I grew up hearing a story of how my mother’s grandfather had been a slave when he and his older brother escaped towards the north during the Civil War. I remember hearing that the brothers had reddish hair which I found odd for an African American slave. The older brother died enroute and my great grandfather somehow met up with a battalion of Union Army soldiers. They took him in and he became the troop’s bugler. He settled in Illinois after the war and at age 54 or so married a woman 20 years his junior (my great grandmother) and they had 6 children. (He fathered children in his 60′s!) I have begun putting together the pieces of my family tree and although records for Black people aren’t all that plentiful, I’m finding out a lot. And my great grandfather’s red hair? I have yet to identify his parents but on one of the census, he listed his mother as being from Mississippi and his father – from Ireland! Was he the slave owner? I’ve become a little obsessed with finding my roots – as tangled and unique as they may be.