*Wisdom for today’s post in reflection of the vote to approve reparations by the
AB 3121 California Reparations Task Force
“REPARATIONS FOR DIRECT DESCENDANTS OF ENSLAVED PEOPLE ONLY”
>3 decades of legislative introductions by Black Congressional Leaders,
>Former California Secretary of State, Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. authored and championed Assembly Bill 3121 – known as:
AB 3121, Weber. Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.
>Governor Newsom approved and filed with the Secretary of State Sept. 30, 2020
>A 2-year Study by a Task Force on Reparations, begin the early stages to propel this intitiative.
>The 9 – member TaskForce was set with an agenda to address multi-dimensional areas ranging from Historical ramifications of slavery to American systems of Institutionalized racism and its damaging effects upon generations of African American people. Working in concert with an economical team, the Task Force is also faced with the daunting task to propose how Reparations might be implemented, disbursed, or instituted…
One clarifying element about the recent vote, hinges upon eligibility being lineage-based for California African American residents, who are descendants of enslaved people; Yet, at this time, does not include DNA, warned as “invasive” with a concern about its limited technological access and somehow impacting the participation of people with disabilities, as advised by one member…
As a Professional Genealogist, emerging Genetic Genealogist, Family History Commissioner, Advocate and Presenter of Community kinship initiatives, I am grateful for a foundation of training embedded in advocacy and activism; this further fuels my works and vision to facilitate access for ALL to obtain their Ancestor’s genealogical information, especially my people…it is yOUR birthright
As reparations revolutionalize to become a reality, before folks start counting coins, invest your time and energy building your Family Tree and unearthing your story. Names give clues to your connection and its impact upon your life –find out just HOW. Wisdom from your Ancestors empowered by your Elders bears an invaluable inheritance of immeasurable wealth that prospers your life.
Renew your commitment to pay it forward, dedicate yourself to the research, and say their names. Teach your Family History to your children and other Family members, and work together to discover creative ways to preserve the stories.
Black Panther Party rank and file, Former Chairwoman Elaine Brown, and Party Co-Founder tell it like it is and was through Song and History — powerful thought and action transcending the times, speaking to TODAY! #RiteON
Everyone’s Genealogy Library or Family History arsenal must possess this Book by “the Godfather of Black Family History”, Tony Burroughs. He is a Historian, Internationally renown Master Genealogist, Lecturer and Best-selling Author. Mr. Burroughs is also the founder and CEO of the Center for Black Genealogy
I was privy to attending a lecture session of Mr. Tony Burroughs at RootsTech 2018. A vibrant speaker, he was thorough with a commanding presence and I quickly learned that in his tell of “the story” there was a minefield of clues and research strategies off the beaten trek; I was imbued to go back over some of my own steps concerning an Ancestor with an “African” birthplace and whose Mother and Father’s birthplace was Africa as well, on the 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Union, Nevada, Arkansas, USA. When I mentioned her surname, “Gulley” to Mr. Burroughs, there immediately was actual Family kinship who had shared their own inquiry with him prior, which turned out to be about my LYDIA GULLEY.
Seriously?! Out of 28,000 folks in attendance that year, Africans Americans represented less than 200, and I’d make a direct connection with a couple other Family Historians who’d share kinship with me in Mr. Burroughs’ session — the majesty of it all! Among many Distinguished Awards, Mr. Burroughs is also a sought after Professional Genealogist appearing on Television shows such as Oprah’s Roots on PBSwithHenry Louis Gatesand with Smokey Robinson on Who Do You Think You Are? Over 35 years in the field of Genealogical research and Family History he’s traced his own lineage back 8 generations. A dedicated Pioneer cultivating Family History advocacy, education and scholarship, aligns himself with the vision of his Institution that:
“Every person of African descent knows their family history.”
Take your Family History Sojourn on a Virtual Experience, FREE! Register: www.rootstech.org
February 25-27, 2021 | ONLINE: Streams, Sessions on Demand, Interactive Expo, Language Translators, Cooking Demos, Cultural Heritage exchanges, and Africans Teaching Africans, so pleased for the opportunity to connect with my Continental Kinship.
