The Family Was Broken but the DNA Wasn’t

DNA technology is absolutely amazing in so many ways! One of the ways is it can serve as very strong evidence, confirming years of research. More amazingly, it can verify ties that were broken during slavery. In 150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended, I wrote about how I discovered that a man named Pleasant (Pleas) …

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Research Tip: Check Your Assumptions

Researching and documenting many of my ancestors have not been accomplished without mistakes from time to time. Mistakes can easily come from drawing the wrong conclusions from one (or more) sources. In other words, some historical conclusions, assertions, or assumptions may be drawn from what many may feel to be from "obvious" research findings. However, …

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Cluster Genealogy Leads to Slave-owner’s Identity

“Brick Wall” is a metaphor used in genealogical and historical research when one reaches a point in their research where he/she is unable to progress further or “dig deeper.” All researchers and family historians encounter it. For those tracing African-American ancestors, this proverbial brick wall is commonly encountered at the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, a vitally …

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That Infamous 1890 Sinkhole

In 1921, a huge chunk of the stored 1890 census was destroyed in a fire at the Commerce Building here in Washington, DC. More can be read about that fire here. Genealogist Robyn Smith calls it “The 1880 Donut Hole,” as she brilliantly demonstrates its effect on her research in her blog post. However, I …

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Veterans Day Tribute: Honoring My Look-Alike and Others’ Service in World War I

When I first posted this picture of my great-uncles, John Wesley Davis and Jessie Franklin Davis of Panola County, Mississippi, a number of people, including family members, remarked that I bear a strong resemblance to Uncle John Wesley. I see some resemblance, but I wasn’t surprised by their observation. I am known to bear a …

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25 Do’s and Don’ts of DNA

I first wrote this in January 2015 with 20 tips. Advancements in DNA technology and more DNA options have surfaced since then, making it necessary for me to update this blog post. Keep in mind, the comical yet serious tone of this post reflects my love for DNA technology. Maybe “addiction” or fanatic is a …

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Got Roots in Madagascar?

How sure are you that your family's alleged Native American ancestry was really Native American? Several years ago, I read a post on the AfriGeneas African-Native American Genealogy Forum board of someone seeking information on the “Matagascan / Malagascan / Matogascan Creek Indians” because family lore claimed that her great-great-grandmother was from this “Indian” tribe. …

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