Genealogy & Research

And So It Begins: Why Does MY Preservation Matter?

Wingfield-Genealogy---CurationI often wonder what African American descendants researching Slave Ancestry could learn about our Ancestors and heritage if descendants of every slave owning family shared their research data OR donated legacy documents to a repository for public consumption? What could we learn if our own families had preserved Great Grandma’s bible and funny childhood tales or shared freely the rare, coveted Ancestor photo or cloaked family “secret”?

When I visited Duke University Rubenstein Rare Document & Manuscript Library last November I *thought* I knew what to expect. I’d been hoping to touch the collection since discovering it online in 2009, so at least I knew what was “physically” there.

But how could I have known the shock and multitude of answers contained in Samuel WINGFIELD’s plantation ledger? Or known how much seeing and touching the names of my Ancestors branded on those ancient papers would mean to me?

Had it not been for Mrs. Alexander BAIRD’s August 1990 submission to Duke’s Special Collections Library, I’d never know the weight and financial yield of my WINGFIELD Ancestors labor or the names deserving to be called and brought home.

I still don’t know Mrs. BAIRD’s relationship to the WINGFIELDS. I don’t really care. It doesn’t matter. What does is that some 14 years ago she had the forethought to make sure history that’s irreplaceable could rest in a place dedicated to preservation.

I’ve begun talks with Spelman […]

A Stitch In Time – Schomburg NYPL Digital Collections

Stitch In Time - SchomburgJust realized the Spelman Seminary images from 1902 I cited in my 2009 post have now been absorbed into a larger Schomburg Collection – Progress of a race; or, The remarkable advancement of the American Negro from the bondage of slavery, ignorance and poverty, to the freedom of citizenship, intelligence, affluence, honor and trust.

Take a minute to checkout this reflective collection of the historic progress made by our amazing Ancestors.

Lest we forget.

Luckie

Image:

Spelman University: Where My Family Genealogy & Images Will Call Home

At the turn of the 20th century my Great Grandmother Annie CARTER JACKSON lived on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, GA with my GG Grandmother Marrie, and attended Spelman Seminary with her 2 sisters Fannie and Mattie Wee. As a little girl, I was blessed to hear of their antics at Spelman on many occasions!:)

Grandma JACKSON’s gift for delivering our oral history in the most hysterical fashion, was the catalyst for me. Her memories were where my love of family history took root and her devotion to family, is what anchors my commitment to preserving it.

Annie CARTER JACKSONAs the family historian, I’ve spent 15 years unearthing our Georgia and Alabama heritage. I’ve inherited bibles, historic documents and rare family images from my maternal Grandparents and Mom, and through divine intervention, “acquired” the family bible of my paternal Great Grandmother COBB.

Over the past few years I’ve given MUCH thought to how my personal genealogy archive will be managed in the event of my passing. I’ve been trying to answer one simple but difficult question — what’s the BEST way to ensure my heritage is preserved and our data made accessible to other researchers?

As an advocate for digital preservation I’d considered both Ancestry.com and LDS owned Family Search, but in truth neither entity has earned my trust as a researcher of Slave Ancestry. I’m not convinced the digitization of African American history is a ‘true’ priority of either org and I know from personal […]

WINGFIELD Slave Manifests From a Ship Named The FLORIDA 1856 & 1859

The-FLORIDA-Slave-Manifest---WINGFIELD-1856---Various

Plantation musings have been ROUGH! When my soul’s Teflon coating has regenerated, I plan to invest time researching these WINGFIELD Slave Manifests discovered via Ancestry’s U.S., Southeast Coastwise Inward and Outward Slave Manifests, 1790-1860.

By my estimates my 6th and/or 7th generation Ancestors could have been Africa-born and survived The Middle Passage.

Inspired by AAGSAR Member Cecilia of Cecilia’s Dig and her 3rd Great Grandfather Mr. Major PERRY, I took a chance locating slave ship manifests for my WINGFIELD and CODY Ancestors of Georgia, and ended up finding several.

For tonight, I’m posting two (2) WINGFIELD manifests from the slave vessel THE FLORIDA — arrival ports Mobile, Alabama (1856) and Savannah, Georgia (1859).

