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Sharlotte Kathleen Bridgette "Sharkey" Neely Donnelly is an award-winning Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Northern Kentucky University and is the author of Snowbird Cherokees: People of Persistence and Native Nations: The Survival of Fourth World Peoples , co-author of This Land Was Theirs and Native Nations: The Survival of Indigenous Peoples, and author of the science fiction novel Kasker, among dozens of other publications. She was a consultant on the award-winning documentary film, The Snowbird Cherokees. Sharlotte received her college degrees in anthropology 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 immediate family to graduate from college.
Sharlotte's ancestry is Irish, Scots, Scots-Irish, Welsh, English, Viking, French, German, Italian, west 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 south of 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.
[Let me be clear, however, that while I, Sharlotte, have American Indian ancestry of which I am proud, I am not an American Indian because I do not meet the qualifications for membership in any specific tribe, have never lived as an American Indian and suffered hardships directed at American Indians, and because my family has lived with a white identity for generations. Similarly, while I am proud of my African ancestry, I am not an African American. My family has lived as white for generations, and were I to claim to be African American that would disparage African Americans who have lived with racism that I have not experienced. Likewise, I am proud of my Irish ancestry, but I have not lived or suffered as Irish, and my ancestry alone does not make me a citizen of Ireland. I relish all the threads of my ancestry that make me a typical "Heinz 57 American." I am content to be a mut.]
Sharlotte also has a small amount of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry, although she is neither a Neanderthal nor a Denisovan.
She is also a direct descendant of famous 18th century artist, Joseph Badger, Sr., her seventh great-grandfather. Being descended from Joseph Badger, however, has sadly not made her an artist.
Through the Cone and other branches of the family, Sharlotte is descended from Conn of the Hundred Battles, the first high king of Ireland. Her Cone ancestors worked as guides for famous 18th century naturalist John Abbot.
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.
Sharlotte is the great-niece of famous Savannah educator Romana Riley, who was her father's stepfather's half sister. (Sharlotte's contemporary family by blood is small in numbers, and thus tracing kinship is often quite circuitous—she is an only child, an only grandchild, an only niece, and even an only first cousin.).
Many of Sharlotte's direct ancestors were veterans of America's wars, including the French and Indian War (at least one of her fifth great-grandfathers: William H. Cone), the Revolutionay War (including at least two of her fourth great-grandfathers, four of her fifth great-grandfathers, and one of her sixth great-grandfathers: William H. Cone, Aaron Cone, Sr., Onesimus Futch, James Martin, John Martin, William S. Downs, Sr., and William S. Downs, Jr.), War of 1812 (including at least one of her third great-grandfathers: Samuel J. Sarvis, Jr.), Civil War (including at least one of her third great-grandfathers and five of her second great-grandfathers: Edmund Nealy, John R. Sarvis, Elijah Strickland, Joseph Glisson, William H. McClelland, and Emmett T. Downs), and World War II (her father: Joseph B. Neely, Jr.). 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, Third Seminole War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and others. (While all of Sharlotte's Civil War ancestors fought for the Confederacy, her husband Tom's second great-grandfather, John C. Albrecht, fought for the Union, as did his third great-uncle, John Donnelly, and his second great-uncle, James Donnelly.)
Sharlotte was born on a Friday the 13th in the mysteriously beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia. Her parents and paternal grandparents are buried in Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery. She is the only child of Joseph Bowden Neely and Kathleen Bell Neely, all three born and raised in Savannah. Sharlotte is married to anthropologist, attorney, and retired high school athletic director Thomas Christian Christopher Donnelly. They have one daughter, Mary Kathleen Bridgette Elisabeth Donnelly; one granddaughter, Mary Kathleen Quinn Cecilia Donnelly; and several foster grandchildren. The family is Catholic. They live with their dogs and cats in Cincinnati, Ohio, Tom's hometown, in a Queen Anne Victorian house built in 1896. (The house has a very Savannah feel to it.) They plan to be buried in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery that feels somewhat like Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery. Sharlotte's name is the Irish-American version of Charlotte/Searlait. She especially loves her roles as daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to animals.
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.
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