Chippewa-Munsee Genealogy

Posted By BrokenClaw on January 9, 2007

The Chippewa-Munsee genealogy database includes members, ancestors, and descendants of the Swan Creek and Black River Band Chippewa and the Christian Munsee, who shared a reservation in Franklin County, Kansas, during the latter half of the nineteenth century. These two independent bands had a diverse history which eventually led to their coexistence on a tiny rectangle of twelve square miles in northeast Kansas, hundreds of miles from their ancestral homelands.

Go to the Chippewa-Munsee Genealogy Database on

The database also includes other members of families, particularly those from Franklin County, who married into the Chippewa and Munsee. My research is conducted primarily online. Census data cannot provide a complete picture of genealogy, so I have to rely on oral history to clarify natural parent–child relationships. I welcome additions to the genealogy database. Those who wish to add their family to the database, or contribute additional information about someone already included, please go to the Contact page. Keep in mind that any additions should follow these guidelines:

  1. The genealogy must include at least one member from the 1859 census or the final enrollment of 1900.
  2. Please include as much specific data as possible, including dates of birth and death.
  3. Unless you send me digital photocopies of documents, digital photos of tombstones, etc., the source will be noted as family history.

By default, I protect the private information of anyone whose birth date falls after 1930 (the last published census) and who does not have a date of death recorded in the database. However, I will gladly hide or remove other individuals on request.

The Chippewa, or Ojibwe, consisted of a large group of independent bands who inhabited a vast region around the Great Lakes. Chippewa history can be found on many websites and is beyond the scope of this article. The particular group which is included in this database originally lived in what is now Ontario, Canada. At that time, the region was often referred to as Upper Canada or simply French Canada. In the early part of the 1800s, they relocated across the river into southeast Michigan, where they joined other Ojibwe around Lake St. Clair, along the Swan Creek and Black River. Like so many others, when their land became increasingly desirable for white settlers, they were compelled to move. In 1836, they signed a Treaty which took their homeland in exchange for promises of future annuities and relocation to undisclosed land west of the Mississippi River.

That new land turned out to be in Franklin County, Kansas. However, only a small portion of the Swan Creek and Black River band actually relocated to Kansas. Apparently, most of them simply moved to outlying areas, maintaining their identity and presence in southeast Michigan, where they remain today. Those that moved to Kansas lived there in relative peace for about twenty years. But once again they became the target of land-hungry settlers. Owing to their small number, the displaced Swan Creek and Black River Band of Chippewa signed a new Treaty in 1859, which reduced their reservation to a plot of land two miles wide and six miles long, part of which they agreed to sell to another small band, the Christian Munsee. Signing the treaty for the Chippewa were Chief Francis McCoonse and his son, Edward, along with William Turner and Antoine Gokey.

The Christian Munsee were a small group of Indians, primarily Munsee, who had converted to Christianity during the latter half of the eighteenth century, having been ministered to by the Moravian Church for several generations. The story of how they ended up in Kansas is told in a separate History page. Incidentally, one of the Moravian missionaries, Christian Denke, fits into the history of both the Munsee and the Chippewa. While he was working at the Fairfield mission in Ontario, in 1801 the Mission Board assigned him to start a mission among the St. Clair Chippewa. Over the next few years, Denke tried unsuccessfully to establish a mission, but he had considerable dealings with the Chippewa Chief Nangi and his successor, Chief Macounce. Although they took completely different paths, fifty years later in Kansas, Macounce’s descendants would sign a treaty with descendants of Denke’s congregation at Fairfield.

The two tribes would share a reservation for the next forty years. By the end of the century, land patents were issued to the remaining tribe, and the entire reservation was alloted. In 1900, the final disbursement of federal funds was paid, and all benefits were subsequently dissolved, meaning that the Kansas Chippewa and Munsee were fully assimilated and would no longer be recognized as Native American Indians. The list of people who made up that final roll in 1900 forms the basis of this genealogy. The database was compiled by a descendant of the Munsee, Ignatius Caleb, so its scope naturally leans more toward the Munsee families. Genealogy sources are cited on the References page and are duly footnoted in the genealogy database.


