Growing my roots:

Interlocked and Interwoven by common ancestry & DNA

Ancestry DNA: Thoughts on being an Ally

I am posting an undeliverable email to AncestryDNA’s customer service department about its decision to increase its matching threshold among participants to 8 centimorgans (cM). It seems that they are no longer accepting them. So, I decided to cross-publish it on my many “abandoned” blogs. This decision, I believe, will have a negative impact on those who research African-American genealogies and African-American family histories, as well as those who research genealogies and histories of other underrepresented populations in Ancestry’s database. I understand there are more pressing issues going on currently in the United States that African Americans are facing than what I have written about here. But our history is important to many of us too, and all the tools we need to access that history should be available to us.

As I said, this was an email with the intent of being delivered to AncestryDNA and will read as such.

I write while being fully aware that AncestryDNA will ignore this, as many of my concerns that I expressed to the company have after being a loyal customer for more than a decade.

 Recently, AncestryDNA made a statement saying it believes that black lives matter too, but, with its new policy of reinforcing the 8 cM match stipulation, its actions are proving that green lives matter more because it is the dollar amount needed to curate a large DNA matching lists that is driving this decision to reduce the size of customers’ match lists. Of course, the company says the matching will be more refined to support its decision. I am African American and more representative of the American “salad bowl” expression than most Americans (those mainly of New World white European descent) who have purchased this DNA product. I say that because most African Americans who have ancestors that can be traced back to enslavement have European and African DNA and some even have the much sought after Native American DNA. For people who are not of long-standing American western European Ancestry, our match lists are significantly smaller. Scientifically and historically the story that our (African American) DNA can tell you is what should be valued as historians, geneticists, general scientists, citizen scientists, storytellers, and allies of the Black Lives Matters movement, because of its rich complexity of how America is a salad bowl. But, at the end, middle, and beginning of the day AncestryDNA is a profiter, a business, and a pretender.

 I am well aware that African Americans are not unique when it comes to New World populations with a complex DNA makeup (though, overall, in the world as a whole, our DNA is more complex than most as far as having a multi-racial and multi-ethnic composition) or that we are the demographic who may have the fewest matches collectively in AncestryDNA’s database—it is close though. This plea to reconsider this mandatory 8 cM minimum is for those groups too. But I am American, and AncestryDNA is an American company. Furthermore, the company is not only perpetrating that it believes black lives matter too, but also insinuating that it is custodians and storytellers of, particularly, American family history and how Americans from all corners of the world can be traced back to somewhere else but “somehow” landed here as though that should be considered something significant.

Well, African Americans have begun to definitively trace our Ancestry beyond where the paper trail drops off. I am not saying that every African American needs DNA testing to get past this brick wall. I am saying DNA testing makes the journey easier regardless whether we can without it or not. And yes, those smaller segments may be false. There are genetic genealogists who are constantly reminding the community of that. Those who know me would never call me an optimist, when it comes to DNA matching for common ancestor purposes I am. I am of the thought—and I think science supports this—that it only makes sense that the further you and a DNA match are away from a common ancestor the less DNA you will share, but that does not mean that it is untraceable. You figure out if it is real the same way you figure out where exactly in your matches’ and your own family trees (or lines of descent) you each fit: through research. Small sharing segments have helped many African Americans connect definitively with continental African, pre-Antebellum African-American, European, and some Native American distant relatives. I say this through experience that involved research that I would not have done without a 6 cM match to me that varied between 6 cM and 22 cM to many known family members.