The unknown Ancestors on the slave manifests were owned by WINGFIELDS of Georgia. Given the years of the purchases, I’ll start looking at records for Archibald Simpson WINGFIELD I (b. 1801 – d. 1861). The son of Samuel WINGFIELD, Archibald outlived many of his relatives. In addition to his slave inheritance, as a practicing lawyer he was often named executor of and/or witness to their estates. Archibald, Charles and Garland WINGFIELD owned the majority of my Washington-Wilkes Ancestors in 1860:

  • WINGFIELD, A. S., 66 slaves, page 478B
  • WINGFIELD, C. for self and 2 others, 57 slaves, page 479B
  • WINGFIELD, G., 83 slaves, […]

Finding NO Peace In PEACEWOOD: My WINGFIELD Ancestors Plantation Home

Peacewood I - WINGFIELD Wilkes County GAWINGFIELD-CADE-SAUNDERS House (PEACEWOOD) circa 1936

When I really peer beneath the surface of our country’s damaged history, and how human transgressions have been processed by the descendants inheriting it, I’m challenged to find our cultural silver lining.

I believe the healing salve for historic ignorance and human cruelty lies within our yet to be lived future; to be championed by the untainted souls of descendants far removed from the slave legacy I inherited.

Am I saying Generations X, Baby Boomers and beyond are hopeless? Sadly, yes.

The longer I live, I find it harder to vest in the goodness of mankind when he’s still very much covered in his Ancestors history-stamped residue.

For example, while scanning this 2010 Tours of Home blog post regarding PEACEWOOD, the plantation my WINGFIELD Ancestors built and sustained while enslaved by Thomas WINGFIELD and his descendants, I immediately became angry reading this narrative:

This beautiful old plantation home is a significant and interesting example of a house assembled from different periods and made into a columned plantation seat in the 1840s and 1850s during the period of prosperity before the Civil War.

Beautiful?! William Johnson is referring to the time period when MY ANCESTORS were bought, sold, raped, bred, tormented, overworked and subjugated to the discretion of his or her WINGFIELD owner. A period when their free labor was exploited, bartered […]

U.S. COLORED TROOPS: WINGFIELD Union Soldiers of the Civil War

Company B 103 Regiment - Unidentified Civil War UNION SoldierEarlier tonight Bernita ALLEN (Air Force SME) of AAGSAR (African American Genealogy and Slave Ancestry Research) shared an awesome site to research your Civil War Ancestors, the National Park Service: Soldiers and Sailors Database.

I’ve already identified 8 WINGFIELD Civil War Soldiers I need to research further to determine if a family connection exists!

Albeit connected by SURNAME, blood and/or plight, I honor these WINGFIELD men of service. I’ll keep you posted on connections too! AMAZING!:)

Luckie

*****************

Wingfield, Albert

  • Regiment Name: 13th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

Wingfield, Alexander

  • Regiment Name: 115th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

Wingfield, Charles

  • Regiment Name: 95th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

Wingfield, Charles

  • Regiment Name: 97th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

Wingfield, John

  • Regiment Name: 95th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union
  • Alternate Name: John/Winfield

Wingfield, John

  • Regiment Name: 97th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union
  • Alternate Name: John/Winfield

Wingfield, John

  • Regiment Name: 103rd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union
  • Alternate Name: John/Wingfield

Wingfield, William

  • Regiment Name: 1st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • Side: Union

USCT Recruitment Poster

NOTE: NPS Soldiers and Sailors database results returned 222 WINGFIELD Confederate Soliders. I also plan to research my Confederate Ancestors of military service

REFERENCES:

U.S. Army Sgt. Pierce DORSEY (b. 1891) ~ WWI Veteran of Athens, Georgia

It really just dawned on me this morning how I spend more time writing about Ancestors I have no memories or inherited history of, than those familiar to me. Seems these Ancestors fight hardest to be seen and heard, which does make sense. It’s the Ancestors we don’t know or remember that have the greatest possibility of being omitted from future narratives of our family’s history.

