The slender thread upon which Elizabeth Warren’s claim that she is 1/32 Cherokee rests—a purported 1894 marriage license application—has been exposed as non-existent. Based on a review of the original marriage records found in the files of the Logan County, Oklahoma Court Clerk’s office in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and the statements of ReJeania Zmek, the Court Clerk of Logan County, Oklahoma, it is likely that the ephemeral 1894 marriage license application never existed.
“In modern times we keep marriage license applications,” she said. “The way they’re issued now, you do the application, then you do the license. We currently do keep records of marriage license applications,” she said, explaining that this practice didn’t begin until around 1950.
When asked specifically if marriage license application documents were created in Logan County in 1894, she said she is almost certain they were not. She added that, when looking at the records of marriages in Logan County, Oklahoma in the 1890s, “if there’s a license and then a certificate I would think the license would be the application as well. That would be my thought. I’m thinking they came in, got a license, got married.”
There’s more — a lot more — at the link so take 10 minutes to read Leahy’s post. The nutshell version: The only documentary evidence he can find that Warren is 1/32 Cherokee is a 2006 newsletter by an amateur genealogist who claims she found a marriage application in which one of Warren’s ancestors said he was part Native American. Leahy found a marriage license for that ancestor, but there’s nothing about race on it. Two questions, then. First, is there a separate marriage application somewhere that does mention race? Second, if so, er, where is it? Leahy himself can’t find it and the amateur genealogist who cited it in that newsletter isn’t replying to e-mails. And what about the professional genealogist who told the media a few weeks ago that Warren was indeed 1/32 Cherokee? Turns out he isn’t replying to e-mails either, and the genealogical society for whom he works says they’re done talking about Warren. Surely he had some hard evidence on which to base his claim, though, right? Actually … maybe not. Leahy points to this paragraph in a CNN story from May 3 that I hadn’t noticed until now:
The New England Historic Genealogical Society provided CNN with initial research showing several members of Warren’s maternal family claiming Cherokee heritage. The Native American link extends to Warren’s great-great-great grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith, who is said to be described as Cherokee in an 1894 marriage license application. NEHGS gathered that information through a 2006 family newsletter, and says the original application cannot be located.
In other words, it seems that the sole existing “proof” of Warren’s claim is … that amateur genealogist’s newsletter. Which means, unless and until the original documents on which the newsletter was based are provided, there’s actually no hard evidence at all of Warren’s heritage. I’ve asked this question before but let me ask it again: If you’re going to claim minority status in a professional directory, knowing that that status is a bona fide credential in your industry, shouldn’t it be based on something more than “family lore” or “high cheekbones”? Before you even reach the question of whether 1/32 is enough to qualify, you should probably take five minutes to nail down whether that 1/32 is real or not, huh?
Exit question: Why would the professional genealogist rely on evidence this thin in a case this prominent? Yeah, yeah, I know: “He’s probably a Democrat and in the tank!” Really, though? So far in the tank that he’d risk his reputation over it? Granted, he likely didn’t expect to have his work fact-checked, but he’d have to be quite the Warren fan to do her that kind of favor.
Update: Another good one from the Breitbart team. If Warren never told Harvard about her background and she quit listing herself as “minority” in those professional directories in 1996, who’s the Native American woman professor noted in this Harvard EEOC report three years later?
A newly revealed document taken from a 1999 Affirmative Action Plan Book published by Harvard University indicates that Elizabeth Warren was officially listed as a Native American by Harvard Law School. Though Warren is not mentioned by name, the report shows just one Native American member of the law school. Reports in the Harvard Crimson from 1996 and 1998 both identify Warren as the Native American member of the staff…
Warren has said that she was not aware Harvard was using her minority status to publicly deflect criticism over the school’s hiring practices. However, the fact that she was officially recognized as a Native American by the school raises the question of how they first obtained the information which led them to classify her as one.