The Importance of Sharing the Slave History from your Family Trees.

Thank you Valerie for blogging on this topic. First it is important for European American genealogy researchers to not be afraid or feel the they can’t relate. The reason they might feel they don’t relate is because they don’t think they have African or any other ancestry but European. I say it really shouldn’t matter. It really is about learning the methods and strategies that are used to conduct genealogy research, any genealogy research. And when we do people of color research, I have the belief that “the research does not have a color/race or ethnicity, but the records have different locations where they live or are housed. There is a point when individuals researching their African American ancestry and get to the 1870 census, that is critical. If you do not know the significance of the 1870 federal population census for African American research, please email me at If they want to go back further than 1870 and they think their ancestors might have been enslaved, the researcher will have to look for the white people via the surname and research the whole community/county, not necessarily looking for people of color. We all have things to learn on a daily basis. There is no magic in genealogy research, it’s work, its digging and it’s asking questions. It’s sticking to the basics and having the evidence to back it up.

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when doing genealogy research-they are the Murphy’s Law of Genealogy: 1) set a goal of what you want to find out about an ancestor. 2) begin a timeline on this ancestor with “what you know” about the ancestor, 3) locate the community they lived in, learn the community/county, 4) find out what resources are available at the local level, 5) check out what might be available online via or, etc. 6) continue building the timeline with birth, deaths, marriage, wills, and land ownership information and records such as federal and state census, anything that happen to and around this ancestor, every year 7) realize what you are missing or what information is conflicting or has a gap, question it using familytreegirl’s “So What” technique 8) find out who else might be researching this same family 9) join a genealogy group, use social media , read blogs, listen to podcasts and blogtalk radio shows, attend a hangout, and 10) remember to cite your resources.

Here are some of my favorites places to visit:
Research at the National Archives and Beyond-Bernice Bennett, blogtalk radio show
BlackProGen Live
Dear Myrtle Monday’s with Myrtle or her Wacky Wednesday’s-hangouts
Libraries like the Library of Virginia
Military research like
Google…is your friend-ask it a question
Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI)
Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, Ft. Wayne, IN


Genealogy With Valerie



About a month ago I joined a Black Ancestry Group on Facebook. You may think this is an odd thing to do considering I am not Black. I did it for a specific reason, to ask a question that had been plaguing me for a long time.  The following is the question that I finally asked about 5 days ago.

“I have had this question rolling around in my head for several years but didn’t know who I could ask about it. I have been afraid it may offend people but I have read some posts on here so I feel comfortable asking. Let me preference it with this: Unfortunately I have several slave owners in my family tree, some dating back into the late 1600’s. I have some wills that give names and locations. Would it help others if we were able to list those names and locations…

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Timid – Giving the Message

With all the turmoil going on it was good to hear a young man speak his opinion on the election. Timid from also put out a plea, “a public call to action for all politicians, elected officials, and community leaders to denounce the hateful assaults and attacks that have been happening in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s win and to let people know, in no uncertain terms, that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. If the people perpetrating this type of harassment and violence know there will be consequences, perhaps we can mitigate some of these incidents going forward”. The Random Hour radio show in Fairfax, Virginia, tune in:

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The Ancestry We’re Related APP

This is a great overview of the new application called We’re Related. I believe I will build the same type of spreadsheet as Russ Worthington shows on his blog. I question a couple of the connections as well. But most of them are right on point and well researched. It is fun and great entertainment, but also more research has to be done if it is a line you have not researched. Enjoy Russ’s tips.

A Worthington Weblog

Facebook is on fire about this new APP, We’re Related. Lots of Genealogist and Bloggers are “talking” about it on that social media platform.

Since I have seen another website, with similar features, I had to jump in and see what it was all about. I would put is in the category of “cousin bait” or a very “Bright Shiny Object” (BSO).

My GeneaBlogger friend, Randy Seaver, has a number of blog posts on this topic:

In watching his blog posts, I found a number of common people showing up on my list as well.

From my experience with the other BSO, I thought I would check into some of the folks…

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Are you writing your Novel? It’s National Novel Write Month-2017

Oh yes, I am doing it and I have some tips to share to help you if you choose to join me. I finally settled it. I have blogged on Calvin Clark Davis (WW2 soldier) long enough and feel I needed to tell the whole story. My family and readers are missing out on other events of his life. The things I wrote in my blogs or shared for others articles, etc.,  are just the tip of the iceberg. You can join me and my other genie writing buddies. The competition is for one month, November 1 through the 3oth. ( Right now I am on a 10 minute break that I scheduled for Sunday morning. Then it will be back to writing for another 25 to 30 minutes, then another 10 minute break. Then I will take a couple of hours off. In my area the 2017 Heart Walk is today at 2p (Charlottesville area). And yes I am participating. Wow, I am really being focused on what I am doing today. I am so proud of myself! That’s a good thing right? LOL. I will do the one mile walk along side of hundreds. I can and will do this, despite not liking to wear gym shoes (walking  style gym shoes-I would rather  be barefoot).