 I honestly do not believe I said anything above that AncestryDNA did not already know. Most people who work diligently in the genetic genealogy world see right to the real reason for this new implementation. Financially it is better for AncestryDNA to curate smaller matching lists, and this change has nothing to do with the reason on its website that suggests it is for an altruistic greater good of its customers. I suspect even those genealogists who welcome this change due to large matching lists or those who are quick to jump to the false-positive narrative would agree that is the main reason. I would like to suggest that the company try a different approach by choosing one of the following instead: (1) integrate a sliding scale by allowing customers to choose their own matching cut-off limit down to 6 cM; (2) have an opt-in to the 8 cM proposed threshold; or (3) some other choice all together that gives customers agency to choose whether they would like to research distant and possibly false (or not) matches. I will also use this soapbox that I have created for myself to suggest instead of taking features away from customers offer some truly new and innovative ones that speak directly to the company’s brand and encourage genetic research into African American DNA connections (or original 13 colony settlement DNA connections, or founding father DNA connections, or Enslaved Deep South Connections, etc.). I mean take an active part in this research where AncestryDNA can discover something along with its customers and actually contribute to this field. This is a positive change that shows the company supports the community that is keeping it in business, it supports research, and that ancestry really does matter to it.

 I am asking this as a long-standing customer of Ancestry’s (the company that sells the AncestryDNA kits) original product, as a 15-AncestryDNA kit purchaser, as a descendant of the African enslaved and European enslavers, as a Black Lives Matters sympathizer, as a genetic genealogist, as a family and general historian, as a storyteller, and as an American who wants to know about all the salad ingredients that made her.

July 27, 2020 Posted by | ancestrydna, DNA results, Reconnecting, The journey | | Leave a comment

Restoring My Moore Line: The Power in Using DNA for Genetic Genealogy

After a long hiatus, I am back (sort of).

If you have followed my blog in the past, I am sure you have read my ravings about how DNA testing can really enhance your genealogy research. You also have read my frustration with people who take these tests and focus on the most unhelpful part: the ethnicity estimates. These same people will see an unknown close relation and never wonder how they connect but bitch and moan about not having ethnicty results reflecting a particular group without understanding history, migration, and scientific affinity. Well, folks, you are selling yourselves short and wasting a 100 bucks if you never look back at your DNA matches and reach out to that unknown third cousin (and sometimes closer). Mapping a scientifically accurate genetic tree and speaking to relatives with information can tell you a lot more about who you came from than seeing a label on a screen.

Recently, DNA has restored a whole branch of my family that I have been searching for about fifteen years. Before ever taking a genetic genealogy test, I used oral history and whatever paper documentation that I could find. I did not grow up knowing extended family, and trying to get accurate information from them when I did make contact was very hard. They treated the information as if it was classified. For the longest time, I had my paternal great grandparents listed as Berry Louie (1884–1964) and Nora (1888-unknown). No matter how hard I tried, I could not figure out Nora’s maiden name. Let it be known, I was also doing genealogy on a fixed budget. (Genealogy can eventually be an expensive endeavor!) So, any money devoted to it had to be planned. Over the years, I would work on another line but always go back to Nora. Getting information on Berry was not much better. I remember thinking how easy my research would be if Allen, Berry’s brother, was my great grandfather because finding information on him seemed much easier. In 2013, I sent for my grandfather’s (John Louie; b. 1912–1968) original social security application. On these documents parents’ names are usually listed. I had sent for it before, but state agencies only release certain information such as parents’ names after a certain amount of time for living-persons’ privacy reasons. So, I did get the application but with black marker blotting out the parents’ names.

A year later, when the “wait” time was over, I re-sent for the document. When I received the application, it read father: Allen Louie Sr. (1879-1975) and mother: Mamie Louie (née Moore; 1886-unknown), it just listed their names and not the parenthetical.  This made me very excited, because there was a lot of information for Allen online: obituaries, census records, draft papers, etc. Once again, I was facing the same problem I had with Mamie that I had with Nora. Other than knowing that Mamie’s last name was Moore that was revealed off of Allen’s obituary, there was not much that I could find on her. Around the same time, my brother and I received a very close match on 23andMe. This young man had family from my father’s hometown of Lexington, MS. in Holmes county. He gave a few names and they were unrecognizable to me. The names I knew were unrecognizable to him. I tried encouragng him and letting him know that DNA is more solid evidence than surnames, but he was not having it. So, again, this line went cold.

In hindsight, I now see that I did not give Mamie the scrutiny that she deserved since finding out that it was she and not Nora who was my second great grandmother. I spent so much time trying to figure out Nora’s parentage (which I still do not know and is still important) and then having so much information streaming in on Allen, I was sort of confused about my bearings on the line. This was also during the time that my mom was extremely sick and I was nearing finishing up graduate school.  Things were in a state of flux.

