Monday, July 27, 2009

Genealogy & Education

I remember reading an article a while ago about Henry Louis Gates wanting to bring genealogy and DNA research to school curriculum.

Many African American students know little about their ancestors. Given the chance to examine their own DNA and family histories, Gates argues, they are likely to become more engaged in their history and science classes. As they rescue their forebears from the anonymity imposed by slavery, students begin to understand their own place in the American story.
Could you imagine how much you would have learned in school if they would have introduced genealogy as a part of history and science? By making history and science personal and showing students how they can use this in real life, will open so many doors for the children. Not just African-American children, but all children.

How can Genealogy help?

Well, let me ask you this. How is your memory now that you’ve been doing genealogy? Mine is excellent. Remembering the facts of my ancestors come easily. However, if there is something I can’t quite remember, I know exactly where to look.

How is your knowledge of history? Mine is better than it was when I was in high school. Facts regarding the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil War are things I can now say I understand. Why? Because I have an ancestor to tie to this information. When you know an ancestor was involved in something major in American history, you tend to remember that more.
I think it would be a great service to add this to a school program. I hope I will see this added in my lifetime.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Oak Grove Cemetery

These are pictures of headstones in Oak Grove Cemetery in Elizabeth City, NC. Oak Grove is one of the black cemeteries in Pasquotank County and appears to be the oldest.

When I went this past may, I made sure to go by one of black cemetery's to see my ancestors. Although the cemetery is kept in pretty good condition, I couldn't help but be heart broken when I saw many tombstones deep in the woods surrounding the cemetery. I wouldn't dare attempt to go that deep in the woods as I was already warned by family that there are snakes...rattlesnakes. However, I did try to get as close as possible!

Many of my ancestors are buried here as this cemetery was started in the 1800's. One of my grand aunts is buried out there, but her grave does not have a marker. My grand uncle showed me the general location of where his sister was buried, but he was certain.

It broke my heart to walk thru the cemetery and see these headstones looking like this. I just wondered who they may be? and who's looking for them...

Losing momentum

I’m having a moment where I just can’t seem to find the motivation to get into my research. Usually I feel a nudge from my ancestors to ‘look here’, ‘research him’, etc. (more like a full blown shove!). However, lately I hadn’t felt a thing. I still maintain my family website regularly and work on the family newsletter. But, when it comes to researching my ancestors, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. I think I’m going thru a phase.

My family reunion is coming up in August and I’m hoping that it will give me a boost in researching the family tree. I think having a lack of internet (at home) has me depressed!!! Lol. Granted, I have been able to access the internet thru Tetherberry and my Crackberry, but the connecting isn’t fast enough to do uploads and such. So, I’m pretty limited with what I can do online at the moment.

I know I have a lot of work to get finished especially before the family reunion. But, I’m not too sure if it will get done. Maybe I need to stick my finger in a Genealogical Light Shock!
There are some things that I'm interested in doing. I want to transfer this blog to a WP blog and incorporate my research using either The Next Generation or PHPGedView. But, more research and time will be needed before I can get started with that.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Michelle Obama's slave roots.

It has always been said that the easiest way to get your tree researched is run for politics or in this case, be married to the politician.

Another plus about having Michelle Obama as 1st Lady is the light this shines on slavery. Sure, slavery hasn’t been talked about over time. Black History is the focus in February. But, I think with Michelle being a descendent from slaves, the issue of slavery (life, discrimination, family separation) will be looked at more closely in the media.

Nothing upsets me more than slavery. To think, that the ties of my family is lost because they were treated less than human. They had no personal rights, nor rights to maintain their culture. When I really think about it, it makes me want to cry. My ancestors had to go thru hell to take care of their family. To wonder if I can even find my true ancestors; knowing that many were separated and sold. African-Americans have such a hard time connecting to their past. I just hope that this opens up more records for us to get further in our history.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Family Reunion

As we're half way thru the summer, most of us have to remember this is the season for interviews. Don't forget your tape records as you plan on going to your family reunions this year.