The twitter name is NaNoWriMo and the goal for is to write 50,000 words during that time which comes out to 1667 words per day. I put it out on Facebook and Twitter that I am doing this and I will. But as you know, we all need a lot of support. I have partnered with Write your Life and have Anita Henderson as a motivational writing coach. You can read more about Ms. Anita at she is just fabulous. She is also one of the instructors at the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute, we call MAAGI (pronounced maggie) in the Writing Track. (

Have you ever thought about writing a novel? I have plenty of thoughts. As the family historian there are so many stories to tell. Each of our ancestors have some interesting stories to tell and stories that should be shared. I have this belief that an individual should be able to pick up a book and begin walking in the shoes of the author telling the experiences and impacts of a story. Did you ever see the movie called the “Color Purple”? Remember the scene where Ms. Celie (played by Whoopie) was reading a letter from her sister Nettie, who was living in Africa? Oh my! While she was reading the book the imagines of what she was reading appeared. Wow, that is what it means to read a book, at least what I look for when reading. You are feeling and experiencing what the author is telling you. (so please parents make sure your young children knows how to pick up a book. Take them to the library. They should  be unplugged on a daily basis from a computer or any electronics). I hope society never leaves the book reading activity.

I always thought writing was hard and stressful to do. But it’s really not. one thing I do is have music that is inspirational for me to write by. So I have have Damien Escobar music playing low while I am writing. Also, I came up with 10 tips for writing. I sure hope these help you as they do me.

  1. Just begin writing about your  topic-WW2 soldier, your grandmother, where you grew up or something you dislike very much and have a personal view to share.
  2. There is no beginning or end, just begin writing, it will be organized later.
  3. Don’t worry about the grammar, you can hire someone to fix all that.
  4. Try to follow the Pomodoro Technique, it will keep you focused and managing your time.
  5. Need support? Ask for it. Tell someone what you need and how you want it.
  6. If you can, hire a writing coach, I say why not?
  7. Do not let others influence you on your topic, it’s yours, own it, write it. What inspires you? (Damien Escobar playing his violin).
  8. Set your goal for how many words you would like to write about each day or every other day.
  9. Reward yourself for you little milestones, don’t wait just for the big ones.
  10. Begin writing!  Just do it!

Good luck and let us hear how you are doing. Okay, it is my time to write some more before I leave for my walk.

On se parle plus tard!


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DNA Detectives Volunteers Help Adoptees Find their Birth Parents

This is so important, thank you Dick Eastman for writing this. I have experienced this. I was contacted by an individual saying she was helping her adopted daughter find her biological parents and I was the daughter’s highest match. Wow! I have dabbled in the DNA realm, but I am not an expert. I have knowledge to a certain level, then I need help. I am calling one of my genie friends such as Bernice Bennett, Shannon Christmas or Shannon Combs Bennett, Angela Baggins Trammel and Judy G. Russell. Well as the story goes-my mother and I determined which side of the family this young lady was on based on the limited information from the adoption agency and where she was born, etc., -we pinpointed a couple of cousins that fit the MO of being her father. It is not totally solved yet, but we are on the right track. I contacted a 82 yr. old cousin and the adopted daughter was her highest match. Woohoo!

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

DNA Detectives is a Facebook group run by volunteers who call themselves “search angels” and who help adoptees, sperm donor kids, and others who are hunting for their biological relatives. With more than 24,000 members, DNA Detectives began in February 2015, said CeCe Moore, its founder, which she helps run from San Clemente, Calif. Moore calls herself a genetic genealogist. She consults on the PBS show “Finding Your Roots,” and her company The DNA Detectives works with with the media on stories related to DNA, promoting genetic genealogy education through conferences and seminars.


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Message to Melania Trump and Women in General

Thinking about family legacies. My goodness, what will Baron will say? We conduct research to help tell family stories. There are some we will include and some we won’t. I went through the situation where my children’s father was abusive and cheated on me. I could of loss my life and/or took his and my children would of grown up without their mother. All the folks around me, as in his family knew about it. I looked and felt like a fool.  I made it 7 years and just had to go deep within and make the run. You have to know when to pack a bag and go. Save yourself and your son. You do not have stay with him.

You do not have to stay with him. You are not cut out for the White House and you know it.  You do not have the qualities of a First Lady. I am sure you have other very good qualities but the White House First Lady is not one of them. From what I see, rather in my opinion, you don’t compare on any level to any of the former First Ladies. That’s okay, you are still professional, a kind person, loving mother and so hoping you will be happy. I am sure there are other things to keep you busy.

Did you realize that he admitted he was going to cheat on you, right after you got married? No words -I can’t and won’t comment.

