finding your roots


VIKKI MIDDLETON February 27, 2012

I do not remember how I started doing my family research. However, once I started (1987) I could not stop. I first started looking for only Offleys that were Black. I had to change my thinking. In the Federal Census, some were listed as mullato. I discovered that we came out of Maryland. Babies were born in every state leading from Maryland to Massachusetts. New Bedford, Massachusetts is where all the history took place. Even Frederick Douglass settled in New Bedford, MA. I collected information on all and any Offley. Sir Francis Bernard, who was the last Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was married to an Offley. I can walk to where they lived on the Jamaica Way in Boston, MA. They have 2 sons that are buried in downtown Boston, MA. I found two relatives that fought in the Civil War (54th regiment). One (James Henry Gooding) wrote a letter to then President Lincoln. He asked why the black soldiers were not receiving equal pay. There is a Greensbury Washington Offley, who educated himself and became a very popular minister. He states, in his published writings that he was a slave. I went to Maryland to do some research and found that he was born FREE. He settled in Connecticut and in 1857 moved to New Bedford,Massachusetts. He was the owner of a lot of acres, which was unusual for a Black person in those days. I am still working on the Offley family tree and it is time for me to do the family DNA. I have made contact with the Offleys in England. It just so happens, that the Offleys originated from England.

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Your email address will not be published.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>


  • Beverly M. Hector-Smith

    February 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Did you know that G.W. Offley is buried
    in a plot with my 2 gr’ grandfather, Thomas H. Jones in Cedar Grove Cemetery ?

  • Beverly M. Hector-Smith

    March 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Hello again,

    I hope you will contact me so I can give you a copy of the cover of Rev. G.W. Offley’s religious booklet, dated 1875 that shows a lithograph of him.
    Also buried with him in the New Bedford cemetery is his wife Elizabeth and daughter Annie.

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