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My genealogy hunt began with interviewing the eldest family member who either couldn’t remember or refused to recall painful events from the past. For example, I have a distant cousin who informed me it makes him physically sick to think, or talk about what happened, either eye-witness accounts or hearsay. I went solo researcher for a while. I staged sit-ins at the county library in the genealogy department when minutes before closing I was one click or microfilm away from finding that one elusive relative.

Besides the lengthy research, there is the $$$ factor for the must-have birth and death certificates that turned out to be someone else’s relatives. Many certificates list deaths as “about 60 yrs”—what does that mean? Or birth mother’s name—unknown. Unfortunately, most enslaved Blacks were lumped together, not by age, sex, or families.  It wasn’t uncommon for babies to be separated from their mothers as they were sold into slavery. That’s it! It’s sad, but in some cases true. It’s like digging for treasures locked away in the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh. The excitement, the awe, and the blurry vision that consumed me happened when I discovered my great-grandfather’s 1912 draft card only to get a headache from the recorder’s scribble. Even a magnifying glass has its limitations. For African-Americans, the must-see document is “the” slave schedule.

Now, welcome to my world. Click on the surnames to see how far I've researched--for now.


My Journey to Finding My Roots

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