There’s something to be said for knowing who you are and where you come from. There’s clarity when you have evidence, documented or anecdotal, of which ancestor first arrived on these shores. There’s closure when you can pinpoint the village that your forebear(s) left in their quest to seek a greater fortune or better life. That is the story of so many who live in this country called “America”. Unfortunately, it’s not mine.
My ancestors didn’t come here of their own free will. They didn’t come to seek a greater fortune but rather were forced to create fortunes for others. They were held as chattel, beaten, worked relentlessly from sunup to sundown, raped and dehumanized because some people were too lazy to do their own work, they would rather cross an ocean to savagely kidnap people from a foreign land to do it.
I had started my own journey into my past by signing up for an Ancestry.com membership. It’s not as easy when you try to review the limited documents kept by men who deemed it acceptable to own humans like the people who are responsible for my existence. In fact, when reviewing the slave schedules, it’s a bit unsettling and hurtful to see your ancestors listed as property with no names…..you will have to guess if the male slave listed as aged 6 is that missing great, great grandfather that you are searching for. If you are fortunate enough to find the right family that owned them, surmise the age of the ancestor and sex and where they lived, you will have a chance….otherwise, it’s not until after slavery was abolished that they are mentioned by name (which isn’t really theirs or yours – but the slave masters).READ MORE