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Sharlotte Kathleen Bridgette Neely Donnelly is Professor of Anthropology and Director of Native American Studies at Northern Kentucky University and is the author of Snowbird Cherokees and Native Nations, co-author of This Land Was Theirs, and author of the science fiction novel Kasker, among other publications. She received her college degrees from Georgia State University in Atlanta (BA) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (MA and PhD). She was the first in her family to graduate from college.
Sharlotte's ancestry is Irish, Scots, Scots-Irish, Welsh, English, Viking, Norman French, German, other European, west African, other African, southwest Asian, and Lumbee Native American. The ancestry of Sharlotte's maternal grandmother is the best documented of all her Native American lines. That line goes back to English settlers from Jamestown, Virginia who married into the Coree Indians who lived on the Atlantic coast along the Virginia/North Carolina border. By the late 17th century, the Coree population had declined due to disease and war. During the Tuscarora War, some of the surviving Coree fled south seeking refuge among the Cheraw Indians. Later some surviving Cheraws, remnants of other Indian groups, whites, and African Americans became the basis of the contemporary Lumbee Indians. Sharlotte and all her direct female descendants and ancestors are of the matrilineal clan of "Katrine" (mtDNA haplogroup K). DNA matriline testing reveals that is the same matrilineal clan from which the 5,000-year-old "Ice Man" found in the Alps comes. Katrine was one of seven women from whom almost everyone of European ancestry is descended. Katrine lived about 15,000 years ago on the southern slopes of the Alps in northern Italy near present-day Venice, Italy. Through the Cone and other branches of the family, Sharlotte is descended from Conn of the Hundred Battles, the first high king of Ireland. Sharlotte also has a small amount of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry.
Many of Sharlotte’s direct ancestors were veterans of the French and Indian War (at least one of her fifth great-grandfathers), the Revolutionay War (including at least one of her fourth great-grandfathers and three of her fifth great-grandfathers, including Revolutionary War hero, Captain William Henry Cone), Civil War (including at least five of her second great-grandfathers), and World War II (her father). Collateral relatives (uncles and cousins) were veterans of the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, First Seminole War, Second Seminole War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and others. She is also a direct descendant of famous 18th century artist, Joseph Badger, Sr., her seventh great-grandfather.
Sharlotte is the only child of Joseph Bowden Neely and Kathleen Bell Neely, all originally from Savannah, Georgia. She is married to anthropologist, attorney, and high school athletic director Thomas Christian Christopher Donnelly. They have one daughter, Mary Kathleen Bridgette Elisabeth Donnelly, and one granddaughter, Mary Kathleen Quinn Donnelly. The family is Catholic. They live with their dogs and other pets in Cincinnati, Ohio in a Queen Anne Victorian house built in 1896. Sharlotte’s name is the Irish-American version of “Charlotte”/”Searlait.” She especially loves her roles as granddaughter, daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother.
Sharlotte got her love of genealogy as a small child working on family histories with her maternal grandmother, Nevada McClelland Bell. She got her love of visiting cemeteries from her paternal grandmother, Nettie King Neely Riley.