So, Which Is It?

Good read-I hope folks hear her and what she is saying. It is right on point and well written. Kudos to her…

It's Fine.

I’m scared to post this. I’m afraid of alienating people I love, people I interact with on a daily basis, people whose friendships I value. I wouldn’t say this if it hadn’t been weighing heavy, like a 50 pound weight on my tongue every time I open my mouth to say something and stop before it comes out because I don’t want to stir the pot. I don’t want anyone to be mad at me. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But I can’t, in good conscience, do that anymore.

I live with a certain degree of privilege. Monetary privilege? Not so much. But social privilege? Absolutely. I am part of a demographic that is perceived as the LEAST THREATENING to society. I’m a White Lady. Further, I’m a Southern White Lady. Still further, I’m a Heterosexual, Cis-Gender, Southern White Lady who Happens to be the Married Mother of Two…

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Finding Reuben Byrd: free person of color & an American Revolutionary War veteran

Well done and show the commitment to telling the story of a free person of color service during the Revolutionary War. kudos to you. I am a member of DAR and will share the information. Thank you!

Genealogy Adventures

Reuben Byrd of Petersburg, Virginia and Orange County, North Carolina isn’t the first Colonial-era black ancestral family member I’ve found who served in the American Revolutionary War. However, he is the first black kinsman whose war records I’ve been able to access.

Finding those records was exhilarating, empowering, and bittersweet.

I’ve been researching four different Colonial-era Virginia Byrd families for quite a while in an effort to see if they were different branches of the same family, or unrelated families who shared the same surname. Just a note that this surname is also spelt Bird. However, I’m using Byrd, the variant most seem to have adopted. Each of these groups are my kinsmen and women via both of my parents’ ancestral lines in Virginia and the Carolinas.

  1. The first group of Byrds are the descendants of Col William Evelyn “The Immigrant” Byrd I and Maria Horsmanden. This family group (relations…

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MAAGI 2017, Ft. Wayne, In.

The Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI)  2017 planning is underway. We will be at the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne Indiana. You have an opportunity to pre-register. You can visit the MAAGI Facebook page and obtain the pre-registration form. This is a great opportunity to reserve your spot. You know the drill, three days, 12 classes! This is not a genealogy conference, we are a teaching institute, you will have to do some work and homework. (LOL) If you want to keep up with MAAGI, follow us on Twitter @MAAGIInstitute and Facebook. Here is the link to the Facebook page:

Highlights from 2016 are seen below. We held a DNA track for the first time with instructors Bernice Bennett, Shannon Christmas, Judy Russell, and Nicka Smith. Oh my goodness they  had to close registration, that class kept filling up. A few folks were not happy because we capped it. So if you are considering attending the DNA Track,  I would suggest that you pre-register, the size of the class is limited. We like the smaller classroom sizes because it creates a better learning environment and interaction. Track 1 was very active and had lots of energy, same as the Writing Track and Pre and Post Slavery. Hey a highlight for 2017, if you are considering the Writing Track, Ms. Beverly Jenkins will be aboard teaching a couple sessions. To learn more about Beverly Jenkins visit her webpage at:

Here are some highlights from 2016. The bottom photo with the Coordinators was at 2016 Rootstech, we are talking about MAAGI 2016. By the way all of the MAAGI Coordinator will be speaking at 2017 Rootstech, and Ms. Nicka Smith as well. She is one of our instructors for MAAGI 2016. Visit our website as well:  (

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Surnames, Surnames, Surnames!

As the family historian or genealogist you have surnames. We all do. Where are they? Who are they and what can I do if I have a surname. Well, I can dig a little deeper! I am sure there are more records and resources that I have not tapped into. I am posting some of my surnames. Not all of them but some. Take the time to glance through them.  My research focus is primarily at this time in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan. Some of the surnames are from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and New York. One is a link to a Jamestown resident, Mayflower and Revolutionary War Patriots.

