Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Honoring the Ancestral Voters and Committing to Voting Today

Source of Image: AfroTexan

Did my ancestor's vote? I have evidence that many of them did, and so did many freed people take advantage of their ability to participate in a process denied to them for centuries.

Well, one of the treasure in researching my Bass family is that of an 1867 voting record, of Uncle Napier Bass. He is the first of many cousins bearing his name. He was taken to Texas in 1860 from Elkton Tennessee. He remained there after freedom, and made Fayette County Texas his home. His name appears on a Voter Registration document from the county that was made in 1867. His name on this record reflects the first time an ancestor's name appears on a record reflecting his having been a voter. It is therfore, fitting that on election day that I share this image.


The oldest document reflecting one of my ancestors as a registered voter.

Texas, Voter Registration Lists, 1867-1869 Fayette County
Image Source: 1867 Voter Registration Lists. Microfilm, 12 rolls.
Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.
Accessed from Ancestry.

Having cast my ballot this morning, I feel a remarkable sense of relief. So glad that what has been an 18 month process with early televised debates, I am so happy that it is finally coming to an end. And this year's process has been remarkably disturbing with one candidate offending almost every segment of society. The candidate of hate (who shall not be named) has made this a frightening time for me and for those whom I love to be in this country, has made me fearful of the future. As a person of color the hateful tone of this election season and the support of the candidate of hate, reflects widespread support for a bigoted man. And more disturbing has been to see the support even coming from those who once had my respect, and this has been most unsettling. I know now that I might not be safe around them. I shall have to note more closely my movements and associations in the future.

Harper's Weekly, November 16, 1867 p. 1
Sketch by A. R. Waud


However today, after casting my ballot, I feel a sense of relief and calm.

The long lines this morning were comforting to see. Heavy voting suggests that the people have a voice and they are determined to see that some good things will happen and that some things will not happen. And I am grateful for those leaders of the past that made the past two elections possible.


As many of my friends and relatives in the south only got to vote in the 1960s, I also think of the many who were terrorized, beaten, and killed for simply trying to vote. They are honored every time that I vote, and I am humbled when I think of them.

And as a woman, I am also humbled. I think of the many who fought for voting rights for many years, and who also suffered. Women like Fannie Lou Hamer, endured beatings and who fought nevertheless for voting rights in Mississippi. She dared to tell her story to all in 1968.  Yet, many who saw her speak then, still defend their support of a hate filled candidate (who shall not be named) who wishes to go back to the "great days" that were not so great for people of color, when Fannie would be beaten for her work.

Fannie Lou Hamer at the Democratic Convention in 1968

And I think of the women also who further back in time fought and marched so that women could also vote. The women were truly souls of courage and grace, deserving our respect and honor. From the unknown suffragettes such as Hattie Redmond of Oregon to the well known Susan B. Anthony, I was truly honored to vote today.

Lesser known Hattie Redmon, suffragette in Oregon
Source of Image: Oregon Encyclopedia


And the most moving image of the day has been watching a live broadcast of people in Rochester New York, visiting the grave of Susan B. Anthony. On a day in which a woman's name is on the ballot for president, it is fitting that on a day when history is being made, to see people visiting her grave, and thanking her for her work. This has truly moved me.
Image from Live Feed of Visitors to Susan B. Anthony Grave
(Courtesy of WROC-TV. Rochester NY)

I reflect and know that recent efforts by an obstructionist Congress to suppress the 14th Amendment and the 15th Amendment have been disheartening to say the least and destructive to the country, and their efforts have instilled fear in my heart. My sense of safety and well being have been affected by such blatant racism and hatred being shown by elected leaders.

But for some reason, I now have a feeling now of optimism and that the nation has seen the evil emanating through endorsement of hate coming forth, and I pray that they will stop the descent and rise.

The long lines at the polls today told me that the suffering of the 1960s were not in vain. The long lines told me that when we speak through our vote, we shine, and we can win.

