Just because you have a Black friend…

does not mean you are not a racist or have racist tendencies! This write up is a little rant, so it’s up to you if you want to read it or not. The 2019 Black History month has not been a good one in my opinion. We should be learning, teaching generations, and sharing the contributions of African Americans.  I commend Carter G. Woodson for setting up the Black History Month. At least we have one month, and we see the that communities do get involved.  l love this time of the year and enjoy celebrating Black History 365 days per year. So much information is spreading via social media about lots of local history and heroes. It is exhausting with all the news, chaos, and lying going on in this country. I am turning off the TV and putting on PBS, American History TV on the weekends or pulling up Finding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Louis Gates or Who Do You Think You Are continually. Those shows keep my blood pressure down and are very calming.

Now I have say to White America…with all the statements of not knowing if something is offensive or not. Maybe it is just a good thing to just be quiet and stop doing whatever it is you are doing. I want to make it clear, you having Black friends or relatives does not mean you are not racist or have racist tendencies. I have Black friends too. I have White friends. But I am not running around in a KKK robe making fun of them. The Oxford dictionary provides this as a definition of racist A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another”. I understand the definition clearly and know that we, as in African Americans were never the problem.

mockup-f3e6fea5“We Were Never The Problem
Abduction • Slavery • Rape • Segregation • Murder • Jim Crow • Lynching • Cross Burning • Dred Scott Decision • Plessy V. Ferguson • Scottsboro Boys • 16Th Street Baptist Church Bombing • Mass Incarceration • Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment • Tulsa Race Riot • Bloody Sunday • Rosewood Massacre • Seneca Village • Mississippi Burning Murders • Voter Intimidation • Black Codes • Sundown Towns • Blockbusting • Racial Steering • Redlining • Separate But Equal • Anti-Miscegenation Laws • Police Brutality • Stop And Frisk • One Drop Rule • Sharecropping • Discrimination • Racism • Bigotry • Xenophobia • Social Exclusion • Assassinations • School To Prison Pipeline • War On Drugs • Broken Windows Policing • Sentencing Disparity • Racial Profiling • Implicit Bias • Racial Stereotyping • Income Inequality • Rockefeller Drug Laws • White Supremacy • The KKK” (http://www.timidmc.com/shop/)

What really prompted me to write  this little piece because it was so frustrating to see that beautiful African American young lady put on display during the Cohen testimony. I do not care if she is a #45 supporter and employee or not. She was used! Just because you are hired and have a job and your boss says hello, does not mean he or she likes you. It does not mean that individual is not a racist or have racist tendencies.  America sees color first, the individual second. Since 1950’s I have seen this myself. It was an awful display of what is wrong with our country. We seen it through the 2016 campaign. Please understand that you can still be racist  and not like someone because of the color of their skin and have grand babies that are biracial, mixed, or Black, etc. My view is racists say things, they do things, it’s an action not just a thought that has impacts. Those actions do not care how many African American friends you have, or if you dated a person of color or what religion you practice. The ugly practices were so common, some still are common and expected and that is one reason you are in denial and not seeing what is offensive to others.

Recently some White Americans say they didn’t realize (their words, not mine) Blackface, mocking, etc., was offensive to African Americans, just shows how much you do not care about African Americans and how much you didn’t pay attention to African Americans. As a genealogist I am telling you that we are more connected than you think. Per Dr. Henry Louis Gates which he shared on his Finding Your Roots show many times that the average African American has 25% European DNA in them. Well we know how that happen. We have more things in common. So why all the hate?

Now put yourself in my shoes or any person of color shoes. Think about the mocking, bullying, and intimidating that goes on, include the name calling, separations, and avoidances, that are placed on people of color.  I just can’t take the “I didn’t know” responses anymore. It is not believable in 2019. Get to know some people of color, you can always ask questions if you are not sure if something is offensive or not. This has been going on too long for folks not to be aware of what offends others. I say, you know what you are doing and don’t expect to get caught. It’s 2019 please stop using your Black friends or workers to show you are not something that you might not be. We see it, we feel it. It is not only offensive, it is hurtful.  Think before you dress up and mock anyone for anything. Try living by the rule of “Do no harm”.


