Frequently Asked Questions
and thanks for your interest in the Hatteras Island Family project. Many folks have questions, so we've prepared this handy
reference to answer questions and provide info about our project.
Island (in current Dare County, NC, but formerly in Hyde and Currituck)
is a very unique place with an incredibly interesting history and
geography as well.
Hatteras Island is the location where the Lost Colonists
indicated that they went, to join their friends, the Croatoan Indians.
Hatteras Island has a long history of shipwrecks, with
many families carrying the oral history that they descend from
Hatteras Island has an equally long oral history that
many of the current residents
from the original residents, the Croatoan (later the Hatteras)
The isolated geography of Hatteras Island served to
discourage a lot of movement to
island after the initial land grants were awarded and free/cheap land
was no longer available.
The isolated geography prevented or discouraged
intermarriage with people not island residents, creating a rather
closed community, allowing us the unique opportunity to reconstruct
the original island residents from their descendants today. Until
the 1960s, there was no road connecting it to the mainland.
The Hatteras Island families inter-
within their own group, as other options were limited.
Hatteras Indians lived on the island when the Lost Colony was
abandoned in 1587, but were known to the English as the Croatoan.
The colonists left the word "Croatoan" carved in a
stockade post on Roanoke Island, indicating they had gone to join the
Croatoan on Hatteras Island. In
1701, John Lawson, an early explorer visited the Indians living on
reported that they claimed to be descended from the Lost Colonists and
had light hair and grey eyes. Just
a few years later, European settlers began to settle on Hatteras
Native people, and by the end of the 1700s, the last of the Indians
were gone, dead,
to the mainland or perhaps intermarried into the European population. This is the evidence we seek.
Hatteras Island Family Reconstruction project is founded upon four
different types of information, that, when combined, form very
powerful tools to help us understand our
look at these one at a time.
- We are fortunate that the island has had at least three individuals
information in the 1900s about island families.
We are currently transcribing this
from 2 of those 3 sources into a genealogy program to be shared with
others seeking their
origins on Hatteras Island. We
welcome information from descendants to add to our project
will be made available for other researchers with proper credit given
- we approach this as the study of events that influenced our
ancestors on Hatteras Island. In
ways, these were the same events that influenced the early seaboard
colonies, but there were also events unique to Hatteras Island due to
their maritime nature and location.
Often understanding the
of an area helps us to answer the question of "why".
Many recent articles focus on Hatteras
and can be found in the Lost Colony Newsletters available at this link
- Through our sister organization, The Lost Colony Research
Group, we are working
team of experts to further expand our knowledge of the early history
of the Hatteras Island
through a series of archaeology digs.
We are partnered with the University of Bristol.
some photos and read about this in the June Lost Colony Newsletter,
found at this link - https://sites.rootsweb.com/~molcgdrg/nl/nl06-17-10.htm
digs have been completed (fall 2009 and spring 2010) and 2 additional
2010 and spring 2011).
- In the past few years, genetic genealogy has become an invaluable
tool allowing us to recon-
the early families. The Y
chromosome is passed from father to son directly with no
mother, and follows the surname.
Comparing DNA tests from men with the same surname
to determine if they share a common ancestor.
invaluable kind of DNA testing for genealogists is the mitochondrial
DNA test. Mitochondrial (mtDNA) is passed from women to all of their
children, with no admixture from the father, but only the females pass
it on to their children. Therefore,
by testing descendants
of the Hatteras Island mothers, we can reconstruct the early families
based on their
signatures. This is
particularly powerful because often the record of early female
did not survive. The
early Currituck County marriage records do not exist.
third kind of test can be very useful for those who descend from
island families, but not via
paternal (surname) line, nor the mitochondrial line. This new kind of test is called an autosomal test and it
tests the DNA you receive from all of your ancestors with the goal
your genetic cousins. In
addition, this test, called the Family Finder test, identifies
percentage of ethnicity. Obviously
each generation divides the ancestral DNA by 50%, but this test is
pretty reliable to the 7th generation or so.
We have a separate project for
who take this test.
testing for this project is done through Family Tree DNA (www.familytreedna.com).
have compiled a list of early island surnames from deeds, wills, tax
lists, militia and
documents. These surnames
represent the early island residents up through about
We would like to be able to reconstruct the ethnicity of the
earliest island families, especially the wives whose surnames have
been lost to time. Using
DNA, we will be able to reconstruct those families and help people who
cannot identify their ancestors' families to reconnect.