On this episode of Identity Quest, we'll meet a popular radio personality who is looking to patch some holes in her family story.
And a retired retailer who has taken on the role of family genealogist.
That's all coming up next on "“Identity Quest"”.
Welcome to Identity Quest.
I'm Val VanDerSluis General Manager for KTWU Public Television.
Identity Quest is a brand new KTWU program that is produced in partnership with the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library.
Identity Quest will explore the intricacies and challenges of genealogy.
In each program.
We will investigate the family histories of ordinary people.
Some well known, others not.
Well uncover their histories and add to their family stories.
We'll also discuss some of the valuable tools that professional genealogists use to reveal the past.
Our first guest today is Danielle Norwood.
Danielle is a popular radio host, community influencer and also serves as co-host of the KTWU series Inspire.
Danielle was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Salina, Kansas.
She attended Salina Central High School, where she first developed her interest in radio.
Danielle got her first part time radio job at age 15.
Your host for Identity Quest is author, attorney and professional genealogist Kenyatta Barry.
Welcome to Identity Quest.
Thank you for having me here.
So why are you interested in finding out about your family history?
What piqued your interest?
There's so many holes in my family history and so many tales and fables that I would actually like to find what is real and factual.
I wanted to be a part of this.
So tell me, what are those kind of, I guess, holes in the family tree and some of the stories that you've heard?
Well, first of all, I grew up with my granny and great granny.
I went to live with them when I was three months old.
My father and my mother were married when I believe my dad was 21 and my mom was 19.
He was a college student.
And they just weren't able to financially care for a child.
And so my granny and great granny stepped in to care for me.
And instead of it being a temporary thing, I was with them the rest of their lives.
But they, in addition to me, had three other kids.
So I always stayed with granny and great granny, and that was my father's grandmother.
And great grandmother.
So I know a good deal about the Davis side of the family.
But Great grandmother's husband died when she was in her, I want to say twenties or thirties.
So I've only heard bits and pieces about that family.
And as far as the Norwood's.
There was an altercation, and that caused my grandfather to leave.
They never divorced, but he ended up moving to the California area.
I believe he was in the military, but he never came back.
And there's so much I don't know about his side of the family.
But again, with Mom's side of the family, I know bits and pieces, but I don't know much about Grandma Joanne and the rest of that family.
So I would like to have a complete history so I can know what's real and what's not.
I also heard that Grandma Joanne was born on a reservation.
I heard that at her funeral.
Like, oh, by the way, you know that Grandma Joanne was born on the reservation and you're a quarter Indian.
I'm like, What?
And so all of this has come to me throughout my life, and I'm like, okay, is this true?
And I just talked to my mom last night.
She was like, "“you know, your grandmother wasn't born on the reservation"”.
I'm like, okay, so what's real and what's not real?
So I'm coming to you to get answers that more than a need to know.
I want to know so I could be like, Okay, here's the real truth.
So everybody can just move on and we're cool, okay?
And so is everyone excited that your dad.
Okay, good, good.
I'm going to be the dispeller of all the lies and the untruths in the family.
So you going to be the truth teller?
Yes, I'm the truth teller.
Finally Our other guest on today's episode is Bernadette Bowen.
Bernadette was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but spent much of her life in Kansas City.
She graduated from Rockhurst College in KC and worked for retail giants Macy's and Dillard's.
And at one point, Bernadette owned and operated her own pet grooming salon.
Bernadette is retired and has taken on the role of family genealogist.
Welcome to Identity Quest.
Thank you for having me.
So what do you want to know or why do you want to know about your family history?
I got interested in my family history about six or seven years ago, I guess.
And I'm now in the D.A.R.
which is the Daughters of the American Revolution.
And my sister in law asked me, why am I so interested in it?
And what I said to her is that the D.A.R.
combines your family, which I've always been interested in.
It involves history, which I've always been interested in, and it involves service to others, which I've always been interested in.
And so it wraps all three of those things together.
So I come from a very large family and both my dad's side and on my mom's side.
And so I've grown up with a lot of people, and I just wanted to go deeper and deeper.
