Sketching The Family Tree, Discovering His Family’s History

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Lawrence Jackson went through most of his life not knowing much about his family history. He didn't even know the names of his great-grandparents. That didn't bother him until he had kids and wanted to share with them stories about their ancestors. So he began a search, armed with only early boyhood memories, from his home in Baltimore for Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to try to find his late grandfather's old home by the railroad tracks in Blairs, Virginia. Jackson describes his journey in a new book, "My Father's Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War." Read More … [Read more...]

Atlanta Man Plans Memorial Day Reunion With African Kin

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It may sound strange, but for William Holland, 43, of Atlanta, incorporating the long-lost African members of his family into this year’s family reunion is a reality. From the first DNA test he took in 2004 to his upcoming reunion this Memorial Day, Holland has accomplished the seemingly impossible through patience and sheer determination. Tracing his family line all the way from the Virginia plantations where his American forefathers worked to the Oku people of Cameroon, Holland then discovered that several members of his "African side" were closer than he ever imagined — living in … [Read more...]

African-American’s roots revised

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If you're an African-American, tracing your roots back to the ancestral continent is hard enough — but tracing them back to the ancestral family? That requires genetic testing, plus family-history scholarship, plus trips to Africa, plus a little bit of faith. William Holland has filled all of those requirements, and to celebrate, he's planning a cross-continental family reunion for Memorial Day weekend in Virginia, where his ancestors were once held as slaves. "Memorial Day is a time for remembering the loved ones you lost, right?" Holland said. "So it's a good time to remember all those … [Read more...]