Blog Archives

You Owe Me What was Always Mine

“You owe me what was always mine” is the title of Briayna Cuffie’s latest blog post on reparations4slavery.com. She is speaking to enslavers whose family records, letters, journals, photos, plantation accounts, etc. contain valuable information about the men, women, and

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Healing, repair & action, History & culture: people, places & events, Linked Descendants, Slavery & its legacies

The Gwynn’s Island Project Reconnects the Descendants of Black Island Families to their Roots

  Maria Montgomery found me on Ancestry.com in 2016. Our family trees overlap because my ancestors enslaved hers. We are “linked descendants”—cousins regardless of whether we share DNA. She asked if I had any probate records that might list people

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Healing, repair & action, Linked Descendants, Slavery & its legacies

Healing Historic Harms Through Research — Sharon Leslie Morgan

Sharon Leslie Morgan moved to Noxubee County, Mississippi to research her ancestors’ history. Morgan’s great-great-grandmother, Betty Warfe Gavin, was enslaved there, and gave birth to 17 children. The father of all of them was Robert Louis Gavin, a white man

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, History & culture: people, places & events, Linked Descendants, Slavery & its legacies

“There was Nothing We Could Do About it”

By Antoinette Broussard When I was a child, Uncle George’s stories and the serious inflection in his voice always commanded my attention. He frequently told me about my maternal great-grandmother, Violet Craig Turner, who had been enslaved until 1865 by

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Healing, repair & action, Linked Descendants, Slavery & its legacies

Is Genealogy Racist?

“Is genealogy racist?” I typed into the search engine.

I had just received results from an ancestry DNA test. No surprises there — 99.9% northwestern European genetic heritage. I immediately wondered how many neo-Nazis use DNA tests to reinforce racism and claim racial purity.

As I typed my question in to the search engine that day, I was excited to find Coming to the Table. But it didn’t seem to apply to me. I come from a lower middle-class background: my ancestors were preachers, teachers, and laborers. None of my ancestors were slaveholders!

I later learned that I was wrong. Months later, once I knew where and how to look, I did discover slaveholding ancestors — among my working-class northern ancestors! But I didn’t make that discovery that day.

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Slavery & its legacies

Gathering African American Families’ Oral Histories – The Getting Word Project: African American Stories from Monticello – Part Three of Three

Part 3 concludes this blog series on conducting oral history research through the story of the Getting Word project. If you want to know more about the project and the historians, you can find it on the Getting Word web

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research

Gathering African American Families’ Oral Histories – The Getting Word Project: African American Stories from Monticello – Part Two of Three

Part 2 of the Oral History post describes the kinds of impacts that oral history research can have, regardless of the circumstances of the family whose history is being woven together. The Getting Word project’s impacts and aftermaths are an

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Healing, repair & action

Gathering African American Families’ Oral Histories – The Getting Word Project: African American Stories from Monticello – Part One of Three

So many of us want to know our ancestors’ stories and find out more about where we’ve come from. DNA research has advanced our ability to find and learn about our family members to an extraordinary extent, but family stories

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Slavery & its legacies

Science May Enable Reparations

Reviewing a Book Review A few days ago, I got an email from a friend who has become a leader in the field of researching African American family histories, up to and beyond the “brick walls” of slave lists that

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Healing, repair & action

BLEAK HOUSE – LINKED FIRST BY PLACE, THEN BY HEART (3)

Part 3 – Connecting with the Descendants of the Bleak House African American Community               Part 1 narrated what happened when Alice and Jon Cannon bought Bleak House, the remnant of Bleak House Plantation, and then found a book with the

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Posted in Finding documents & doing research, Healing, repair & action, Linked Descendants
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