I’m thankful I got my descendant’s head on straight by taking time to share Great Uncle Pierce CODY’s life narrative. I should’ve never been so busy tracing the clues he deposited in his WPA Slave Narrative that I neglected to add more texture to the story of his 90+ year life. Forgive me Uncle Pierce!:)

And just as Ancestors work, as I was pulling together the story of Pierce , I discovered more than I ever knew about one of his namesakes, 1st cousin Pierce DORSEY, his sister Ailey and Elbert’s son!:)

Pierce DORSEY - Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty, 1917–1918Pierce DORSEY (b. 1891) was inducted into the U.S. Army on August 22, 1918 in Athens, Georgia. His training was conducted at […]

Tao of Luckie, The Four Agreements & Walking In Wisdom! 2014 Is My Year!:)

The Four Agreements - Miguel RuizOn most days the folks I interact with have no idea I’m a longtime practicing Buddhist. I’m not robed. I don’t walk around chanting the Lotus Sutra or quoting The Buddha. And though I’ve determined to excommunicate my potty-mouth in 2014, possess the ability to cuss like a sailor!:)

I see me as a spiritual hybrid, equally comfortable with chanting and meditation, as I am with honoring my Yoruba Orisha and Ancestors. I take comfort in the Gospel Music handed-down from a steadfast Christian family and can quote scripture often — a propensity that tickles my older sister Gina to no end!:)

But when I weigh my spiritual hybrid self against Dawn’s of Answering The Ancestors Call analysis of DNA and Ancestral Affinities: Is it in the Genes?, it does make COMPLETE sense!

EVERY BIT of who I am spiritually, has also been identified in who I am geneticallyDNA CENTRAL: 23andMe ~ I See My True Colors Shining Through!:)

Though I realized this several years ago, I never really was The Accidental Buddhist! I haven’t been discovering, I’ve been remembering!

I have a fused set of [Buddhist, Christian, Yoruba, Zen, […]

Thanks To You AAGSAR’s #BLOGFEST2014 Was EPIC!:)

Dora KOONCE & son, James HARDY(EN) KOONCEI’d searched ALL DAY for the word to sum up my feelings regarding our first New Year’s #BLOGFEST – We Call Your Name event. Then after the tweets died down and we were all descending from our Ancestors clouds, Bernita (still a NEW KID herself) of Voices Inside My Head nailed it, “BLOGFEST was epic!”.

It was indeed. I’ve never in all my years of researching genealogy, felt more connected to a body of work, than I do today. I never planned on it, have frequently complained about it, and sometimes get up the nerve to question the Ancestors why they have me doing it. But I know this work is Divine, and I’m so thankful to be a part of bringing not just my, but MANY Ancestors out of the dark. They are SHINING. BREATHING. REJOICING!

I’m hard on you NEW KIDS because I need you to embrace fully the responsibility that rests on your shoulders. And should the day come I take hiatus, I want you equipped with EVERYTHING you need to push your Ancestors, and our collective Community FORWARD.

NEW KIDS your work will bloom and spread. Many will follow your lead. If you call them, Ancestors and newly connected Cousins will come (in my best James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams voice). You’ve shifted the landscape and narrative of our genealogy research FOREVER.

I thank you

River Rise: Our Ancestors Are Calling…

AncestorsOn many levels I’ve always had a close connection to India.Arie. Our Atlanta roots. Our Oshun nature. My love and respect for her family – Mother, Simpson and Big Bro J’on. Though I didn’t have opportunity to fulfill my promise, in 2009 I was offered a gift to design her brand, Soul Bird. And Lord, the music…

India’s music ALWAYS seems to flow in parallel with my life journey. I often find sanctuary in her melodies.

This morning I take refuge in River Rise from her Testimony: Vol 2, Love & Politics album. By far one of my favorite tracks, River Rise is a beautiful, sincere petition to the Ancestors for guidance. A call to return to all things familiar and soul-fortifying.

As we make final preparations for our first AAGSAR BLOGFEST2014 on Sunday, Jan 5th and set our feet for a New Year overflowing with Ancestor discoveries, this is my wish for myself and all those seeking to connect with their lost lineage.

Not to fly blind. Be my eyes. I surrender. Show me the way…

There was always a power I could feel
It was guidance to tell me the way to go
But nowadays I feel like I can’t hear that voice
I’ve been flying blind
I need You to come and be my eyes

River rise, carry me back home
I cannot remember the way
River rise, carry me back home
I […]