Woodson, Carter G. (2019): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_G._Woodson

Notham, Pam (2019): https://nypost.com/2019/02/28/ralph-northams-wife-now-under-fire-for-slave-comment-towards-black-student/

Racist (2019) Retrieved fromhttps://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/racist

Disclosure: Yes, the t-shirt is designed and sold by my son. I am wearing one of mine tomorrow.

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From the Hendry’s to the Borden’s

Okay, let me back up a bit because I am on a roll. This is on my father’s side, so Murphy’s this is for you. I posted a blog on the Hendry’s. I welcomed William Hendry to the family via my paternal great grandmother Nellie (McCorkle, Murphy) Giles. He, William Hendry,  is my 2nd great grandfather, the slave owner, and you know the rest if you read the blog. It was simple, Nellie’s mother is Rose Henry, her parents are John B Hendry/Henry (son of William Hendry via his slave name Rose) and Ester both born in Virginia about 1810.  https://familytreegirl.com/2018/08/11/welcome-to-the-family-william-hendry-henry-and-family/

So as a good genealogist I had to keep going. I needed to know more about the Hendry’s but checked William’s mother first. William Hendry’s parents are Thomas “George” Hendry (born 1725 in Middlesex, MA and died in 1782 in Frederick, Virginia) and Deborah Borden (born in Monmouth, New Jersey in 1728- and she died in June 1799 in Frederick, Virginia). These are my 5th great grandparents.

Hmmm, now a new surname to add to my list and that got me going. I stayed up two nights till 3am digging the roots. I love my friend “Google” and asked about the Hendry’s and came across Roberta Tuller’s site which got me going on the Borden’s. https://www.anamericanfamilyhistory.com/TennesseeFamilies&Places/Hendry%20Family/Hendry%20William%201760.html

My next task was to access ancestry.com and familysearch.org. Of course I found tons of trees, documents, and stories on the Borden’s and had to begin a timeline. Also, there are a couple of Facebook groups on the Borden/Burden families that I joined. Using some of the online resources I was able to get back to my 16th great grandfather Henry Borden. Henry was born in 1370 and died in 1469, in Kent England.

For the short version of this post- they came to Monmouth, NJ from Headcorn, Kent, England became landowners and much more and then to Frederick County, Virginia. This is just two hours from where I currently live. I have visited Winchester Virginia several times. I even did a presentation on “African American Genealogy Challenges” at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley  (https://www.themsv.org) located in Winchester. I might of been near their land, hmmm. The Borden’s again had a wealth of land and have left their mark on New Jersey and Virginia. There is more to do and more to question on this quest. If you are interested in reading more on the Borden’s just Google Benjamin Borden Jr and that will get you started. There are some trips scheduled over the next few months. I am also getting myself prepared to handle the emotional research of slavery, just in case they owned slaves. I believe they were Quakers but not sure, but I will find out. I am happy to research this line and will consider using this line to join the Sons and Daughters of the U.S. Middle Passage. (https://sdusmp.org).



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DNA Made Clear at the Library of Virginia

Curious about DNA and what to do with it once you have received results? Sept 9th at the Library of Virginia (in Richmond, Virginia)  is the place to be to receive some answers. Registration is still open. Click on the link http://www.lva.virginia.gov/news/calendar/?year=2018&month=9

Hope to see you there!

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African American Family History Day at Poplar Forest! 9/22

Are you familiar with Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest in Forest, Virginia? Visit the home page at: https://www.poplarforest.org/#section-1  Information shared from the website event’s page: Discover your African American roots. Join the Poplar Forest African American Advisory Group for an interactive experience designed to help you explore your family’s African American history. Hear stories about exploring ancestry and learn about research methods, tools, ideas and strategies for tracing the lineage of your enslaved ancestors.

Admission to African American Family History Day is free, however reservations are required as space is limited to 60 participants. Reservations can be made by getting

a free ticket below or by calling the Museum Shop at (434) 534-8120.


  • 10:00 a.m. —Opening Address by Dr. Shelley Murphy, aka “familytreegirl”
  • Lunch provided (with reservation)
  • Afternoon Sessions—Sessions will be repeated so every participant can attend both


This workshop will present tips and strategies for family historians to enhance their research with the art of asking the right questions. We will look at evidence using the simple principles of the “SO WHAT” concept and timelines. This will help attendees learn how to analyze the information, combat some genealogy brick walls and map out a research plan.


