African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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Great-Grandfather, mother, cousin Madagascar 1800s Dauphin County, PA Oral history

I was told by family members that my mother's paternal grandfather's mother and father - James Fountain and Mary Elizabeth Johnson-Fountain were from Madagascar and came to America together. But according to the Dauphin Co. PA 1920 Census though, their birthplaces are listed as Virginia and Maryland (Frederick Co., I understand) respectively. This is confusing to me, because my great-grandfather told me that she was born a freed slave, which could possibly mean that Fountain & Johnson weren't their true last names. The story seemed to get a little more confusing to me over the years as other family members included their oral histories as they knew them, which has only heightened my fascination on solving this mystery. I'm eager to find my great-great grandparent's Malagasy connection, their Malagasy names, and know the story of their lives in MD and VA before they settled in Pennsylvania. I was blessed to have my great-grandfather until I was 31, but there were a lot of things I never got a chance to ask him. A cousin (my great-grandfather's neice) was so kind in passing on to me valuable information about her dad's parents, and I've begun work on constructing a family tree on them as well, but there are so many missing pieces that need fitting.

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