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 Orillamatters.com 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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The forgotten stories of “Black Magnolias” from Oakland Cemetery

First in a series

Jihan Hurse, guide, Atlanta, GA.’s Oakland Cemetery’s “Black Magnolias” tour


Atlanta, GA — On a chilly Saturday winter morning, Oakland Cemetery’s “Black Magnolias” Tour Guide and Author Jihan Hurse, excitedly gives highlights of the Black women who lie among its 70,000 “residents” in the city’s historic cemetery.

The hour allotted for the tour was not enough time for all of the stories about accomplished Black women who are buried in Oakland Cemetery. Yet, the Black Magnolias tour was a refreshing collection of insight into the lives of Black women who were quiet and major influencers in the Atlanta region, Georgia and nationwide. Along the multiple paths laden mostly with bricks from days gone by, there were periodic stops at the chosen grave sites of many women who were doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, mothers, wives, educators and skilled technicians.

The Black Magnolias story at Oakland Center is grounded in the fortitude of laundry or washerwomen whose citywide protest resulted in violence, arrests, intimidation and ultimately, a major victory for the Black women who refused to return to work unless their financial and work life demands were met. Their well-organized strike involved some 3,000 Black laundresses and it nearly imperiled the 1881 World’s Fair in Atlanta.

Former slaves strike for better pay and work conditions in 1881.


While praising the domestic workers’ brave and labor market altering stance, Hurse strategically showcased other Black women whose legacies are integral to the success of the Atlanta area, Georgia and the nation. Despite the achievements that stretch beyond racial and geographical boundaries, most of the 12,000 African Americans — including approximately 1,800 slaves — are buried at Oakland in segregated sections known as the African American, Slave and Potters sections.

There are also exceptions to the burial rules of segregating whites, Blacks and Jewish deceased persons from one another. When whites sought permissions to move the burial area initially designated for Black slaves, the graves were moved to the back of the cemetery. Some natural markers such as stones and sticks were not preserved. When that relocation was completed, some families such as the Boylstons asked for an additional set of permissions and that was to bury their “domestic worker,” Catherine Holmes, alongside their family members, according to Hurse. Elise Boylston had a special fondness for “Caty” and the young Boylston lady authored work that included her slave. By the 1960s, Blacks were not segregated to one area or two areas of the cemetery

The grave marker for “Caty” Holmes, a “domestic worker” in the Boylston household, is left. This is a partial view of the extensive Boylston plot in the former Slave section of Oakland Cemetery.


A dozen other Black Magnolias were pointed out by Hurse as significant based on a range of qualities such as the first Black lady buried in Oakland Cemetery, to the sisters who established the first hospital with 15 beds that was available to Black patients.

Below is the grave site of Estella Henderson was an attorney, an author of books on race relations and was recognized by U.S. President William Howard Taft. Her sister, Dr. Blanche Beatrice Bowman Thompson, was a doctor whose practice pioneered specialty work for Black medical professionals in Georgia.


Future blogs will highlight the historical women of Oakland Cemetery. For those interested in the many stories of the Black men and women buried in Oakland Cemetery, the virtual tour is found through this service:

Good Genes Genealogy Services encourages readers of this blog to investigate similar historical stories in cemeteries that bear great stories such as those found at the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.


The 48-acre cemetery that is also considered a city park. The Oakland Cemetery Foundation conducts several tours each year, including a handful devoted to honoring Black history and women’s history.


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Teasing Thursday for Freebies Friday

This post about freebies usually appears on Fridays. In honor of a great week by all who have contacted Good Genes Genealogy Services, here’s your day-before treat:

Like the Ghanianhttps://www.uncommongoods.com/product/sankofa-wall-art Sankofa bird, Good Genes Genealogy Services is looking back to gather research from former and current workshops to help all move forward with their family ancestry research.

Good Genes Genealogy Services Reference Guide

During January and February 2022, the Good Genes Genealogy Services team provided five (5) workshops. The free workshops for the DeKalb County Public Library, and the Saturdays-in-February workshops where the proceeds are fully donated to our host, Hillside International Truth Center, certain references were named.

The following is a compilation of the referenced genealogy materials:

Census

Release of the 1950 U.S. Census records, April 1, 2022. 1950 Census on Track for 2022 Release, Despite Pandemic | National Archives

Free or Limited Trial Genealogy Sites (a sampling)

This site is dedicated to genealogy research for African Americans. https://afrigeneas.com

According to its website, “Ancestry.com LLC is an American genealogy company based in Lehi, Utah. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical, historical records, and related genetic genealogy websites.” https://ancestry.com

African American Genealogical Research How to Begin – African American Genealogical Research – Research Guides at Library of Congress (loc.gov)

Part of the Library of Congress website, Chronicling America has searchable images of US newspapers from 1792-1963. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

It is based in the UK and already has released the 1921 Census. The site is a compilation of media and government reports. There is a 14-day free trial. https://www.findmypast.com/

Search over 10 billion global historical records, birth, marriage and death records from 32 countries, 25 million pages of historical newspapers dating back to 1803, and more than 6.3 billion names – all with a 14-day free trial. Use it free for two weeks and cancel if it’s not for you. https://www.myheritage.com.

