Reactions to discovering our roots

Celebrity Activist shocked with her “Mayflower” ancestors while Canadian celebrates his Black ancestors

We are all connected. Ongoing findings among the skilled genealogy and DNA researchers and amateurs, confirm such.

The following two examples offer great hope to those who are steadfast in searching for the accurate stories of our ancestors.

Finding her Mayflower roots

Our favorite PBS show, “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” regularly features many genealogical surprises among its celebrity guests. A recent episode features well-known human rights activist, professor and author, Angela Davis. Among the startling findings for Davis is that her ancestral roots are traced to the original families who sailed to the early United States on the Mayflower vessel in the 1600s. The Mayflower travelers are attributed to slavery.

Davis’ reaction to Gates’ revelation that was based on sound genealogy and DNA research by his team, went viral with more than four million views in the first 24 hours of the social media posts.

African Roots found in Scottish Canadian

From the service

Paul Barber, also a photography hobbyist, from Ontario, Canada, was featured in a local newspaper article to discuss his maternal family, the Hendersons. He traced his family’s travel from Virginia to Canada. He referred to his brick walls as being “stuck in the mud” with his “three times great grandparents. That is, until he dug a little deeper. And deeper.

Barber took the DNA analysis, and it yielded more results. That’s where he learned of his roots in Benin and Togo. It is the time and place where the African Slave Trade was recorded. He said that is how he began to take apart the brick wall, albeit he knew of his Scottish ancestors. It was at that point that Barber said he landed upon a scenario that “he was not fond of.”

What he learned and how he used slower methods of research — regular mail — and current technology to locate his full story, is worth the time one will spend in his recent, hour-long talk. He speaks of the highs and lows of locating ancestors and learning how his family came to include Black people. “I have to know,” he said.

Help for the amateur genealogy researcher

The two examples provided in this blog are examples of the possibilities for amateur-to-professional ancestry researchers. Our pro tips:

  1. Develop a straight-forward, uncomplicated plan to conduct research.
  2. Follow Barber’s tenacity to stick with a plan to fully research your family.
  3. Wade through the valleys and hills.
  4. Celebrate all progress.
  5. Share, publish your results.

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