“Learn the best practices and methods available to search and find your ancestors within African American historical records.” #RootsTech2021
I’m still tuning up my Playlist via the Familysearch.org access, let’s Connect and watch a few sessions together. @nzoCALIFAncestry
in shared kinship works, Sis. Regina Calloway, Field Research Genealogist workingmylines.org | #nzoCALIFAncestry IG: ReginaCalifa360
You’re right on time, as the sessions are ON DEMAND through the RootsTech portal. Visit the website. www.rootstech.org
Be informed that although you don’t have to create a RootsTech account, registration allows you to patch into the happenings. To enable access to customization features and make CONNECTtions with other attendees, you will need a FamilySearch account. Sign up for one FREE, if you don’t have one: Family Search
GOT MORE FAQ’s, the ROOTSTECH PORTAL HAS YOUR ANSWERS
During these unique times sanctioning our distance, #RootsTech2021 Connect presents a rare opportunity for US to be close again.
Like no other, the very divinely conscious idea of YOU was definitively created with a purpose. Imbued with a powerful energy force of LOVE SUPREME, not only to be received, worked, curated or taught, but to endure, to teach and to grow infinitely. Through guided rites of passage and self-exploration, FAMILY has become for me God's treasured gift to this world. Where by blood, life force flows and by Spirit it is edified, thru breath. What some of our Elders knew then, is still vital to to weather the times of now.
It's important to honor your walking History, your Elders, Family and Community Leadership. FAMILY bears a value of which no Man can price, for it is indeed of Godly proportions. No matter who you are, where you might be or what you've been through, your sojourn is the continuing journey of the many before you. And your Godly potential realized today, will continue to enlighten pathways for others to travel well.
So #walkwell and honor breath.
Egun iba'se - give praise of Aṣẹ to the lives of our Ancestors. *loosely translated*
“I do not walk alone. My ancestors are always with me. They carry my spirit during the challenging times of my life and walk in prayer with me everyday.”~Native American wisdom
~ in shared kinship works, Sis. Regina #workingmylines
How a small Northern Louisiana town, called Summerfield, Louisiana could hold generations of my life to date? Becoming a Field research Genealogist would most certainly reveal to me the enormity of this discovery. I posted a lead post earlier on my #Genealogy Instagram platform @ReginaCalifa360, about the wisdom shared by my maternal Grandfather, CLAUDE WATERS, JR. :
“…take care of your own backyard.”
The WALSTON Family Reunion was conceived upon a foundation of woven memory and Family History research encompassing oral narratives about our Family Patriarchs MILES and MISSOURI WALSTON of Summerfield, Louisiana.
This year’s Family Reunion held in in the Bay Area, California was a tremendous success supported by a core of Wisdom Keepers, Family Elder Advisory and a fantastic Committee of dedicated members, lead by the visionary excellence of our Co-Chairs Cousins Kelly Bailey and Jayde Williams both of WILLIE WALSTON lineage. Our Family History Pioneers ARTHUR WALSTON and ADA MEADORS represent the living blueprint for which has become the Family History story we know today.
And taking cue, since the late 1800’s, Family members have transcended this story from generation to generation through their daughter VERA WALSTON unto its kinship legacy of the HILDRETHS, the LIVINGSTONS, VANHOOKS and so on. As it would become a joint commissioned effort of my Cousin Deborah through the Pioneering lineage of her Grandparents, so would it invoke my life’s quest ushered by my Grandfather’s wishes, who was SALLIE WALSTON’s Great Grandson. And this year the both of us served on the WALSTON Reunion Committee to advance the work, expanding the Reunion’s Genealogy and Family History component.
DOUBLE COUSINS ACTIVATE!!!
Deborah and I are also double cousins, not only verified in our own respective Family History research, but recently discovered through DNA as she matches Family members on both my Mother and Father’s side. We just “GET” each other and indeed it is a dynamic Spiritual exchange of kinship that we bear. Our dynamic research exchanges boasts energy of revelations that connect Family relations. Often we laugh and marvel at our discoveries. I truly value the inspirational inheritance of our relationship.