Adle, Albright, Alden, Allen, Alsdorf, Anderson, Armour, Ashton, Atwood, Austin, Bader, Bauder, Bayley, Beal, Beale, Beech, Belknap, Bennett, Beyer, Bier, Bigelow, Bissell, Blatchely, Bonds, BoyerBoysie, Braggs, Brand, Brant, Brave Bull, Brown, Burden, Burdick, Burgess, Burke, Burne, Burns, Carter, Carew, Chafee, Carlise, Castlemen, Church, Churchill, Clayton, Cleverdon, Cook, Cornelius, Cornish, Cowden, Cramer, Crim, Cromwell, Cross, Crowell, Cummings, Cureton, Dague, Dains, Daniels, Dakota, Davis, Daynes, Dennis, DeMoer, DeWandelaer, Dias, Dock, Dunham, Drake, Edwards, Eliakim, Ellis, Emmanuel, Etel, Eton, Eversole, Farington, Ferris, Fidler, FitzRandolph, Fitzwilliam, Fowler, Fox, Frank, Friend, Gansevoort, Geaween, Gater, Gartner, Gartrant, Gass, Gates, Gerter, Gilbert, Giles, Goddard, Godette, Goens, Goins, Goings, Gonzalez, Gordon, Gowen, Gowins, Goodnight, Green, Greene, Grice, Griner, Grinway, Griswold, Hall, Hart, Hardenbroeck, Hatter, Hamerton, Haywood, Helman, Hemstreet, Hennington, Henry, Hicks, Holbrook, Holley, Hollaway, Hosford, Houchin, Imes, Johnson, Jost, Kalsman, Kearney, Kessler, Kilgore, Klyce, Koerner, LackeyLanphere/LamphierLeechLepper, Lett, Lewish, Loop, Lozada, Lucas, Marsh, Manitou/Maniteau, Marshall, Martinez, McBride, McCard, McCurry, McDaniel, McCorkle, McIntosh, McVeigh, Mead, Misseles, Moore, Mowbray, Mullins, Murphy, Newman, Pabodie (Peabody)Palmer, Palmeter, Payne, Petrie, Phelps, Phillips, Phillipse, Ponder, Plumpton, Prentice, Radcliffe, Reece, Reilly, Reynolds, Rice, Richmond, Riemenseider, Ritter, Robinson, Rogers, Rolfe, Roper, Ross, Ruble, Russell, Ruston, Savage, Sewell, Shelley, Sherburne, Shoemaker, Sims, Simmons, Smith, SmytheStanley, Stewart, Strobe, Stroup, Thrall, Throckmorton, Valee, Quackenbush, Waltersdorf, Wall, Warren, Wheelwright, Wilcox, Wilton, Windsor, Winu, Worden, Worthington, Wyant, Zerbe.

So did you see one or more that we might share? If so, post a comment. You never know, we might be related.

Thank you!

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Curt Witcher Honored with a Hoosier Hospitality Award

Now this is extra special and well deserved. Thanks for sharing Dick Eastman. Curt is one of my favorite people. The MAAGI group works with him and his staff for the Institute that is held at the Genealogy Center. Love him!

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

curt-witcherCurt Witcher, manager of the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library, was honored Friday with a Hoosier Hospitality Award from the office of Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The Genealogy Center generally draws more than 100,000 visitors a year.

Witcher was honored for taking exceptional steps to make Fort Wayne’s genealogy tourists feel welcome. A press release announcing the award recounted this example: “On one occasion, a group of visitors was planning to be in Fort Wayne for only a short period of time. Witcher’s nominator said he took their information before they arrived and began doing the background research for them. When the visitors arrived and found that several pieces of their family history had been assembled, they were moved by Witcher’s generosity.”

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Dr. David Cousins, USCT-MI

I would first like to say thank you to my brother Calvin Murphy also known to us  as “Toddy”, along with the Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society, the Robert Finch Camp No, 14, Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, Women’s Auxiliary and the local DAR members and others for their commitment to the recognition of the David W. Cousins and his family.


As a genealogist I feel the study of family is critical. We need to know from where we come from.  The younger generations in most families do not know where their roots originate.

The Cousins family, a free colored family actually hailed from Virginia. Around 1830 David Cousin (David W.’s father) was the head of the household in Washington County, Indiana. David and family left Indiana and settled in Cass County area between 1847 and 1850. According to Coy Robbins, an author of the book called Reclaiming African heritage says the Cass County Michigan area had several “colored settlements”. Also according to the 1850 census, David Sr. age 47 was living in Cass County.