Until four months ago, I really did not think too much about the line. Then, my brother and I received an “Extremely High Match” on AncestryDNA. I, honestly, was not excited. I have written high DNA matches before to receive no response, or, even worse, a disbelief in the scientific test that they had paid for. I really did not think this time would be any different. This match had a tree filled with folks from Lexington, MS. I wrote her, and a day later she had written back. She was very excited to hear from me. We exchanged information. She had not heard of my Louies or Collinses (my go to when discussing my Lexington branch). About three days later she wrote me and said she had looked at my tree and found the connection. Mamie Moore was the daughter of her great grandparents Anderson Moore (1862-1939) and Malinda Baker (1864-1943), making them my 2nd great grandparents. I looked at my tree and my saved census records and right next door to Anderson and Malinda are my great grandparents Allen and Mamie Louie. If I would have given Mamie the proper attention she deserved, I would have seen that Mamie was living right next door to a Moore and in a neighborhood filled with Moores. (Keep in mind, I am no beginner at this. So this was really a silly oversight.)

I called my paternal aunt whom I had not spoken to in 10 years or so. I needed information and wanted to explain that I am not doing anything nefarious with the family information and that it does not need to be guarded like it was in Fort Knox. She was surprisingly very chatty. She knew of Anderson and Malinda and their connection before I even began mentioning what I had found through the DNA connection or mentioning their names at all. I just said “I have been really thinking about Mamie’s parents, and.” Well, that was all I needed to say before she brought up Anderson’s farm and how he owned land.

Using certain tools available to those of us who use genetic genealogy in our research, I was able to reach out to other common matches sharing the exact same segment as me and my cousin to let them know how we are related. That is so much more rewarding than a label on a page.

(L to R) Anderson Moore (1862-1939); Malinda Baker Moore (1865-1943);(bottom) their gravesite.

DNA Kit Giveaway

Because I really think that DNA testing can open up a lot of doors that need to be opened about our past, I will once again offer to pay for (as I can afford) DNA tests for people who stumble upon my blog. There is a caveat this time.

I am looking for people who can prove that they truly think they descend from the following couples.

Whylie Wilson (abt 1833) and Abie/Ibby Tilgman (abt 1843) lived in the Mississippi counties of Claiborne and Jefferson

Effie Wilson (1872-1925) and Howard Pearl (abt 1862) lived in the Mississippi counties of Claiborne, Jefferson, and Bolivar.

Webb Roberson/Robinson (abt 1863) and Mariah Quarles (1868) lived in the Mississippi counties of Scott and Bolivar. Webb may have also had another wife by the name of Frances (abt 1870) Bolivar, MS

Willie Roberson/Robinson (abt 1900) Missisissippi counties of Scott and Bolivar, and Fannie Mae Pearl/Shorter/Washington (1906-1988) Mississippi counties of Claiborne, Leflore, and Bolivar

Ben Moorehead/Mohead (abt 1893) and Inez Lott (abt 1898) of the Mississippi counties of Carroll, Leflore, and Holmes

Gary/Gray Lott Sr. (abt 1838) and Francis Holman or Francis Turner (abt 1860) of Carroll county, MS

Esther  (abt 1839) and Sam Holman (abt 1812) of Carroll County, MS

Simon Theophilus Turner (1809-1891) and Martha Ann Eddins (1814-1892) of Denmark, TN, and Carroll County, MS

Mamie Moore (1886-) and Allen Louie Sr. (1879-1975) of Lexington, Holmes county, MS

Anderson Moore (1862-1939) and Malinda Baker (1864-1943) of Lexington, Holmes county, MS

John Louie (abt 1834) and Sarah/Sallie Collins/Collum (abt 1840) of Lexington, Holmes county, MS

You must email me at with a detailed message of whom you think you descend from and why. I am only able to offer a kit as I have the spare funds to do so.

