Was Jane Roberts Related to Sacagawea?

Hi SRP friends,

Before I begin this post, I want to let you know I am going to take a break after this update. I’ve reached a point where I feel the need to concentrate on going through all the physical materials I was sent by Mary’s nephew and her friend Karen Sanders in early 2021. While I’m going through dozens of old cassettes and mountains of papers, please think of future topics you’d like to hear about from the Seth Research Project. You can email your ideas to me at deb@sethresearchproject.com.

Now, the question of the day: Was Jane related to Sacagawea? After finding out that Jane and Rob were 8th cousins twice removed (see Barry Noonan’s chart on my Delmer Roberts post) and Jane was her OWN cousin, I just had to shake my head and think, “What are the chances?” Well, it gets even more interesting…

Joseph Burdo
A young Joseph Burdo

Several manuscripts in Mary’s SRP collection and also the Seth books (see quotes below) mention that Jane’s grandfather was Indian and French Canadian. I was curious about Joe Burdo’s history because of that, but Sacagawea never crossed my mind.

I had to put my curiosity aside for a while so I could concentrate on getting Mary’s research over to Yale. (Here’s a PDF of the MaryDillmanPapers if you’re interested.) After my post about Marie, I jumped right into research for this one. I’m not familiar with ancestry research and was amazed at how many resources are out there—and what a rabbit hole of a process it can be. By the time I got close to being done, I had so many different fragments of information that it was a real challenge pulling it all together! I did make ancestry charts for the families, but I left out the countless names of siblings, children and second and third marriages that were not pertinent to the possible relationship of Jane and Sacagawea.

Here are just a few quotes. See the Seth Search Engine for more.

[Rob] (Throughout her formative years, however, Jane’s grandfather— her “Little Daddy,” as she called him — played an important part. To some extent he replaced the father she’d lost at the age of two when her parents were divorced. Joseph Adolphe Burdo was of Canadian and Indian stock, and grew up speaking French. His ancestors had originally spelled the family name “Bordeaux.” In certain ways Jane identified strongly with him, as Seth explains in the excerpts to follow from the 14th session for January 8, 1964…
~UR1 Appendix 1: (For Session 679)*

[Rob] “She could have made a pact ahead of time to “borrow” certain strong mystical qualities from her maternal grandfather, who was part French Canadian and part Canadian Indian (specific tribe unknown by us), and with whom she strongly identified as a child…”
~DEaVF: Vol 1, Essay 8, Sunday May 23, 1982*

[Jane] “He [grandfather] was supposed to take me to church on Sundays. I was always dolled up and we always left on time, but then just a block before we came to the church, grandfather turned. We cut across some back lots and ended up in Tensprings Woods that ran for miles behind church property. Grandfather taught me how to make fire by rubbing sticks together, told me about the Indian spirits of air and water and told me that God liked woods far better than churches. He carefully taught me to say “We went to talk to God,” when mother asked if we’d been to church so I could tell the truth but not the whole truth at the same time.”
~Unfinished work of Jane Roberts, Date Unknown*

[See also Session 14 in The Early Sessions 1 for Seth’s lengthy description of Joe and Jane’s relationship, Joe’s connection with nature, “being close to becoming a mystic” and “his feeling of unity with All That Is.”]

*All quoted materials © Laurel Lee Davies Butts (Thank you Laurel!)

There were a few people who had been researching Jane’s ancestry. Her great grandmother (Joe’s mother) was a Charbonneau, as was Sacagawea due to her marriage to Toussaint Charbonneau. The Charbonneau and the Bordeaux (Burdo) families settled in areas that were located in what is now the province of Quebec. Note: While the Charbonneau family name was consistently spelled the same, Burdo varied from Bordeaux, Bordeau, Boiteau and finally Burdo.

Sacagawea and Jean Baptiste

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Sacagawea (aka Bird Woman or Eagle Woman) was the young Lemhi Shoshone interpreter and guide on the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806), exploring new Western US land obtained during the Louisiana Purchase. At the age of 16 and pregnant by her husband Toussaint Charbonneau, Sacagawea traveled thousands of miles on the expedition from North Dakota to the Pacific ocean—giving birth on the journey. If you have a chance, get a copy of the journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, they are a fascinating read. Toussaint and Sacagawea (and their baby Jean-Baptiste aka Pomp) are mentioned around 200 of times in them. There’s also a website where you can read the journals. Or download a copy here. There was no reliable ancestry information that I could find about Sacagawea herself beyond that she and several other young girls were kidnapped by the Hidatsas during a raid. Sacagawea was sold or given to Toussaint while he was living with the Hidatsa tribe.