And so recently you took a road trip?
Yes, I actually have taken several trips, but literally I got back last night and I was in Connecticut on this particular road trip.
And I was in Fairfield, Connecticut.
And there I was studying the Morehouse family, which was my paternal grandmothers last name was Morehouse.
And so I have gotten definitively back to Daniel Morehouse, who was born in 1776 and served in the war of 1812.
And so I wanted to find out who his parents were, which is sort of a break in the action.
The Morehouses all for pretty much descend from Thomas Morehouse, who came over in the 1600s.
So there's five or six generations that I can go there.
And so I was looking to find out who his parents were.
Well, I think it's great, obviously, now that we can travel more freely to actually get on the road on a plane and get inside the archives.
Yes, things like that into the courthouse records.
When you take these genealogy journeys right, do you have someone that goes with you?
Usually we find a genealogy buddy or something like that.
Again, mostly from from the DAR ladies that I've met through the DAR.
And so the lady that I was with this week lives in the Kansas City area, which is where I live as well.
And we have become friends over the last four years.
She's a tremendous genealogist as well.
And so this was the first road trip that we've taken where we were doing only our own genealogy.
And so last summer, in June and in coordination with what's called Continental Congress, which is the annual meeting of the DAR she and I spend a day at the National Archives, which I have researched there before, but that had been closed for during the pandemic.
And so we had to have an appointment there.
And so I did find some very specific things on that day.
And for me, it's just it's thrilling to do research at the National Archives.
Is it is.
I think that's why we all get into genealogy.
We get that genealogy bug, right?
And then we go down that rabbit hole.
And the National Archives is such a great place to research because it has a wealth of records that are not online.
A lot of stuff is not online.
You do need to get in your car or on a plane.
You need to go to your local county.
So I'm glad that you that you've done that.
The Daughters of the American Revolution or DAR was founded in 1890 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
The DAR is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism and preserving American history.
The DAR maintains a vast library and archive, and genealogical resources and assistance are available to its members.
The National Archives and Records Administration is the nation's record keeper.
They stored millions of documents that were created by the federal government and make those documents available to the public.
Many of those documents contain valuable information for those who are investigating their family's history.
Like the DAR, the National Archives is located in Washington, D.C.
But there are regional facilities around the country, including one in Kansas City.
In order to explore our guests family histories.
We recruited professional genealogists to do the research.
Genealogist Sherri Camp accepted the challenge of delving into Bernadette Bowen ancestry.
Census records are really very important because in every census record, it tells you something different.
Every census record has another piece of information that tells you about your family member.
For instance, a woman, how many children she had, how many were living, whether they owned or rented their property, what their address was, where their parents were born, what their birth date was, or how old they were, what jobs they did there, all kinds of things.
And the other thing about census records is that you can really get a snapshot of a neighborhood by looking at the people that live next door.
So census records are really important.
Of course, all vital records thats marriage, births, deaths, all of those cemetery records, all of those are really important.
Those are the things that I start with.
And after I get the basic information on people, then I go in to look for additional records after that.
Genealogist Cindy Cruz explored Daniel Norwood's family history.
Well, the first thing I think a person needs to be aware of is that you need to try to be as concise and as inclusive as you possibly can be.
And a good way to know if you're getting all the records is to go to the Family Search Research Wiki.
And if you put in the locality of the area that you're researching, it will give you a list of all the available resources and where you can find them.
So I start there and then try to just do a reasonably exhaustive search using all different types of records.
Researching the family history of African-Americans can be particularly challenging.
The names of enslaved ancestors were not included on census records until 1870.
Well, actually, they appeared clear back from, I think, 1830 on, but they were only numbers like a checkmark, their gender, their age and their race on those.
So it was very difficult and a lot of those ages were estimated.
So it's very difficult to match them up.
I love that you come today with stories, right?
And you're doing what we love to do in genealogy, at least.
I love to do which is to prove or disprove.
What you've heard.
And so I want to start with what our team of genealogists has discovered around your Native American question.
So you have a question about your Native American ancestry.
So what we do know on your paternal side of the family.
Father's side of the family.