So when a clan of folks, recently came to visit my Father’s Mother, boasting 106 years on this planet earth, TRUST it was a day I had to be present. Mama Georgia is lively, brass and brash with Spirit whose calling never fails to share A Word, with the Bible nearby her elbow seen or unseen. In this visit were my Grandmother’s nephews and nieces who were KENNEDYs, and included a surprise visit by my Great Uncle Bobby HUNTER who only recently retired from driving Big rig trucks well into his 80’s; My Hunters are about some God-given vitality, and quick to deliver A WORD or wield “A CUT” so take the warning first. LOL *smh*. >>Although I had met Cousin Bo at Mama Georgia’s Birthday party, prior to this visit, his Brother Charles had connected with me online, inciting a cataclysmic exchange of Summerfield, Louisiana connections — My people! I learned sooo much about our intersections and connections, I was too full.
I LOOOVED the inertia of Summerfield Family energy, as we all “kinned up”, broke bread, laughed, faced-time other Family members marveling at our common ways, connections and celebrated just how GREAT GOD IS through Family.
Finally, I had a captivated audience to submit the claim that my maternal Grandfather and Father were distant Cousins, Elders were NOT surprised to learn of this once information. And as I shared my discovery, each Family clan knew of each other with some living only blocks away even to this day. Others could identify whether Family clans lived in the Mt. Sinai or Mt. Olive areas; I had also researched on FIND-A-GRAVE.com that some of my Father’s Maternal side, HUNTERS were also buried at the Old Mt. Sinai Cemetery along with WALSTONS. There are Cousin who’ve shared that there are some CALLOWAYs who are buried at Mt. Sinai and that there was a Pastor related to me that preached at a local church. *whew*
There are even more irons in the fire right now, added to an already HOT research docket. I’m grateful for the reunions, and will add, don’t wait until a Family Reunion to gather or meet up. Start with the Family around you, those you can still access , travel to or make a phone call. Welcome inside your Family gathering this season, to truly learn about your Family History lineage. Move beyond obvious questions concerning geographical and chronological dates and begin to ask Elders what was it like to grow up. Ask about foods, music, past times they enjoyed; What animals did they raise or know about, names of neighbors or what was the most historical event they could remember during their time. This will encourage the story that truly matters, en-souled with lessons that can impact your life today.
WHEN IS YOUR NEXT FAMILY MEET UP?!
It’s been my personal goal for decades to visit the old Mt Sinai area and nearby landmarks of the times that have shape the very lives of both sides of my Family. The stories of my Ancestors continue to prosper my own pathways and Family History. I encourage you to gain the wisdom you’ve inherited, and be guided HOW, to take care of your own backyard. Know your Family History.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Been a bit, as I’ve been hitting the pavement, digging deep, traveling wide and praying on high, blasting through proverbial research Brick Walls, and basking in the inheritance of a multitude of FAMILY!!! *Special shout out to the fantastic Family Reunion efforts of SIMS in New Orleans, the WALSTONS in the Bay Area and the BROWN-REDIC Family ties convening in Las Vegas this year.
We all know that although Family Reunion planning can prove to be challenging, the rewards run long and deep. We have so many reasons more to strengthen our ties, honor our Elders and to motivate the minds of our Youth to carry our traditions forward. I am deeply inspired, and enjoy my newly discovered kinship. I share in the vision to rediscover, rejuvenate and reunite, Family.
Although this Season is considered FALL, Ancient wisdom would reveal that this time of the year IS the New Year. Celebrated Wisdom Teacher, Iyanla proclaims the season to “ALL FALL UP” , to do those things required to get us back in sync with nature, to FALL INTO your purpose. *a’dupe Iya*
I know it to be Odunde in Yoruba, West African Culture, the Harvest or in the Bay Area and some regions Kwanzaa is celebrated honoring First Fruits and thus the fruits of our labor. Among Communal kinship circles, the Fall is filled with a fête season of Ancestral remembrance, perfect for gathering Summer Reunion memories, bringing them forward to share at ceremonial offerings of atonement.
