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Old 11-04-2015, 09:43 AM
Location: United State
350 posts, read 196,681 times
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It interesting watching some of those Genealogy Documentaries like Who do You Think You are?. Finding Your roots and Amerasian American Lives and seeing how many Celebs (especially African Americans due to slavery) did not know much beyond really most of their Great-Grandparents. This seem to especially be true in older African Amerindians.

I know that with African Americans the first ancestor born just before the end of or after the end of slavery did not really talk to their kids (And then they in turn not with their own Kids) about their family history for obvious reason especially if their was a Slave impregnated by a white Person.

Henry Gate,l Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg, John Lewis and other African Americans Celebs of the same generation all made comments about not knowing much beyond a Great-Grandparent. saying theat it was just not talk about back then.

It doesn't seem to be just African Americans but White People as well but for different reasons.

They know if they had a English or German ancestry but even then kids growing up in the 1940s and 1950s did not really know about family History beyond a Great-Grandparent.

I remember My Maternal grandmother not knowing most of her grandparents Name and My Maternal grandfather not knowing most of his paternal Great-Grandparents names and their Parents name. His Mother knew nothing about her Maternal Grandfather who died many years before her birth.

My paternal Grandmother does not know name of one of her Great Grandparents.

I remember my grandfather saying that growing up his parents did not talk to him about his family history and names of great grandparents and great-Great grandparents.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:28 AM
8,089 posts, read 4,446,122 times
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Most of these who you are, are turning over every rock till they found something, they will jump five family names over just to do a show with intrest. But on how far to go back, md dad gave me the name of a g g g gf around 1850 and that my dead end, he gave me that name forty yests ago and i can get pass it. I know everything about everbody since but that my desd end
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:39 AM
Location: Atlanta
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Well, your right.. its not just African American's with slave ancestors. My dad (white) knows very little about his ancestors. I remember a few years back i was showing him all the info i had found and that I wanted to go visit John's grave and he said, who is JOHN? I said, your great grandfather.. my gg grandfather..

He is just not that interested in them. My mom on the other hand is..
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:15 PM
Location: Albuquerque NM
2,953 posts, read 4,507,640 times
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They had more important things to worry about, and no time to go do research the old-fashioned way. On the death certificate of one of my great-grandfathers, his parents were listed as "unknown" by his wife. Apparently he never talked about them to his own wife.

In a lot of censuses it is apparent that some of my ancestors were even wrong about the state they were born in.

And one of my 3rd great-grandfathers was born either in England, Virginia, or Georgia depending on which census you looked at, and which son of his was answering the question "birthplace of father?" We still don't know. The sons were just boys when both of their parents died.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:22 PM
858 posts, read 747,628 times
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African Americans definitely have a much harder time finding a paper trial, since it doesn't exist beyond slavery (except potentially in wills and obscure records), but people not passing down history is definitely not exclusive to one group.

I'm white and I never knew the names of my great grandparents until I was an adult. Almost nothing was passed down on nearly every line of mine... and it's a genuine shame, I've had to research it myself and learn most from distant cousins, newspaper articles, etc.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:38 PM
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I grew up with a great-grandmother in the home she was straight from the old country she came to the USA in her 70's and lived to be 96 she knew my entire family and liked to talk about the old times I got lots of information from her.
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:02 PM
Status: "happy again, no longer catless! t...." (set 3 days ago)
Location: Cushing OK
14,418 posts, read 16,677,475 times
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My mother had a pretty good summation of further back than the great grandparents, and my dad's family has a book on the family back to the 1600's. But there are still mysteries. One is my dad's mother's father. He left for work one day and never returned. It was even investigated. Nothing was discovered though especially in the family it was believed as her mother remained calm and saying nothing that she knew where he went. Whatever happened, it died with her.

And then mom told me her mom was the second husband of her mother, and he died when she was a baby. I find no records for this, except I grew up with her family and they are all short and prone to gain weight. Grandma was said to be the only child of a six foot tall englishman. Different body type, doesn't look at all like her siblings. I'm thinking of doing the dna test with ancestry to see if any odd english named Smith show up. That's the other thing. Both the known father and the possible father were named Smith.
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:23 PM
Location: Iowa, USA
338 posts, read 232,070 times
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My grandpa didn't know his paternal grandparents. Turns out it was because his parents were never married, which my mom never knew. His bio dad was married to someone else and so not in the picture for long. My great grandma never spoke of him to anyone. I just discovered a missing link earlier this year (located that other family, who knew about my grandpa), so now I have a little more to go on. I think this sort of thing was probably not that unusual, and people swept it under the rug.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:16 PM
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I was always surprised that my wife's 3 siblings, and several aunts and uncles never knew the date that my wife's parents were married, even though it must have happened in the same southern town where they all lived, during the Great Depression. None of them seemed to care - the subject was never brought up. Furthermore, not a single picture was taken of the occasion.

Finally I found the original marriage certificate, wadded up, in the bottom of my brother-in-law's dresser drawer, when we were packing up his things after an eviction. It almost got thrown out with his junk-mail. It showed the couple were age 15 and 17, and pregnant (a "shotgun wedding" so to speak). But, they had a long marriage, and 5 children, nevertheless.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:23 PM
Location: too far from the sea
17,971 posts, read 17,131,123 times
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Sometimes there was shame. Other times it was all there, written down in the family Bible.

My mother knew some of her family history and I remember being about 4 years old, sitting on the floor as she told me that her mother's maiden name was _______, her mother's parents were_______ and ________etc. She recited her father's side too.

That must have been the way they handed down the family history a long time ago when a lot of people were illiterate. Just memorize it. I also remember watching Roots on tv back in the 1970s and the family recited the names just like that. The old oral tradition was alive.
my posts as moderator will be in red. Moderator: Health&Wellness~Genealogy. The Rules--read here>>> TOS. If someone attacks you, do not reply. Hit REPORT.
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