If you are a member of Zella Eagle Eye's family, please do email us to say hello and to share.

Native American ancestry can be incredibly difficult to trace. Census enumeration did not start until 1885, and then only included registered tribes, and there are no church records for native religions.

We are very fortunate, however, in being able to trace the ancestry and extended family of Zella Eagle Eye. We have copies of letters written to Zella by a brother, Edward Black Bear. And one of Zella's descendants interviewed Edward Black Bear's daughter Stella. Were it not for that interview, we would not have known which Edward Black Bear belonging to the Oglala Sioux Tribe was Zella's brother. There was only one Edward Black Bear who had a daughter whose name was Stella.

We also have information from Zella's marriage to Anna Beck, stating that his father was Black Bear, and his mother was White Blanket. Our elation at finding that marriage record was quickly subdued, however, when we found that there is no woman whose name was White Blanket in the Indian Census records at the Reservations where we know his family lived - Pine Ridge for sure, and possibly Rosebud as well.

Zella Eagle Eye is said to have attended Carlisle School in Pennsylvania, and may not have even lived on a reservation after enumeration for the Indian Census rolls started after 1885. So, it seemed critical to trace his brother's history through the censuses at Pine Ridge. Since it is easier to search the Federal Census Records than the Indian Census Rolls, we started with searching Federal Censuses. And, we found Edward in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, but not in the 1900 census under the name Edward Black Bear. But, knowing that Edward had children born before 1900, we knew we should be able to find him, and set to work using a favorite genealogy tactic, search for another known family member instead.

The result of that search was a 1900 U.S. Federal Census record showing that Edward's name was Fooling Bear before it was changed to Black Bear. You can view the 1900 and 1910 Federal Census records for Edward and his wife and children at the following, to see for yourself.

Entry for Fooling Bear, "United States Census, 1900" - FamilySearch.org
Entry for Edward Black Bear, "United States Census, 1910" - FamilySearch.org

Then, armed with the knowledge that we needed to be looking for Fooling Bear, rather than looking for Edward Black Bear, we set out to find his Indian Census roll entries. When you can find your family in them, they can be incredibly helpful as the enumerations were taken nearly every year after 1885 at Pine Ridge, where the family lived.

While reading our discussion below about the discoveries we made in the Indian Census records, we suggest that you start by also viewing our census transcriptions for Fooling Bear on his Personal Page in our Family Tree, and consider bringing those transcriptions up in another tab in your browser, so you can view the transcriptions while reading the narrative below. Similarly, to see the census transcriptions for the other people in our tree who are discussed below, simply click on that person's name in the discussion, and then scroll down their personal page in our family tree, to the census transcriptions that are listed with the sources towards the middle and bottom of the page.

Fooling Bear had married his wife, Prays to Her, whose Indian name was Cekiyapi, around 1893, so the records we were the most interested in, for finding more about his siblings and parents, were for 1886 through 1892. We never did find Fooling Bear living with his parents, but we did find him living with siblings, and so we studied the census entries for these siblings, as well .

We find Fooling Bear living with his wife and their first child in the 1893 census. Then, when we go back to 1892, we find him living with his sister "Playing with Wood" and grandmother "Cane". There was no census taken at Pine Ridge in 1891, and before that, Fooling Bear was living in Pennsylvania, along with his brother Zella, at the Carlisle School, so would not have appeared on the census rolls at Pine Ridge.

We do not know, at this point, which side his grandmother "Cane" is on, but were able to trace "Playing with Wood" further. We find "Plays in Wood" listed in the 1886 census as a daughter of the Black Bear who was born about 1853. But we think this is a mistake, as she is listed as Black Bear's sister, as well as the sister of Paul Black Bear and Comes Out Holy, in the 1890 census rolls, and as the sister of Fooling Bear in the 1892 census. We also think we have identified her in the 1887 and 1888 census rolls, listed under an alternate rendition of her Indian name into English as Fly in the Woods, but she is living with other relatives whose location in our family tree, we cannot be certain about.

Our proof that "Plays in the Woods," along with Paul Black Bear, and Comes Out Holy, are children of Cow Goes First, comes from looking at the 1894 census.

In the 1894 census, we find Cow Goes First living with her husband White Blanket, and children Paul Black Bear, Thomas Black Bear, Kitty Black Bear, Herman Black Bear, and Harry White Blanket. Then, looking at the Federal Census record for Cow Goes First in 1900 (see link below), we see that she married White Blanket about 1879, and it seems that Harry was their only child. Note that her name was rendered slightly differently in the record, but we are sure it is the same woman. In that record, White Blanket and Cow Comes First are listed as having been married 21 years, and their son Harry is 18 years old. Harry is listed as a stepson rather than as a son, but this is probably a mistake made by the census taker, who was a government agent who likely knew that Cow Goes First's other children were all stepchildren of White Blanket.

