I grew up not knowing my father or any members of his side of the family. My mother's side of the family are a mixture of European and American Indian lines and I grew up in North Dakota. I was born in 1969. My father was born in Atanta, Fulton County. My parents were married in 1968 Bismarck, ND at St. Mary's Catholic Church and they began the process of divorce while mother was pregnant with my sister in 1970.
I started searching for my father in 1995 and my search for him was the beginning of almost 10 years of the history of my African American past and the people that came before me! How empowering is that?!! I finally did locate my father through the GA Voter's Registration database, provided for GA Voters to check their status...I was lucky to know his DOB and lo and behold I aquired his current address. I wrote a letter and received a response within 2 weeks time. We have only talked three times since than, but in those conversations he was able to provide a lot of confirmation to all my gathered research and shared a little more. Much of the information I had gathered was new knowledge for my father as well and he was quite pleased in my intrest. Shortly before the letter from my father arrived I recieved a surprise phone call from a half-sister who currently lives in Henry County. She is the eldest of 3 girls from my father's 2nd marriage. We talked quite a bit every weekend up until a few months ago, but she is busy getting a home business off the ground and is a wife and mother of two. She too has become quite interested in our family history....it is catchy; addictive you know! ((Smile)).
Before you think I did this all on my own, I must tell you about the wonderful African American family genealogists/family historians at www.afrigeneas.com who gave me my start with their helpful experienced advise and gave their time to help with census lookups, etc. I remain an active member of the afrigeneas forums today and give freely back as I continue to volunteer my time to do many lookups or share my experience with the novice. They say you can't keep what you don't give away and I strongly believe it!
I think it will be much to difficult and lengthy to try and cram all my research into this message window, so rather, I am posting the URL to my home page "Vera's Family Business". Beware, I may be a good researcher, but not so good at designing webpages! I do have lots of my viewable research loaded. Please sign the guestbook if you don't mind!
Thanks for the great series! Very moving, touching, inspiring and uplifting.
Mr. Gates, you had me looking for information in the census on your Jane and the Brady's (Grin) following the first show!
Also want to mention that during Black History Month, ancestry.com has made several databases free the entire month of February including: Freedmans' Bank Records, The ever-name index and images to the 1870 census, Civil War Records, WWI Draft Registration, and the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules.
Surnames I am researching in GA in counties mentioned above: MOORE, BURNEY, ODOM, GRANT, DORTRY/DOUGHTRY, HAWKINS, MORRISON, WILLIAMS, GRIGGS, GANTT, COBB, HULL, HALL, McCURDY, McGARRITY, and many more.