The USGenWeb Project is comprised of volunteers who provide free genealogy websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. It is a non-commercial site and wants to provide free genealogy access for everyone. http://www.usgenweb.org/

Access free digitized images of newspapers, books, films, maps, personal narratives, photos, prints, and drawings.https://www.archives.gov/

This site is free, yet it does ask if you wish to make a donation to keep its access free. Here’s the website announcement “Trace your roots for FREE with our searchable database containing thousands of identified and mystery photos for genealogy enthusiasts looking for long-lost family. Anyone who finds a photo of a direct ancestor that is owned by the archive will receive the photo for free. If the historic photos you find pique your interest in genealogy, you can continue your research by doing a family search here.” https://deadfred.com/

If your ancestors were Jewish, this website has more than 20 million records from all over the world to help you trace your Jewish heritage. https://www.jewishgen.org/

Access free digitized images of newspapers, books, films, maps, personal narratives, photos, prints, and drawings. Home | Library of Congress (loc.gov)

This is an activist group of historians, genealogists, researchers, and open government advocates, Reclaim the Records identifies information that should be in the public domain but has been restricted by the government, archive or library that holds it.  https://www.reclaimtherecords.org

Genealogy Conferences

This site bills itself as “ConferenceKeeper.org is the most complete calendar of genealogy events — anywhere!  Here you will find hundreds to thousands of genealogy webinars, workshops, seminars, conferences, podcasts and more, from genealogy societies, libraries, and other organizations all around the world.” It’s true. https://conferencekeeper.org/conference-keeper/

You may also be interested in the following conferences:

Free admission to virtual and in-person genealogy conferences, seminars such as Upcoming Webinars – Legacy Family Tree Webinars

The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) – hosts an annual Expo in Athens, GA, gagensociety.org

It is billed as the larges family genealogy conference in the world. It’s the virtual, RootsTech 2022 • FamilySearch

Genealogy Research in Military Records

The National Archives holds Federal military service records from the Revolutionary War to 1912 in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. See details of holdings.

Military records from WWI – present are held in the National Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC), in St. Louis, Missouri, See details of holdings.

The National Archives does not hold state militia records. For these records, you will need to contact the appropriate State Archives.

Web link National Archives Genealogy Research in Military Records | National Archives

Libraries

THE best and “free” source in genealogy research begins at your friendly neighborhood library.  One library system that is used by Ann is the DeKalb County Public Library.  Having a library card gives you access to services such as  “Ask a Librarian” and broader research sites. Anyone may also request library cards in former home libraries across the nation. DeKalb County Public Library (dekalblibrary.org)

Find It! The Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/pubrr/findit-faq.html

Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Allen County Public Library has one of the largest genealogy collections in the United States.Home | Allen County Public Library (acpl.lib.in.us)

Nonpopulation Census Records

Nonpopulation census records can add “flesh” to the bones of ancestors and provide information about the communities in which they lived. Agriculture, mortality, and social statistics schedules are available for the census years of 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. Manufacturing schedules are available for 1820, 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. These records are arranged by state, then by county, and then by political subdivision (township, city, etc.). Schedules of business are available for 1935 for the following industries: advertising agencies, banking and financial institutions, miscellaneous enterprises, motor trucking for hire, public warehousing, and radio broadcasting stations.

Web link National Archives Nonpopulation Census Records | National Archives

Scholarships (a sampling)

Many scholarships are offered for budding genealogists – experienced ones and organizations.

Board For Certification Of Genealogists® Scholarship For African American Students

American Society Of Genealogists Scholar Award

AncestryProGenealogists® Scholarship

Frazine K. Taylor African American Research Scholarship

Georgia Public Library Service IGHR Scholarship

NextGen Scholarship

State Censuses

State censuses can be as important as the federal census to genealogists but, because they were taken randomly, remain a much-under-utilized resource in American genealogy. State censuses often can serve as substitutes for some of the missing federal census records – most notably the 1790, 1800, 1810, and 1890 censuses. Many state censuses also asked different questions than the federal census, thus recording information that cannot be found elsewhere in the federal schedules. While not all states took their own censuses, and some have not survived, state and local census records can be found in many locations. Most states which took censuses usually did so every 10 years, in years ending in “5” (1855, 1865, etc.) to complement the federal census. These state census records are most often found at the state archives or state library. Many are also on microfilm through a local Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and online via commercial genealogy databases.  State Censuses – History – U.S. Census Bureau

Addendum

Inaugural 2021 Genealogy Book published by Good Genes Genealogical Services

Amazon.com: Out of Sight: An Introduction to Unearthing Your African American and Afro-Caribbean Genealogy eBook : Wead, Dr. Ann Lineve, Owen, MS, Mark S.: Kindle Store

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Family

Genealogy is the study of families, family history, and the tracing

Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives. The field of family history is broader than genealogy, and covers not just lineage but also family and community history and biography.

