by David Morenus

Pocahontas Family Tree

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Here is a graphic chart of Pocahontas' family and descendants. It shows the first five generations in their entirety, and generations six to twelve of my branch of the family. The people shown in the first five generations are the ones usually listed in contemporary Pocahontas genealogies. This chart features "red", "white", and "blue" Bollings! "Red" Bollings are Pocahontas descendants. "White" Bollings are the non-Pocahontas descendants of Col. Robert Bolling and Anne Stith, also called the Stith-Bollings. "Blue" Bollings are dubiously claimed to be the children of Maj. John Bolling and Elizabeth Bland Blair. (More on them below.) You have three choices of size. Small is best for those with small screens and slow Internet connections. Large is best for printing. How to print the charts.

Plain Text Descendants Chart

Plain Text Chart
I have made another Pocahontas family tree of descent that has more information in it, but is not presented as nicely. This is a plain text outline of Pocahontas Descendants. It includes all of the first six generations, plus some of the seventh and my own branch of the family. Unlike the chart above, names for the first seven generations are limited to those appearing in the 1887 book, Pocahontas and Her Descendants. Dates are included. I added my own reference numbering system. The plain text can be searched with any text editor.

My Descent from Pocahontas

I have received several emails asking about my own descent from Pocahontas. You can see it in the charts above, and here it is in plain old text. I am 11 generations from Pocahontas...
        m. John Rolfe 1585-1622
1. Thomas Rolfe 1615-16?? 
        m. Jane Poythress
2. Jane Rolfe 16??-1676 
        m. Col. Robert Bolling 1646-1709
3. Col. John Bolling 1676-1729  
        m. Mary Kennon
4. Elizabeth Bolling 1709-?     
        m. Dr. William Gay
5. William Gay                  
        m. Judith Scott
6. Neil Buchanan Gay, M.H.Delegates 9/3/1791-6/25/1864 
        m. Martha "Patsy" Talley 11/27/1795-4/28/1864
7. Neil Buchanan Gay, Jr. MD 2/6/1827-7/16/1906 
        m. Mary Bunn 8/15/1834-5/12/1921
8. William Bunn Gay 1858-12/24/1921 
        m. Georgie Lee Perkins
9. Mary (Constance) Gay 2/12/1895-8/28/1985 
        m. Richard Thomas Morenus 1893-1975
10. Richard Cousins Morenus 1929-
        m. Marjorie Rose Rutherford 3/21/1925-2/25/2010
        m. Linda Sue Stiber 1956-
12. Bennett Miles Morenus 1998-

Find Your Own Descent from Pocahontas

There are over 100,000 Pocahontas descendants today, thanks to the prodigious generations of the 18th and 19th centuries. You may suspect that a drop of Pocahontas' blood courses through your veins. Perhaps you have been told the family legend that your great-grandmother is descended from Pocahontas, and you want to find out more. First, trace your ancestry back as far as you can, especially that great-grandmother you heard about. Then, the easiest thing is to get the book Pocahontas' Descendants by Stuart Brown et al (1995). It corrects, expands, and updates an earlier book called Pocahontas and Her Descendants by Wyndham Robertson (1887). Addenda continue to be pubblished as more descendants are recorded. My late grandmother (Constance Gay Morenus) looked up her grandfather (Neil Buchanan Gay, Jr.) in the original 1887 book, and that was all there was to it!

Dubious Pocahontas Descendants

Every now and then, for whatever reason, someone decides that they want to be a Pocahontas descendant. They have a legitimate ancestor of unknown parents on the one hand, and a Pocahontas descendant with a similar family name on the other hand. Perhaps impelled by a family legend, they just assume a connection and now their family tree goes back that much farther. They might even create a "missing" ancestor to fill a generation gap. Then they publish it, and afterwards, others researching the legitimate ancestor find his bogus pedigree and add it to their own family tree. Over time, enough cross-citations accumulate that it looks like a solid fact. But it's not a fact, just a false hope. A list of dubious Pocahontas descendants, in chronological order:

A legitimate claim should be backed up with original source material, such as legal documents, or mention by a contemporary historic source. Examples of original sources are county records, including birth certificates, marriage licences, death certifiates, wills, deeds, or court orders, military commissions, census records, or church baptismal records. Also, there may be contemporary letters to, from, or about the person in question, or journal entries, etc.. For example, in his letter to Queen Anne, Captain John Smith spoke of Nantaquas and Pocahontas as the son and daughter of Powhatan. This is the only mention I have ever found of Nantaquas, but it is much stronger proof than an entry in a family tree database, or even a published genealogy book that uses shaky sources.

The field of Pocahontas genealogy is pocketed with many little mysteries. There are several cases where original sources are missing, probably destroyed. That does not mean that any old story has equal merit, or the more it is repeated, the truer it becomes. Careful scrutiny of secondary sources can firm up or discredit many a theory.

Links for Pocahontas descendants and Virginia genealogy.

Links for genealogy of related families.

Links for general genealogy resources.