finding your roots

The real Family Name

Charles Harris May 23, 2012

My father was born in northern Indiana to two African American parents according to his birth certificate in the early 1950s. The problem was he was lighter than anyone in his family and rumor has it that he was the product of an extra-marital affair between his mother and a Jewish store owner in the neighborhood. His African-American father still placed his name on the birth certificate but treated his children shamefully especially him. My grand mother passed from illness when my father was only 7 years old so she was never able to tell the story. And times being what they were everyone kept their mouth shut having some idea of who his real father was. By the time I thought to search for the true family name and heritage of my biological father all those who would have know for sure had passed. I did my DNA search and found the rumor to be true. My Y-DNA shows a strong association to Ashkenazi Jews around Prussia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Through some of the clues and rumors I have 3 possible families we could have come from with the last name Schatz, Katz, or Rosenbaum. Maybe someday I will get a breakthrough on the truth.

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  • Garth Tuttle

    May 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    It is good that you did find an answer; finding “a” Katz family, for example, is like finding Jones, for an Afican American raied on an “Infian” reservation, where in no one exists, who was born with tat name … so be very careful with your research.

  • November 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    See, thats what happens when you let gals in the military. Likely texting her girlfriend.

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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).

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