Tom Champoux and Chris Child of The New England Historical Genealogical Society On Lizzy Warren
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May 15, 2012|
The New England Historical Genealogical Society, which originally announced they found evidence of Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage, said today they have discovered no documentation to back up claims that she is 1/32 Cherokee. We spoke with Tom Champoux, spokesman for the NEHGS and Chris Child, a genealogist with the NEHGS about how this brouhaha started.
Transcript - will not be 100% accurate
We are joined by two two people from the New England historic -- illogical society. Tom shampoo always the is a public relations directorate Chris trials is the is the -- all just for the organization. We appreciate -- common on you know I know they -- this is an idea that they've been under some pressure lately but thanks thanks for coming on I appreciate -- the ball club -- for -- Wasn't that I wanna just I wanna region the story the of the original globe story here and ask Chris about the how how they claim to team up with this this. The story here at our record on earth this is from April 30 a record on earth Monday. Shows the US senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has a great great great great grandmother listed in an 1894 document. As a Cherokee. Set a genealogy is that the new England historic and genealogy society. Now did did is that it is the is that accurate Chris did you say that to want to the reporter. Well we that was that we need to when he was six and we use whether that was supposed to be pretty. Marriage like that age do you speak double to Chris yet what -- said that what we found a 26 and we newsletter that was 88 marriage like -- Application. MG Crawford. For. So why he -- he said that he said he's listed on her he's listed on her son's application. 1894 application for a marriage licenses that Turkey. There's a dolce and I don't see anything in -- about the 206. Did did they just cut that out or did you war. Or rugby did so you you told them it was from 206 up from 1894. Yes exactly that was the document. Stanley newsletter with the document -- belong to reporters. -- -- -- -- Did you win when you read this story the next day I mean did you think that you would bend that they world were only presenting a partial version of one of what you were told him. Artistic conscience so now we have that information as Chris mentioned was. That we found its reference -- family newsletter to an application for marriage and the correction I think. That's being discussed today that there was a marriage license referral marriage application or which is confusing. That we understand that this I'm confused about what that document actually was. Our license itself does not have a -- or race for the Republican. And applications is being referred to by this Stanley research that was referenced in the. But according to -- according to the county clerk from Logan county there is no such thing as a marriage license application from 1994. Yes that's correct according to the county clerk date we learned a couple of days later that apparently applications in 97. So essentially what we are saying was that more research is needed to. You know verify if -- application -- -- and we were trying to get in touch with. Author. What -- -- -- and I know you don't wanna talk about politics might have -- in this one question did you get any pressure. From the war in campaign or the Boston Globe that or did Chris give any pressure from the -- campaign or the Boston Globe to what to come up with this. That this documents quote unquote documentation right. I appreciate the question I really do our and I can tell you unequivocally no one called -- pressure -- for any thing. We did get an email from the campaign early on -- -- -- around about the first couple days after The Herald story can. And regret what the do you have family -- information on this this family tree could do some research at that point. Please let us know what that was really all it was and we sent them the same information sent to herald. At that time and since then Chris and the age yes we haven't been any more research on this topic. And certainly as you mentioned it now I would have more politically charged than we are that we expect it to be where we're a little surprised to be in the middle of this. A political. A question mark for some people and we are. Not profits geological society. The nation's leading genealogy research. All I know you're very very well respected that we're kind of surprised to see when this kind of the controversy here. As are we promise you we had no expectations to be involved in this. A controversy. What we do really well as we help people understand more about their family history we helped teach them how to do the research what mr. themselves or we're gonna help that. And so one of the things I think it's important point out here is that the major research for genealogy for one's family history is really. A very tricky proposition one cases everyone I think which he challenges. That we're seeing in this one case. That are very similar plot to doctors need to be compiled round up lots of resources or use ours has one of the resources but many others on line. And other repositories and all of -- just needs. Never the answer really is and I think for our compliance the experts we were thrilled to be invited to come on short take if you wanna. Point out that that's what the process takes we do. Often make mistakes we make these judgments sometimes lots of western research because the document that we find might have misinformation. You Chris let me let me I mean it is how much how much is -- worth of family newsletter I mean it -- in this case it wasn't recovery much I mean Friday they were obviously that the it was obviously just hearsay at bat. I mean why would why would you pull you why would you put something like that now to to the two to both Boston papers but why would you say that. Because the question why do you find any evidence of Elizabeth Warren having Cherokee or native American ancestry and I think parents was yet we see. Number of places where family members are talking about this ancestry. That's all that we didn't say we have proved we can say they have proved that we see evidence of that talking about native American history that really was was our statement from the began the. That's what evidence I mean I again I need to make it illegal by out of legal argument that's -- he'll evidences that. Well from the standpoint that as early 2006 -- talking about Cherokee family history. So there's no I think