June 18, 2017 Posted by | 23andme, ancestrydna, Baker, Collins, Dad, DNA results, Eddins, Holman, Lexington, Holmes County, Mississippi, Lott, Louie, Moore, Moorehead, Pearl, Quarles, Roberson, Turner, Wilson | 2 Comments

23andMe Chromosome Comparison

I am using an illustration between me and my (half) sisters to show what one actually sees when they agree to share (or more accurately, compare) genomes on 23andMe. All you are doing is visually seeing exact what chromosomes and segments shared between you and the other person. It is quite harmless.

23andMe Genome Compare

June 14, 2014 Posted by | DNA results | , , , , , | Leave a comment

DNA genealogy should not be a parlor trick. This is real and serious stuff.

It has been a while since my last post. Well I have graduated, and a new chapter begins. I don’t have any new discoveries—only thoughts.

I notice that many newer people who have gotten into DNA genealogy are only interested in the most uncertain and ever-changing aspect of it, the ethnicity mix. (Heck, I even initially was swept up in it and posted my and my sibling’s results in a post.) These are the same people who refuse to believe the more concrete and never-changing part of the science, the matches. After a certain percentage of centimorgans of DNA shared, the odds of it being a false positive is null.

There are not many African Americans into genealogy, and this is a shame. We could really help each other piece things together. (Genealogists helping fellow genealogists is also a problem that I will bring back up later.) Many African Americans who cross over to DNA genealogy and not part of the people in the above paragraph usually have a one-tracked mind. They see a population that their DNA shows an affinity with and make an assumption that they are part that population. An example is that AncestryDNA shows I have a small percentage of Finno-Russian. I may very well have Finno-Russian. It is also may be Native American. The area that is now made up of the countries of Finland and Russia has been proven by peer reviewed science papers to be an area where some Native American tribes actually came from. (Believe me; I am not chasing that Indian princess relative that so many who take these tests are interested in. I am just looking for the real ancestors that made me.) Basically, I am saying a little knowledge of history should be accompanied when interpreting your results. That was just one example of hitching on to one aspect of one’s results and not investigating further.

Many people, not just African Americans, get hung up on a surname not showing or a place not appearing among their matches. I have said it before and will say it until I lose my ability to speak: DNA trumps oral history and recorded documents. (I have not much more to add to that. You either believe it or you don’t.)

A huge dose of genetic science by all should be attempted to be understood when interpreting your results. This is mainly the companies’ fault though. They advertise in such a way that leads consumers to believe that once you receive your results all your genealogical and ancestral questions will be answered. This is not the case. You have to work very hard to figure out what the DNA is telling you. I always provide my matches with a link to Kelly Wheaton’s Beginners Guide to Genetic Genealogy.

I visit many DNA-genealogy based groups, forums, communities, and message boards, and the snobbery among those who feel like someone else has nothing to offer them (because of lack of family knowledge, small pedigrees, or not coming from the “right” branch) is disheartening. I get that people want to give just as much as they can get, but many people lack family knowledge for legitimate reasons. Simply not being told, being adopted, not having funds to spend on documents, and or not having the luxury to travel to ancestral homes or genealogical databases are all valid reasons. These people are still as much related to those ancestors as the “hoarding” genealogists are. I, myself, do this in hopes that I can freely share what I discover with anyone who will listen.

The last thing that I really think genealogy, specifically genetic genealogy can benefit from is a standard that all companies, geneticists, and casual dabblers should adhere by—an internationally recognized board, if you will. And this is where I may turn those who deem themselves “citizen genetic scientists” off. This board needs to be filled with equal parts citizen genetic scientists and actual degree-holding geneticists. How can you discuss genealogy without a genealogist? On the same hand, how can you discuss genetics without a geneticist? On these aforementioned forums, I see a lot of well-respected folks saying opposite things or with agenda and company loyalty. That is not a standard.

In other news, I bought a better Web site that I was going to migrate to. It is much more complicated than I had anticipated.

June 7, 2014 Posted by | DNA results, The journey | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Genealogy musings

I find it hard to write or talk about my parents. The funny thing is that I did not really know my father. My half siblings, no relation to him, knew him better.  After his death in 2001 I came to know him better, although I had not seen him since 1980. And my mom…well, she was a difficult person to show love to because she was a difficult person to show love. Even through all the anger, there has always been an overwhelming feeling of love for her.