It’s the time to cove, for reflection, to release, and for re-envisioning; The Fall Equinox is my is my favorite time of the year for gratitude, and let me tell you my cup runneth over. I get excited by stepping up my service in the legacy of my Ancestors as Missionaries, Evangelists and Community Workers. Activating my own vehicles of service, I recruit and motivate aligned interests who desire to demonstrate exceptional acts of kindness, to express favor and practice #goodGIVING and Giving thanks, simply.
Bursting with the abundance of wisdom from researching my Family History, continues to fill me. I am grateful for the indomitable Spirit that dwells within me in a long walk of Faith, that transcend from a folk whose daily bread is guided prayer, praise and giving God the Glory.
“Honor the “Walking History” of wealth that dwell among you — Your Elders! Listen, learn, record and chart their stories, we can benefit from their embodied knowledge; We are that much more abundant transcending the yoke of our Ancestors. And if you don’t know that by now, then start counting your blessings, starting with your breath. Drink from the fountain of Ancestral wealth, be full and then refresh the cup of another.”
Research records accessible at County Clerk/Recorder Offices, Libraries, and include contact with your local Genealogical Society.
Look for Family names at Mortuaries, Cemeteries and Funeral Homes onsite and check for an online presence, including Obituary listings.
Think White Pages is out-dated? Think again, some Grandparents and Old School folks still have their Landline or the same cell phone number they first signed up for.
And the wisdom of my Elders share that, “a little manner goes a long way”. When speaking with an Elder, make it your intention to give your undivided attention to the conversation with an open mind and ear. Do take notes and get clearance first to record.
Strengthen your Family Ties! Make a phone call, visit an Elder today; Invest in the time and gain wisdom that transcends time.
Presented by the North Carolina Genealogical Society
An invaluable resource to Southern and African American researchers, encompasses business and personal papers from numerous slave-holding families of the South. Decades of genealogical history, 1st account documents surface to struggling personal accounts of “familial” entanglements. The collection also includes cited instances of the enslaved named and perhaps inheriting property to the counted unnamed and sold into inheritances.
Dallas Public Library Associate and Owner of Black Genesis Genealogical Consulting Company, Ari Wilkin’s presentation will demonstrate the breadth of the collection, how to navigate and apply the records to personal research.
#workingmylines: I accept this challenge and dedicate this initiative to my Ancestral Guardian, my Maternal Grandfather aka “Stuff” hailing from Junction City, Louisiana. Iba’e, Iba’e tonnu
Paternal Grandfather: Claude Waters, Jr
birth: April 6, 1926, Junction City, LA | death: January 13, 1997, Oakland, CA
Claude Waters, Jr was born to the parents of Freadie Brooks and Claude Waters, Sr, both deceased. He accepted Christ at the age of 13 at Fellowship Baptist Church in Junction City, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. Later he served on the usher board at Mt. Lebanon, in Darnell, LA. Developing a strong work ethic at a young age, he learned how to work on the farm, driving tractors and trucks.
Junction City, LA is the twin City of Junction City Arkansas
The family headed West part of the Second Great Migration, post Depression with aspirations to elevate their economic plight, landing in West Oakland, California. Married to Elsie (Culverson) Waters at age 18, their first home was on Campbell St. and Willow Manor down the street, was the local school his children attended. He obtained early work with industry giant, Owens Illinois Glass Company, during World War II. Drafted for service to the United States Armed Forces for 2 years, my Grandfather later worked at the Oakland Army Base in materials handling as an equipment operator. After furthering his education at Merritt College he worked professionally for the State of California in Landscaping and Highway Maintenance for 26 years, availing the Family
home we know today in what is known as the Fremont area; they were the first Black Family on the block as his children attended the local Fremont Highschool while others attended, Castlemont and Oakland Technical Highschool.