This workshop looks at how one can pursue records and oral history, and how to use the proper resources to solve a family mystery. The focus of this session explores an African American family based in Tennessee. The family was separated in 1860 when the slave holder died. More than a century later, at a family reunion, a few extra details were shared by the cousins in attendance. From that session an interesting story arose, about an ancestor who shot someone in Tennessee, and ran away to Texas to never be seen again. A new question arose—who was this ancestor and could more be learned?

The journey to answer the question involved standard genealogy research, but it also required some essential steps to unravel the mystery of this African American family. Oral history was the base, but more was needed. The workshop will outline what steps were used to break through this brick wall. For location and directions visit Forest, VA:


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Charlottesville Center for History and Culture: Home of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society Announces New Board Chair

Charlottesville, VA, August 16, 2018 – The Charlottesville Center for History and Culture: Home of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, today named Dr. Shelley Murphy as the new Chair of the Board of Directors.

A native of Michigan, Dr. Murphy has been an avid genealogist for nearly three decades, specializing in the study and practice of African-American genealogical research. She is a much sought-after guest lecturer throughout the country, and is well known here in the Central Virginia region for her exceptional work in this field. Dr. Murphy holds a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. She is an Adjunct Professor for Averett University’s satellite campus in Richmond. She also works part time as a Housing Counselor with the Piedmont Housing Alliance, routinely educating citizens on family financial literacy and the benefits of home ownership.

“I am thrilled with this honor,” Dr. Murphy said. “This is an exciting time of great opportunities for the Historical Society. I’m proud to be part of this organization and am looking forward to contributing to the important work we do.”

The Board has expressed its sincere thanks to out-going Chair Will Lyster, who re-joined the Board earlier this year and agreed to temporarily serve as Chair to help steer the organization through a challenging transition period. Dr. Murphy said, “Will’s exemplary leadership and his outstanding commitment to the well-being of our organization has been an inspiration for every one of us on the Board. We are so thankful for all the work he has done.”

Coy Barefoot is the Center’s Executive Director. “The Board’s unanimous decision to elect Shelley as our new Chair,” Barefoot said, “signals the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our story. Our goal is to re-imagine and re-invent the role of an historical society in the 21st century, to be a strong civic organization that works to enrich the lives of our neighbors and visitors here in Central Virginia. We believe history can be a powerful tool to create experiences that can inform, enlighten, inspire and bring people together. Shelley’s leadership and vision will be crucial to our efforts. We are all looking forward to working with her.”

The Charlottesville Center for History and Culture: Home of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society (Founded in 1940) is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization focused on exploring the history of the Central Virginia region. The Center receives no on-going operating funds from any federal, state or local agencies but relies entirely on membership support, gifts, donations, and grants. A new website at cvillecenter.org is currently in development and will be launched soon. You can follow the latest news and announcements at their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/achs1940

familytreegirl logo


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Welcome to the family William Hendry/Henry and family.

This will be a short one since it is a work in progress. It is great to meet you William Hendry/Henry who was born in 1760-64 in Frederick, Virginia and moved on to Greene County, Tennessee. I am thrilled to meet one of your slaves named Roseann, who was born about 1790, also in Frederick, Virginia. You and Roseann are now taking your position as my 4th great grandparents on my paternal side. and other children by your wives.  You are an interesting man, involved in plenty of things and married several times .  Ut Oh, here comes some more Europeans. You had two children from Roseann. Your two children by Rosann is a son, John Henry/Henry and your daughter is Delphia Hendry/Henry.  Read more about Delphia at A’Leila Bundles blog: http://www.aleliabundles.com/2014/10/14/delphia-the-price-of-freedom/

I can see your line back a few more generations, but I am going forward first and then back. Now William, what did you do with your son John Henry who was born about 1811 in Frederick, Virginia? I will analyze your will. I know John married Ester who was born about 1811 (unknown last name). I have lots of questions; was John born as slave like his sister Delphia, of course he did and did he get freed as well? One of  John’s children is Rose Henry.  I am assuming you named after your mother. Well your daughter Rose Henry, is how you are coming down my line. Rose married John McCorkle and one of their children was Nellie. Nellie McCorkle is my great grandmother who married William Michael Murphy and the parents of William Columbus Murphy, my father’s father. Nellie also married Henry Giles out of North Carolina. Whew!

So for those of you that connect to William Hendry’s line, contact me at keli1@aol.com I am open to learn more about the Hendry’s and what happened to John Hendry. The evidence will tell this story! More to come on the Hendry line.


