Sharlotte Neely Donnelly

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Sharlotte Kathleen Bridgette “Sharkey” Neely Donnelly is 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 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 immediate family to graduate from college.

Sharlotte's ancestry is Irish, Scots, Scots-Irish, Welsh, English, Viking, 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 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 proud to be a mongrel.]

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, although she is neither a Neanderthal nor a Denisovan.

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 one of her fourth great-grandfathers and four of her fifth great-grandfathers: William H. Cone, Aaron Cone, Sr., Onesimus Futch, James Martin, and William S. Downs, Sr.), War of 1812 (including at least one of her third great-grandfathers: Samuel Sarvis), 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.

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.

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 retired high school athletic director Thomas Christian Christopher Donnelly. They have one daughter, Mary Kathleen Bridgette Elisabeth Donnelly, and one granddaughter, Mary Kathleen Quinn Cecilia Donnelly. The family is Catholic. They live with their dogs, cats, and lizard 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 daughter, granddaughter, 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.


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