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Genealogical society: No proof of Warren’s Cherokee heritage found

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.

“NEHGS has not expressed a position on whether Mrs. Warren has Native American ancestry, nor do we possess any primary sources to prove that she is,” said Tom Champoux, spokesman for the NEHGS. “We have no proof that Elizabeth Warren’s great great great grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith either is or is not of Cherokee descent.”

The Herald reported today that an Oklahoma county clerk said a document purporting to prove Warren’s Cherokee roots does not exist. ReJeania Zmek, the Logan County Clerk, said there are no marriage applications from 1894 — despite claims from a Warren family newsletter and NEHGS genealogist Chris Child that indicated otherwise.

All of which leaves Warren, who said she relied on family lore when reporting her Native American ties, once again without any proof of her heritage.

The campaign didn’t immediately respond to comment.

The Herald broke the story last month that Harvard Law School had touted Warren’s Native American roots and counted her as a minority hire. Chris Child, a genealogist with the NEHGS, originally could find no American Indian ties.

Child later said he found evidence of a marriage application where Warren’s great great great grandmother is listed as a Cherokee on a 2006 family newsletter. He has been unable to find primary documentation, however.

“Our initial research indicated that various members of Ms. Warren’s extended family made references to being Cherokee, citing secondary sources, but we advised that additional research on the subject was needed,” said Champoux, adding that the society will no longer conduct any more research. “The nature of genealogical research is such that it can take many months or years, and conclusions can change based on evidence that emerges over time.”

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