Maybe around 2003, I was bestowed with a rare opportunity to revisit my Grandparents’ first digs on Campbell Street, as it was then owned by enterprising West Oakland “Black moguls” who were acquiring real estate; Through a close friend, I’d also learn that a New Orleans couple that I knew, were slated to purchase it and so I arranged access to take a private tour. By cell phone, my Mom guided me through each room, vividly depicting who stayed where, including her Grandmother “Sug” in the “Mother-in-law” room. When I told my Maternal Grandmother, Mama Elsie of this, we were all pretty excited about the couple of purchasing the home as they were still in escrow, yet my she’d mindfully warn – get the keys!
When my Grandfather transitioned in January 1997, it was like the spoke of a wheel had broken, leaving the wheel to topple over struggling to balance — Family. He was a 25 member of the Masons, with membership to Monarch Lodge #73, Menelik Temple #36 and the Victoria Consistory, he was also the President of the Scimitar Club for 2 years. He was that pillar and visionary who surpassed risks, didn’t accept “I can’t” and firmly encouraged our productivity, progressive action and no-nonsense; he still was a lot of fun and laughs and could out run ALL of his track star grandchildren in jeans, with his house slippers on and a cigarette in his mouth. *smh* My Grandmother called him a “risk-taker” for which we are all grateful to him to this day, as we STILL remain property owners in Oakland.
If it weren’t for the positive encouragement of my Grandparents, I wouldn’t have taken such a dedicated interest in Family History extending to Geneaological research. Upon many attempts I’ve worked to crack “the mystery” surrounding my Grandfather’s paternal line. I’ve heard the ‘lore of half-sisters one day, estranged family members asking for money another day, yet NO NEW INFO today, this is where Ancestral grace will kick in. Some years back, I did learn from his draft registration card, his Father,
Commemorating Lo’Eshe Lacy, killed in a West Oakland shooting at age 16 @hoodline.com
Claude Waters, Sr was previously married to a Daisy Rose and the next of kin listed on the card was a “Raiford”“Rayford” ; In subsequent searches there’d be an absence of any information between the 1920’s and 1930’s, although I’ve located residence info cited in the 1930 U.S. Census. I’ve been poking in and around neighbor surnames on Census records as well, and even super-sleuthing information surrounding my great grandfather’s first wife Daisy Rose-Waters her 2nd husband and son , with no avail to any additional information.
According to my Elder Uncle, my Great-Grandfather would not speak of his parents, it was said he was pretty hush-hush about his Family. Yet, my Grandfather’s life quest was to learn more about his paternal side – this quest was bequeathed unto me before he died. I’ve stay in the works to this date, destined to unearth the answers. And with the introduction of DNA testing, I have tenaciously encouraged, prayed, and coached 2 generations of our treasured Y-chromosome WATERS Men to rise to the occasion and help crack this Family code — my fingers are still crossed. // #workingmylines
archive photo:Owens Illinois Glass Company founded in Oakland, CA 1946 as plant number 20, drawing many to the West for war-time work, including my Grandfather; eventually the company was re-assigned as Owens-Brockway Glass Container Company for which my Brothers and I worked various shifts in East Oakland as teenagers.
#workingmylines — Such a wonderful way to share my Genealogy boudoir of stories about my Ancestors. I’ve accepted the #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge created by Professional Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow serving as a boost for those of us with aspirations to write Ancestral memoirs or a book; It’ll also serve as a creative outlet to elevate our narratives that educate Family about our Ancestors. My formal posts will be on Mondays weekly, yet with this pre-launch I begin with one of our foremost celebrated Matriarchs, whose 1st year observance of transition date recently transpired. My Auntie Selyah remains timeless near my heart. #givepraisetolife
Maternal Aunt: Selyah Glenn Waters
birth: July 24, 1948, Oakland, CA | death: May 30, 2017, Oakland, CA
My Second Mother My Mother’s 1st Sister, Middle-child Aunt Selyah…
Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Iyakekere (Community Mother)
💛I grew up adoring this beautiful Black Priestess, ready for the World before most; She dared the Mysteries, challenged Drum rhythms, reasoned with Nyabinghi Rasta Elders, and danced in the fire, YES I; She spoiled us on Black-skillet-pineapple-upside-down-cake, intrigued us with ghost stories and always let me play in her fantastic wardrobe.
