For years, I have had a great interest in finding out who am I and where did my ancestors originate. Since there is blood of five ethnic groups running in my veins, I decided to do an extensive amount of genealogy and chose to start the search off with my caucasian ancestry. Since my grandmother’s grandfather was caucasian, and there were death certificates, documents, last will and testaments, pictures, and family bibles, I knew I was off to a good start. I signed to (OldTreeAncestry.com) to see if I could come across old census, documents, and possibly picture of ancestors that I did not have in my possession. Let’s just say that the research was so successful that I was able to trace ancestry back to 1639 from Denbie and Annandale, Scotland. I was even able to contact a living distant relative and was surprised of the fact that he had been doing ancestry research for five years and it was not until the third year of his continuous research that he was able to contact a living relative. Not only was I thrilled to speak with him, but I was like, “Wow, this site actually works!” Although the search of tracing ancestry and finding living family was long and exhausting, I was really excited to speak to someone I did not know that was family. I knew this was the beginning of a great journey and I was ready for whatever that was coming my way…… or so I thought.
Wow Frank! My new found distant cousin! How are you? That simple phrase was the most exciting words I have ever said this year so far and the response was even greater. “Cousin! How are you! I almost gave up on researching, but something just told me to keep pushing and I did. I’m glad that I’ve found you.” This was the very first time we had spoken to each other. We were both so thrilled to converse with one another that we phoned for a little over two hours. We did not want to disconnect, but we had other things to do so I made sure I said that we would continue our conversation very soon. I’m sitting at the office thinking profoundly of this new discovery and what was to become of it, but I know I still had a lot to learn of this new found cousin of mine. The following week of our very first encounter, we chatted again and we compared and merged family trees and our information was dead on. He knew of things of my great great grandparents that I did not know, so I knew for a fact, this was true. We later talked about a possible meeting in April and a family reunion in July; the timing was very short, but if something needs to be done, you get it done so from that moment on it was game on. I also presented the project of making a family tree and plugging in family information accordingly to present at the family reunion, but as we continued to communicate via email for documents and requests for additional information, things began to get a little odd.
As I mentioned before, my twice great grandfather was caucasian. He fathered six children by my twice great grandmother who was African American and half Native American. Back in the day, she and her children were considered “mulatto” because of their mixed ancestry. Frank was really excited to learn of this information and wanted to add it to his family tree as well. Being that all of this began in the southern states, a southerner of color would understand why this would feel like a having an apple stuck in one’s chest mentioning information like this to someone that sounds like a cowboy from the west, but the response was relieving. It is sad that racism is still a big deal in the world, but I said it with pride because I’m not ashamed of something that is apart and yet a big deal to me. I sent pictures of my great aunts and uncles to add to his tree and he sent pictures of our ancestors as well including his parents, but when I mentioned to him of the family that lives in the area in which my parents reside, to add to the tree, the suspicion began. In 2007, Frank was able to contact family members that lived in the area and met with them, this was before we were acquainted with each other, he sent me pictures of them and their families, but when I asked him about getting information from the closely residing relatives, the momentum of the research began to slow down. I am wondering what is going on and why is he so hesitant to tell me their names and it all of a sudden dawned on me that they may not be accepting of their “mulatto” relatives. I am not sure of this yet, but it was definitely the first thing that came to mind. I asked for names of these relatives and he replied, “I do not want to give you names of the living relatives just yet, I have to wait and see if they would approve of me releasing their names to be added to the family tree.” I really did not know how to respond to this so it had taken me hours to come up with a response because I was really shocked to hear this. I was upset, but I was also wondering if I was “full blood” caucasian would I have gotten the same response. I would really hate for this new journey to come to an end because of some racist pricks, but I would not care to be around any uneducated people so it would not bother me a bit. Frank assured me that if they are and if they did not want to meet up with the rest of the family, the hell with them and he would not care if they showed up or not either. That statement did make me feel good and I laughed about it as well, but deep down I was pondering why and how could someone dislike someone for the color of their skin? I just do not get it and maybe it not anything for me to get, but I thought really hard about it. We are still in the process of creating the meeting to get everything prepared for the big black and white reunion in July. I hope it’s not anything the way that I foresee it to be, but it would be great to meet the old and new additions to the family.
I would like to know what do you think about this situation? Please feel free to answer and use no filters. Honesty is the best dose of medicine. Thanks!