I have been studying my family for over 30 years. Now I am teaching professionally on how to research family history and specializing in African American research. My research began helping my mother in the early 70s before computers and all the fancy gadgets. Toddy asked me to see if I could locate some additional information on a David W. Cousins. As a result of that research we found that we were distantly related. What a surprise! David Wilson Cousins served proudly in the 102nd United States Colored Troops. The Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society conducted research led by Kathleen Farley and others.

David Wilson Cousins was born on 20 February 1838, in Washington County, Indiana, he is the son of David Cousins and Arilla Bland. On 24 July 1860, Wilson lived with his parents and relatives Laura, Robert, and Elsie in Porter, Cass County, Michigan. David married Mary Louisa Artis on 13 December 1860 . Mary who was born on 24 August 1844 in Ohio, and she is the daughter of George Artis and Susan Allen.

David enlisted at Vandalia, Michigan as a private in Company H of the 102nd Colored Infantry on 4 December 1863. He was mustered out sick on 7 May 1865.



Photo retrieved from

The history of the 102nd USCT was taken from the website (

The original regiment was created in July 1863 after an extensive editorial and letter writing campaign by Henry Barns who was then editor of the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune. The regiment was initially called the 1st Michigan Colored Regiment and retained that name until officially mustered into federal service. At the time the regiment was designated the 102nd United States Colored Troop (USCT). For his efforts Henry Barns was commissioned the regiment’s first Colonel, a post he retained until voluntarily stepped down in favor of a regular army officer.

The regiment drew recruits not only from the Detroit and southern Michigan area, but also from Ontario, Canada. Men who had escaped slavery through the underground railroad and settled in Canada returned to Michigan to join up when word came that the 102nd was forming. Many desired to fight for the freedom of family members still held in slavery.

The 102nd trained at Camp Ward, located in southeastern Detroit, which is the location of Duffield Elementary school today. The regiment left Michigan for federal service in March 1864 and assigned to the Department of The South. Its base of operations was Beaufort, South Carolina. The 102nd saw action throughout South Carolina, Eastern Georgia, and Florida. The regiment’s first test under fire occurred at Baldwin, Florida where it turned back a confederate cavalry charge with a bayonet charge of their own. They also participated and made a significant contribution to the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina. It was during this battle that Lieutenant Orson Bennett won the Congressional Medal of Honor for taking 30 men from the regiment and preventing a battery of cannon from being captured by rebel forces. The 102nd USCT was mustered out of federal service on September 30, 1865 and returned to Detroit to be disbanded on October 17, 1865″.

What is interesting is that David relative, from his mother’s side of the family, Kitchen Artis  Company H,  is the only known photo of a solider from the 102nd that the state of Michigan Archives has in their collection.

Unknown-1.jpeg                                                                     Kitchen Artis

David applied for a Civil War invalid’s pension on 13 November 1883. And by  1900, David and Mary and their granddaughter Hazel L. Cousins. lived in Mayfield township, Grand Traverse County. (,_Michigan

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There was an memorial Service held on July 30th 2016. I headed up to Michigan and  was honored to speak on behalf of the family. I want to thank those that were able to attend on behalf of the family; Jimmy and Myra Simpson, Frances Dalton, Marsha Steward-Sanders, Carol Norman, Deonna Todd-Green, and Diana Todd-Green. Enjoy the photos, it was a great turnout and well supported effort. Also, to our new family connections Margie Helmer & Roger Wood! Thank you for coming it was a beautiful memorial and gun salute.







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MAAGI 2017, Ft. Wayne, IN

It is with pleasure we are announcing that the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) for 2017 will be held at the Genealogy Center in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. the dates are set, July 11-13. We are excited to keep our partnership going with Curt Richter and staff at the Genealogy Center. We will have 4 Tracks and registration will open soon. Give a LIKE to us on Facebook to keep up to date.

Here’s a few highlights of  2016. Judy Russell gave a speech to a packed room, the new DNA track was full, we had to turn folks away! We all had fun and learned some new things to work with.


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