What an awesome power lies within one's ability to vote. I feel therefore inspired to share a few images from the past of people once denied, finally exercising this incredible task of voting. It is a right and a responsibility to make a nation better. And it is a responsibility to keep it from back-sliding into a era of blind intolerance, bigotry and racial superiority.

The heinousness of it all can and will be blocked by the actions of a people who will not allow it to happen.


I care, therefore I vote!

Friday, September 9, 2016

New Season, New Ideas, New Directions: Black Pro Gen


Black Pro Gen LIVE New Features

Well a new season is here, and new ideas that have been simmering are arising. So thrilled to share with everyone the new season and some new strategies to work with beginning genealogists and seasoned ones to find the ancestors and break through the challenges we call "brick walls."

Black Pro Gen is a community of African American Professional Genealogists who work together, sharing ideas and strategies. There are quite a few of us out there ready to assist others, and to share ideas with each other as well.

For the past year, there have been regular Black Pro Gen Hangouts - which are live discussions viewed by an audience listening to a fascinating dialogue about research strategies. If you missed them, you can find them on YouTube. Each Hangout session is devoted to a theme---some are focused on various states and resources, and other new features.

As Google is making changes, the Hangouts are now to be known at LIVE, and Black Pro Gen is joining the fun. But in addition to that some new features will be added to the Black Pro Gen events.

ASK MARIAH

Do you have a genealogy brick wall? Is there something that you can't figure out from your many records? Or are you looking for a suggestion on where to go next with your research? If this description fits  you, then you may get some help if you "Ask Mariah". This is a new feature that will be part of Black Pro Gen LIVE. Throughout the year, this group of researchers, gather online to discuss projects, or to explore a common topic and to offer suggestions and strategies to each other. Simply submit your questions to me@whoisnickasmith.com, or to AngelaW859@aol.com, and we will answer them on Black Pro Gen LIVE! Put Ask Mariah in the subject line.

ANCESTRY MAKERS

How can you as a regular person have your genealogy done by professionals? Well Black Pro Gen, will have your genealogy done by professionals free of charge. If you are selected, you only have to be a guest on the BlackProGen Hangout, and find out the results of their research conducted for you. Why not let the team of professional genealogists on Black Pro Gen LIVE do the work? If your project is selected, the reveal will be made to you and your family LIVE online in one of the Black Pro Gen Hangouts. If this interests you, send an email to Nicka Smith and she will follow up with you about your research interest.

Both services are offered for free.

Here are members of the BlackProGen community and where you can find their blogs and websites:

Name:                              Website

Bernice A. Bennett           Research at the National Archives and Beyond

Linda Buggs Simms         Mississippi Rooted

Toni Carrier                       Low Country Africana

Melvin Collier                   Mississippi to Africa, Roots Revealed

Vicky Daviss-Mitchell       Mariah's Zepher

Ellen Fernandez-Sacco     Babilonia Family History

George Geder                    Geder Writes

Taneya Koonce                Taneya's Genealogy Blog

True Lewis                       Notes to Myself

James Morgan III             Afr. American Fraternal and Benevolent Society History

Shelley Murphy               Family Tree Girl

Drusilla Pair                     Find Your Folks

Renate Yarborough-Sanders  Into The Light

Angela Walton-Raji         African Roots Podcast, My Ancestor's Name, African-NatAm.

Nicka Smith                     Who is Nicka Smith,  Atlas Family

Teresa Vega                      Radiant Roots, Boricua Branches

Next year promises to be an exciting year and we hope that you will join all of us!

New Season, New Ideas, New Directions: Black Pro Gen


Black Pro Gen LIVE New Features

Well a new season is here, and new ideas that have been simmering are arising. So thrilled to share with everyone the new season and some new strategies to work with beginning genealogists and seasoned ones to find the ancestors and break through the challenges we call "brick walls."

Black Pro Gen is a community of African American Professional Genealogists who work together, sharing ideas and strategies. There are quite a few of us out there ready to assist others, and to share ideas with each other as well.