We know that Israel Folsom.
Enslaved your fourth great grandparents.
Roderick and Millie Folsom.
They both were born around 1815.
So both born about 1815.
They became freedmen citizens of the Choctaw Nation.
I would repeat that again.
Freedmen citizens of the Choctaw Nation.
Now what does that mean?
When you're a freedmen that means that you were actually enslaved by someone of native ancestry.
So the Indians enslaved us?
Okay, let's back up a second, because I didn't even know that that was a possibility.
Yes, it definitely happened.
The Cherokee were the largest tribe that enslaved African-Americans or blacks in the US.
So we were African-Americans enslaved by Indians.
Yes, that is correct.
And where did this happen?
So this was part from what we know, in that it was the Choctaw Nation and that this that your family received land allotments under the Dawes Act Okay.
So through this research, we have a wealth of knowledge.
Your family lineage presented in the 1885 Choctaw census.
So the census records with them.
The Dawes Census, the Dawes enro jackets, the Dawes Land Allotment Jackets, and the land allotment maps.
So what I want you to take away from this right are two big things.
The wealth of information the genealogists have discovered about your family gives you so much knowledge.
More than I can even sit today to present to you about how that Native American question came up.
Because you learned today that Native Americans enslaved African-American people.
And your family was part of that.
They were freedmen.
And that's they call them freedmen, citizens of the Choctaw Nation.
And they received land allotments because of that.
Do you know what we did for them?
I mean, so here's a deal from what I know.
And it's going to be very.
Answer that question in historical context.
And what I know from doing this research is that the native tribes that enslaved folks, those folks were also sometimes on the Trail of Tears, right?
Typically, they were.
I do also know that probably you say, what did you do for your family do for them?
They were treated just like other enslaved people.
The difference, big difference here is that they were native Americans that enslaved them.
And so they just became freedmen citizens.
Because if you think about it, most of the Native American tribes had some type of treaty with the U.S.. You also have to think about the fact once the war ended.
What was their status as freedmen that are part of the Choctaw Nation?
So this Dawes Act basically provided us with a ton of information about your family with the census, with those enrollment records, with those maps.
So this is where that Native American piece comes up.
So I don't I can not confirm.
But my family name was Folsom.
There's the Folsom.
And we were not Indian.
We were enslaved.
But as far as we know.
I cannot confirm that you're Native American.
I can confirm that you enslaved your fourth great grandparents.
Your fourth great grandparents.
Roderick and Millie Folsom were enslaved by Israel Folsom.
I'll be darned.
You've just blown my mind and we just started.
Okay, this is.
I didn't think that was possible.
And it happens to your family.
It happens to a number of families.
But it's not something you talk about a lot.
You need a moment?
No, I'm good.
Because now I'm curious about what else there is.
We'll move on to what else we uncovered.
So again, on your paternal side.
So we're going on to the Norwood's.
Okay, this this is going to be really good.
So your second great grandparents were Isom and Cherry Norwood.
Your third great grandmother was Hapsy.
H A P S Y .
Now Cherry and Haps were from North Carolina.
I've never heard these names.
So you weren't aware of any North Carolina roots?
No, because what I knew about James Norwood was that he was grandmothers husband.
I knew that.
I heard that his father was a Baptist preacher and that he had several sisters.
But beyond that and of course, them having my father.
I know nothing about the Norwood.
Okay, well, now you've just literally met your second great grandparents Isom and Cherry and your third great grandmother Hapsy.
Now, I want to talk about Isom a little bit more.
So he was born about 1835.
We do know that.
What we also have identified is the enslaver.
Of your family.
So we know that Benjamin Norwood and his son, James Madison Norood... Whoo!
Why did we whoo?
Why did we whoo?
Because that's the family name.
Now you have some origin story.
Okay, so the Enslaver James Madison Norwood is how we came up with a whole lineage of James Madison Norwoods.
I even have.
I'll even show you something here.
I actually have a delayed birth certificate for James Madison Norwood.
The kind of originator...this is the son of Isom and Cherry.
So that's the origin story of the James Madison Norwood.