Toussaint Charbonneau
Toussaint Charbonneau

I then turned to researching Toussaint Charbonneau. I found information about him on Wikipedia, a few different ancestry sites, the Lewis & Clark Expedition Jourals book (local library copy) and The Metis Heritage and History Research Institute (The Metis Men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition). Toussaint himself was part French and part Iroquois, considered Métis. Per the Institute:

Métis people are a post-contact Indigenous nation, born from the unions of European fur traders and First Nations women in the 18th century. The descendants of these marriages, the Métis, would form a distinct culture, collective consciousness, and strong Nationhood in the Northwest. Distinct Métis communities developed along fur trade routes that made the Métis Nation Homeland. Today, the Homeland includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, parts of British Columbia and Ontario, the Northwest Territories, and the northern United States.

I found that Toussaint’s branch of the family ended with him. He did have a son with Sacagawea, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, who was born in 1805 on the expedition. When Sacagawea died shortly after giving birth to her second child, Lizette (1812), Toussaint gave custody of the children to William Clark who was very fond of the Jean-Baptiste and had offered more than once to provide for them. Jean-Baptiste was educated and traveled to Europe but never married. He had two children born out of wedlock. The first was a boy, Anton Fries, who was born in Germany to mother Anastasia Katharina Fries in 1829 and died at 3 months. The other was a girl, Maria Catarina Charguana, born in Los Angeles in 1848. Her mother Margarita Sobin was Luiseño, an Indigenous people of California. Neither child bore the Charbonneau name. I decided any connection to the Burdos would be further back in the Charbonneau lineage. I traced them as far back as the last Charbonneau that was born in France, Olivier Estavan Charbonneau (B. 1582). The first Charbonneau to emigrate to Canada was his son Oliver Charbonneau (B. 1613). [Charbonneau Family Chart]

Joe’s mother, Alphonsine Rosanna “Rose” Charbonneau Bordeaux (b. 1854) was the link between the Charbonneau and Burdo families. Backtracking Rose’s ancestry was a bit of a challenge, but after searching through maybe three ancestry sites information began appearing. Eventually I found that Olivier Charbonneau (b. 1613) was the source of both Rose’s and Toussaint’s lineage. Olivier’s son Jean Charbonneau (b. 1662) began Rose’s line and another son Michel Charbonneau (1666) began the Toussaint/Sacagawea line.

Mary Woodhouse, a Jane Roberts fan and friend of Mary Dillman, had corresponded with both Mary and Jane’s cousin George years ago about the possible connection to Sacagawea. She was able to provide me with additional information from research she had done that was very helpful. She felt Jane and Sacagawea’s connection would only be by marriage—no genetic ties. Since I’ve charted the connection, I have to agree.  [Burdo Family Chart]

The one thing I could not figure out was—how was Joe part Indian? I could only speculate that one of the women along the Jean Charbonneau line was Indigenous and took on a French name in marriage or religious conversion. Rob wrote in Unknown Reality 1, Session 679, that Jane was “half English [thru Delmer], one-quarter Irish [Minnie/Marie], one-quarter French and Canadian Indian [Joe/Marie].”

That’s where Mary Woodhouse really came to the rescue! Her explanation of Joe’s Indian ancestry: “The Charbonneaus were some of the first settlers in Canada. Early European settlers—mostly men, coupled with Indigenous women… so I think it would be understandable that the French names survived. Even though all the names of wives seem European in the tree you put together… we do  not know if any of those women were fully French, or were a mix—Metis. For that matter, the same can be said on the Burdo side… a French name, but could be a mix of heritage. Given Joseph’s personal practices and identification with his Indian heritage, I would say their family was a mix of French and Indian, Catholic and Indigenous practices.”

She also wrote: “I’ve attached the Cousin Chart for Jane, Toussaint and Pomp. With Olivier being Jane’s 8th Great Grandfather, Toussaint’s 2nd Great Grandfather and Pomp’s 3rd Great Grandfather, Jane and Toussaint are 3rd cousins 6x removed, Jane and Pomp are 4th cousins 5x removed. So, Jane may not be related to Sacagawa, but she IS related to 2 people who were on the Lewis & Clark Expedition, one of whom Sacejawea gave birth to ON the EXPEDITION!” Wooo hooo, thank you Mary!

Bonus information: Mary Woodhouse also discovered that Jane Roberts was related to Edwin Powell Hubble (b. 1889), the astronomer for which the NASA Hubble Space Telescope was named! Edwin’s 6th great grandfather and Jane’s 7th great grandfather was Richard Hubbell (b. 1626). According to Mary, that makes Edwin and Jane 7th cousins once removed. You may remember Delmer’s grandfather and therefore mother were Hubbells. Thank you again Mary! [Hubbell Family Chart]

And finally a bonus bonus! According to a Bridgeport CT Daily Standard article obtained by Mary Woodhouse and dated August 20, 1915, the 2nd edition of a 424 page book written by Walter Hubbell, The History of the Hubbell Family, was newly in print. Walter traced the family back to an early ancestor, Hugo Hubald, mentioned in a book by William the Conquerer around 1086 known as the Doomsday Book.  So that makes Jane also related to William the Conquerer! I don’t even want to attempt to calculate what degree cousin that makes her.

