Good Genes Genealogy Services

Unlock Hidden Family History Gems with these Free Genealogy Resources in Libraries

Discover a treasure trove of free resources for genealogy enthusiasts with our latest WordPress post. From printable family tree templates to online databases and tools, unlock the key to tracing your family history and uncovering valuable information. With a diverse range of offerings and user-friendly interface, this guide is perfect for all levels of researchers. Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your genealogy journey and get started for free today!

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Keep digging: Finding African Diaspora genealogy stories in Mexico

Today’s freebie is straightforward: Keep researching your ancestry in all regions of the world.

Around the globe, the remnants of African Diasporan appear in most cultures. In this quick installment, see the results of the African American slaves finding safety in Mexico.

When slave owners demanded that Mexico send back African Americans, the official response from Mexican government officials responded that there are no slaves in its country, only citizens.

Keep digging and learn of the great Gaspar Yanga. A huge statue in Vera Cruz, Mexico, is dedicated to the “Primer Libertador de America or “first liberator of the Americas,” (1545 – 1618) who led one of the first successful slave revolts in colonial Mexico. For years he negotiated with Spain on eleven points, including the ability to establish one of the Americas earliest free black settlements. The town, San Lorenzo de Los Negros was “officially recognized by Spanish authorities as a free black settlement,” according to Later, the Mexican town became known as Yanga in honor of its liberator and founder.

Gaspar Yanga statue in Mexico

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How to begin your ancestry/family history research

My* mother, Angeline Cecil Owen, approximately one-year-old, with her parents, Helen Wilks Owen and Eugene Owen, Jr., in Springfield, Missouri (*Ann Wead Kimbrough)

For many, the question of where to begin the hunt for their ancestors, is huge.

Here are a few of the questions and comments the Good Genes Genealogy Services (GGGS) team receives from our prospective and new clients:

I am adopted and I don’t know anything about my birth family.

I don’t know my mother’s maiden name.

I don’t know my Dad or his family.

Since the U.S. Census doesn’t have any official records about Black people until 1870 and even that is incomplete, how am I supposed to trace my family back to their arrival in the United States?

I started my family research but then I hit that “brick wall” and cannot move forward. I am ready to give up.

I don’t know anything about my family past my maternal grandmother and my great grandfather on my father’s side.

I heard that my entire family is buried in cemeteries in South Carolina and that’s where I’m from but I don’t know my family’s history.

Photo by Bruno Scramgnon on

For African Diasporan-connected family members, the quest to begin the ancestry search may appear to be even more daunting than our counterparts. Yet, we all had to begin somewhere. That’s our first tip:

  1. Begin where you are (see our March 20, 2023 post). Some begin with a picture like the one above. Just one photograph, in this case taken in 1938, is the start of the family tree building.
  2. Interview living relatives. Someone knows a nugget of a story that can lead to greater discovery. For instance, asking a family elder what s/he remembers about their childhood home, will likely lead to extended dialogue based on responses such as “uncle Jim used to bring home melons every Saturday after he cashed his check from working as a “soda jerk” in a hotel kitchen in Omaha.”
  3. Follow any lead and visit a federal government website for expansion of your findings. Using the hint provided in #2, you may be able to gain the once “lost” uncle’s name — even if it’s just the first name — and begin there. Use his first name and the family name in the online research tree search. If it doesn’t work, it is likely an online hint will arrive to give you more clarity. Also, knowing that the uncle worked as a “soda jerk” during your elder’s childhood, can lead you to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. From there, you can research the number of soda jerks working in the 1940s, for instance. Also, you may be able to locate the exact hotel in Omaha with a lead from the federal site to the local, Omaha newspapers and historical societies.
  4. Sign up on social media sites, websites, and engage with other virtual or in-person groups to learn more about how others are conquering their ancestry research.
  5. Remember to write and record your results. This is the start of building your family tree and hopefully, other family members are doing the same. Be sure to link with those family members to make your family tree even more robust.
Photo by cottonbro studio on

Those are just a few tips offered to help anyone get started or re-energized to keep up the research for one’s family heritage.

Everyone’s journey is different. Yet, there are similarities in our collective ancestry research efforts based on our listening skills, questioning of relatives, learning new techniques, and jumping in the swim of family research.

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Floridians and nearby genealogy researchers: Meet up in Lake County

This wonderful event is from the Wilson Griot Legacy site:


The Wilson Griot Legacy is a modern enterprise to create new sacred storytelling to unravel information inherent in our genealogical past.


Posted byWILSON GRIOT LEGACYSeptember 9, 2023Posted inUncategorized

I will be joining with the Kinseekers Genealogical Society of Lake County, Florida in conjunction with the Leesburg Public Library in a special event on Saturday, September 23, 2023.

Both in-person and virtual event:

Saturday, 23 September 2023

9:45am – 3:30pm EST

Informal meet ‘n greet at 9:30am EST.

Event is free & open to all!!


Presented by Kinseekers Genealogical Society and the Leesburg Public Library.