James “Jerry” Vernon Louie was born December 24, 1947 in Lexington, Mississippi to Edna Mohead/Moorehead and John Louie. He was a Vietnam veteran. From my half siblings, on both sides, he liked to make people laugh. He also wrestled with his own depression. The latter played a part in his alcoholism. Still, I heard he was gentle and reflective.

Irene “Punch” Virginia Roberson was born March 8, 1931 in Greenville, Mississippi, although she was raised in Shelby. Her parents were Fannie Mae Pearl and Willie Roberson. She was superstitious, ambitious, and strong. She liked to laugh and spoke her mind. And she fiercely protected her children.

I honestly am not sure how important genealogy would have been to them. I get the feeling that my dad would find recent ancestors more interesting than those beyong three generations, and my mom would be more interested in romanticizing certain parts. I sense they would be more interested in the “now” and not the “then.” I respect that and understand where that comes from.

Our past, this includes our ancestors’ pasts, shapes what comes from our DNA tomorrow. No, I do not believe that we have no control over our destiny, but I do believe we are influenced by what came before us whether we realize it or not. I do not only do genealogy for my ancestors. I also do it for myself, my current relatives, and my descendants.

We came from someone, not something. We are going somewhere.

I am still trying to place the puzzle together. My main genealogy goals of 2014 are as follows.

1. Where does our Louie line lead/ Where was the first Louie who stepped into the New World from?

2. Who were Ben Moorehead’s (Mohead/Morehead) parents?

3. Who was Webb Roberson’s (Robinson) father?

4. Was great grandpa John Louie’s wife (my great grandma) Lenora Howard or Elnora Davis?

5. How do I fit into the Turner/Ivey/Sledge clan?

6. Do I belong in the Yancey/Bartlett/Thornton/Graves clan?

December 30, 2013 Posted by | Dad, Mom, Reconnecting, The journey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An image is worth…

I have genealogy photo envy. I admit it. It is not a begrudging envy of those with photos of their ancestors. It is a longing envy; a longing to have photos of my own ancestors. Hell, I don’t have any of my mom and only two of my dad.  My mom, as probably discussed in an earlier post, thought if someone captured your image they could do magical, often bad, things to you. Therefore, she hated taking pictures. Even me and my maternal siblings don’t really have pictures of ourselves as babies and children either. This may stem from her Mississippi Delta upbringing where I have read was the birthplace of hoodoo, a form a voodoo. I can’t speak much of hoodoo or voodoo, because I do not know the particulars and only found out recently that the difference between the two was not just in spelling. And my dad…I did not grow up knowing him, so that is why I have no pictures of him.

I would love to add a picture with every post. A picture would go well with when I write about my grandmother Fannie Mae Pearl-Shorter or when I write about my great grandfather’s Ben Moorehead’s (Mohead/Morehead) corner store in Leflore county, Mississippi, from the 1930s–which was something special for a black person in that era. I also wish I could place a name to the face of my great great grandfather Whylie Wilson, who I speculate gained his freedom when he was 16, which was 26 years before emancipation. More than anything, I wish I had more photos of my mom and my dad, Irene “Punch” Virginia Roberson and James “Jerry” Vernon Louie.

December 8, 2013 Posted by | Dad, Mom | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More powerful than science, stronger than belief…it is truth!

I am glad to see the sea between genealogist who use DNA as a valuable tool and strict paper genealogists is drying up. Paper genealogy got me back to the early 1800s on a few of my lines. For black Americans that is pretty far back.

I have always been a lover of stories, fiction, nonfiction, science fiction etc… . In my mid-20s I realized that I had no family stories of my own. Most of my friends had and conveyed them without even knowing they were doing so. My many siblings and I could only say that our mom was from Mississippi and still had family in Mississippi. I grew up not knowing my dad, so that was even more stories unrelayed.