For the past year, there have been regular Black Pro Gen Hangouts - which are live discussions viewed by an audience listening to a fascinating dialogue about research strategies. If you missed them, you can find them on YouTube. Each Hangout session is devoted to a theme---some are focused on various states and resources, and other new features.

As Google is making changes, the Hangouts are now to be known at LIVE, and Black Pro Gen is joining the fun. But in addition to that some new features will be added to the Black Pro Gen events.

ASK MARIAH

Do you have a genealogy brick wall? Is there something that you can't figure out from your many records? Or are you looking for a suggestion on where to go next with your research? If this description fits  you, then you may get some help if you "Ask Mariah". This is a new feature that will be part of Black Pro Gen LIVE. Throughout the year, this group of researchers, gather online to discuss projects, or to explore a common topic and to offer suggestions and strategies to each other. Simply submit your questions to me@whoisnickasmith.com, or to AngelaW859@aol.com, and we will answer them on Black Pro Gen LIVE! Put Ask Mariah in the subject line.

ANCESTRY MAKERS

How can you as a regular person have your genealogy done by professionals? Well Black Pro Gen, will have your genealogy done by professionals free of charge. If you are selected, you only have to be a guest on the BlackProGen Hangout, and find out the results of their research conducted for you. Why not let the team of professional genealogists on Black Pro Gen LIVE do the work? If your project is selected, the reveal will be made to you and your family LIVE online in one of the Black Pro Gen Hangouts. If this interests you, send an email to Nicka Smith and she will follow up with you about your research interest.

Both services are offered for free.

Here are members of the BlackProGen community and where you can find their blogs and websites:

Name:                              Website

Bernice A. Bennett           Research at the National Archives and Beyond

Linda Buggs Simms         Mississippi Rooted

Toni Carrier                       Low Country Africana

Melvin Collier                   Mississippi to Africa, Roots Revealed

Vicky Daviss-Mitchell       Mariah's Zepher

Ellen Fernandez-Sacco     Babilonia Family History

George Geder                    Geder Writes

Taneya Koonce                Taneya's Genealogy Blog

True Lewis                       Notes to Myself

James Morgan III             Afr. American Fraternal and Benevolent Society History

Shelley Murphy               Family Tree Girl

Drusilla Pair                     Find Your Folks

Angela Walton-Raji         African Roots Podcast, My Ancestor's Name, African-NatAm.

Nicka Smith                     Who is Nicka Smith,  Atlas Family

Teresa Vega                      Radiant Roots, Boricua Branches

Next year promises to be an exciting year and we hope that you will join all of us!

New Season, New Ideas, New Directions: Black Pro Gen


Black Pro Gen LIVE New Features

Well a new season is here, and new ideas that have been simmering are arising. So thrilled to share with everyone the new season and some new strategies to work with beginning genealogists and seasoned ones to find the ancestors and break through the challenges we call "brick walls."

Black Pro Gen is a community of African American Professional Genealogists who work together, sharing ideas and strategies. There are quite a few of us out there ready to assist others, and to share ideas with each other as well.

For the past year, there have been regular Black Pro Gen Hangouts - which are live discussions viewed by an audience listening to a fascinating dialogue about research strategies. If you missed them, you can find them on YouTube. Each Hangout session is devoted to a theme---some are focused on various states and resources, and other new features.

As Google is making changes, the Hangouts are now to be known at LIVE, and Black Pro Gen is joining the fun. But in addition to that some new features will be added to the Black Pro Gen events.

ASK MARIAH

Do you have a genealogy brick wall? Is there something that you can't figure out from your many records? Or are you looking for a suggestion on where to go next with your research? If this description fits  you, then you may get some help if you "Ask Mariah". This is a new feature that will be part of Black Pro Gen LIVE. Throughout the year, this group of researchers, gather online to discuss projects, or to explore a common topic and to offer suggestions and strategies to each other. Simply submit your questions to me@whoisnickasmith.com, or to AngelaW859@aol.com, and we will answer them on Black Pro Gen LIVE! Put Ask Mariah in the subject line.