So this is the original James Madison Norwood, born back in 1881.
I'll be danged.
He was born in Arkansas?
Yeah, in Arkansas.
Didn't even know he had Arkansas Oh, my God.
Isom and Cherry.
Your second great grandparents.
So we took the slave masters name.
I mean, he was part of the family, right?
It was Benjamin.
James Madison Norwood was one of his sons, and he enslaved Isom and Cherry.
Excuse me, Isom, Cherry, Hapsy and Cherry's brother, Henry.
So why did we take the slave masters name?
The enslavers name/ Well, I mean, it's a good question, right?
I had that happen in my family as well.
And it was posed like around that same time period, right in the 1880s.
So you're post emancipation.
You're thinking like, why would you even do that?
And my theory is there has to be some family connection.
So you want folks to know that there's some tie to that white side of the family.
And perhaps I'm not saying this happened.
Require additional research.
Perhaps that connection is through a bloodline.
So we could have some nighttime relations.
I'm just basically I am telling you, based on my experience and what occurred in my family.
It's not like they're writing those things down.
We can go, you know, in genealogy, we have circumstantial evidence and that's what we use.
I'll be danged.
Okay, this just gets better and better.
I'm not done yet.
We'll learn more about our guests in a minute.
But first, here are some research tips from our genealogists.
Well, a couple of them are plat maps.
Especially if you have a family that owned land or if they were farmers.
A lot of times you can find their property listed on pltt maps and it tells you how many acres they owned the location of their dwellings.
Also, there would be churches, cemeteries, schools, businesses and all kinds of neighbors listed that you could also research to help fill in the gaps that you may have in your own family.
When I get all that I can get from census records and vital records and those kinds of things, and the next thing I do is I find the place that's past that.
So for instance, I get on the ground, boots on the ground is what I call it, where I go to wherever that person was from.
And I find out more about that place.
And I do that by what I call drilling down in family search records.
And these are not ones that you can access by index.
You have to access them by image because they're not necessarily indexed.
So I will go into a location and say, let's just say Topeka, Kansas, for instance, and I'll look to see what all the records are that they have imaged or digitized for that location and just go through those records and see what I can find for my family members.
And they also like some of the non population schedules, such as the mortality schedule, which is kind of a death index for all of the people that died in the year preceding from up until May 31st of the census year.
So that can be a wonderful resource for the census year between 1880, 1850 and 1880.
And then there are agricultural schedules which list all of the crops and acreage that farmer would have had in the same years.
Are you sure?
Yeah, I'm ready.
So I mentioned Henry.
And Henry is a brother of Cherry who was also enslaved by Benjamin Norwood and his sons.
Now, Henry is your third great grand uncle, and he was a leader in his community in Sebastian County, Arkansas.
So what that means, there are a lot of newspaper articles about him.
And also, you said you didn't know you had a connection to Arkansas.
So now you have someone who was formerly enslaved and then becomes a leader in his community.
And what that generally means, obviously, is that he's helping his community out.
So I take it that he could read and write.
And so to that point.
Right, I want to just share something that I don't think a lot of people know.
When it comes to emancipation.
So post emancipation, you know, when they're doing reconstruction.
Which is typically around 1863 to 1877, depending on which historian you talk to during reconstruction, even those that were enslaved, formerly enslaved that were in their thirties, their forties, their fifties, if they had an opportunity to learn how to read and write, they took it.
So it wasn't just someone who was school age.
They took that opportunity.
And I know for me, growing up, the one thing my mother said was the most important thing to me, for me was education.
Because when you're denied something, right.
Such as education, which is so important, which is why we were denied it.
You're going to take the first opportunity you can typically.
To learn how to read and write.
So there's ton of information about Henry, but I want to get back to Isom.
This is a photo we found of Isom and Isom is right there.
You can see that.
And that's a photo of your second great grandfather Isom, Norwood.
And what's he doing?
I believe they're in a gristmill.
I believe it says that there's a caption at the bottom there.
But what I wanted to point out with this is to give you a visual of him.
Because I want to give you some additional information about what he did.
Oh, my goodness.
