Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Just curious

I have a question. Have you ever reached out to or been contacted by a DNA match who is connected to you because of slavery? This came up on a Facebook forum. One African descendant contacted her match who was of  European descendant and was rebuffed.

Through the years I have contacted a few genealogy hobbyists who were related to me and/or related to the slave holder of my ancestor. I have seldom had any issues from the contact. But I am not quick to reach out to those descendants who just may have clues to the lives of my ancestors held in captivity. It's a personal choice.

I also wonder how those European descendants feel when they find that they have relatives whose DNA is mostly sub Saharan African. Most of my DNA matches are not the same color as I am. Even though I am 71%  African, the majority of my matches come from my 26% Irish/Great Britain relatives. They have not reached out to me either. I assume it's because I have little to add to their search. I have been heartened, though, by some who have included my family on their data base.

I understand from what I see on genealogy television shows that many are appalled to find out that their ancestors were slave holders. I think the more egregious fact is that we are related because of institutional rape. That is a far worse thing to get your head around. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Year, New Discoveries

I was not very good at keeping up this blog in 2017. Instead I spent much of  last year updating my family history and finally self-publishing it. I have distributed copies to several family members. This was to make sure all my hard work was not in vain and that written information is out there for those who are interested. It is a pet peeve of mine that so many family historians do the hard work of investigating their family but never write it down for others to see.

I had plans to go back to Mississippi. Unfortunately I did not make it. However, I did correspond with a Mississippi cousin who I discovered through AncestryDNA. She is one of the few ancestors I have discovered who is related to me through Winnie Dear, my grandfather Stanley's grandmother. I knew more about our history than she did and I shared that info. One important fact she shared with me was that one of her uncles, which would have been my grandfather's uncle, was lynched in Mississippi. She's not sure of the name because two uncles disappeared from the records. Their last name was Ames. She also told me that one of the other uncles migrated to Chicago because of the lynching. This could have also been a reason for my grandfather moving up north. The other interesting fact was that this particular uncle was a communist, something my grandfather was accused of being because he was a strong union man.

One more thing. The most exciting things I discovered were the photos of my grandfather's maternal grandparents. Photos are priceless. I found these on ancestry.com on a tree of another DNA cousin. These are the parents of Mary Sanders. I wish I had a photo of Mary and Napoleon but I will take what I can get. And who knows, maybe someday those photos will surface too. As an extra added attraction I also found the photo of James, the brother of Mary.
Charles Saunders

Rosa Thomas? Saunders

their son James Saunders

I will try to do better this year. I never stop searching even if I don't blog about it. Happy New Year! Happy New discoveries!