The Neighborhood Revealed- Genealogy , DNA, Life

The Neighborhood : The McKees in Goshen, Belmont, Ohio

Imae of Nearby town of St. Clairesville, the Belmont county seat
Nearby town of St. Clairesville, the Belmont county seat

“Who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, they’re in your neighborhood? They’re the people that you meet when your walking down the street. They’re the people that you meet each day!”   Many of us remember that catchy little theme song  composed and sung by the ever popular Mr. Rogers Aka Minister Fred McFeely Rogers of the PBS kids show “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”. He seemed to think that his neighbors where pretty important people ! I have come to realize as he did, that neighbors can indeed be pretty  important people in the grand scheme of things and with no exception in  family research and genetic genealogy . This post is the first in a series of posts on the various neighborhoods of my ancestors. I have noticed over the years that many of surnames listed by my DNA matches confounded me until I noticed some of them…

Records, Resources, and Repositories

Veterans Research, Identifying Local Resources

Image of Albert Nelson (right) and comrade. WWI, France
Albert Nelson (right) with comrade, WWI France

My mother is from New Roads, Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, and has subscribed to her hometown newspaper, The Pointe Coupee Banner for many years. Back in September she shared an article that was written by  local historian, Brian J. Costello. The article, part of a series, was written in recognition of the Centennial anniversary of World War I ¹.  In it, Costello recounts the “rally day” held on August 26, 1917 in New Roads at which time the parish bid farewell to its departing soldiers.  The rally, parade, and celebration was sponsored by the Pointe Coupee Chapter of the American Red Cross and  other local organizations. The other organizations were the Woodmen of the World Camp 271, the Woodman Circle, and the Knights of the Maccabees.   He  lists  information  about parish residents who volunteered or were drafted to serve, where they were from, where they served, and if they were a…

Free Persons of Color

To Be Free, Discovering FPOC in My Family Tree

Image of Vintage American Flag

  I never considered that there might be free persons of color (FPOC) in my family’s history. I assumed that they were all  enslaved. After all, my family is African American, from the deep south, Louisiana, and there was no oral or written history to make me believe otherwise. My father’s people were able to tell me some things about my paternal line – that  Isadore McKee was my grandfather and that Charley McKee my great grandfather. But no one could tell me who Charley’s father was! It seemed as though any recollection of him, his generation, and preceding generations had already been lost. So it all began back in 2011 with question – Who was Charley Mckee’s father? A death certificate ordered from the Louisiana State Archive would yield  the name of his father James Mckee and his mother Virgina. Birth place of father was listed as Louisiana and birth…

Genetic Geneology - The DNA Reveal

Who’s Your Daddy, Really?

Victorian/Edwardian Era Family(no relation)

So who, really, is that man that you call your father? Perhaps he may be a great person with whom you have a wonderful relationship. Maybe he has  created fond memories with you and the rest of your family, or not!  He may have a great family pedigree on paper, but who is he from a genetic genealogy perspective? I am going to share with you my experience with Y-DNA testing , hopefully providing you with some strategies and things to consider before Y-DNA testing the men in your life. As we approach the celebration of Father’s Day on Sunday, June 18 this year, some may be seeking more information about their father or other men in their family tree.  In an earlier post I explained what haplogroups  assignments are and how they are used. Y-DNA Review Knowing ones haplogroup  assignments can be helpful in revealing relationships which may not be…

A Tribute

Mother’s Day, Honoring Maternal Matriarchs

Image of Maternal Line Matriarchs
Maternal Line Matriarchs

As Mother’s Day approaches, I would like to honor the women who represent my maternal line.  Autosomal DNA testing has revealed that the haplogroup for these strong God fearing women is L3e2a.  These women represent women who were proud descendants of African women who lived life and nurtured  their families and those in their community sometimes under the most difficult circumstances.                 They endured the first middle passage from Africa and then a second middle passage to Louisiana. They survived generations of enslavement, lived through wars, reconstruction, and endured the grave injustices of the the Jim Crow south.  My 4th great grandmother Lytha Bryant and her daughter Francis were both enslaved. Josiah Gray and Hardy and Caroline Perry  where among the owners. I will say that throughout all of this, the family of  Lytha Bryant and her husband Nelson Taylor (b. Virginia) remained…

