finding your roots

West Indian heritage

Merleen Holman February 28, 2012

Dear Dr. Gates.

My family comes from the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies. St. Lucia was the battle prize to England after being tossed back and forth between France and England. Our fascinating culture is both french and english. We speak a romantic french creole, different to Haiti and New Orleans, and sometimes similar. I believe St Lucia is unique because of this rich history. My extended family emigrated to the US in the 60′s and 70′s. Thank you
M Leonce

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  • Ona Anderson Watkins

    May 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Dear Dr. Gates

    I’m a first generation America with my parent come to America from Panama in the 1970’s. My mother’s, whom as one of 9, last name was Poyser and her mother’s maiden name was Keen (so Im told). My grandfather went to Panama from Jamaica to work on the Panama Canal. My Grandmother was a an only child to a women that was to be from Spain, and her father was briefly in Panama and was from German around 1910.
    Now on my Fathers side. I don’t know as much as my mothers. My grandma was born in Panama and her mother passed away when she was a child. My grandma then was raised by an aunt or cousin as a maid? My grandfather worked in Panama and was not married to my grandma. It’s rumored that he (my grandfather) has fathered over 13 children all of which are boys. (He was a very busy man. I am aware of one uncle that shares the same father as my father.
    So as you can see there are a lot of unanswered questions regarding “finding my roots” I would like have a chance to explore this more for my very large family.

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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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