KWANZAA ~ Principle 3: UJIMA = Collective Work & Responsibility

UJIMA (Collective Work & Responsibility) Day 3 KwanzaaUJIMA (Collective Work & Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

I wish every person questioning my motives behind forming AAGSAR, could be instantaneously redirected to this post!:)

As a descendant of emancipated slaves, recorded as property not humans before 1865, I’ve had to accept the lack of historical documentation impacting my ability to trace my family lineage. As a technologist since 1999, I’ve been eyewitness to the evolution of The Great Digital Divide.

I was here in the Divide’s early stages, when connectivity and technical knowledge was a matter of socioeconomic status and geographical location. Translated — if you were poor, a minority and/or living in a rural area opportunities to own, learn and exploit the new gadgets were little to none. You were ignored and left standing on the sideline of the “technology revolution”.

I watched as technology evolved and expanded its reach, but our cultural mindset didn’t. In my IT world I manage the development of world-changing technology that rarely considers a person of color as its primary end-user.

Within my community, I’ve witnessed brown people VOLUNTARILY “opt-out” of the digital revolution. Often quickly dismissing the opportunities this medium affords; not acknowledging its ability to level the economic playing-field nor the reality this is THE rule-stick our brown […]

KWANZAA ~ Principle 2: KUJICHAGULIA = Self-Determination

KUJICHAGULIA (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.


Every morning before Jaiya heads into school, I charge her to “be the best you“. It’s our parting thing that even the teachers rushing her out the car look for me to say!:)

Today I reminded Jai the challenge to be the best you is really the Nguzo Saba Principle of Kujichagulia (self-determination) and though it’s spoken easy enough, embracing all aspects of your AUTHENTIC SELF in a culture often encouraging the opposite, is a TRUE character builder!

Proudly Brown. Opinionated. Strong-willed. Courageous. Honest. Loyal. Faithful. Creative. Resourceful. Maternal. LUCKIE.

Define ourselves. Name ourselves. Create for ourselves. Speak for ourselves. All really an inner-prompt to live authentically.

Write your own rules. Be the best YOU!:)

Habari gani?! KUJICHAGULIA!


Image – left to right: Brianna, Jaiya, Trinity and Sydney dressed as their favorite book characters. As usual, Jai chose her Disney look-a-like Doc McStuffins!:)

Doc McStuffins

KWANZAA ~ Principle 1: UMOJA = Unity

UMOJA (Unity) Kwanzaa - Principle 1UMOJA (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

In so many ways, this has been the first year in a long time I’ve felt the embrace of true community and unity.

I NEVER expected this year and the creation of AAGSAR to be the vehicle of personal challenge, growth and learning for ME it’s proven to be.

Just when I thought I had no heart left to lend to family, genealogy or blogging, the Ancestors said otherwise. When faced with the decision of where to post Mom’s Obituary, she told me the ONLY place the announcement of her transition could live would be here, among those who’ve loved her most. It was my first post in 2 years! Mom’s way of keeping my heart open and mind busy.

Even from the other side,  Mom’s herself once again — protecting and supporting her baby girl!:)

AAGSAR was formed 10 days after Mom’s passing; an act made more from following the knowing nudge of my Ancestors, than a deliberate decision to add such a HUGE responsibility to my plate! Sounds naive I know, but I had no idea the amount of personal time, patience, tolerance and discipline creating AAGSAR would require of me.

Introducing a new research model to our existing research community has been VERY challenging, but it’s also been rejuvenating, inspiring, uplifting and purpose fortifying too!:)

I have […]

MANDELA: Long Walk To Freedom ~ 25 December 2013

MANDELA: Long Walk To Freedom

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” MANDELA: Long Walk To Freedom

By |December 25th, 2013|Announcements|0 Comments

SLAVE ANCESTRY RESEARCH: Ralph WORMELEY Plantation Labor, Middlesex County VA

1778-Wormeley-Ledger-ISince discovering Samuel WINGFIELD’S  plantation ledger last month at Duke University, I acknowledge after all these years of researching, I can still be sickened by what I discover. When I consider the experience and not the data, the barbaric nature of Slavery leaves me speechless — and angry.

I’d decided not to publish additional images from the 300 page ledger. It’s painful enough to read; can’t imagine how much my Ancestors suffered enduring it.

Overseer Samuel WINGFIELD was a meticulous record keeper. Void of all humanity, the ledger is a difficult read — especially for this WINGFIELD descendant.

Before migrating to WILKES County, Georgia in 1783 with Thomas WINGFIELD, my Ancestors were enslaved in HANOVER and MIDDLESEX Counties, Virginia. Thomas WINGFIELD worked my Ancestors in every possible way, as well as frequently leasing them to labor for others.

Ralph WORMELEY V (1745-1806) was the Virginian planter my Ancestors provided the most labor for. Whether my Ancestors built/maintained the Rosegill Plantation in Middlesex County or worked some other land owned by WORMELEY, I’ll never know. Honestly, I really don’t care. That’s not the history I care to research or record.

ROSEGILL Plantation  ROSEGILL Plantation

What I do know is along with WINGFIELD and many others, WORMELEY profited from my […]

REFLECTIONS: The HALEY Farm & My Road Home… Still Following The Signs!