Science fiction for a good decade was my fiction reading of choice. I have been fascinated by science, itself, but some smart science fiction that dealt with the biology of humans, human existence, and genetics made science more understandable for me. So when I heard of people using DNA in assisting with genealogy (history and science combined), I was excited. Problem was that initial tests were $1000 or more. Me producing that much money for a test would have been a work of fiction, for real.

In 2011 DNA testing became more affordable and the prices have since dropped. Therefore, I have gotten my autosomal DNA tested at three companies, five of my sisters’ austosomal tested at one, one brother’s tested at two, had mybrother’s and my mitochondrial DNA tested at two,  and my brother’s paternal (in essence, my father’s) paternal Y-DNA tested at two. Yes, you can call me a DNA junkie.

What is it that I hope to learn and how does it tie into genealogy—my story

Although the paper trail, documentation, and oral history have guided me back further than most people expected I could go, many lines still have gaps. Even those lines that go back to the early 1800s have a chance of getting back to the 1700s or 1600s or beyond. One of my hopes is that DNA will help me bridge the gaps and blaze a trail as far back as I can go.

Before testing, the certainties that I could tell you about my family was that we were mainly from Mississippi, we were mainly of African descent, we were mainly of slave descent, and, because of the nature of slavery, we probably had some European blood. After testing I can tell you that many of my DNA matches are mainly from North Carolina, therefore my family was probably there before being enslaved in Mississippi, we have matches to Nigeria and Ghana, my DNA matches seven modern-day African areas (with Cameroon,/Congo, C’ote d’Ivoire/Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria being the top regions), we range from 13% to 25% European and my DNA matches six European areas, one suspected black ancestor successfully made it to Canada before the end of slavery, two suspected European ancestors were brought over as slaves (one English and one Irish), and my father’s father’s father’s father’s line leads to Belgium. Now, some of this knowledge came from collaborating with my DNA matches on what they knew of their own history. Without the DNA, I would not have been led to these clues.

Another important thing that I am getting from DNA genealogy is proof that oral history or written documents cannot provide. DNA autocorrects the mistakes or “mis-leads” that have been left from the past. It does not give instant answers, afterall it is a tool that you have to work hard at. It challenges what you have been told or even what you have seen some times. This can be quite scary for some. But it is so exhilarating when you actually confirm that you were on the right track with your paper trail and in your oral history.

For me, knowing that an ancestor passed down a piece of themself that made me is something more powerful than science or belief. It is mystical and mesmerizing. It pushes me on with my genealogy because I want to discover who they were, every good, bad, or ugly detail.

All of my siblings only share one parent with me. Below is exactly what segments on the chromosome that we match.


November 20, 2013 Posted by | DNA results | , , , | Leave a comment

Thank you

I was planning on a longer and different post and that is still to come, but I wanted to salute my dad, James Vernon Louie (1947-2001) a veteran who served in the Vietnam War. Thanks to him for sacrificing so much for us. He deserves more than I can give this night but rest assured I am working on a post that is worthy of him.
James Vernon Louie1


November 12, 2013 Posted by | Dad | Leave a comment

Was Effie’s Delta blue?


Effie Wilson was my great grandmother. She was born in about 1875 and spent most of her life in the counties of Claiborne and Jefferson, MS, in the Delta.  In 1920, she had 10 living children. They were Nancy, Willie, Lillie, Rachel, RT, Ibby/Abby, and Esther (later in life she would go by Estelle). They were all fathered by Willie Shorter. Her other children, Mariah, Frankie, and Fannie (my grandmother) were all fathered by Howard Pearl. Effie’s mother  was Abby/Ibby Tilgman and Whylie Wilson, and her siblings were Wiley, Thomas, Robert, Whylie, Bettie,  Jane, Henry, Lucy, Ibbie, Ida, Ollie, and  Charley.

Effie, born a Wilson, became a Shorter, then a Pearl, a Shorter again, and a Smith (via Robert Smith). There may have been some other name changes along the way. Following Effie through the decades on the census was interesting. I always knew when I had found her because she was always with her kids. She had enough of them with her for me to know that I had the right person. In a few censuses, her mom was with her.

I have not heard any oral stories about Effie. In fact I did not know her name until I was 26. I have one picture of her, which I also saw when I was 26.  Effie, you have not been forgotten. I hope your life was filled with joy and laughter.

