What Are Some Common Cherokee Family Names?

What Are Some Common Cherokee Family Names?

According to a 1904 newspaper article cited on Pollysgranddaughter.com, some common Cherokee family names are Beanstalk, Bearpaw, Dirteater, Fox, Fivekiller, Deer-in-the-water, Featherhead, Fence, Falling and more. Other names include Locust, Muskrat, Pidgeon, Rabbit, Risingfawn, Rattlinggourd, Terrapin, Tincup, Tail and Whirlwind.

In the 18th and 19th century, Cherokee Native Americans began to adopt the European custom of transferring surnames to their descendants. Some Cherokees at the time chose European surnames, though others translated their Cherokee names into English; hence, the adoption of family names such as Walker and Cricket. The names usually reference an animal, plant or part of the environment. Due to the lack of fluent English speakers in the Cherokee families, census data collected on these names were often inaccurate or inconsistent.