And again, no idea of any Northwoods beyond James.
So Isom is James's father.
Oh, my goodness.
Sharp looking man.
Any sharp looking man?
Well, and you were talking about was the other man who was Henry?
You know, fascinating.
There has always been a real lineage of education on the Norwood side of the family.
Like my father had a number of doctorates and masters degrees, and it was just you knew that you were going to be an intellect in the Norwood family.
Like that was never going to fall off.
And so it's nice to see that that started way back in the day, but I never knew that that's how that got there.
So that, that's, that's awesome to see.
And I think it's that's why it's important to know these stories and those know your heritage.
You know, the heritage.
Inspiring for you.
You know, and.
It also makes me want to get with the next generation.
To say, you know what?
We have a family history to continue on and what are we doing to continue that and to remind people like, look, this is your family, you know?
We can't be lazy about anything.
We cannot because our ancestors definitely didn't have our opportunity.
And look at all the advantages we have.
This is good.
So I want to introduce another document, and I'll talk through it.
So there's something.
Well, actually was established on March 3rd, 1865.
It's the Freedman's Bureau is sort of the short name we use for it at a very much longer name.
But it was established really to kind of rebuild the South post-Civil War.
You have an environment, will.
People that were not getting paid for their labor are now trying to be paid for their labor.
They weren't being educated.
Now they're trying to get an education.
So the military department, because a Freedman's Museum was part of the military department or just getting the War Department to be exact.
They had different Freedman's Bureau offices in the South.
So therefore some would come in and say, go to our local office.
If they had a complaint with someone white in the community, that's where they would go for some assistance.
Because it's still in disarray.
One of the things that we found in your family that I also have in my family is something called a labor contract.
And that labor contract we have Hapsy, Cherry.
Those three are on that labor contract.
At least we've identified them for sure.
And they're in severe county, Arkansas.
Severe County, Arkansas, is the way I pronounce it.
As you call it, "“ArKANSAS"” because my family's from Arkansas, but.
But this labor contract is in 1865.
And why is this important?
Oh, I just love this.
I love it.
I love it.
I love it.
Because labor contracts listed the employee and the employer and they were right after emancipation.
So for most African Americans, we get back to the 1870 census.
But then we hit that 1870 brick wall because we're not listed if we're not free.
People of color.
And the 1866.
Okay, the labor contract ties us to a community here in Arkansas, ties us to a person.
And how does a tie is to a person?
Because typically that labor contract is going to be with the former enslaver.
So we know that their labor contract, that of your second great grandparents and your third great grandmother was with Benjamin Norwood.
I would like to know about Benjamin Norwood.
Well, you know what you can find out about Benjamin Norwood.
I mean, you.
Was he a benevolent.
Those are things I can look up on my own, but, I mean.
And it makes no sense to say, was he benevolent?
I mean, obviously, they stayed there.
Well, for a while.
You know, this is a question I get a lot, right.
And I think one of the things is when we look at it, our history looking in a historical context, especially for us and when we're doing genealogy, you want to know about Benjamin Norwood and then, you know, that's a separate entire tree to create.
But it's important to do that, right, because your family and your family's history is.
Tied to him.
And to get deeper into your family history, you have to get deeper into knowing who he was.
And also looking at the the county, the area.
Some of those questions you have may not be answered, but you have a lot of evidence here to steer you down the road and take you back to now.
We know the person.
Most people can't even find them.
The last enslaver of their family.
And that's a that once you do that, that breaks down or breaks through basically that 1870 brick wall.
So a lot of people don't even have that information.
Because when you start, you go back to the census to 1870.
But then not everyone took their enslavers surname.
Norwood is not a common name.
In my opinion.
I'm a Berry.
I just told you about Carter.
So I was telling everybody, my fourth great grandfather, Carter, Lewis Carter.
So he had a labor contract for his labor contract was with Dr. Taylor?
So it is based on my research that Dr. Taylor was his last enslaver.
But he didn't take the Taylor name.
When we're doing African-American genealogy, if we see an unusual surname like Norwood or Dawellie or Simkins, you know, then we may go down the path and assume that your that your ancestors took their enslavers last night.