Genetic Geneology - The DNA Reveal

Opportunity Mourned, Life Celebrated – Our Elders

Image of Funeral Procession by Ellis Wilson
"Funeral Procession" by Ellis Wilson

Lately, it seems as if  barely a week goes by without an elder in the family or community passing on. Last month it was Uncle Johnny, last week it was Mr. Jackson, this week, Uncle Buddy.  Our elders, especially the 80  and 90 somethings have really been bidding us adieu, like the carbonation bubbles that sit at the bottom of my glass and then suddenly release themselves , float to the top, and dissipate ,so these elders seem to be flying away at a rapid clip!  With advances in medicine and  improvement in overall quality of living , maybe there’s just more elders making it to 80 and beyond, and then dying.  On the other hand, perhaps this feeling of “lots more people dying” is just a naturally occurring phenomena for all of us as we ourselves age, as we continue on our own slow march toward death. I feel a…

Records, Resources, and Repositories

Those “Squeaky Wheel” Ancestors

Image of Freedman in line at Field Office

“There’s no sense in complaining!”, “Your complaining to the wrong people”, or “Your complaints will fall on deaf ears!”. These are phrases I have sometimes  thought, heard,  or uttered throughout my life. Well at least a few of my ancestors felt that even in the deep south, during reconstruction, that justice would prevail and they sought justice would by lodging their complaints with the “system”.  In my ancestor’s case, the “system” was the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.  Popularly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, the agency was established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War (1861-65). Some 4 million slaves gained their freedom as a result of the Union victory in the war, which left many communities in ruins and destroyed the South’s plantation-based economy. The Freedmen’s Bureau provided food, housing and…

History, Tradition, and Culture

Black History Revealed in a Local Cemetery

Recently, while  listening to a genealogy program on Youtube  called BlackProGen Live about free people of color (FPOC), the host, Nika Smith asked  the panel about resources for researching these families. I immediately thought about a book that I had read by African American historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson (b.1875- d.1950). I jumped over to Wikipedia (yes, over there) to get the name of the book and saw what I thought was an odd reference to Suitland, Maryland! Wait, what? Indeed, the father of Black History month and author of many books on black history, Dr. Carter G. Woodson , had been interred  at one of Suitland’s three cemeteries, The Lincoln Memorial Cemetery. Perhaps I am the last to know, but this was an amazing discovery for me! I honestly did not believe it so I  jumped over to Find A Grave and looked it up and sure enough some one had created…

Genetic Geneology - The DNA Reveal

DNA Testing for Genealogy. Autosomal Testing Demystified

AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate

My DNA testing journey began back in 2011 when  free tests were offered to the public via the Roots Into the Future Program – 23andme’s partnership with the National Urban League. They were looking for data, and many of us were looking for family history clues and more details regarding our ethnicity given our history in this country. We in the genealogy community were grabbing them up like…well, like they were free! With some of us,  “free” turned into “free-nzy”.  Needless to say , I am sure 23andme received more than enough  genetic data to fill their DNA coffers, I mean databases. I took the bait and ordered a few kits for family members. We received our kits, registered them, surrendered our spit, sent off the kits, and a number of weeks later we got an email saying our results were ready! We were then able to log in and see our…

Military Service

Our Veterans Revealed

Sgt. Walter Grimes, MP

Like so many so many American families, we have a number of men and women in our family who served this country and we are still discovering who they are! Today, I wanted to honor a few that are known in our family. These are just a few.           James McKee, a free man and eastern Ohio native, served in the Civil War at Port Hudson, LA . Many of his descendants continued the tradition of military service. Those that did not enlist or volunteer supported our service men and women through monetary contributions.  I will blog about them later.   Test you knowledge by taking quiz below. African Americans in Civil War History   Learn More about African Americans in Military Service (click/tap title below)