🔮Auntie introduced me to OHM, Jambalaya, A Course in Miracles and eating red clay; Auntie was a Warrior Spirit, Healer, Teacher, Root Woman, and Bebe to a 3-generation tribe, with a deeper heart that challenged the hearts of Men and those of us who loved her.
🌹In her anchor legged-years, She allowed me to care for her through playful resistance and sometimes brave fights; She got to Love Jamaica one last time, not before invoking the sweetest Love blessing atop of my head, a Family Matriarch first.
🗝I honor Her for such life-altering gifts, I transcend Her wisdom and blaze healing trails of ascension for our Matrilineal heritage. I Love you Auntie Selyah…still missing you in such a divine and personal way, grateful you are ascending, prayerful we all continue to do so. ~Selah
Traditional Dances steeped in West and Central African spiritual traditions, has invoked
DNA wisdom within me since the womb. I indentify with Òsùmàrè [Oxumaré – Brasilian Candomble] known as the “rainbow spirit” of Yoruba traditions holding dominion over the heavens and the earth bearing dual qualities of male and female; Òsùmàrè is the umbilical life-line of continuity’; this embodied concept permeates throughout the island of Haiti — undulating dance movements of Yanvalou, honoring the divine serpent duo known as lwa, Ayida-Wedo and Damballah-Wedo; where rainbow showers and white offerings activate writhing, from the cerebral cortex winding down to the coccyx. And in the Ancient star systems of the Dogon peoples exist the serpentine symbolism of the “double-helix”.
America’s noted discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953, propelled a Congressional proclamation called National DNA on April 25, 2003. This initiative transcended into an anniverserial event carried forward by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), now celebrating it’s 15th year.
DNA testing is a powerful tool for identification. ~DNA Diagnostics Center
DNA testing made accessible for home use?! seemed almost unbelievable. For African Americans on their quest to find their ROOTS marked an important benchmark in Family History Research. Yet, long before I considered taking a DNA test I needed to consider a few things:
1st Exorcise historical Family ‘lore, fears and myths concerning taking such a test, in light of how much surplus blood I’ve given at a many Doctor and or Medical visits.
2nd I actually LOVE biology and particularly became fond of our Genetics component, in High school. Although I was aware of MESA [Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement] my Mom was actually a Health and Safety Lab technician at Lawrence Berkeley Labs and anything less than an ‘A’ in Biology and Chemistry was unacceptable.
3rd It became apparent that I needed to immerse myself, so I took workshops with Field leaders and binged on very accessible tutorials by Ancestry.com on youtube.com. Learning about the discoveries of other African American Genealogists and Family Historians heightened my determination. It was the dynamic delivery of Mr. Shannon Christmas, experienced genealogist specializing in genetic, colonial American, and African-American genealogy in Virginia and the Carolinas, that tipped my scales. He’s well-versed, studied and a dynamic lecturer whose sought out expertise and encouragement invoked me to buy 23andMe immediately after his lecture at #Rootstech2017, Salt-Lake City, Utah. Since then, 4 generations of my maternal line are tested. I’ve taken a second test with Ancestry.com and planning my 3rd effort through FamilyTreeDNA.
Soooo, over 1500 DNA matches later, I am a deep diver of Family History research and highly advise that working YOUR lines is a must, as it often said by experts that Genealogy and DNA testing goes hand-in-hand. And while waiting for your results to come back, make certain to interview your walking history – the Elders in your Family and continue to build your tree. In special cases of adoption, I can share that DNA testing will enhance your investigation, along with Genea-friend kin support, with select educational online sources; Consider every piece of information as a clue towards your find. To this day, I’ve be in the service to locate biological parentage of cherished friends and DNA matches who are adopted; If there ever was a testimony to share, this area of Genealogy, DNA testing bears powerful impact of transformation.