They may not, but we've proven that today.
Yeah, we've proven that.
I'm just curious as to why they did.
There's lots of reasons for people to do it, you know, why is James Madison a family name.
That carried on and on and on until my brother said, I refuse to bring that into the next generation?
So, yeah, it stopped with him.
The Dawes Act allowed the federal government to break up tribal lands of Native Americans and give small parcels to individual members of the tribes.
Land was also a lot of to African-American freedmen who had been slaves of the Native Americans.
The doors that created thousands of documents that are stored in various locations, including the National Archives.
Some of Danielle's ancestors made their way to Kansas as Exodusters and settled in the town of Dunlap.
Bernadette Bowman's family traveled to Omaha in Nebraska, Today, I want to share with you what we have discovered our team of genealogists about your family.
So you had a question about your third great grandmother, Elizabeth Robling, and stated that she thought that she came to Omaha in 1856 via a steamboat from New Orleans.
That was in an obituary.
That that I mean, that that's how she got to.
And that's how she got to.
And that's that's where you got that information.
And so we did the research for that.
And we were able to find a resource called Lloyds Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters.
Now, I think that's a great resource for you.
While we didn't specifically find information about Elizabeth.
You can still go down that road since you like to do research and prove or try to see if that statement in the obituary is actually true.
When we're doing research specifically with obituaries, death records.
They're only as good as the informant.
So think about this.
I'm sure you have seen some death records or that they don't have the correct information.
The wrong parents.
They don't know in obituaries who's writing that obituary.
What was their relationship with the person?
Sometimes they leave out half siblings for whatever reason.
So you need to dig a little bit deeper and to kind of prove or disprove that family lore.
I think, researching more about steamships specifically that research will help you.
You know, I actually the Omaha Public Library has a genealogy room and a genealogist.
And I did ask her if there you know, obviously steamboats were big in in the beginning days of Omaha.
And I am a, you know, fifth generation Omahan and these people were there before Nebraska was even state.
So that that, you know, blew my mind, you know, when I found that out that that part of my family lived had lived there for so long.
But she said that they didn't really have passenger lists or those kinds of.
On those kinds of ships.
And there were many ships that, you know, would land there, you know, every single week.
So, yeah, they'll be and it'll be interesting.
I do need to research that a little further.
I, I definitely not researched in like New Orleans or any of that.
And I mean, when you have folks that migrated, right, we all have that some immigration stories.
We have migration stories.
You have to you stretch your your knowledge of each area, right.
By visiting Louisiana.
By going to Connecticut.
You know, obviously a lot of Nebraska.
But getting outside of kind of your comfort zone in research and then learning new resources makes you a better genealogist.
When you get outside of your bubble and the one other thing I want to share with you is this document here, very large document that is a military land grant.
And so we discovered this that 160 acres were given to John Jones, who served during the New York frontier disturbances, and it was awarded President James Buchanan in 1860.
And you can see his signature here.
And this land grant ties you to Nebraska.
He was given land in Nebraska.
The document shows that the land was awarded to John Jones, but then transferred to Moritz Roebling, one of Bernadette's ancestors.
And so this, I think, is important for you, because not only is it a record I believe you haven't seen before, but also this gives you a description of the property.
So it says granted by the United States onto this, said Moritz.
Roebling is assigned.
So here we have the family tree.
And with this family tree, it's very small.
But what I like to give this to you is to kind of show what's the tree for?
Ann Marie Kenan?
That's my mom.
Yes, I have made a date with the day.
And so this family tree kind of represents the generations that we were able to fill in.
Nice for you with all the research that you've done.
And so because you have so much genealogy and we were able to find this document and it has the Mobley's name attached to it, and then we do now with this, the military land grant, we know you have deep history in Nebraska as well.
I think this will help you kind of continue on that that branch or at least add to that collection of records.
And then this gives you kind of a visual of the family history that we have today.
And how do you feel looking at kind of these documents and this discovery?
I mean, some of the information you may already know, obviously, because you do genealogy, but I think it's good to see it all in one place when you're doing the research.