Family reunion season is in full swing. If you're a genealogist also trying to connect the living, a website could be helpful. I started my website after my Blog friend, Mechie, showed me the site.

Our family has our own social networking site for free. Thru our site we can connect, share and plan to stay in contact. I've been able to meet cousins I didn't even know about.

It's a useful tool and is LOW maintenance.....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Childless Ancestors

I think one of the most frustrating things with my research is coming across my ancestors that do not have children (or evidence of legitimate children). To think, that their story will end at the point of death. It will be harder to know the stories of their life. Finding relatives that remembers these ancestors, or remembers what was told to them about these ancestors, is always difficult. Sure, we’ll have little clues and indications of their life.

Yes, there were ancestors that ‘couldn’t’ have children for whatever reason. But, I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the ones that just didn’t. I have a group of ancestors (my great grandmothers nephews) who didn’t have children. I believe there were 4 of them. All of them married. Only 1 of the nephews had children. The other 3 did not.

When I read and article on CNN about being childless, I couldn’t help read it from a genealogist perspective. Somewhere down the road, someone will research your family tree, and to not leave a legacy is to carry on your traditions, characteristics and stories is upsetting.
I’m sure our ancestors had their reasons for not having children. I’m also sure, they didn’t have us in mind when they made their decision. However, I still can’t help but say that I wish they did leave a legacy for us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ancestors Lost!!!

Four people face felony charges after authorities discovered that hundreds of graves were dug up and allegedly resold at a historic African-American cemetery near Chicago, Illinois, authorities said Thursday.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Afrigeneas has new blogger!

David Paterson's Journal will now be blogging for

As most African American researchers know, Afrigeneas is the #1 resource for African American Ancestry. The introduction of a blog by Afrigeneas is a wonderful thing.

A lil about David.

David E. Paterson, AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum Manager, was born in Scotland, UK, grew up in Seattle, WA, and earned a BA in History from University of Oregon before joining the U.S. Navy in 1975. Although an avid reader as a child, David became so busy with his seagoing career that he did not read a complete book for fifteen years. His passion for history reawakened in 1988 while he explored the antebellum records in the basement of the Upson County courthouse. Now David’s idea of fun and relaxation is reading a book or spending 12-hour days researching at the National Archives.
Thru the blog, more doors will be opened for many of the African-Americans still trying to connect the dots in their tree with straight lines.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I have no shame.

Besides my bad interviewing skills that is. But I have no shame in cold calling or e-mailing possible family members. We have a large family that branch out to the east coast (even a few in the west).

The way I was brought up, you are our cousin. There is not just 3rd cousin 4 times removed. It was passed down from my great grandmother who is and who isn’t family. She pointed out to all of her children cousins and aunts. However, she left out the little detail of exactly how they were related. So, growing up, they just knew that this person and that person were cousin. Come to find out, they were all distant cousins. Either way, they are our cousin and loved no less.

Every year at our family reunion, we have the most recent and most distant of cousins that come. We’re that type of family. Heck, we even have friends in the neighborhood that show up because they know we’re going to have food.

However, as I’ve begun the search thru my family tree, I’ve noticed a lot of branches missing. Missing because the information that my great grandmother passed on to her children didn’t trickle down like it should have. When the elders passed away, their children missed the information also. I’m trying to reconnect those branches of my tree.

Plus you never know, they may hold the missing link to go even further back. So, if you’re a distant cousin that got the Cousin Connections newsletter, it’s because you’re family. Now it’s time you figure out how.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I wish I knew

I wish people would just write on the back of pictures. Don't they know that people will come looking and wonder who they are.

In my Wordless Wednesday picture, you can barely see the faces. It's obviously a picture of some people at a military camp. There are 4 people sitting in this care and I can't make them out for anything!!!

So, if you have pictures at home, take time out and write who's who on the back of them!!! Please.

Thank you,

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Three Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide