Why am I still doing genealogy research? Just a few thoughts have popped into my head. As a researcher sometimes I struggle with some of the facts/evidence I find. It forces me to come to terms with what I think of the human race and being an American overall. Some of the information is really interesting, exciting and some are horrible and unbelievable and the tears flow. Sometimes I just have to pray in order to stop myself becoming just like them. Today is July 8th and the KKK has planned a rally in Charlottesville. All this negative energy going on causes me also to struggle. I wish the media would stop flying the hype and BS and just ignore them. Now the praying really begins as I pray for peace and safety for all during the rally.
I am well aware of the challenges and struggles individuals will face when conducting African American ancestry. These challenges will surface dealing with other ancestry research as well. I too have the “brick wall challenges” just like anyone else. When doing African American ancestry researchers will face some of the following challenges:
- Records not recorded into public record
- Records destroyed
- Denial-don’t want to know, it’s the past
- Knows the info, but won’t share
- Lack of access to information
- Received information that is not the truth or reliable-questionable Oral History
- Do you really have a brick wall/challenge? Did you create one?
- You don’t know what you have-no analysis was done on the records (SO WHAT!)
- Things are in the “house repositories” and not being shared
- Not using FAN Principle by (E. Shown Mills)
- Not using the Murphy’s “So What” concepts of analyzing information
- Jumping out of the box too quick with assumptions and no evidence!
- 21st century thinking
These challenges have to be worked out and resolved. Some might be conflicts or gaps. Some other things I struggle with are: the ownership of human beings, the selling of babies, families being torn apart, the Christian religion, rapes, and the killings. Yes, I said the Christian religion and that would be another conversation. Sometimes it is too much to bear and I have to close the file or the book. Just think, some individual’s, as in African Americans who survived the 18th and 19th century really don’t know whom their parents are or even what their real name is. This is not just those who were slaves, free born folks faced some horrendous conditions as well. Don’t assume they had it better. The readings will have you cringe on some of the things they faced. I have read in several different books and articles that once the Civil war was over some, now freed slaves spent the rest of their life searching for their family. Family: mother, father, and siblings or even aunts and uncles, etc. Can you image the lost feelings folks went through? How could this country allow this to happen?
Recently there was an article written by Shaun King about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemming’s relationship. Shaun was very clear, I mean very clear this was rape and basically folks need to stop romanticizing the relationship. (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-thomas-jefferson-evil-rapist-owned-600-slaves-article-1.3308931)
Well Shaun King I have to agree with you. You nailed it right on the head. I can’t let all of the ugly be won over by the good. Some things will not get a pass from me. Mr. Jefferson continued to live with the fact that he owned people, broke up families and sold children away from their parents, etc.
This all becomes emotional and we won’t heal all of it but we will have to deal some of it. The emotional side individuals will have to prepare themselves as to how they will deal with the information and how they will share the information. I often ask myself is it my role as a researcher to tell some of these emotional things, or should I stay in my lane and just hand over the information. As researching how do we overcome our struggles or do we?
Happy Root Digging!