So, you know, all of the names here, which would be my two times great grandparents, my maternal two times great great grandparents.
All of these people I knew about.
And then a few of these I, I knew.
And this is where you have to cross the pond.
The weather, whether that be to Ireland or to Germany.
And so there are definitely names on here that are that are new to me.
And our people who probably never came over to the U.S. so that's that's very exciting.
Yeah, well, it's always exciting to find something out about your family.
And as I always say to people, every family has a story.
And then my.
Many stories or many stories.
But my question to you, though, since as from one genealogist to another, have you written your family story?
I have not.
See, I that that is something you should definitely do.
Well, I'm hoping.
I haven't talked to you about this, but this is my reveal.
I'm hoping that my brother John will help me with that part.
He is a great writer and orator as well.
And and and really, I'm more on the math side.
I'm really not on the English side.
Am I articulate in person?
But to actually write things down is difficult and arduous for me and really not that much fun.
And so at this point in my life, I don't spend a lot of things, time doing things that I don't really enjoy.
Like, you know, what you're good at and you know what?
And so if this story is to be written down and I believe that it should be down.
Yes, I think it should be done by someone who can do a better job of it than I.
So I'm going to try to elicit his help and and we'll see we'll see where that goes.
You know, I feel like he owes me because he's the one who kind of got me started down this rabbit hole.
And that is my my father was diagnosed with leukemia and and given only a to live.
And ultimately it was more like six months.
But my brother John wrote his eulogy before my dad died, and he shared it with our immediate family, including my dad.
And and one of the things that he said in there was that.
So his name is John.
And I don't know if you saw my paternal side, but my dad's name was John, as was my grandfather.
Great grandfather and two times great grandfathers.
So all of their middle names are different.
And my brother John and his wife named their son John.
Again, all the middle names are different.
And one of the things he said was, I hope that if my son has a son, he and his wife might think about naming their son John, which ultimately they did.
So now there is a little guy who my father didn't get to meet whose name is John as well.
So when he did that, that got me to thinking, well, how much further can we go back than these John's which basically takes you to the early 1800s.
And within like a week or two, I got back to the 1600s.
And so that was a treasure.
I was able to share that with my dad before he died.
And so to be able to share with my dad that our family has been here for 400 years was was a gift right to me.
So I am glad that my brother wrote those words.
I'm glad that my brother shared those words with us.
And, you know, so I say now that the DA is the last gift that my dad gave me because I wasn't involved with this incredible group of women until I started doing genealogy.
So it's a it's a sad story, but it's a happy story.
It's a wonderful story.
Yeah, it's a it's a circle of life story.
And I'm so glad you got to share that information with him.
And that's great.
I mean, I'm so glad your brother was able to kind of give you that gift and continue and you continue down this path.
And even come here to Identity Quest and learn more and to tie.
And I love talking to other genealogists, of course, because you understand our craziness.
And how we go down those rabbit holes.
I want to thank you so much, Bernadette, for coming today.
Well, thank you.
This is wonderful and gives me more rabbit holes to go down.
So thanks very much.
Danielle Norwood has already learned a great deal about her ancestors, but she's about to make one more discovery.
One more for you.
So this one is this is very interesting, because what we found is that your 4th great-grandmother Myra Winfrey Elliott Wells.
I know she had all the.
All the names was reunited.
She was reunited with her a sister of hers in 1901.
This reunion was important because that sister was sold down the river by their enslaver and she did not reunite reunite with her until 1901.
So rarely do I see someone being able to reunite with a relative that was sold down the river.
And what I mean, so down the river, that means the enslaver decided to break up this family.
Never to be seen again.
And how did that happen?
How did this event even happen?
And who was this woman related to?
She's your 4 great-grandmother.
4th great-grandmother on what side?
I have to check that out with your 4th great-grandmother.
Her name was Myra Winfrey Elliott Wells.
So this is her sister.
So she would, I think, be like your 3rd great-grandaunt, something like that.
I may have that incorrect, but this happened because Myra talked to this guy.
Met a man who was living in Kansas City.
The gentleman said they start exchanging stories, exchanging information about people they knew maybe with, you know, the Elliot name or in common.