To attend virtually, register here

To attend in-person, contact the Leesburg Public Library at 352.728.9790

MORNING SESSION (9:45am – 12:15pm EST)

Welcome & Announcements

– Researching Black Family History, 1900-1950: Essential Foundationspresented by Taneya Koonce

Context Matters: Researching World War Two Black Ancestors:presented by KB Barcomb

LUNCH BREAK (12:15pm – 1:00pm EST)

AFTERNOON SESSION (1:00pm – 3:00pm) 

–  Colleges, Clubs, & Cotton Fields: Researching Black Women, 1900-1950:presented by Adrienne G. Whaley

–  Open Round Table Discussion

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Freebie Friday!

Middle Peninsula genealogy group to host virtual talk ‘Tracing Our Ancestors’ | Richmond Free Press

Historian and genealogist Karice Luck-Brimmer will discuss “Tracing Our Ancestors’ Footprints” and how Black people can reclaim their heritage during ...

Historian and genealogist Karice Luck-Brimmer will discuss “Tracing Our Ancestors’ Footprints” and how Black people can reclaim their heritage during a virtual meeting of the Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Ms. Luck-Brimmer also will discuss her role in tracing the ancestry of Air Force veteran Fred Miller.

In 2020, Mr. Miller purchased an 1850s-era Gothic Revival-style house near his childhood home in Pittsylvania County. He wanted a large space to host gatherings for his extended family. In doing so, Mr. Miller found hidden information about his family’s past. The house, called Sharswood, was a former plantation where his ancestors once were enslaved. Ms. Luck-Brimmer helped uncover the family’s connection to Sharswood and the story behind the discovery made national news on media outlets such as CBS’ “60 Minutes” and the Washington Post.

As an education and community initiatives program associate, Ms. Luck-Brimmer works primarily in the Dan River/Danville region where she collaborates with local community members and cultural organizations committed to positive change.

A public historian and genealogist, she has conducted extensive genealogical research in the Pittsylvania County area and is the founding president of the Danville/Pittsylvania County chapter of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society.

While the Middle Peninsula African-American society focuses on the history and genealogy of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck, its programs are accessible to anyone throughout the United States.

For more information, email or call 804-651-8753.

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Remembering sports ancestors who broke color barriers and overcame hate

The ‘American Pastime” brought brutal results to Jackie Robinson and other African American professional baseball players
Photo by Steshka Willems on

Often, reviewing the hatred and violence suffered by African American ancestors, are tough matters to endure and often neglected in history books. Yet, the examples of persevering despite the sad circumstances, can spur on genealogy and ancestry researchers to compare and contrast the past with today’s societal practices.

Good Genes Genealogy Tip: Interview your family members about their sports histories. Some may share the good and also the unhappy times that they or their parents may have endured. Learn how they survived the taunts and personal risks to their families and themselves.

Overcomer Robinson

He broke the color barrier in United States’ Major League Baseball. Jackie Robinson did it all, including suffering physical and verbal wounds from his colleagues:

Robinson nonetheless became the target of rough physical play by opponents (particularly the Cardinals). At one time, he received a seven-inch gash in his leg from Enos Slaughter.[135] On April 22, 1947, during a game between the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies players and manager Ben Chapman called Robinson a “nigger” from their dugout and yelled that he should “go back to the cotton fields”.[136] Rickey later recalled that Chapman “did more than anybody to unite the Dodgers. When he poured out that string of unconscionable abuse, he solidified and united thirty men.”[137]

Overcomer Coachman

On her first attempt in the high jump during the International Olympics Games in 1948, Albany, Georgia native Alice Coachman won the gold medal. She became the first African American of any country to win a gold medal. Despite her instant fame and large celebrations back home in the United States, her hometown leaders treated her differently:

Yet these latter celebrations occurred in the segregated South. In the Albany auditorium, where she was honored, whites and African Americans had to sit separately. The white mayor of Albany sat on the stage with Coachman but refused to shake her hand. She had to leave her own celebration by a side door.

Overcomer O’Ree

Willie Eldon O’Ree was a youth when he met Jackie Robinson. It helped to inspire O’Ree to pursue his sports passion and became the first African American to join the National Hockey League in 1958. He continues to speak positively about his experiences as a hockey player. Yet, O’Ree suffered many indignities by his fellow league members and fans before retiring in the late 1970s:

O’Ree faced racial taunts throughout his hockey career, including in the NHL, especially in the United States. [11] He noted that racist remarks were much worse in the U.S. cities than in Toronto and Montreal, the two Canadian cities hosting NHL teams at the time, and that “Fans would yell, ‘Go back to the South‘ and ‘How come you’re not picking cotton?’ Things like that. It didn’t bother me. I just wanted to be a hockey player, and if they couldn’t accept that fact, that was their problem, not mine.”[12]

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Linking today’s events with those of our ancestors

Tips on how you can break down brick walls

By now, many of us who are searching for answers to the mysteries of our African Diasporan ancestors have found that the routes to getting research are often nontraditional. Consider another avenue to hopefully find your ancestors.

Tap into your imagination, natural instincts and recall the stories you’ve heard to search for clues about your ancestors’ journeys. Hopefully, you will find a new detail to help break through those brick walls.

