Friday, November 30, 2012

My Great-Great Grandmother, Lizzie Taylor

I'm floored by this amazing photo!

I just acquired the second of two known photos of my great-great grandmother, Lizzie Taylor.  I'm dancing out of my shoes right now!  My father just got back from the Bayou Classic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and came back with this wonderful photo.  He stopped by our cousin's house, Susie and she took him to see her sister, Irma Lee, who had the photo.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, DADDY!

The Original Photo of Lizzie Taylor

Thursday, November 29, 2012

AFRICAN ROOTS: Wakefield Plantation

AFRICAN ROOTS: Wakefield Plantation: I recently acquired this photo of theWakefield Plantation while visiting St. Francisville, Louisiana. It is also referred to as the Stirl...

AFRICAN ROOTS: Wakefield Plantation

My paternal Ancestors were slaves on this plantation:

AFRICAN ROOTS: Wakefield Plantation:          


My cousin posted this story about our distant cousin, Nelson Loften & his wife, Olivia.  Nelson was the grandson of our common ancestors, Nelson and Martha Taylor.  The story Patricia tells of Olivia is a story I heard from my father many times over the years.  When I met Patricia and introduced her to my father on a 3-way call, it was amazing to listen to them share the details they both remembered of this incident.

AFRICAN ROOTS: NELSON & OLIVIA LOFTEN:                                                               
I lived with Nelson and Olivia Loften in Ne...

AFRICAN ROOTS: Stirling Papers - Record of the Births of Negroes

(Continuing from my last post.  My cousin on another side of my family, Kirk Young, went to the LSU to find more info on his grandfather, Jeff Stirling, who was my grea-grandmother's brother.  He found Jeff's father, aunts, uncles & grandmother in these same papers, that my cousin Patricia mentions.  As it turns out, all of these people came from the same plantation and were related. )

AFRICAN ROOTS: Stirling Papers - Record of the Births of Negroes: On June 30, 2012, Judy Riffel went to the library at LSU to examine the records of Lewis Stirling, the owner of a cotton and sugar plan...

AFRICAN ROOTS: The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom 1750-1925

The following link navigates to my cousin, Patricia Bayonne-Johnson's, blog describing information in a book detailing the history of our ancestors (Pre-Civil War Era).  Our common ancestor was my 3rd Great-Grandmother, Martha (Morgan) Taylor.  What stuns me about this book is that a few months prior to my knowledge of its existence, I created a rough pedigree chart for a few of our family members who were trying to piece together the nature of our relatinship.  This book already had a pedigree of my family with more names than I knew, including, my 5th great-grandparents, Leven & Judy Weathers, the first ancestors I've discovered born in the 18th century!!!!

AFRICAN ROOTS: The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom 1750-1925: I have had this book for years and did not know that my ancestors were included until a couple of weeks ago. As you can see, it is a used...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An Amazing Story...

On August 22, 2012, something amazing happened...

This story actually begins with an email I received from a co-worker named Ruth, on July 18, 2012.  The email had an attached link to this NY Times Blog chronicling the photographic journalism of Gordon Parks during the Civil Rights Movement.  Gordon Parks' photographs, famously printed in Life Magazine in the 1950's, moved me deeply and reminded me of why I'm so passionate about genealogical research.

On August 22nd, I was telling my co-worker, Ondria, about my experiences with genealogical research--utilizing such web sites as & and she was really fascinated. I logged onto and showed her how I research relatives. I asked her about her relatives and found census records with her family listed. She got really excited and told me that she would have something to show me in the morning.

The next day, she brought in an original LIFE magazine dated September 24, 1956. Inside were all of the pictures (and more) posted in the NY Times Blog.


She said her aunt, a school teacher, knew Gordon Parks and that she gave him access to the family to document their life in the deep south. As a result, she was ostracized and subsequently banned from the state and had to move to Ohio, but when I asked if she was aware of the implications of her actions she said “yes”—what a woman of courage!!!!!!!!

I explained to her that I had seen these pictures before.  To her astonishment, she replied, “How could you have seen these pictures? These are my family members and we checked into this. This article is out of print so it’s impossible to get copies.”  I explained to her that our mutual friend, Ruth, sent an email the month before. The look on her face was PRICELESS!

I ran back to my desk and forwarded the email to her and she became emotional. Another co-worker immediately contacted Ruth  and asked her to come to Ondria's desk. Ruth's expression was just as priceless.  That morning there were several people at Ondria's desk all morning. My boss called her "a celebrity," pulled out a camera and started taking pictures of her holding the magazine and we were dying laughing.

This was truly an amazing experience!

The wonders of genealogy...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Word of Thanks...

I give thanks to my late mother and grandmother who started a work in me that has become a life long journey and passion.  My mother started the first family tree nearly 30 years ago and I've just expounded upon it. 
My grandmother made me memorize all the matriarchs that span the the last 7 generations of our family when I was eight years old. Little did I know the impact that would have on the lives of so many, including my own. As a child, I loved looking at her old photo albums and she would identify all the people in the pictures and tell me so many things about them that I've never forgotten.  Thank you, Mama!