Tuesday, January 12, 2010

AfriGeneas-----Genealogy Buddies

I love that concept----buddies. Because I do not think one side of the story can be told without looking at the other side. And until we come together to tell our stories will we start to understand this American experience. This experience will probably be very hard on me. I am a sensitive soul and as the stories unravel, I grieve. My goal is to find ancestors of the people of my past. I want to share stories of mutual love and acceptance of families living together. For example; I would love to give to the ancestors of my ggg grandfather's horseman, letters I have explaining his ability and knowledge of horses. Hearing these personal accounts of ancestors gives life to the names, dates, locations, and occupations of our past. I think in some cases it would do good to understand the conditions and the families with some lived.

Being a native Californian, I have a very limited understanding and appreciation of the struggle of the African-American. I in no way want to justify, minimize nor past judgement on what truly has been a horrific part of American culture. I do know there is hatred, evil, and inhumane acts performed now today and in the past everyday and all the time.

Because it is such a horrible past -- many are reluctant to open that chapter of their lives. I "get it" But I am learning there are some very brave souls out there that want to explore this past and learn more. Just like me --- they were raised with stories of great grandfathers and great grandmothers sharing the past with them.

Ok, anyone, who knows me, knows I will and do go places people fear to go. There is an elephant in our genealogy past and instead of ignoring it, I plan to explore it's orgin, it's past and if possible learn from it. I am exploring and pleased to announce there are websites, scholars and experts to help piece these families together.
Although I grew up with stories from the south and knew of stories of slaves that lived with my family. It kind of shocked me to see my family react to my genealogy research.
My family was so surprised when I shared wills, bill of sales and court records indicating our ancestors did in fact have slaves. Once I recovered from the shock and hearing other genealogist speak, I decided what a unique and wonderful opportunity I have to learn and share more about American history. I have loving stories written by ancestors about the people who worked on their lands. I think it would be great if I could read or hear from one of the families---from the other side as to say. I know there was abuse by some but I also know there was love and acceptance. The word AfriGeneas is derived from African American Genealogy Buddies. It's pronounced: A · fri · GEE · nee · as. AfriGeneas is a site devoted to African American genealogy, to researching African Ancestry in the Americas in particular and to genealogical research and resources in general.

So I am willing to be a "buddie". But I feel my own genealogy work will not be complete unless I do in fact embrace and explore this important part of our ancestral past. This genealogy journey is not a path for the weak and meek. But we must strive to present a balanced truth. I may read about families and incidents that allows me just a glimpse into the past. but there is also stories of heroism and compassion beyond comparison.

Stories of heroism and compassion do not usually sell books or newspapers but they are there for those who seek them: Can we write? A story of tragedy and triumph detailed through meticulous research and personal interviews that makes your heart ache and your spirit soar for those who survived in spite of Congress, American Leadership, the Media, Political Buffoonery. A triumph of justice, human compassion and good over evil.

I know this is a rocky path but I think my ancestors stories and letters regarding life long friends are important to share with their ancestors if at all possible. I truly cringe at the concept of "being led by the ancestors" but I know through letters and stories there was a lot of love, admiration, and compassion --that my ancestors will not let me ignore. They want their "family" to be remembered by their descendants.

I will blog my progress here through emancipation records, black cemetary records, african-american genealogist and societies, slave schedules, wills, court records and the lovely people I meet along the way. I do have several names in mind that I have already started finding family to share/buddy.

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