I am still angry at Hillary for standing by her man. But she knew what she married and what she married and she opted to stay with him. That was her decision. Please do not make excuses for your husband. He is a grown man. You and I know what and who you married. That is your husband and you know it. Protect your son from the mess! I hope he does not grow up with the same outlook as his father has about women. He is who he is, a mean spirited, greedy bully that you love. It is best to just be quiet. I do not want him as the President of the United States and I do not want you as the First lady. Please find another job or something to focus on that makes you happy.

I am trying to unplug from all this mess. It keeps my blood pressure up and that is not a good thing. I just want to scream and slap people on the head when your husband and others  blurt things out. I am out of control on the political stuff and need to save myself. I pray for your well being and the well being of the United States. Will your husband consider bowing out? Sometimes I believe he is doing all of this for Hillary and it is all a scam. At one time he was such a committed follower. It’s an act, right? We all are dreaming? right?

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An Open Letter To Donald Trump From Some Angry Women.

I just had to share this beautiful letter to Mr. Donald Trump by Gretchen Kelly. Enjoy, it is also how I feel today. Trump has worked the last nerve in my body. He loves all the attention and really does not have a clue. He is a nasty little boy and a bully. I hope women and men across America will stop drinking the Kool-aide he is serving up. Stop making excuses for his behavior. He is not right nor fit to be in the office of the President of the United States. If Trump was referring to your sister, mother or daughter would you still feel the same way? This morning I read a post on Facebook, I asked a question, and I now do not follow this guy! Everyone has their opinion, I have no problem with that, but somethings are just getting ridiculous and people need to stop showing themselves. I pray for peace and happiness for all. Remember our children, our legacies and future are watching all of this. Check this out posting on Facebook and yes I see that 72 of my friends/family also follow this guy. If they believe the same way he and the other person in the conversation does, it is time to unfriend more people totally:
“Karl-Michael Sala shared KIRO 7 News’s video.
10 hrs · Chandler, AZ ·
EXACTLY what I expected. You cannot ask for more. I am proud to accept his apology & explanation. I endorse Trump & would ask my acquaintances, friends & colleagues to likewise forgive the man. The Lord will forgive whom He will forgive, but of us it is required to forgive all. America cannot & will not change under a DemLibProg stance. It is they who have not asked for forgiveness. Remember that on election day. And the I posted:
Shelley Murphy Are you serious? you really believe that? I wonder if you it was your daughter or wife he was talking about, if you would still feel this way.

He rely’s:
Karl-Michael Sala I’ve taught my daughters & sons about empathy, forgiveness, etc. while not condoning error & sin.

Now here comes a lady, responding to my response to Karl and she says:
Janet Phillips Rake You’re responding like a self-righteous gas bag. You may not have said exactly what he said but you’ve said and thought very ugly things, probably worse. Ever gossiped? God calls that an abomination. The fact is, humans, even the best of them, say and do very faulting things at times. Get over yourself. T

Karl comes back and says:
Karl-Michael Sala To whom do you refer, T?
She rely’s:
Janet Phillips Rake The person above who asked “are you serious”

Karl tells her:
Karl-Michael Sala Ah, then you, if possible, should click on Reply to their specific comment. It will then either go right under their post, or hyperlink their name. If that is not possible, please put in the name of the person to whom you refer. Thank you for clarification. He said even uglier things that he later deleted in this post. Oh, you meant Shelley Murphy.

Janet Phillips Rake Thought I did that. Ooos.

I didn’t even respond to either remark. I could of and did seriously think of pulling the “old” Shelley out and laying it on both of them. But there is no use, they have drank the Kool-aide and it was going to be a waste of my energy. Trump has a MO and it has not changed over the years. I was gathering my materials to teach a group of folks how to do a research plan and just simply let it go. You can’t get a decent view in a conversation when folks pull out the good Lord and all the other stuff they use as a “high righteous barrier to deal with reality”. I am not angry or mad anymore, a little frustrated and will let it go from there. I just hope the best for them and their families. I have taught my son and daughter to be fair, keep their eyes open, be thankful and help others when they can. Happy researching to all.

Drifting Through My Open Mind


Dear Mr. Trump… can I call you Mr. Trump? Is that ok? I want you to be happy, that’s very important to me.

Before I get started, let me say this letter isn’t from all women. The Trumpettes surely won’t approve of this message. But this is from most women.

We see right through you. We have all known you at some point. Your ways are not unfamiliar to us. We see through you because we’ve been dealing with you our whole lives.

We heard you call women pigs. And disgusting. And stupid. And bimbos.

We watched as you called a former Ms. Universe “Ms. Piggy” and then spent four days continuing to insult her.

We see your weakness. Your lust for attention at any cost, your need to denigrate women. We see all of it. And we’re mad.

Yes. We’re mad. And fired up. And here’s the thing about us……

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