finding your roots

Lost & Found

Ricardo Malbrew April 19, 2012

My name is Ricardo Malbrew. I am, by profession, a historian and an educator. I was biologically born to Anna Darlene Mitchell and Marvin Mitchell of Lake Charles, Louisiana in August 1975 . Coincidentally, they never married; however, mysteriously they both possessed the same last name of Mitchell. Unfortunately, both were out of my young life at age 2. Consequently, I was forced to live, in Ashland, New Hampshire, with a foster family of a young man my biological mother was dating at the time named Floyd Boutte; however, it proved tumultuous. I was physically abused by them until my adoption by a young couple, The Malbrew’s, who happened to be friends of theirs, several years later. It would be thirty years later before I’d meet my biological parents again. During those meetings I questioned both on their ancestry and informed them both of my frustration as a young boy. I expressed to them my anger, anxiety, and curiosity to know who I was and where’d I come from. Both informed me much as they could on their lineage. And I began to search, beginning first, at Beginning with both of my biological grandparents, I began to research my way back in time. Secondly, I used LSU. LSU is a federal depository and thus I was able to use their resources to pinpoint census records, slave conveyance records, land records, and so forth. Lastly, I was able to trace an ancestor on my biological mother side to the January Family in Tensas Parish, Louisiana in 1850. There, I was able to list and name the slave masters, DP & BP January. Their Overseerer, named Ballew. And their slaves which listed 110 in all. I used US Census records to reveal my 5x Great-Grandfather, John January, a pure-blooded African. In addition to her, my biological mother, I was able to trace an ancestor back to 1785. This is a rare find since most Blacks can only trace their ancestry back to 1870. Juxtapose the aforementioned information to my biological father’s side. I discovered a paternal ancestor, from Virginia, whose parents were likely owned by the family of John Crockett in Virginia. That’s right. Davy Crockett’s father. I was stunned. And just when I thought I was making lots of headway in my research of my ancestry. I came upon a snag locating another paternal ancestor, I ran into a very unique problem. My biological maternal grandfather, Henderson Mitchell, is likely the same person, who was the son, of my biological paternal Grandfather. I was floored. I am still trying to clarify if this is indeed true. In sum, I continue to search my ancestry and my adopted family’s ancestry. I feel we are all connected-somehow. I thought you’d enjoy my convoluted journey. I am.

Ricardo Malbrew, M.A.

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>


  • tinpan2005

    April 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm


  • ebony edwards

    April 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Hi I’ve seen the show but I would really love to know about my family on where they really came from, on my mothers side and my dad’s too I really think its great to know your familys history

  • April 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    My mother Malvina “Schiemann” Marquart had a brother Henri who was in the army of Czar Nicholas and I have a photo where my uncle is shown in the army band and the Czar is also in the photo with my uncle. I believe it was taken in Nizhni Novgorod, Russia. He survived the war and married a Russian Lady, had children, would like to find his off springs. And get in touch with them.

  • Mej

    April 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Ricardo, I enjoyed reading your family story. We have some similar situations … I went to live with a guardian at 3 years old and met my mother at 17. Even though I spoke with my father when I was 22 but never met him face to face before he passed. I often say that I met my family through my research. I believe one of my ancestors followed Davy Crockett from VA to KY. Good luck in searches.

  • April 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Your story is a great inspiration for us all to continue serching until we find.

  • April 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Your story is a perfect example of how we who are looking to know our roots must keep on seeking until we find.

  • Sharon

    April 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Mr. Malbrew,

    Am so sorry to read about the pain of your childhood and am inspired by your character and tenacity in becoming an educated and It IS enjoyable to read about your journey to find your ancestors and about the success you’ve had in doing so.

    If you do document connections to the Crockett family, you might want to read the interesting history Crockett descendants posted online. Early in my search, I was told that I descended from Davy’s cousin; but a little research revealed that my ancestor shared the identical name but not the Crockett ancestry with the actual Crockett descendant..

    Apparently there is some controversy about the following and I’ve not seen references to source records, but the Crockett family have posted a descendancy from
    Antoine Dessaure Perronette de Crocketagne, a guardsman to Louis XIV. He married Louise de Saix, a noblewoman; and the family became protestant, leaving France for the British Isles when Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes.

    The family states that the surname changed to Crockett and the sons eventually emigrated to the colonies. Davy’s great-grandfather, William David Crockett, was registered as having been born in 1709 in Huguenot Colony., New Rochelle, NY. The family story is that he was born on the voyage.

    Davy’s father fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain during the American Revolutionary War, and Davy was raised in Eastern Tennessee..

    I hope you’ll keep us posted on your future findings. Genealogy is a lot more fun when you can share it with people who understand what a thrill it is to make every little discovery.

  • Jan

    April 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm


    I am reading your last many sentences correctly – are you saying that your bio mom & dad are either 1st cousins or brother & sister?

    I am confused on the Henderson Mitchell statements. Interesting story, you were fortunate to be able to find such lengthy links to your past.


  • Tara Patton

    April 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I admire your perseverance! Searching any ancestry leads to many twists and turns. I think that we find ourselves along the way!

  • April 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm


    Where are your people in 1940 & 1930?
    Since both of your parents had the same surname, Mitchell, could it be possible that there are two ‘Hendersons’?

  • Desiree R. Fruge-Rogers

    April 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Whoa your family history is interesting.But, in those times it was quite common to have the lines crossed.I found that on my great grandmother Nettie Bivens Elliott side.She married a Elliott.But, one of her parents was an Elliott.But, in my opinion it causes mutated genes usually resulting with a sickness.But, you have a fascinating story.I am working on tracing my roots.

  • Donald Edward Maring

    May 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    For years The Crockett Family and Connecting Lines, by Janie Preston Collup French and Zella Armstrong (authors’ copyright 1928, printed Bristol, TN), volume 5 of the Notable Southern Families series was accepted at face value when they tried to connect “Davy’ Crockett” to a line of Huguenot refugees. Better research and now DNA have demolished their speculation.
    Some years I ago I found records of “Davy” Crockett’s grandfather, also a David, living in Frederick Co, VA. He had left by 1772 when Berkeley Co (now West VA) was form from part of it. The family land was probably no more than three or four miles west of Martinsburg. and on both sides of Tuscarora Creek for a distance of about 2/3 of a mile. I have not seen records of his sons having their own property there. Records suggest that David Crockett the senior (wife Elizabeth) and some neighbord moved to old Tryon County, NC (modern Lincoln and Gaston) around 1769-1771. “Grandfather” David and family moved ca 1775 west of the Alleghenies. At Rogersville, now Hawkins Co, TN, David and Elizabeth were killed by Native Americans. John was a few miles away. This had to have happened late in 1777 or in 1778. I hope this helps you evaluate the clues you have. Let me know if you have questions.

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