finding your roots

a slip of paper

harriett washington June 29, 2012

actually, there was no adoption, simply a childless couple in their late 30s who took a little girl from a hospital in gary, indiana whom had been abandoned by her birth parents.
the beauty of this story is that the little girl grew up to have 8 children and her baby, held dearly in her heart a slip of paper: a birth certificate which contained accurate information!

from this birth certificate, the baby girl traced the birth mother of her mother to a gravesite in cleveland ohio and her father to spring hill cemetary in wellsville, ohio. the journey continued to find the birth of her great-great-great grandfather in 1846 in fredericksburg, virginia, with his father listed as ‘henry’. henry, the name he gave his second son of whom she is decendant.

on my mother’s paternal line, i found her father, frank’s in a veteran’s cemetary and his parents on a 1900 census record. His mom, Artie, was the daughter of a frank and harriett from kentucky, who moved to ohio. i have stood at the gravesites, and on the steps of homes, and stood in the sanctuary where the children of peter and julia worshiped, married, and were eulogized.

all because of a slip of paper!


when others say it cannot be done, remember, one slip of paper can be the key to unlocking the unknown past and drawing it into the present.

Submit Your Story


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Buy the DVD

About the Series

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

Join the Community

close watch preview