ANCESTRY MAKERS

How can you as a regular person have your genealogy done by professionals? Well Black Pro Gen, will have your genealogy done by professionals free of charge. If you are selected, you only have to be a guest on the BlackProGen Hangout, and find out the results of their research conducted for you. Why not let the team of professional genealogists on Black Pro Gen LIVE do the work? If your project is selected, the reveal will be made to you and your family LIVE online in one of the Black Pro Gen Hangouts. If this interests you, send an email to Nicka Smith and she will follow up with you about your research interest.

Both services are offered for free.

Here are members of the BlackProGen community and where you can find their blogs and websites:

Name:                              Website

Bernice A. Bennett           Research at the National Archives and Beyond

Linda Buggs Simms         Mississippi Rooted

Melvin Collier                   Mississippi to Africa, Roots Revealed

Vicky Daviss-Mitchell       Mariah's Zepher

Ellen Fernandez-Sacco     Babilonia Family History

George Geder                    Geder Writes

Taneya Koonce                Taneya's Genealogy Blog

True Lewis                       Notes to Myself

James Morgan III             Afr. American Fraternal and Benevolent Society History

Shelley Murphy               Family Tree Girl

Drusilla Pair                     Find Your Folks

Angela Walton-Raji         African Roots Podcast, My Ancestor's Name, African-NatAm.

Nicka Smith                     Who is Nicka Smith,  Atlas Family

Teresa Vega                      Radiant Roots, Boricua Branches

Next year promises to be an exciting year and we hope that you will join all of us!

New Season, New Ideas, New Directions: Black Pro Gen


Black Pro Gen LIVE New Features

Well a new season is here, and new ideas that have been simmering are arising. So thrilled to share with everyone the new season and some new strategies to work with beginning genealogists and seasoned ones to find the ancestors and break through the challenges we call "brick walls."

Black Pro Gen is a community of African American Professional Genealogists who work together, sharing ideas and strategies. There are quite a few of us out there ready to assist others, and to share ideas with each other as well.

For the past year, there have been regular Black Pro Gen Hangouts - which are live discussions viewed by an audience listening to a fascinating dialogue about research strategies. If you missed them, you can find them on YouTube. Each Hangout session is devoted to a theme---some are focused on various states and resources, and other new features.

As Google is making changes, the Hangouts are now to be known at LIVE, and Black Pro Gen is joining the fun. But in addition to that some new features will be added to the Black Pro Gen events.

ASK MARIAH

Do you have a genealogy brick wall? Is there something that you can't figure out from your many records? Or are you looking for a suggestion on where to go next with your research? If this description fits  you, then you may get some help if you "Ask Mariah". This is a new feature that will be part of Black Pro Gen LIVE. Throughout the year, this group of researchers, gather online to discuss projects, or to explore a common topic and to offer suggestions and strategies to each other. Simply submit your questions to me@whoisnickasmith.com, or to AngelaW859@aol.com, and we will answer them on Black Pro Gen LIVE! Put Ask Mariah in the subject line.

ANCESTRY MAKERS

How can you as a regular person have your genealogy done by professionals? Well Black Pro Gen, will have your genealogy done by professionals free of charge. If you are selected, you only have to be a guest on the BlackProGen Hangout, and find out the results of their research conducted for you. Why not let the team of professional genealogists on Black Pro Gen LIVE do the work? If your project is selected, the reveal will be made to you and your family LIVE online in one of the Black Pro Gen Hangouts. If this interests you, send an email to Nicka Smith and she will follow up with you about your research interest.

Both services are offered for free.

Here are members of the BlackProGen community and where you can find their blogs and websites:

Name:                              Website

Bernice A. Bennett           Research at the National Archives and Beyond

Linda Buggs Simms         Mississippi Rooted

Melvin Collier                   Mississippi to Africa, Roots Revealed

Vicky Daviss-Mitchell       Mariah's Zepher

Ellen Fernandez-Sacco     Babilonia Family History

George Geder                    Geder Writes

Taneya Koonce                Taneya's Genealogy Blog

James Morgan III             Afr. American Fraternal and Benevolent Society History

Shelley Murphy               Family Tree Girl

Drusilla Pair                     Find Your Folks

Angela Walton-Raji         African Roots Podcast, My Ancestor's Name, African-NatAm.