there are killing members who don't even now -- -- Warren and I are not connected by a number of generations. Third fourth and fifth -- in some cases and there again -- just talking about this -- -- history so aren't the words yes we keep the family. Acknowledging that they believe somewhere visit Cherokee. Ancestor or in Cherokee heritage and that's really all that we that would go about and you do as much as we can't to trying to prove or disprove as much as we can but I -- is that it's often a process that takes and it leads -- many months in some cases many. Crisp White House. Chris do you believe that she has any Indian blood in her. We really can't say that all we can really point to is that they are different tighten the -- -- -- of the pain my pre pre pre program parents. Who are also talking about this here in history that's really all with the repurchase. But we're talking about the Boston Red Sox -- doesn't make me a member of the Boston Red Sox. No I don't see any proof and I I I just see on this thing -- were talking about it at home all we really were things that we. Our deep and also I would say that when we began this research we certainly have any need to be hand. You know initially with the returns for parent went back there -- that the ongoing crisis and record that. At the war. Would you run back to the great great great great level back to the nineteenth century and you've discovered no Trace of Indian blood anywhere. I know I mean it on Japanese. He's been property and the way it -- he's there but it was to -- so. And decent returns that currently there. I was that it -- the Green White House call. That. So there whether there's so far as far back as 1830 there was this white. If that person found sense of that sort of work after Indian point and -- -- 1870 will find examples where Indian it in the 50s60s but not. Certainly indicative choice and you do -- it -- samples were somebody sixty was a way that there. Blackberry the end you will get to. What you. My understanding promote reading other stories by by Michael Patrick Leahy and Vietnam a bright part dot com is that that this newsletter had had. Rather -- egregious errors in that. It you know such is giving the name of the county wrong they didn't have -- so counted they had Barrett county or something like that I mean doesn't that doesn't that. Make it make you more skeptical of the the the other parts of these the research. I think if we were doing the research they've certainly look at that much more plastic that we weren't doing a lot of research at that point because. The indications was from from the -- These see any evidence of for ability that the Clinton. And our initial reaction words that spurs -- are actually read into the Paper that proved. But -- -- -- or native American connection. And then as you noted we can't back is that we find this news that we find this information with the families of indicating it has some of the church connections some way. So that -- -- as much as we did and we stopped or reason to that point because we're really in sight it was anymore it was being requested of us. So social somber -- somebody but you -- 2006 it's in a few and we newsletter that that that she is that she may head that she has allegedly has Indian block him. But but as early is -- 198520. More than that about twenty years earlier somebody she claims it wasn't hurt somebody was claiming that she was she was a woman of color. As the affordable our review while -- it now while I mean where would this it where would this have come from if not for -- from. From our. Yeah we have no idea I mean that's that's a question for somebody else I think our job is to do as much geological research as we can. Based on the resources we have but for that other stuff probably I just don't think that we can answer that question and I would also say that than newsletters coming sort of from different -- of that couple would've all been. So a lot of you know just hold serve their resurgence with. So it's not uncommon -- -- -- Here. What they have war. Chris how would you be weak if you got the call from The Herald today how would you handle it differently and I you know I -- for parents actually would take the call please read how it would do him a little little amino would you would you would -- a little more thoroughly. I mean I would drip hate I would they would like to -- that with that you know genealogical research and on going process. And you sort of find some records and I'm more records -- somebody -- indication of record and -- -- you know indicated that this requires more research that it is not her. Wow yeah so when you said you would located and -- -- keep you much longer you EU why would you say you located when the story says in the globe that you are located information about a marriage license. Showing that her great great grandmother was Cherokee. That you were referring -- not -- any kind of document -- marriage license application which didn't exist to referring to this 2006 newsletter. Yes we're frankly what 2006. The letter claimed that person had seed and we were saying more research needs to be. On the record. Was I was that a misleading was that a misleading story in the globe do you think. Well how I can tell you that that we did and that sort of Arab as a part of favorite stories so that again with our position. I think from the very beginning has -- that we found indications. In his newsletter that's instantly it was referring to. Native American hands. Okay so why this of this is OK so and so basically then this is it is this the end of all of the line for you guys are you gonna get back into what again and try to see if you -- enough proved that she's Indian not Indian. Well here's where I think we are our power in this sport. Certainly there's a lot of a lot of interest in this story from a number of -- I think as a as a as a that Adam has disconnected from. Not property -- research center our hope is that if anybody wants to restrict it all the records are out. Public. To examine on their own and we have figured they were hiding or we're keeping from the public health public records and public information. And certainly he's never geologists can do -- research the Crist did which is a bit and anything further on. But I don't think we really. See a benefit to getting involved into. Story that really is truly you know anchored politically -- we really want to anchor historians. The geological process their resources and expertise how one goes about finding out information and again I'll add to very quickly. We see everyday people coming in our building here on Newberry street. Looking to do similar