Rachal Mills Lennon, M.A., CG, FASG, specializes in resolving difficult Southern research problems and reconstructing obscure lives, especially those of Native American, African American, and yeoman white families.
A Board-certified genealogist since 1986, Lennon holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Alabama in architectural history, historic preservation and American history, with emphasis on the Southern frontier. She is the author, editor, and compiler of six books, as well as award-winning problem-solving essays and case studies published in national-level peer-reviewed journals.
Lennon’s research was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club selection Cane River, by Lalita Tademy. Her Tracing Ancestors among the Five Civilized Tribes has, for twenty years, been the best-selling guide to that difficult area of research.
As a lecturer, Lennon has presented at annual conferences of the National Genealogical Society, conducted local and state seminars, and served on the faculty of Samford University Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research. On 7 October 2017 she was named a fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, the most prestigious credential in the field of genealogy, awarded for the quality of one's published research.
Degrees & Awards
Ph.D. coursework completed (History, Southeastern Borderlands), University of Alabama, 2000
M.A. (Architectural History), University of Virginia, 1990
B.A. (Historical Preservation & History), University of Alabama, 1987
National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Award of Excellence, 2005, for best journal article of 2004
National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Award of Excellence, 2010, for best journal article of 2009
National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Award of Excellence, 2016, for best journal article of 2015
Lennon, Rachal Mills. Tracing Ancestors among the Five Civilized Tribes: Southeastern Indians prior to Removal. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002.
Mills, Donna Rachal. Some Southern Balls: From Valentine to Ferdinand and Beyond. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Mills Historical Press, 1993. (Commissioned by R. C. Ball, Houston, Texas)
———. Florida’s Unfortunates: The 1880 Federal Census, Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Mills Historical Press, 1993.
———. Florida’s First Families: Translated Abstracts of Pre-1821 Spanish Censuses. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Mills Historical Press, 1992.
———. Louisiana’s First Families: An Index to Glenn R. Conrad’s 2-volume Series. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Mills Historical Press, 1992.
———. Historical and Biographical Memoirs: Natchitoches Parish … with a New Everyname Index. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Mills Historical Press, 1985.
(in Peer Reviewed Journals)
Lennon, Rachal Mills. "Southern Strategies Revisited: Expanding 'Reasonably Exhaustive Research' to Find Solomon Harper's Roots in the Carolina Backcountry." National Genealogical Society Quarterly 111 (March 2023): 5–24,
———. "Southern Strategies: Merging Identities by Mapping Activities and Linking Participants—Solomon Harper of South Carolina's Lowcountry." National Genealogical Society Quarterly 107 (September 2019): 165–84.
———. “Identifying a Son for John Temple of Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 103 (June 2015): 139–50.
———. “Context and Comrades Illuminate A Silent Southerner: John Temple (1758–1838), Revolutionary War Pensioner.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 103 (March 2015): 49–67. (Winner of NGSQ Award of Excellence, 2016)
———. “Jonathan Turner—More than a Name: A Carolina Case Study in Dissecting Records.” NGSQ 97 (March 2009): 17–28. Separates three same-name individuals through the analytical use of Revolutionary War stub indents and contextual records. (Winner of NGSQ Award of Excellence, 2010)
———. “The Wives of Jonathan Turner: Identification of Women in Pre-Twentieth-Century South Carolina.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 92 (December 2004): 245–55. (Winner of NGSQ Award of Excellence, 2005)
——— and Elizabeth Shown Mills. “Mother, Thy Name is Mystery! Finding the Slave Who Bore Philomene Dorat.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 88 (September 2000): 201–24. (Recommended reading at several major websites for African-American research.)
———. “A Proposed English Ancestry for Henry Ball (circa 1676–1735) of Middlesex County, Virginia.” The American Genealogist 78 (July 2003): 165–72, and (October 2003), 265–73.
———. “Federal Records for Southeastern Indian Research, 1774–1931,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 86 (December 1998): 247–70.
———. “Southeastern Indians prior to Removal: An Introduction to Research and Resources,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 85 (September 1997): 165–94.
Mills, Donna Rachal. “Rachael ‘Fanny” Devereaux/Martin of Alabama and Florida, a Free Woman of Color: Discovering a Name Change through the Federal Census.” The American Genealogist 79 (January 1995): 37–41.
———. “Civil War Claims Commissions: The Mixed Commission of British and American Claims.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 75 (June 1987): 141–53.