Cheek

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FAQ

1. I was told that our Cheek surname comes from a Native American ancestor. I am surprised that you say that the Cheek surname is English.

AnswerWe have tested the Y-DNA of 70+ men with the Cheek/Chick surname and none of those results show Native American ancestry in the direct male line. I believe that in most cases, these types of family stories arose because the Cheek surname sounds like it could be Native American. Many (non-Native American) families have family legends about a distant Native American ancestor, but it is very rare that there is any evidence (DNA or otherwise) that can confirm these stories. One thing you learn doing genealogy is that family stories are very often wrong.


2. I found some Cheeks on the Cherokee censuses/rolls. Does this mean that my Cheek line could be Native American?

Answer: My research on this showed that the Cherokee Cheeks are descended from an American man of European origin named Cheek who married into the Cherokee tribe.


3. Are there any DNA tests that can show whether I have Native American ancestry?

Answer: You could get a "Family Finder" DNA test, which will look for Native American genetic markers. However, you should be aware that these tests are not very accurate past a few generations. Unlike Y-DNA (which is passed 100% from father to son), the ethnic origin tests look at markers on the rest of your DNA which gets split in half every generation. In other words, you only have a 50% chance of inheriting any particular genetic marker from your parents. If you only have one Native American ancestor who lived 200+ years ago, the test might not detect any NA ancestry.