"Cow Comes First" in the 1900 United States Census

So, we are fairly certain that Cow Goes First was Edward Black Bear's mother, that Edward Black Bear was Zella Eagle Eye's brother, and that the husband of Cow Goes First was White Blanket at the time that most if not all of her children were married. Then, as we mention on Zella Eagle Eye's personal page, it seems very likely that he gave his mother's current surname, which was White Blanket, when he married Anna Beck in Illinois.

Please note that, in some cases, in assembling the family tree, we have included brothers of Zella who did not live with any other known siblings in the records we found, because we know from relatives that they were siblings. One such brother whom we know about from the family, was Red Nest, and it is through his 1890 and 1892 census records that we learned about Zella's brother Herman, who we later do find listed as a son of Cow Goes First.

There are many more census entries relevant to how we put together the list of family members, and more siblings than we have spoken about on this page, but the above should give you the basic idea of how we put together the family tree. We invite you to visit the family tree now and look at the census transcriptions for each family member in whom you are interested.

To explore their census records, one possible starting point is to go to the family tree page for Cow Goes First, and click on the name of each family member to see their personal details and the census transcriptions at the bottom of each page. Or you can enter the person's name in the little search box on the page (not the top box, which is a paid advertizement, but the one next to the letters A B C D, etc.).

Cow Goes First Descendancy Chart

For more information about how to view different aspects of each person's information in the tree, read the section below about how to use and navigate our family tree.

And if you are a member of our Eagle Eye family, or have any questions, please do email us.

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Every page listing people on our tree has (right below the ads at the top) a search box and a list of the letters of the alphabet, which look like the following. You can either click on "List" to get an index listing everyone in the tree, click on a letter to get a list of all surnames starting with that letter, or put a surname into the search box to get a list of the people who have that name, and click "List". Then, once the search results appear, you can click on the name of an individual to view their personal page.

Enter surname OR surname, given to find:
____________________ List Advanced Search
No Surname < A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z >

To search for a specific person, enter their surname followed by a comma and their first name, and click "List". Again, once the search results appear, you can click on the name of an individual to view their personal page.

If you do not know if or how someone's surname has been entered into the tree, you can use the "Advanced Search" feature. This is a really cool feature that lets you specify a variety of parameters for your search if you want to see everyone in the tree with a particular given name, from a particular town or with some other characteristic or set of characteristics.

The "Advanced Search" feature also gives you the opportunity to use the "Soundex" or "Metaphone" systems if you only have a sense of what a name sounds like but do not have a definite spelling. I like "Metaphone" because it gives me fewer false hits than the "Soundex" system does.

Below is an example of what you will see if you click on the letter "B" in the menu. That will give you a list of all surnames starting with "B" in the tree. If you click on a surname appearing on the resulting list of surnames, you then will get a list of the people who have that name. Again, just click on the name of an individual to view their personal page.

Please note that the chart below is for illustration, and clicking on it's links may take you to slightly different location in the index as the tree itself gets updated with corrections and more individuals.

Surnames starting with B


On each individual's personal page, you will also see a menu like the following that will permit you to view a bigger part of the tree. If you click on "Descendancy," you will get a simple outline of a tree showing that individual's spouses, children, and all their children's spouses and descendants and their children.

Index | Descendancy | Register | Download GEDCOM | Add Post-em

If you click on "Register," you will get a report explaining who is in each generation, talking about that individual's parents, spouses, children, and all their children's spouses and descendants and their children.

A menu like the following will appear on Descendancy tree pages. If you click on "Ahnentafel," you will get an explanation of who is in each generation, talking about that individual's parents and spouse or spouses, along with children of ancestors, and all their ancestor's spouses and descendants and their children.

Index | Individual | Register | Pedigree | Ahnentafel | Public

If you click on "Index" in a menu, it will give you a list of people. If you click on "Individual" in a menu, it will give you that individual's personal page, which shows information about their birth, marriage(s), death, along with limited information about their parents, spouses, and children. Again, clicking on any name on the page will take you to a page with more information about the person you have selected.

If you want to view the notes and census transcriptions for a particular person in our tree, click on their name on any page, and that will take you to their personal page. If you are already reading a different view of that person's information, click on "Individual" in the menu, and it will take you to that person's personal page, which will include our notes and census transcriptions.

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This page is http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~thecohens/family/eagleeyetree.html
Original URL: http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~thecohens/eagleeyetree.html
Page dated January 27, 2015

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