kinds of research and it's a similar kinds of questions what are their background. And we see people every day finding information that they've been learned was true -- -- people. Are being asked questions directly by solicitors or enumerated your other people who are taking information hundred or hundreds of years ago. And they write power for the person that. So we've seen indications that people want one senses for example listing themselves being born in Ireland. And then about the census figures later that same person says they're born war. So it's only what they say and if we find that we know we're not right or wrong we just have to take that information under consideration. Trying to improve as much as we can. Whatever it is that we. And sometimes we can't -- things and sometimes we -- Chris weren't they awarded big newsletter come from where did you get this family newsletter. It was a newsletter published in England barker and we newsletter. Jonathan house and he's in Crawford. It was focusing on that Crawford family and it was actually. The person who was being what it was that no other defendants knows that the senate brother was once very very. I mean how would you have access to that newsletter. We are able to find references on -- -- web world trees and then I did. -- Google searches to cover that the -- and. -- I said okay so so you weren't given the newsletter by the Warren's campaign or anybody. No no -- -- it was a PDF document that I was able to search for once I had narrowed down OK once you got the call. Yes I had I had known sort of had never done any research on her ancestry like -- initial call. In -- okay so I can get you guys to say whether or not you believe she's an Indian. What are -- The -- is and again they have evidence that we see. -- assembly history point two. -- -- different things we would need to do a lot more research that could take weeks months or years to say anything different if we just have no no definitive conclusion at all. But you have no evidence right now that she is and the no no evidence at all period write a Paper including power while -- cookbook. -- the what did you think of what did you think of the the research was done by the amateur -- geologists on the blogs Chris. -- -- about -- Michael Leahy in particular but you know and and that some of the of the -- legal resident legal insurrection the others the other people. -- -- -- You know put ideological repaired stated Darren was a lot of the -- reasons that -- done and also there's many of her ancestors that -- back even further than a couple. Here so I mean any research that is uncovered -- nice this year with people urged. It's so the the the story the story that that Leahy wrote for bright part about the Tennessee militia that's -- that's true correct. I really don't know about that in terms of the military history I believe and -- you know to have found a record that John and peace in Crawford -- servant and the infantry I'm not sure the overall it's. Okay anything else you guys wanna say before we before we wrap this up up by I missed any thing have you you won a war on. You wanna say anything else. Let's -- Again -- -- Iran's society is that league. Resources -- -- research we -- -- by declining to start their own family history or easy or difficult that made me. We really do have some of the top leading experts in the country. Or one last question though what why did it take so long to watch it to -- pull back I mean do you -- you certainly knew that you certainly knew before this morning or before yesterday. That you want that you had no proof that issue. What it takes a long term to pull back as the original story. I guess I don't feel like we pulled back the original story I guess I did see indications that it is changing shifting itself wise. In the press we were at this that we weren't doing any research at all after the initial few days from the Carol's story. And we saw that it was becoming a political story and we chose you know not to comment in the world the politics because we just have no right in the business. Comment and -- you really feel like it's someone else's story. As -- there family history and so we. We were trying to stay out of that because we had nothing to add at that point not having any new research to offer not having any. Desired to -- in politically so for the next week or so I guess. We got the story from a distance and realize that it you know it was picking up a little bit of -- It was quiet for a few days and and it was you know war involved done on the blogs and different news outlets. So it I think it was truly the case that within the last few days it became a bigger story again with this. With this sort of evidence -- -- conversation or what dictates. -- characterize -- -- -- that -- internationally and and then so today we really felt like we had to say something. To clear the air about our ability to confirm or not confirm really anything at all again -- mentioned. We feel this way all the time with people trying to find information on film history. It regardless who they are what their background is. We're always running into information that maybe counteract -- -- for contradicts rather. What other documents and so our job is trying to. Do you think this is virtual reputation at all well not because again dimension -- bands. Leading resource for obvious reasons taking 45 and I do hope that people understand what were coming from which is that we're really not trying to weigh in. Because we don't want to feel -- seem like we're taking sides of the political issue for a lot of people and that's fine for them. We feel like we need to be removed from -- for the people are judging. Because of that we feel it's appropriate and not be weighing in on a political issue we haven't -- -- imagine so. There really is nothing more that we can add and so we have a chance to do research and we haven't yet and we have no plans to -- And Chris one last thing for you do you think the what the original globe Soria portrayed your comments to the mile -- accurately or not. -- -- -- Get a mention that I hear from the newsletter but they did also cautioned that more research was needed. -- -- all right -- -- -- -- we really appreciate your being with us and thanks for coming on the of their program that's a tonne -- Poland -- from the PR director and Chris -- -- the genealogy -- For the new England historic genealogical society and they the ones that are right in that originally came up with a they were originally cast by The Herald to have to find out there for it was war liberally once an Indian. -- Partial and -- thanks a lot that thank you very much.