Alex Haley Farm - Clinton, TNLooking forward to rising early tomorrow to spend the day watching Alex Haley’s ROOTS with the kids. I haven’t seen ROOTS in many years, and this will be the kids first time! Many of the things I appreciate most about life today, I discovered on the HALEY Farm. 

Hoping we’ll have time to visit once again on our trip to the Tennessee State Museum in February to view the Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation Exhibit, and to visit with Aunts Hannah and Lena in Cincinnati too.

Yes, it’s time to journey home!:)


Original Post 18 July 2011: Sentimental Sunday: The Road Home… Still Following The Signs!

It’s been almost 6 years since I traveled I-75 North heading to Cincinnati, Ohio. Although my Georgia and Alabama family roots reach deep, I was raised in Cincinnati, so the trip home is always warm and familiar.

I hadn’t planned this journey but I see now that doesn’t make it any less predestined. I was supposed to make this trip… at this time.

For the first time, I was blessed to experience the 157 acre Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee all by myself — well sorta — […]

Claiming Annie… Time To Walk Resthaven, Cemetery

Annie - RESTHAVENThough the WINGFIELDS of Wilkes County, Georgia owned hundreds of my Ancestors, to my knowledge I’ve only seen one image of an emancipated WINGFIELD – Newby WINGFIELD, the husband of Creecy COHEN.

I’ve never seen the face of James, my 4th Grandfather owned by James Nelson and Susan WINGFIELD. I have several pages of Ancestor names captured from Samuel WINGFIELD’S Plantation Ledger and numerous names grouped into lots across various WINGFIELD estate inventories, wills and division of slaves probate records, but not one, single face.

Tonight a random GOOGLE search for WINGFIELD sightings landed me here – Tombstone Tuesday: Annie, Resthaven Cemetery, Washington, Wilkes Co., GA via Digging in the Roots, and though I tried, I couldn’t shake the heaviness of this very brief blog post nor the weight of ANNIE’s headstone.

I left the blog. Returned. Bookmarked the post. Left and finally decided to leave this comment:

“My Ancestors were owned by Thomas WINGFIELD who migrated to Wilkes County from Hanover, VA in 1783. The WINGFIELDS were prominent planters. Every African-American WINGFIELD in Washington-Wilkes descends from the first 23 slaves who arrived with Thomas WINGFIELD. Many, if not most of the white WINGFIELDS are buried at Resthaven, and when I stumbled upon your post tonight, a heaviness I can’t quite […]

SLAVE ANCESTRY EXHIBIT: Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation ~ February 2014

Washingtons of Wessyngton PlantationSUPER excited to learn today (thanks LaKesha!) of the upcoming Tennessee State Museum FREE exhibit featuring the genealogy research and slave artifacts of John BAKER’s Ancestors – The WASHINGTONS of Wessyngton Plantation.

Some years back I met John BAKER at an Atlanta AAHGS presentation and book signing, but missed the opportunity to tour Wessyngton Plantation as part of the National Black Arts Festival offerings in 2010.

“The exhibit, Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation, looks at the lives of both the enslaved African Americans and their white owners on the 13,000 acre plantation in Robertson County, Tennessee. The exhibition, which is free to the public, will open Feb. 11 and close Aug. 31, 2014.”

Definitely won’t be missing such a historic exhibit and teaching opportunity for my children to see first hand plantation life as many our Ancestors experienced. I’m also hopeful AAGSAR Community members who are close-by will join us! How cool would that be?!

So mark your 2014 Calendars – Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation will run from February through August 31, 2014 and will be FREE to the public!

Giving the Ancestors their voice and due reverence!:)



Image Source:

“While flipping through my social studies textbook I spotted a photograph of […]

By |December 21st, 2013|Uncategorized|4 Comments

DREAMFORWARD: Dr. Martin Luther KING Jr. | 15 January 2014

Dr. Martin Luther KING Jr. “So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream…”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

#DREAMFORWARD | 15 January 2014


TECH TALK: Going Beyond The Shaky Leaf ~ Frustrated User’s Edition for

Ancestry.comI’m not going to front, has been very, very good to me!:)

I can still find online 13-year-old queries from my early days when in pursuit of all things WINGFIELD and CODY! Fast forward 14+ years, with an abundance of genealogy data acquired and a transformed family history to share, I frequently turn to Ancestry to support my work.

So yes, I’m an advocate for and long-time user of Ancestry’s genealogy tools.

I am hopeful my product knowledge combined with the fact I’ve launched online technology applications for as long as I’ve used Ancestry, gives credence to my ask that Ancestry’s Business Analysts, User Experience Leads, Information Architects and Application Developers consider updating the current Ancestry Leaf Hint functionality and user experience.

It’s time for a 1.2 or 2.0 enhancement of the Shaky Green Leaf experience offered to users presently. Why? Because though the core requirement (provide customers a user-friendly means of introducing “hints” to support family tree building) has been met, there are user experience considerations and a few business requirements to update and/or add.

Based on our understanding Shaky Green Leaf  functionality has been introduced and applied by Ancestry users, here’s my technical wish list of modifications:

User Experience & Functionality:

  • Coach Marks. To support an enhanced Shaky Green Leaf (SGL) experience, add concise, dynamic “coach marks” to guide […]