junior faculty member in a law school association directory to obtain “minority law teacher” status.
The false report bought Warren time during which various supportive pundits could opine about what it means to be Cherokee and how dare white people impose their own standards.
This mea culpa should be front page at The Globe.
- Is prestigious genealogical society throwing media under the bus on Warren 1/32 Cherokee claim?
- Genealogist for Elizabeth Warren 1/32 Cherokee claim goes silent, source document shown false
- Stolen Cherokee Valor
- Cruel irony in Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee saga
Update: Victor Davis Hanson, Diversitygate:
I guess some of us are on a different planet, because both Warren and Harvard University seem to have been unethical at best and unlawful at worst — if she or anyone from the Law School (no less!) signed forms or affidavits attesting to Warren’s Native American status in accordance with federal affirmative action/diversity guidelines.
And Michael Patrick Leahy, who has led the way on the genealogical research to debunk the claims, has a new post up at Breitbart.com, Questions Remain After Boston Globe Corrects Warren Story:
Today’s “correction” by the Boston Globe leaves several questions about their initial reporting of New England Historic Genealogical Society genealogist Chris Child’s statements about Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry unanswered. It states that the May 1 story and the accompanying headline “incorrectly described the 1894 document that was purported to list Elizabeth Warren’s great-great-great grandmother as a Cherokee.” However, as New England Historic Genealogical Society spokesman Tom Champoux has subsequently admitted on May 9, the original source document was not an 1894 document, as the Globe’s correction today suggests. Instead, it was a 2006 family newsletter.