My Juneteenth – Father’s Day Reveal

After over 150 years, his name is known and is finally being called again! And what better day to do so – Father’s Day and Juneteenth 2022. It took me 28 years to find him. Who was Grandpa Albert Kennedy’s father? Albert & Martha Ealy Kennedy’s third son, Hulen Kennedy of Leake County, Mississippi, was …

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These Findings Can’t Be Coincidental

Have you ever wondered if some of your research findings are purely coincidental? You know, when the people, places, and times seem to add up, but you still wonder if some findings are just a coincidence? I hope that the approach to these research findings will be a great help to others. Genealogical ideas and …

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A Genealogical Puzzle: Cluster Genealogy, Slave Ancestral Research, and DNA Crack a Longtime Brick Wall

John Hector Davis (1871-1935) and Hector Davis (1842-1925) A common conversation in the genealogy community is how often emancipated African Americans retained the surname of their last enslavers. Varying statistics suggest that most did not, while many did. For many (or a large majority of) researchers who have ancestors who chose a different surname during …

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Heinegg Releases New 6th Edition of “Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina”

Genealogist Paul Heinegg and I at the 2019 Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) Conference, Univ. of Maryland When I started actively researching my family history in 1993, I quickly learned of genealogist Paul Heinegg’s wonderful publication, “Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina from the Colonial Period to about 1820,” which …

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Finding Gems Along the DNA Trails

(Source: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. (1902). Mayor and Councilmen of Hobson City, Ala., Retrieved from here.) When genealogist Tierra Cotton-Kellow advised her friend to take the AncestryDNA test and to also test her uncle, she inadvertently opened a door for …

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Deeds and DNA Took Me Back to ‘Old Virginny’

https://youtu.be/YOqWIS-QS-0 Short clip: Visiting the area in Lunenburg County, Virginia where my great-great-grandmother, Jane Parrott Ealy, was taken away from c. 1839 and brought to Leake County, Mississippi. DNA revealed that family still lives there! In the early 1990s, when I first found Robert & Jane Ealy, my great-great-grandparents, in the 1870 and 1880 censuses, …

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More Than Just Names: Incorporating Social and Community History Into Your Research

Click image to register or see Zoom link below. I am very excited about this opportunity to co-teach on this upcoming webinar with genealogist and author, Robyn Smith. We both have busy federal careers, but we have maintained an active passion for genealogical and historical research for over two decades. Like many researchers, we get …

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Free, Alone with Young Children to Raise

My grandfather's baby sister, Martha Reed Deberry (1891-1971), who passed down history about her maternal grandmother, Polly Partee, who was an enslaved cook. Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Galveston, Texas on 19 June 1865. The Emancipation Proclamation, that had an effective date of 1 January 1863, did not immediately emancipate …

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Did He Take His Wife’s Enslaver’s Surname?

Recently, I excitedly stumbled on a case where a husband appeared to have changed his surname to that of his wife and children’s enslaver. I personally had not experienced this before. Enslaved and freed people’s surname selections were based on a number of reasons. Some took their last enslaver’s surname after slavery. Most did not. …

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Don’t Sleep on Genetic Groups!

Picture courtesy of Theresa J. Carter; Used by permission. Please do not sleep on genetic groups! A recent family discovery has me floored, and finding a new genetic group (also known as a genetic network) within my father’s DNA matches on Ancestry.com was the clincher! A genetic group or network is a group of DNA …

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