Look for ancestors in someone else’s life

If your ancestors worked at the Ford Motor Co. in the 1960s in Queens, New York, they may have known or been on the team with McKinley Thompson, Jr. an African American who designed cars during his 28-year career with the automaker. He was part of the concept team for the first-generation Mustang and GT40.

Thompson came up with the open-air, 4 x 4 turbine boxy car that changed the automotive industry. It was a sports utility vehicle known as the Ford Bronco. Look at Thompson’s life and the places he lived, worked, was educated and served. You may find your ancestors in his art classes, in the military unit he served in, other jobs that he held or even in his retirement community.

Fortunate Forten

It is well-known in ancestry and genealogy research African American slavery matter prohibits current-day research efforts about family histories. The blockages that create the brick walls often referred to in African American ancestry research is due largely to enslavers not listing the full names, ages and other identifies for African Americans on the official documents, and the U.S. Census Bureau not including the names, addresses and full demographic information about African Americans until the 1870 records. There were sporadic accounts of slaves’ names and other information by the owners, and the government documents published some information that was linked to African Americans in bondage.

Occasionally, there are uncovered lives of African Americans such as James Forten, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was born a free American in Philadelphia, PA in 1766. At age 14, he joined the Continental Army and was a “power boy.” A powder boy carried gun powder from the ship’s magazine to the ship’s cannon. Following in the footsteps of his father, he became a sailmaker. He became his family chief sailmaker in 1798 after the death of his father.

To return to the original concept of this blog, look for any opportunities of your ancestors to be located in the areas that Forten lived and visited. It is likely that your ancestors may have been in the similar line of work or even worked with Forten, or volunteered with his wife and daughters in their abolitionist activism.

As an abolitionist who walked his talk, Forten chose to not work with any slave trade-connected companies and individuals. Forten was brave to adopt this business practice. However, as a man who was aboard a ship that was once captured by the British and he risked being sold into slavery, Forten withstood adversities and became a wealthy man who was also an active abolitionist. He designed and sold innovative sails that allowed ships to gain higher speeds, among other attributes. He was considered the prime sailmaker in Philadelphia and he employed African Americans and whites. He funded popular abolitionist publications and also endorsed his daughters developing the first interracial women’s abolitionist organization, Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.

So popular was Forten in the abolition movement and as a top employer that upon his death at age 75, his funeral was attended by thousands. Were your ancestors among the mourners?

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Thoughts on slavery — 1854 or 2023?

There is an active U.S. discussion about whether African Americans benefited from the horrific ills of bondage and slavery. A Florida governor who is a candidate for the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination for U.S. president is proudly touting such in his state education’s rewriting of history. His appointees are doubling down on the claim that there were productive, career benefits from the skills utilized by African Americans who were enslaved.

This newspaper clipping from a century+ ago is among the documents that mirror today’s comments from proponents of the rewritten history that slavery benefited African Americans.

To all ancestry researchers, search the newspapers for articles in the states where your ancestors resided. It is great insight in what policies and practices they endured while being subjected to the cruelties of forced, unpaid servitude.

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How to find your ancestors in historical newspaper articles

Breaking through brick walls to learn more about your African American ancestors

The tall dude to the right of the protest sign is Sampson Luster Wead, the paternal grandfather of Ann Lineve Wead Kimbrough of Good Genes Genealogy Service. It is from Ann Lineve’s perspective that this blog is written about a man born on July 2, 1904 in Helena, Arkansas.

This picture appeared in the Omaha World-Herald newspaper on July 31, 1953. It included other photos including the one below that accompanied an article about the successful boycotting of a popular ice cream shop due to its blatant discriminatory hiring practices. I found the picture (above) of my grandfather a few years ago. What I learned today is that there were several articles and likely broadcast reports about this important protest and boycott.

Breaking through brick walls

In researching African Diaspora ancestry and genealogy, it is widely known that there are likely several brick walls that will be encountered. It is notable that in researching the facts around the Reed’s Ice Cream Shop protest, I learned three new and compelling things about my grandfather’s character and beliefs:

  • He held a great job at a local meat packing plant, yet was willing to risk it all to protest the lack of jobs available to Black persons at another employer. After all, his picture was in the newspaper and widely circulated.
  • Although he closely guarded his past that included his teenage years in Helena and Elaine, Arkansas, where costly racial killings occurred, my grandfather demonstrated that he was not afraid to stand up for civil rights.
  • My grandfather was a member of the DePorres Club, an Omaha-based organization comprised of all races and heritages. Its purpose was to protest and bring about change in employment and civic practices that discriminated against persons because of the color of their skin and ethnic origin.

I learned about the DePorres Club’s purpose from the article found below from the Omaha Star newspaper. Just below the “congratulations grads” ad, is the article about the civil rights organization of the 1940s – today.

Encouragement for the ancestry and genealogy researchers

  • Keep researching your ancestors, even if you are covering the so-called same ground.
  • From the information that you unearth, ask the same and new questions of anyone in your family or institutions that may have more insight about the ancestors’ activities.
  • Cross check your new findings with local and national media reports found in historical clippings and broadcasts. You are piecing together the story about your ancestor that will greatly aid in your genealogy reports to family and importantly, to yourself.

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