Discovering the hidden gems of black family history can be a rewarding and enlightening experience. Black family history is rich and diverse, spanning across continents, cultures, and generations. However, it can also be challenging and frustrating, as many records and sources are scarce, incomplete, or inaccessible due to the legacy of slavery and oppression. Therefore, it is important to use various methods and strategies to uncover the stories and identities of your black ancestors.
Another way to learn about your black family history is to conduct research online, using websites and databases that specialize in black genealogy or offer access to records that may contain information about your ancestors. Some examples are Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, AfriGeneas.com, AfricanAncestry.com, and BlackPast.org. These sites can help you find census records, vital records, military records, slave schedules, emancipation records, plantation records, newspapers, and more ².
One of the most common and effective ways to learn about your black family history is to speak to your relatives, especially the older ones who may have firsthand knowledge or memories of your ancestors. They can share oral histories, personal anecdotes, family traditions, photos, documents, and other valuable information that can help you trace your lineage and connect with your heritage ².
A third way to learn about your black family history is to use a mail-in DNA service such as AncestryDNA or 23andMe. These services can help you discover your genetic ancestry, ethnicity, and origins by analyzing your DNA sample. They can also help you find genetic matches with other people who share your DNA, which may lead you to discover new relatives or ancestors².
These are some of the ways that can help you discover the hidden gems of your black family history. However, keep in mind that each method has its limitations and challenges, and that you may need to use a combination of them to get the most accurate and complete picture of your ancestry. You may also need to be patient, persistent, and creative in your search, as you may encounter gaps, errors, or contradictions in the records or sources. You may also need to be prepared for surprises or emotional reactions as you uncover new information about your ancestors.
Discovering your black family history can be a rewarding and enlightening experience. It can help you understand yourself better, appreciate your roots and culture, honor your ancestors and their contributions, and inspire you to share your stories with others. It can also help you connect with the larger black family that spans across Africa and the diaspora³. I hope this answer helps you learn more about how to discover the hidden gems of your black family history.
Source: Paperdoll Journal Notes, 9/9/2023
Family history, slavery and knowledge of Black history. https://www.pewresearch.org/race-ethnicity/2022/04/14/black-americans-family-history-slavery-and-knowledge-of-black-history/.
2021 BLACK HISTORY THEME: THE BLACK FAMILY - ASALH. https://asalh.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2021Theme.pdf.
Posting in the making of having my own waybackmachine. Funny enough its one big circle. I started out with the idea that paperdolljournal.com is a holding space to share my family history research journey with the idea that I would be in community with writers online as a source of writing accountability. This morning I took the leap to get back to making it plain. This is my self discovery journey blog for becoming a writer. Right now I am feeling like holding space within oneself for discovery is just as challenging as it is to request from others. From the practice of holding space for myself, I can better recognize when others are holding space for me and I acknowledge it. "Thank you for making space for me to...". While this may appear gracious, its still about the self for which I now use an exercise for mindfulness. Now understanding that showing gratitude starts with how I want to feel. How the person receives it is what?.... "None of my spiritual business." I've been using that phrase since my young adulthood in the '90s when I was a bonafide 'Science of the Mind' believer and follower. What a ride. Looking back it was the 'je ne sais quoi' of youth. The photo is the picturing of a part of the journey. A snap shot of the focus and the community spaces that I've been pushing into along the way. Bon voyage - xoLisa