“What are the chances?” Right? I suppose if we could trace lineage back to All That Is, we’d see we are all cousins to some degree. 😉

A final note: Mary Woodhouse created a brochure entitled “A Fan’s Guide to Jane Roberts’ Saratoga Springs.” It has a full map of Jane’s old stomping grounds, a timeline, bio and more. She said she’d be glad to share a copy of the PDF with anyone who wants it. She can be reached at magicianbook1@gmail.com.

28 thoughts on “Was Jane Roberts Related to Sacagawea?”

  1. amazing, thank you Deb.
    wow just had a thought, what if Jane would have channeled a book ala the William James, Cezanne and Rembrandt books, with Sacagawea’s worldview?

    and I googled about her name and found this:

    “Her birth tribe insists that her name is spelled Sacajawea, that it means “she who carries a burden,” and that they are the ones who named her. The other spelling, Sacagawea, comes from the Hidatsa, her adopted tribe, and means “Bird Woman,” the meaning Lewis and Clark mention in the journals.”

    love the similarity between the words “burden” and “Burdo”.

    1. Thanks Charlie, yes a Sacagawea worldview would have been great. Definitely something I would be interested in.

      Also interesting about the two different spellings of her name. I was leaning towards “j” but used the “g” version because the bulk of resources used the second spelling. Hmmmm, I doubt during her days Native Americans were writing things using the Latin alphabet. I wonder how they came to the different spellings? Maybe based on pronunciation?

      Yes to the burden/Burdo coincidence! But we know what they say about coincidences. 😉

  2. Deb, you continue to amaze me with your dedication and perserverance in helping to keep this vital information and Mary’s legacy alive. This was an absolutely fascinating and phenomenal post. Well done!!! Thanks for continuing your work and bringing the information out to a wider audience, I hope more will be published from the archives. I would be interested to read “The Universe As Idea Construction” which was one of the first writings and encounters Jane had. Also, Jane’s autobiography Laurel mentioned called “This Rich Bed” sounds amazing and I’m sure it would help give us all a much “richer” view of The Seth Material and Jane’s history. Enjoy your break away and looking forward to what 2024 brings.

    1. Thank you Miles, it’s been fun researching and writing them. Let me know if you have any special requests for when I’m done sorting through boxes. That in itself will probably give me some new ideas!

  3. Thank you everyone for your part. This is awesome! I love everything Jane Roberts – just seeing the Burdo and Hubble Family Charts, wow! I’m inspired. Really fascinating research!! Props to All involved.

  4. Thanks for this interesting article, Deb!
    I was surprised to read about Sacagawea: one of my (guiding) selves calls herself Red Birdwoman.
    Being a Birdwoman myself, I will download the journal and engage in reading it.
    We are all related indeed!

  5. Deb, this article and your research are excellent to read about! Your desire to achieve is inspirational in all that you have discovered! Thank you. Mary Dillman must be so proud of you.

    I did not realize Mary Woodhouse created that informative brochure, which I used constantly! taking photos and visiting “Jane” sites in Saratoga Springs. Thank you, Mary.

    The amazing quote about Jane and her beloved Grandfather attending church with God is from a copy of Jane’s autobiography of “This Rich Bed” which was written by Jane in the 1970’s and submitted to Elinore Friede for publication and turned down. Jane then wrote “The God of Jane. ” “This Rich Bed” disappeared from my home in 2011 or so-and was returned with changes in 2020 or around then. Jane described the abuse her mother subjected her to in “This Rich Bed” and it is a very difficult book to read. It seems to have been changed in it’s current form by whoever took it and brought it back years later.

    My own family history (I am Laurel Davies) includes my great, great, great Grandparents-Jane Roberts, and Robert Davies who were married in England in the 1800’s. I love having Jane Roberts both as a “Jane and Rob” in England who are grandparents, and as the/my incredibly admired psychic poet teacher in this time period, Jane Roberts.

    Thank you, Deb, for your excellent article. Have fun as you proceed into the new research you are visualizing.

    1. Thank you so much Laurel. This post was a labor of love on my part and entailed an incredible amount of research and mental acuity. So many people along the ancestry line with the same names, so many children, etc. But every time I felt like I’d hit a brick wall, another door would open. Very satisfying.

    2. Yes, Laurel, Deb did an amazing job pulling all this information together into an understandable story. So satisfying! Deb– doing the family tree history that connects both Charbonneau families back to the first Charbonneau to settle in Canada, brilliant!!

      And Laurel, so glad to hear you use the brochure. Wow, so glad you’ve found it useful. Though now I think it needs an update to include “Tensprings Woods” 🙂 — I wish I’d visited there when we were going to SS to visit our son in college.

      So cool about your Jane Roberts and Robert Davies as g-g-g grandparents, Laurel!

  6. I especially love this comment: “What are the chances?” Right? I suppose if we could trace lineage back to All That Is, we’d see we are all cousins to some degree.

    And, plainly, we are all counterparts of one another – if we go back to ATI. 🙂

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