That being said, take all of these cues of inspiration and further your right to learn about your birthright through your Ancestral codes. Testing opportunities are accessible, available and now on SALE. ~ workingmylines.org #workingmylines
#workingmylines Raw and Rooted! My fast-paced race walk on a journey has now gained wings, as I prepare to join thousands more to RootsTech 2018Genealogy/Technology Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ancestors are on the mainline and await your call…I am tried and TRUTH that no boundaries and no brick wall can keep you from your birthright.
#workingmylines from another angle, about 2-3 years ago I came across a U.S. Census document bearing the GULLEY surname of my maternal Family side. When I gleaned the record to learn that two of the Family members’ birthplace was cited “Africa” I was stunned! This was 1880, after emancipation and during an era in U.S. Census history where the names of the formerly enslaved were listed, beginning in 1870 for some areas. I held onto the document until I could corroborate shared Ancestry.
Recently, I watched the PBS series hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr “Finding Your Roots” featuring a segment on Producer and Grammy award-winning band member of The Roots, Questlove. A most compelling breakthrough in his Family history research was a similar document like mine citing “Africa” as the birthplace of his 3rd great-grandparents Charlie and Maggie LEWIS, my eyes bucked! Minutes later the episode whisked us through a phenomenally well-documented sojourn all the way to the Kingdom of Dahomey, today known as the Republic of Benin where a Southern planter “bought” and “illegally” shipped over 100 Africans on the “Clotilde”, 5 decades after the slave trade was abolished. What an extended version of a first time session, learning about your Family History all the way to the Motherland and back.
Distant cousins would then give Questlove a rare glimpse seeing that “his eyes” bear a strong Family resemblance to his Ancestor, Charlie LEWIS.
By association, the historic proportions of this story are equally compelling to that of Cudjoe LEWIS, the last known survivor of the slave ship “Clotilde”. Being shipped to the sharecropping South as a teenager, after tireless attempts to return home, his clan eventually founded Mobile, Alabama’s historical “Africa town” with many of his descendants still living today as learned through Genealogist expert and #BlackProGen, Angela Raji Walton’s blog post-Jul. 2014 “The Heartache of Cudjoe Lewis”:http://bit.ly/2DqrhaE.
*whew* I was super excited and inspired by all of this, most certainly rocking the airwaves of PBS as well as the world of Genealogy; I anxiously fetched that “GULLEY” Census document
pulling an all-nighter determined to make sense of twirling Family branches, contacting member trees on Ancestry.com, vetting, corroborating, creating timelines [thank you Ms. Shelly Murhpy] prayers, intuition and taking cues from Ancestral hunches. And by dawn, I learned that those GULLEYS are indeed my continental African Ancestors.
Although I share a very truncated version of this story, today I remark that my research was straight paper, no DNA testing…Genealogical research is imperative in concert with additional technological and scientific methods. I immerse myself in study sessions, intensives and conference study that advance my expertise, often gaining cutting-edge
strategies that produce genealogical research break thru. Since 2013 #Dancestory2013 aka #nzoCALIFAncestry has been my trajectory of Community service, to illuminate the embodied Ancestral knowledge vested in Dance, Drum, and Cultural Artists in the Bay Area or those with guided intention to learn about their Ancestors.
My Maternal Matriarch is tenacious about learning and teaching Family History. And as I’ve just learned that my Grandmother’s DNA reports are in, my GULLEY Ancestral Matriarchs have shown me that when you call their names, they bless you with unimaginable wisdom, serving as your birthright.
I truly encourage your support as your Genealogy emissary and Community Ambassador, please continue to GIVE and SHARE these good works forward.
#nzoCALIFAncestry is my Community platform for cultivating Genealogy kinship and Ancestral/Communal Healing initiatives.
