The desire to learn about our ancestors has been in my mind for years. After being told about an up coming family reunion my sister Ritta's children and my children begin to ask questions such as- How are we related to him or her? How can you keep up with everyone? At that time we relized that our children did not understand how they were related to the majority of the peoplewe called cousins, uncles, aunts and etc.
I came up with the idea to start researshing our heritage. At this family reunion(18 years ago) my cousin Donna and I taped together brown paper bags(which I still have)making a crude family tree. By the next reunion I had two years to complete as much as we could and bring it to the family reunion.
Genealogy research is both time consuming and costly. Ritta and I spent many hours in the local public library made trips to Kentucky - the Archives, the public library, and to diffrent court houses. We spend half of a whole day in the library, just reading the local history and got side tracked. We have since learned our lesson. I think we proabally made a few cousin's mad because that is all we talked about. But we kept going.
I guess that some would say that we had it easy, we where aware of the slave owners name and family history because our oral history was told to us by our grandparents . My grandfather told many stories about slavery, his childhood, his parents and his wife. Two very old and prominet owner family names: Dixon and Powell. Contacting the slave owners families was more rewarding then we hoped. We have receive information and photo's and we cannot express how much this has helped us.
Oral history is so important to the African American family. When you can not read or write, oral history is all you have. To the young all I can say is listen when the elders tell you about their parent, we did and it helped a lot. When it is lost it is lost forever.
I recently discovered that my great grandfather was in the civil war. I'm off for the hunt again and the hunt never stops.
I hope that you enjoy our heritage.