Everybody Loves Old Family Pictures! Right?

Bill Hawk Sizemore

Everybody loves to see old family pictures. The moment we see these pics, if we are related, we try to figure out who they look like. Or we say “wow, they sure look Native American!”. But what if somebody shared a picture that involved your family member and labelled it with the wrong names? I know I would be upset at my family being disrespected like that.

Such is the case with the pictures above. More than one website has the picture of the couple labelled as William “Blackhawk” Sizemore and Sally Sizemore. The original offending article has been around since 2001, and since then several websites have just copied the picture with the erroneous information.

I was recently contacted by a direct descendant of the people in the picture. She says she wants the records set straight on who this is. The people in the portrait of the couple are actually Bill Hawk Sizemore and Sal Hawk (sometimes pronounced Sal Zhawk). She says she knows this because this is her dad’s grandpa and this very picture hung in her grandma’s house. She says her dad (who is 102!) knew his grandpa because he used to stay with him when he was a boy.

Another common mistake is pictures are shared of people that were born before photography was even invented (the birth of practical photography was in 1839). Another mistake is people share pictures of Plains Indians and label them with the Sizemore name. The eastern natives wore a totally different style of dress than the Plains Indians. It is very likely that our Sizemore ancestors (and other Christianized Native Americans in Virginia & North Carolina) adopted European style clothing well before the Revolutionary War. Again, the pictures of Plains Indians labelled as (fill in the blank) Sizemore had to have been taken after 1839 and were more than likely taken after the Civil War.

So please think before you share a Sizemore picture. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That is the only way we will be able to dispel all of the myths and legends surrounding the Sizemore families.

Setting The Sizemore Story Straight

With the advent of the internet and social media, many armchair Sizemore researchers have the opportunity to find and share way more information than was possible 20 years ago. Family researchers have a lifetime of Sizemore family research literally at their fingertips. Their are also some documents available digitally that weren’t even accessible to the average researcher 20 years ago.

Their are also major drawbacks to having this much information available instantly. Many of the stories written are based on family stories or tailored to fit an individuals family story. Many new researchers and those that don’t understand the complexities of Native movements and racial identities believe these stories because they loosely fit “what they have always heard”. The they share these stories on social media or otherwise, and the myths and legends are perpetuated.

It is the goal of this series of articles to dispel these myths.

The first article will deal with the simple issue of mis-identification of family pictures. We hope you enjoy these articles. As always, if you have any questions please contact us via the contact page: http://canawhayappomattoc.com/contact-us/