And come to find out, Myra's sister, your relative, lived in Kansas City.
And this man knew her.
So that's how they were reunited.
Now, we found this information in a newspaper article.
Unfortunately, it did not give the name of her sister, but just told the story.
So in this particular piece of your family history, I want to point out that post emancipation, they had something called information wanted ads.
And that's what people would say looking for their relatives.
And there's a whole site dedicated to it.
And she might have posted one.
But to have a reunion from someone who was sold before the Civil War and to reunite by chance talking to someone in 1901 is remarkable.
And until that story in itself is a lesson.
You talked about education.
We talked about the Freedmen's.
The Choctaw Nation.
You talked about slavery and enslavers.
But this, in my mind, brings it home because while we have a lot of information about how we need to figure out the sister because it's not mentioned.
But there could be other folks or would have happened to someone in another side of your family.
You see, I'm saying they have been so down the river and maybe never had that reunion, even if for a day they never saw their mother or father again.
But that happened.
And I haven't seen it a lot at all in my research.
I know in my family there, my fifth great grandmother, my fourth great grandmother, I can't identify any of their siblings.
I don't know if Mildred had more children than Martha.
I don't know anything like that.
And I definitely don't know of a reunion if she did.
Do you know what happened at the reunion or.
We just know they reunited.
They will reunited, as the article said, of the girls on Christmas Day.
Oh, my goodness.
How special is that?
You have a rich, rich family history.
And I just want to show you this document, although it's very small print, it is your family tree.
You got a whole lot further than I did.
Oh yeah, Im going to need a mag glass to.
To read the.
That's the only paper.
I mean, unless we have something huge you know, what is the only thing that we can put it on there for you to give you that visual to go back seven generations, which is.
I just I wish I was that lucky.
I wish I was that lucky.
I'm so blessed.
Well, and especially that you went back as far as the 1800s, because I didn't expect that.
I didn't expect that at all.
And what makes it even more special is that all this leads to me.
You know, all these people were here.
They walked a path.
They went through their journey to get to a point that led to the creation of me.
And I feel like the most blessed woman.
And so every time that T.D.
Jakes talks about taking the stage and saying that the ancestors are with him.
I feel the weight of that now, seeing this sheet of paper.
And I can't wait to learn more about these people and to just basically say thank you.
Thank you for the journey and thank you for the sacrifices that they make.
Because I know having talked to Granny and great granny, these two women are instrumental for my life and not taking away from my mom or my father.
But these two women gave me my life and everything that I am at this moment.
Right is due to them.
And so I'm just honored to have their legacy be an everyday part of my journey.
And they will never die because I am here to talk about that.
Your family history is so rich, right?
I wanted to share with you today these pieces of information, but it doesn't mean there isn't much more to your family story.
We could probably have an entire series with all the information we uncovered, but we will share that with you.
But I just want to thank you so much just for being open to this journey, because a lot of times African-Americans feel because of slavery, because of Jim Crow, because of some tragic incident.
They want to leave the past in the past.
But I hope to anyone watching that they see how inspired you are by it, which in turn inspires me to continue to do my work.
So thank you so much for coming today and just making this whole experience special.
And thank you for giving of your life to this calling because it is it's a ministry.
It's a calling to bring life to people because I will be forever changed because of these additions to my life.
And so, Danielle, before this meeting will not be the same as Danielle after this meeting.
So thank you for the gift that you've given to me.
My experience with Identity Quest was the best.
I totally was surprised.
Within the first couple of minutes when I found out about people's names that I had totally never heard before.
And then to find out about the origin of the James Madison Norwood name totally blew my mind.
You know, I was so excited to apply for it.
And then when I heard that I got chosen to be one of the participants, I was thrilled.
I got on the phone and told everyone that I know and what they revealed today.
I'm excited to look at and and study more in detail.
This has just opened basically a Pandora's box and I can't wait to get more involved in my family history.
You know, when you grow up in the Midwest, you don't really think of things being that old.
So to have family that was in Omaha before Nebraska was even a state is pretty amazing to me.