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” DNA and Genealogy: How to Tell the Story”-Charlottesville, VA

” DNA and Genealogy: How to Tell the Story”


Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) (www.maagiinstitute.org)

Join us!

May 12, 2018 – 8:30am to 5pm

Location: At the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St. NW, 2nd Floor, Charlottesville, VA

Presented by MAAGI Coordinators:

Bernice Bennett, Angela Walton-Raji and Shelley Murphy

Topics Include:

  • DNA Basics-What you need to know
  • GEDmatch, What to do with it and how?
  • Connecting the Dots to the Emotional Side of DNA
  • Creating Narrative From Evidence
  •  Finding the Unexpected, and Crafting a Story
  •  Bringing the Story Alive

Reserve your Seat by calling 434-806-7433.

Costs: $25

Make Checks payable to:

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.


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52Weeks 52Ancestors-Lucky-James Roper

Was James Roper lucky to be born a mulatto and the only child of his father?

Let me introduce you to James Roper who was born 12 May 1783 in Jefferson County, Virginia. James died 8 Dec 1867 in Jefferson County, Virginia.  His father is Nickolas Roper who was born 22 Jan 1739 in Suffolk, England. Nicholas died 13 Jan 1817 in Jefferson County, Virginia. James’ mother was a slave owned by Nicholas Roper. We do not know her name.

An interesting fact about James Roper, he is the only known and illegitimate son of Nicholas Roper. He freed his mulatto son at the age of 11, who becomes the largest landowner in Jefferson County, Virginia, which is now West Virginia. (Jefferson County becomes Jefferson County in 1801, and the state becomes West Virginia in June 1863. Nicholas also gave James a 99-year lease on all his holdings. So what that also means is James becomes a slave owner as well, just like his father. Was James, born as a slave-lucky? He is freed and inherits land and becomes well respected. Hmmm…

My connection to the Roper’s is three of my 2x great grandmother Mary Catherine Goens/Goings/Goins siblings married three of James Roper’s grandchildren.

Visit the website to see a photo of James, his emancipation paper, deeds for the buying and selling land, etc.: http://nicholasroper.com/index.html The website was developed by distance cousins Jacqueline Milburn and Judy Meade.





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52Weeks 52Ancestors-Woman!

Meet my 3x great grandmother Sarah Ann “Hart” Goings/Goins/Goens. We have no photos of her or her husband. She was married to Lawson Goens/Goings/Goins, who was born in Loudoun County, Virginia in 1807 and passed in 12 July 1874, in Clarke County, Virginia.  I know that they had 11 children. Now Sarah was born in 1 April 1810, in Virginia-I have not been able to locate where in Virginia. She passed in 8 Feb 1886, and we do not know where in Virginia she died. So far there is no death record in Jefferson County, Virginia/West Virginia.  Here is a photo of her headstone that is located in St. Paul’s Church, Kearneysville, West Virginia:

sarah hart goens headstone

Now here is something interesting -a friend took this photo back in the 90’s and sent the photo to my oldest brother. We know that the friends were in the town of Kearneysville, Jefferson County, West Virginia but we do not find the headstone anymore. We were told that a car flew off the road and knocked down several tombstones. We assume her headstone was one of them.

Now this is what I know about Sarah Ann “Hart”, what we don’t know is who her parents are or siblings. She has a limited timeline and a detailed research plan built of unknowns, and many questions. She lived with her daughter apparently after her husband died because she shows up in the 1880 Jefferson County census with her daughter Nancy (Goens) Johnson.

That’s it! Thank you!




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A New Website: African American Civil War Soldiers

Wow a new site, thanks Dick Eastman for this posting on the African American Civil War site information and allowing it to be reblogged.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

This may be one of the most important history-related web sites launched so far this year. The following announcement was written by John Clegg, a founder of the African American Civil War Soldiers web site:

African American Civil War Soldiers is a new website that will crowd-source the transcription of the military records of roughly 200,000 African Americans soldiers who fought for their freedom in the American Civil War. These records are of great interest to historians and genealogists, since they contain detailed biographic information on individual Union Army soldiers, most of whom were slaves at the start of the Civil War. However, until now these records have been locked away in the National Archives in DC, accessible only to a select few researchers. Our website invites members of the public to help transcribe scanned images of the soldiers’ records, turning them into text that can easily be searched…

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