12 Responses to “Chippewa-Munsee Genealogy”

  1. Velma Williams says:

    Antoine Makons died 1859 was a son of Chief Machonce brother to
    Francis McCoonse, did not move to Kansas with the others. A letter dated April
    22, 1850 from Francis Mccoonse to his brother-in-law Wawanosh
    in which he mentions a brother in Pennsylvania. Was this brother Antoine McCoonse.

    (copies of letters courtesy of researcher George Cannon)

  2. Deb Schorzman says:

    I descend from Lucy Mae Burgoon, daughter of David Burgoon and wife of William A. Williamson. I am finding her on the Chippewa-Munsee rootsweb site but not on the 1859 or 1900 census. How would I prove that she is indeed of this tribe?

  3. brokenclaw, iwas following your postings of chippewa-munsee on the internet am new athis but i notice after following some of the links to on the plakeancestory and i found my grandfather cecil plake and i find a few differances one according to what i was told his mothers name was emerald ester elliott,her fathers name was washington r elliott and her mother was mary jane tanksley, also cecil’s wifes given name was esther corrine whitten but she was known as ruthwhitten plake. also their daughter,my mothers name was margret mary.also grandfather was born in enid ok. ido not haveany paperwork only word of mouth,thank you, ken swearengin

  4. Ginger Chandler says:

    I am trying to find any thing about my great grandmother Mary Magoo born 1870 died 1948. lived in michigan, migrated to canada in summer lower michigan in winter. I thing she was part of Franklin tribe that did not move to Kansas. any information would be helpful!!!!!!!!!

  5. Sylvia Land says:

    To all who are searching for Chippewa and Munsee families. I live in Franklin County and work at the Chippewa Camp. I have been to both the Chippewa Cemetery and the Munsee Cemetery. I have researched both of them for a long time. As to Velma Williams, Francis McCoose is in my genalogy from Family Tree Maker. I would be glad to share what I know including a copy of a deer skin with Francis in the center and goes around and around until the 1970′s. I have visted his gravesite, which is something to see. Please contact me if you are interested in this information.

  6. daisy says:

    ive been researching the chippewa tribe for a project i was wondering if you could give me some new information

  7. Velma Williams says:

    looking for information re my gr-gr grandfather Francois Maconse, Chief of Swan River Band would like any sources to search. Do the Swan Creek- Black River Ojibwe retain any sort of government???

    • BrokenClaw says:

      As far as I know, there are no official remnants of the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa or their descendants. All the information on this website is the result of years of Internet research, with an occasional personal email from descendants who share their own pieces of ancestry. I put everything I know online, including my references.

  8. Mary smith says:

    I’m trying to find information on my grandfather, Antoine Pariseau (sometimes spelled Parizeau). He lived on the Flathead reservation in 1900 but never was enrolled because he was Chippewa. He was born in 1870 in Canada. His wife’s first name was Angelic and she was born in 1878 in Montana. She listed her tribe as Pend E Orille. The old copy I have is an Indian Population Census of 1900. I don’t know how accurate it is. They both listed themselves as half white. I know that alot of blood degree was not recorded correctly. I need to know if Antoine was on any rolls in Canada. Probably Ontario. Thank You, Mary

  9. Norma Riepma-Langley says:

    I have recently been trying to find out more about my maternal grandmother’s Chippewa heritage. Her maiden name was Gilliland and she was born in the Chippewa Hills area of Franklin county near Ottawa, Kansas. Her father’s name was Andrew John Gilliland. All family records have disappeared since my grandmother Nellie passed away in the 80’s. I think she was on the Chippewa, not the Munsee, side of the tiny reservation. I would greatly appreciate any information or direction on where to look for further family heritage. Thank You!

    • BrokenClaw says:

      Okay, so the good news is, that I was able to discover many of your grandmother’s ancestors. The bad(?) news is, I can find no evidence that she was related in any way to the Chippewa or Munsee Indians of Franklin County, KS. Although she may have been born in “Chippewa Hills”, all of her ancestors came from back east in Ohio and Illinois. So unless she was actually adopted from an Indian family, Nellie Gilliland was strictly of European descent. I will email you the ancestral file I compiled.

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