September 29, 2013 Posted by | Reconnecting, The journey, Wilson | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Genealogy is truly a cutthroat business. I mean some people feel as if they are sole owners of those that came before. I find the notion quite ridiculous because it is the descendants who belong to those who came preceded us, and by our mere existence, they own us. I begin this with the mind to discuss the types of genealogist that I have come across and have issue with.

As stated above, I have a real problem with “ancestor hogs.” Those are people who don’t want to share information but will drain you dry of any information that you may have. I am not advocating that genealogist become like me, but I share freely. I want my ancestors to be remembered. In fact, the lack of research that others are not doing on some of my lines makes me sad.

There are those who want you to do things in the manner in which they would. I am me. One thing I like about me is that I walk to the beat of a different drummer so well that I am actually following the surging riff of an electric guitar. That will not change. So the jazz hands that keep trying to tend to my tree and place all this manure that this gardener is not ready, willing, or able to tend to at the moment should tend to their own. There are good reasons that I don’t need to justify and will not explain as to why I am taking the road that I am taking on my journey.

I am mainly black (yes, I use this term more easily than African American), but have some white ancestors. I am just as connected and proud of both groups that I descend from. I want to know all of who made me.  Along my path, I have come across three types of researchers. The first are those who couldn’t care less about race and just want to figure out our connection. I like these people a lot. The last two make me want cut myself, make a salt and vinegar solution, and use the edge of a knife to rub it in my wound. I am thinking of those of you who feel as if I should not research my European ancestors and only focus on my African ancestors and those European cousins who, even the nice ones, have a sense that our European ancestor is really just your ancestor who raped, had sex with, made a mistake with, or had some fun with (pick your theme) my ancestor and created something that is really not connected to your ancestor at all. I call both of these types of genealogist the “deniers.”

Now, people can create a myth or choose to research in whatever manner they deem fit. I only have an issue when it impedes on me finding out who I am. The former does not slow down my progress but irritates me, because they feel a need to email me and tell me where I need to focus. The latter can be split even further. A good majority give information but still refer to our common ancestor as their ancestor, make apologies for their ancestor, and express anger at their ancestor. Well, I can do all of that for our ancestor on my own.

The latter in that category, if they do accept contact, offer very little information or say there is no way we can be related. Well, I have taken DNA tests to supplement what little oral history that I have. In fact, I am a science gal and believe the science way more than any oral history. The stories usually speak of familial connections, whereas DNA speaks of a genetic connection. There is a difference. Surnames, family stories, pictures, and such are more indicative of familial connections. I am interested in sorting out the genetic connection; although, I am not saying familial connections are not as important. I am not trying to figure out my bloodline because I want something such as money, a phone call, an invite to the next family reunion–things that my genetic relatives may feel like I am not entitled to. I want only what is owed to me, and I can prove ownership with my and my known families DNA. That is giving my ancestor a seat at my pedigree table. Therefore, with the ways that names changed, the manner in which census takers and transcribers recorded it, and the sordid history in which blacks took names, the fact is that not even a good amount of my third cousins will share many of the surnames that I know.

The last type of genealogist that irks me is the genealogist who tries to create a fact out of a fallacy. These are the people who will never admit their tree is wrong. They can have a mother in the tree giving birth to a child after her recorded death, see that their supposed grandfather Ryan Bennett married their supposed grandmother Louise Jones but still leave “grandpa” Jack Avery in their tree, etc. And those of us who consider ourselves DNA genealogist are no better. People will swear up and down that the science is wrong if we cannot place our matches, if we don’t see the Cherokee princess’s DNA (insert whatever ethnicity some people consider exotic), do see some signs of DNA we don’t want to see, or “close” paper trail cousins aren’t matching.

No, my tree is not ready for primetime either, but I state that and look into it when others suggest that I may have gotten it wrong. I welcome that. And there are times when I don’t change things right away. I do acknowledge erroneous information as erroneous information though.

My rant is up and time for a drink now.

September 28, 2013 Posted by | The journey | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment