We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

Saturday, November 23, 2013

At the wall Part 1

I've been writing since High School, and have been interested in genealogy for about as long. I started researching my ancestry as a class project during the mini-series Roots adapted from the book written by Alex Haley.  Alex Haley was the inspiration at the time, for many young minds to develop an interest in history as it pertains to "your story." I never realized the scope of slavery, until then and it never before had a personal affect upon me.  Sure in grade school, we'd commemorate Black History one month each year in February, in which we'd learn that there were some people who had been slaves. Each year we'd study about those same seven people, you know the ones George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglas, Mary McCloud Bethune, Benjamin Banneker, Harriet Tubman, W.E.B. Dubois, and Booker T. Washington. In my mind, I empathized with the people who had either been slaves or whose parents had been enslaved but never made a correlation between them and me.  From that education, I could hardly fathom the depths of what it meant or what it felt like, to be chattel to another person. The mini-series Roots brought reality home, it taught me more in a few weeks than twenty-eight to thirty days of Black History month did in my short lifetime!

 Many African Americans hit a brick-wall when they get to the 1870 census. The 1870 census is the first census where free African Americans were enumerated in by given name and surname prior to that they were counted by age.  This is where DNA test help a lot. I have learned so much about my ancestry since taking the test. I've learned that I am the product of both free, and enslaved, immigrant, indentured, abducted, and Native American. I've learned that my ancestors didn't remain in one place they moved! My mother's family is from South Carolina and I'd like to think that every cousin match I get with roots in South Carolina are maternal and each cousin match I get from Louisiana is paternal but I'd be wrong. That's why it also helps to have at least one parent tested which I do. My dad. It's why when I met Sandra Taliaferro I knew she was a paternal cousin to me, and we spent much email time discussing how it could be possible that we are related when the majority of her relatives were from Georgia and the majority of my paternal side were from Louisiana and it was the reason I wrote this blog, Those Traveling Taliaferro's Part I and Those Traveling Taliaferro's and Tidwells Too

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