Nicka Smith                     Who is Nicka Smith,  Atlas Family

Teresa Vega                      Radiant Roots, Boricua Branches

Next year promises to be an exciting year and we hope that you will join all of us!

New Season, New Ideas, New Directions: Black Pro Gen


Black Pro Gen LIVE New Features

Well a new season is here, and new ideas that have been simmering are arising. So thrilled to share with everyone the new season and some new strategies to work with beginning genealogists and seasoned ones to find the ancestors and break through the challenges we call "brick walls."

Black Pro Gen is a community of African American Professional Genealogists who work together, sharing ideas and strategies. There are quite a few of us out there ready to assist others, and to share ideas with each other as well.

For the past year, there have been regular Black Pro Gen Hangouts - which are live discussions viewed by an audience listening to a fascinating dialogue about research strategies. If you missed them, you can find them on YouTube. Each Hangout session is devoted to a theme---some are focused on various states and resources, and other new features.

As Google is making changes, the Hangouts are now to be known at LIVE, and Black Pro Gen is joining the fun. But in addition to that some new features will be added to the Black Pro Gen events.

ASK MARIAH

Do you have a genealogy brick wall? Is there something that you can't figure out from your many records? Or are you looking for a suggestion on where to go next with your research? If this description fits  you, then you may get some help if you "Ask Mariah". This is a new feature that will be part of Black Pro Gen LIVE. Throughout the year, this group of researchers, gather online to discuss projects, or to explore a common topic and to offer suggestions and strategies to each other. Simply submit your questions to me@whoisnickasmith.com, or to AngelaW859@aol.com, and we will answer them on Black Pro Gen LIVE! Put Ask Mariah in the subject line.

ANCESTRY MAKERS

How can you as a regular person have your genealogy done by professionals? Well Black Pro Gen, will have your genealogy done by professionals free of charge. If you are selected, you only have to be a guest on the BlackProGen Hangout, and find out the results of their research conducted for you. Why not let the team of professional genealogists on Black Pro Gen LIVE do the work? If your project is selected, the reveal will be made to you and your family LIVE online in one of the Black Pro Gen Hangouts. If this interests you, send an email to Nicka Smith and she will follow up with you about your research interest.

Both services are offered for free.

Here are members of the BlackProGen community and where you can find their blogs and websites:

Name:                              Website

Bernice A. Bennett           Research at the National Archives and Beyond

Linda Buggs Simms         Mississippi Rooted

Melvin Collier                  Mississippi to Africa, Roots Revealed

Vicky Daviss-Mitchell     Mariah's Zepher

Ellen Fernandez-Sacco    Babilonia Family History

George Geder                   Geder Writes

Taneya Koonce                Taneya's Genealogy Blog

James Morgan III             Afr. American Fraternal and Benevolent Society History

Shelley Murphy               Family Tree Girl

Drusilla Pair                     Find Your Folks

Angela Walton-Raji         African Roots Podcast, My Ancestor's Name, African-Native American

Nicka Smith                     Who is Nicka Smith,  Atlas Family

Teresa Vega                      Radiant Roots, Boricua Branches

Next year promises to be an exciting year and we hope that you will join all of us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Shall Not Forget My Ancestors' Past



Earlier today, in a recent thread on social media, a statement was made in reference to America's "peculiar institution" that we know as slavery, and it was suggested that as a nation we should simply "get over it" and move on.

Now, I normally ignore such statements that trivialize the history of people of color, and I usually ignore those who cry "get over it" their blatant dismissal of my history. They usually come from individuals whose opinions are not important to me,  I "get over" them and their dismissal of my history and move on.

