Ailey & Catie CODY“You & Gwen are the glue holding this family together… Keep Sticking!” ~ Cousin Ed, Family Patriarch

Though I’d attempted to research a few random Ancestors, my “calling” didn’t really kick-in until the day my cousin Elbert STRINGER, 1 of 2 living Grandchildren of my 4th Grandmother Catie WINGFIELD DORSEY, shared the story of how Catie would reflect on being owned by “Master CODY” in Warren County. Grandma Catie told of how she’d been sold, leaving behind her Sister Ailey. The year was 1859. My Catie was 10 years old and Ailey 12 years old.

That was 1998/99 and aside from knowing Catie had been taken to WILKES County and somehow acquired the surname WINGFIELD, I had no more real information about our family history.

Over the years with the assistance of Elbert, Johnnie Mae (the 2nd living Grandchild of Catie’s and Elbert’s baby sister), Washington-Wilkes hometown elders and the WINGFIELD Family Society, I discovered and introduced my living family to our Washington-Wilkes and Warrenton heritage.

I progressed fast, filled many historical gaps and collected BEAUTIFUL vintage images that gave me a glimpse of the proud, hardworking folks I’d descended from.

But still no Ailey.

From 1999 until 2009 I researched numerous CODYS of Warrenton, Georgia to find the original slave owner of my Catie. Without question, Madison Derrell CODY and/or Robert D. CODY. And though I would find many family members, Ailey was not among them.

In 2010 by way of Ancestry I helped another non-related [I *think*] DORSEY confirm that his Rachael DORSEY of Rockdale, Georgia was not my Rachael DORSEY, Daughter of Ailey & Elbert DORSEY.

Ailey didn’t come via this RAOGK but finding her — FINALLY — in the 1870 Warrenton, GA Census did! She’d been “hiding” in plain sight except her SURNAME differed (DAWSON), a piece of tape blotted out part of her given name and she’d been identified as male!:)

Then on February 2, 2011 I received this email and my heart stopped:

Hi Luckie,

My name is Gwendolyn Stegall and I am researching my family history. I stumbled across your website while looking for my family in Warrenton, Georgia. My great-great grandmother’s name was Allie Dorsey and the name Elbert sounds familiar. I spoke with my 92 year Aunt, she couldn’t remember all she know is she called him pap. I’m wondering if it’s the same Allie/Aly as on your website. I still have a great-aunt who still lives in Warrenton who would be the granddaughter of Aly/Allie if it’s the same person. A lot of the names you mentioned on your site have like names in my family, I saw the name Tempy from long ago, my mom is Tempie. I’d like to talk to you if you don’t mind to see if we are searching the same lineage. I can be reached at 404 ***-****. Thanks. Gwendolyn Stegall

After searching for our Ailey for 11 years, and all but believing I’d NEVER find her, Ailey sent me cousins Gwen and Ruby along with a clan of too many CODY/DORSEY kin to name!:)

We’ve comforted each other through the loss of our dearest loved ones, Gwen’s Daughter Cornishia to heart failure in 2011 and my Mom Geraldine last month to Alzheimer’s Disease.

This morning via phone we laughed about the aggravation of blogging, the beauty of family and how we must have crossed paths a MILLION times living in the same community yet not knowing we were family! We went to the same beauty and barber shops, families attended the same church, lived walking distance from one another and our oldest kids graduated from the SAME high school, in the SAME class!

Yet even with all that, had it not been for Our Georgia Roots and blogging about our family, Gwen and I may never have found one another!

Above is the picture  Gwen took of Ailey CODY DORSEY during one of her trips to Warren County to visit Aunt Doris, Ailey’s last living Granddaughter. Ailey and Catie are together once again on this earth through us and in Heaven. No owner can part them now…

Today we even began the impromptu planning of the “United DORSEY Family Reunion” to be held where the journey began for our GGG Grandmothers, Warren County Georgia!

As I told Gwen this morning, I know the technology is overwhelming and frustrating. But if it’s the gate between you and your next cousin or Ancestor, is it not worth the effort? Aren’t we the GGG Granddaughter’s of Ailey and Catie evidence enough of that?

Hang in there and look for Gwen’s NEW genea-blog AND family reunion info online soon!:)