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Family

Individuals conduct genealogical research for a number of reasons

Private individuals research genealogy out of curiosity about their heritage. This curiosity can be particularly strong among those whose family histories were lost or unknown due to, for example, adoption or separation from family through divorce, death, or other situations. In addition to simply wanting to know more about who they are and where they came from, individuals may research their genealogy to learn about any hereditary diseases in their family history.

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Aunt Ancestor Still Leading me on Genealogy Journey

Paternal Aunt Beverly Ann Wead Blackburn Jones

On this annual day of Epiphany, it is also the birth of my most cheriished ancestor. Today, Jan. 6, 2022, would have been my Paternal Aunt Beverly Ann Wead Blackburn Jones’ 85th birthday. She transitioned in 1973 at the age of 36. I was 15 years old. It was the first family death that left an indelible mark upon my life.

My father’s baby sister, my mother’s best friend, my dear ancestor Aunt Beverly, has taught me so much over the nearly 49 years since her transition. Many of our ancestors have that ability to guide us through our genealogy journeys. My advice: Let them.

Aunt Bev’s Grave Marker in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Omaha, Nebraska

Aunt Beverly is more than the grave marker of her birth and death dates. She was a standout scholar, athlete and civic citizen that began in her high school years. She continued with similar activities in college and added accomplishments that included journalist, sorority member and U.S. Senate recognized achiever. She was twice married, had three children during her first marriage, owned businesses and hosted many recreational and entertainment activities for children and teenagers in our hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

The summary of Aunt Beverly’s life from our family tree on ancestry.com’s website

When I wrote about my dear Aunt Beverly a year ago, I did not have the family details that I have since retrieved. Thanks to Aunt Beverly, I offer the following genealogy tips that lead to more discoveries in our ancestry searches:

  • Update ancestor’s information. Review the ancestor’s information for updates that are often added through online sources. I found new information relevant to Aunt Beverly’s ancestry data. A closer look at the 1940 U.S. Census data for Aunt Beverly’s/my Dad’s family showed that their Dad/my grandfather completed one year of high school.
  • Review linked ancestor’s information. While reviewing your ancestor, follow her or his lineage for the same purpose of online updates. I found new and rich updates about my ancestors who are Aunt Beverly’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-grandmother’s information.
  • Resist the tendency to keep your original research. Often, we don’t want to release our early research about our ancestors after we find new documents that provide validity. For instance, my great-great grandmother’s birth year and location were incorrect on my family tree. Documents were recently released that gave accurate results based on Fannie Robinson Wade’s recently found birth certificate from 1841.

4. Verify new information. Using my paternal great-great grandmother’s data, I verified her birth year by reviewing the 1880 U.S. Census for her age at that time. I also found two other trees that included Fannie Robinson Wade as part of their research. The reconciled birth year information appears to be accurate.

5. Select a routine day or date to review and update ancestral information. I use my ancestors’ birthdays, marriage anniversaries, holidays and death anniversaries to pause and review existing information for updates. With Aunt Beverly, I review her life’s story on her birthday and in June of each year.

The how-tos that I presented can be expanded by each researcher reading this WordPress blog and social media post. Share your ideas to help others and the Good Genes Genealogy team to gain new research techniques.

This column is reprinted from WeadWriteAwayandGenealogy

Author: Learning family histories

Our genealogy traces our family from western and central Africa and western Europe. Our ancestors entered the United States at the Virginia and Georgia Ports. First cousins Mark Owen and Ann Lineve Wead (it is protocol to use the maiden names of females in genealogy searches) are responsible for writing this blog. Although Ann has been involved in genealogy research while searching for certain ancestors since the age of 10, the cousins began deeper research of their families during the COVID-19 Pandemic Year of 2020. Devoting as much as 6 hours some evenings to the methodical training and research of genealogy, the cousins completed the year 2020 by earning genealogy certificates. Join us. @goodgenesgenealogy on wordpress and fb, twitter Sign up for our blog and enjoy the journey. View all posts by Learning family histories

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It’s Freebie Friday!

Check out the ancestry.com Library edition for free forms and charts

Check out the ancestry.com Library edition for free forms and charts

I did a double take when I was searching for genealogy information via ancestry.com on my local public library’s website. The free Ancestry.com site courtesy of my favorite library, DeKalb County Public Library, has different offerings than my private, subscription-based ancestry.com account.

That’s the first freebie: Use your public library card to log into your local branch’s website and search for ancestry.com. Once in the site, select the “charts and forms” tab and click on to access it.

screenshot record

The second freebie is found in the ancestry.com charts and forms tab. You may wish to download any or all six of the forms and charts. The forms and charts are great tools to help the novice and seasoned genealogy researchers to organize family documents.

The charts and forms from ancestry. com are also exclusively offered on library sites. That’s a bonus for having a library card.

Hurry! Ancestry.com’s Library editions may be ending soon, according to the company’s website.

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