However, the one I saw today came from someone whom I know, and I was compelled to respond and to share why I shall never "get over it", I responded with an explanation of how I am honored to remember what happened to those whose history I study every day. And in addition, I am obligated to teach future generations also to never "get over it" because that term suggests, that the history of an entire people should never be mentioned, and their lives should never be consider as worth remembering.

I shall never subscribe to anyone forgetting their history and definitely not a critical institution in America, such as the enslavement of Africans upon this soil. Now that does not mean walking around with a grudge, but to ask anyone to dismiss and forget and get over it trivializes something that was vital to this country. If we cannot get over it that a war was fought then end slavery then those who descend from the enslaved dare not "get over" what happened! Remembering the painful past instills even deeper respect for the ancestors and their survival for they lived within the confines of a terrible system. I then gave some thought about what that statement to just "get over it" means to me, and so, I replied.

I have since been asked to post my reply so that it can be shared. It follows below:

I shall always honor my ancestors who went through so much! No discomfort of those who are "tired of hearing it" can ever impede my honoring them, nor mentioning it. I work with records from the slavery era every day. Every single day from slave schedules to probate records, to old newspapers, to Freedmen's Bureau. That does not mean that every where I go I bring up history. But---my history lives with me, and every person carries pieces of their history with them.

Every day, when I see the post Civil War records of people begging the Bureau to retrieve their children still held in bondage, years after the war ended, I know that freedom did not come easily and Lincoln did not "fix it". I research every day.

When I see the peonage records that reflected forced labor of men and women into the 20th century---no----I shall not forget it, and it SHALL be mentioned. I would never tell anyone to "forget" their history, simply because someone unaffected by an evil system is tired of hearing about it.

You know me enough to know that I don't "wear it on my sleeve." But clearly it shall not be forgotten and as one who sees it in records every day--as a researcher---the impact of what I research and see and learn is humbling and I am honored to call the names of my enslaved ancestors. I am also not ashamed to say that they were enslaved, for their fate in life was the result of an evil system, and their ability to live in spite of it, speaks to their resilience. 

Their strength makes me stronger when life challenges me. So yes, I shall call their names, and I shall point out that these courageous people were once enslaved.

To "get over them" is the ultimate insult to those who were legislated into "nothing-ness". By my continuous remembrance of them--I become a better person, because I must still live a good life as I move through life and interact with the sons and daughters or the descendants of those who enslaved others.


I have met the descendants of those who enslaved my ancestors. I remember, and they remember and we now work together.

I stand upon the shoulders of many people---among those were enslaved men, women and children, who survived. 

And I shall always remember.


* * * * * * * * * * * * *
And so----today I shall call their names:
-Irving and Nancy Bass, enslaved by John Bass of Giles County Tennessee
-Patrick Drennen, enslaved by John Drennen of Van Buren Arkansas
-Kitty Perry, enslaved y Nail Perry, Choctaw Nation
-Amanda Perry Anchatubbe enslaved by Emeline Perry, Choctaw Nation

-Jackson Perry Crow enslaved by Nail Perry, Choctaw Nation
-Sallie Perry Walton enslaved by Emeline Perry
-Mitchell Bass, enslaved by Henry C. Pride, Horatio Arkansas
-Minerva Houston, enslaved by Elizabeth Houston Millwee, Horatio Arkansas
-Georgia Ann Houston enslaved by Elizabeth Houston Millwee, Horatio Arkansas
-Martha Campbell, enslaved by Robert Campbell, Maury County Tennessee
-Amanda Campbell Young enslaved by William Tandy Young, Ripley Mississippi
-Harriet Young Martin, enslaved by William Tandy Young, Ripley Mississippi
-Berry Kirk, enslaved by William Tandy Young
-Lydia Walters Talkington, enslaved by Mary Walters, Dripping Springs Arkansas
-Samuel Walton, enslaved by Josiah Harrell, Dripping Springs Arkansas & Jim Davis Choctaw Nation


           .......and I honor those whose names are yet to be discovered as I continue my genealogical journey.