On a rainy Sunday, November 26, 2017, one enters the double doors of the Community Room of the Oakland Main Public Library, [OPL] interested to research their Family History, open for messages and possibilities. By the day’s end [literally] the room had indeed been imbued by an early evening of compelling Family stories shared, stories passed down and some in fragments; one attendee brings 2 stacks of Family data research, another brings a table long chart of her Family Tree – this session is primed. #RiteOn
We began this day getting right to work to chart our Family tree on a template provided, instrumental to guide the attendees’ next steps in their research. The room was prayed up and prepared to receive 16 faithful and determined Family members who openly gave voice to their Ancestors’ by calling out their names, as those in the room who shared a common surname echoed back in response:
We also cite the places our Ancestors traveled and sojourned; including those who were shipped and or sold away, migrated through many regions, across waters, trails, and areas such as:
Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Texarkansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Chile, China, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Liberia, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, and California.
As our aural senses were briefly disturbed by outside bellows of anger and resentment being ushered out of the Library’s temporary cove, we braced ourselves and re-centered with deeper focus. [Bless ’em] Each member was steadfast to share their story, even with gentle time warnings. [I, feeling like biting my nails, carefully glancing at the time] I stay mindful recognizing that the room had become safe space. For some, it was their first time and their hearts desire to find a Father or learn more about that unknown great from the South, while others wanted to expand a Family line — all knowing that everyone in the room is genuinely listening with shared intentions in kinship; As a Genealogist / Teaching Artist I was elated, and as a conductor I respectfully surrendered to the process.
My keychain arsenal holds over 23 library cards from throughout the country, I love libraries! It was a distinct pleasure to introduce the OPL’s Genealogy and Historical Records online to aid in their Family History research. With some surprised and others eager to dive in, the time had prospered forward to put research into motion, and so we began with the Ancestry.com’s Library Edition. Each attendee started with “that Ancestor” and was guided through each search prompt, aided by a few additional tips to advance the search in cases of the unknown:
Add Mother and Father or sibling
List the State and Country if you don’t know City
Estimate birth and death year
List known resident locations
Clarify “Race/Nationality” prompt [Ancestry.com]
The minute each attendee, pushed Ancestry’s “search button” a quiet stir hit the room; heads were hunched down tenaciously gleaning U.S. Census records to locate “that Ancestor”. According to the nation’s “oldest record keeper” the National Archives and Records Administration [NARA]
“Census records can provide the building blocks of your research, allowing you to both confirm information, and to learn more.” ~ NARA website
I’ll add that Census takers are human too *wink*. In the next moment, an unknown Father’s information was located; Hmmm looks like there’s more than one Family member with the same name, how could this be true? Another’s Family line extends a generation, while further research by a 1st session attendee, leads to documents from the Philippines corroborating her “Tan” connection.
[now we’re over time] A school bell rings in my head, reminding me of my Mama Georgia’s saying “Play time is ovah, time to come on in”. As a Professional Dance Teacher, I now urgently give cues to relentless minds now locked in on finding out more and announce to make preparations to gather in a circle. The room was now filled, and so was every attendee filled with discoveries made possible by their Ancestor’s presence. I’m deeply humbled, I am too filled, yet remain reticent to skillfully guide us into the ’round — hands clasped, hearts full, Ori-centered to release, give thanks, align and “Give Praise to Life”. *breath*
Egun Ire’o, Egun Iba’se //R. Califa Calloway, #nzoCALIFAncestry
Follow my latest campaign and Sophomoric journey to the Genealogy Mega-Conference #Regina2RootsTech2018, Salt Lake City Utah; I’m cultivating Genealogy / Family History/ Ancestral kinship sessions and taking names to advance my expertise and training in Genealogical methods, research strategies, and Technology.
#nzoCALIFAncestry Genealogy kinship service welcomes Cultural Presentations, Conference and Panel invite; I am enthusiastic about Intentional Retreats & Inner-Circle gatherings that facilitate Communal & Ancestral Healing works. Dedicated to restoring Family Charters, I partner in Personal Development and Transformation initiatives as Family Reunions and Family gatherings are a fave. Contact me today, and let’s envision.