On this episode of Identity Quest, we'll meet a woman who experienced school segregation while growing up in North Topeka and a woman who is trying to solve a family mystery.
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 Carolyn Wims-Campbell.
Carolyn was born and raised in North Topeka.
She worked at both Southwestern Bell and the Kansas legislature.
Served three terms on the Topeka USD 501 school board and was the first African-American member of the Kansas State Board of Education where she served for eight years.
Your host for Identity Quest is author, attorney and professional genealogist Kenyatta Berry.
Welcome to Identity Quest.
So tell me about your childhood.
I know you are a prominent citizen of Topeka and not being a native.
I would love to know more about you before I share what we found about your ancestors.
Well, I guess you say I'm a prominent person in Topeka, but I have to go back to my roots.
And that is, I am a proud of product of segregation.
There were four black schools here in Topeka.
I'm from North Topeka, and that was McKinley Elementary School.
And so I always wanted to share that.
We had high expectations every day that we walked into that school.
I loved my years of experience at McKinley Elementary because we were a family and we're still a family those that are still surviving.
One of the students, she was three years older than me and I can still remember her.
She would tie my sash if it was lose.
She pushed me on the swings and she still.
Today she calls me baby.
The black elementary schools in Topeka were known for having excellent teachers, dedicated men and women who provided a quality education for young African-American students.
The junior high and high schools in Topeka were integrated even before the Brown v Board Supreme Court decision, but they were not necessarily equal.
The junior high in North Topeka, it was Curtis Junior High.
And so when we black kids from from McKinley went to Curtis, they knew that we had all of our basics.
And we we were ready.
Right, right, right.
And unfortunately, I say that at Topeka High the counseling department for our black kids was terrible.
She told me that I was smart and I was pretty and I should focus on becoming a waitress because I was trying to get my college prep classes because I wanted to be a teacher.
And so I sort of detest...
I just sometimes you wish some people could see what you accomplished.
And maybe part of her negativity was help me motivate me to do that.
Carolyn was raised by her mother and grandmother, Carolyn's father, Floyd, when Senior died when she was only three years old.
He was a police officer and he served the city of Topeka when he could only arrest blacks.
And so when he passed, you know, like when I was up, I celebrated my third birthday a few days after his funeral.
But I grew up in North Topeka with my mom.
She had quit school when she was 16 to go to work to help her mother, who was widowed.
And so her she was determined that her two children was going to get a high school education.
And so and I also love that I'm a proud fourth generation member of historic St Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church.
And that's the home of Rev.
Oliver and Linda Brown.
Our other guest on today's episode is Thelma Simons.
Thelma was born in Wichita and raised in Hutchinson, Kansas.
She graduated from Hutchinson High School and attended Hutchinson Community College and earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Kansas.
Thelma also worked at KU for 30 years, moving from secretarial work to information technology in multiple departments.
Thelma is a master gardener, a talented painter and loves to travel the world.
But Thelma Simon's family history is something of a mystery.
And she's here today hoping to get answers.
Welcome to Identity Quest.
I'm very excited to be here.
So tell me a little bit about your story and why you're here today.
My story is a little convoluted.
The man and woman that I thought were my parents, I found out when I was about seven were not my parents.
My mother, in quotes, was actually my aunt.
And my aunt, who had lived with us for a while, was actually my mother and the child that was living with us that was two years older than me that I thought was my sister was my cousin.
So you have one sister who can't have children and two sisters that had children out of wedlock.
And so the sister who couldn't have children adopted the other two.
So I was born in the Booth Memorial Hospital for Unwed Mothers in Wichita, Kansas.
Carl and Polly Case, which are my adopted parents.
And they adopted me when I was about two.
So I lived with them until they got divorced when I was about seven.
And then Polly committed suicide when I was nine.
My sister/cousin was removed from the home and went to live with her biological mother.
When I was 11.
So then it was just me and my adopted dad until I moved out when I was 17.
When I had graduated high school, when I was 19th January 1973, his house blew up and he died.
So I have kind of a strange childhood.
And, you know, I had no.
No maternal figure in my life, no aunt or anyone else took interest in me.
So I've always been one that hung out more with the guys than the women, because I just I didn't know what I was supposed to do.
So I had to learn all that on my own.
Thelma married and had two children of her own.
She lived in Ada, Oklahoma, for a time and later moved to Emporia.
After her divorce, she and her sons relocated to Lawrence, Kansas.
It was there that she received a letter from her biological mother.
She wrote me a letter that said this is your father.
I was babysitting for him when I was 15, living with the family, sleeping in the room with the boys she was babysitting with and this guy came in and raped her.
So all these years, I thought he was my biological father.
So I had been working on my family tree and ancestry as if he was.
And then once I got DNA results, it's like I don't match with anyone from him.
From the tree.
You have been working on.
So that's why I submitted my application to the Topeka Public Library.
And then when I told them.
my mother was my aunt.
My aunt was my mother.
My sister was my cousin.
I think they kind of went, Oh, yeah, we want your story in order to explore our guests family histories.
We recruited professional genealogists to do the research.
Genealogist Rosetta Wylie examined Thelma Simons past.
Thelma has been an interesting one.
She did not know who her father was.
Her mother had given her a letter which she provided to us that gave the father's name.
She was a product of rape.
However, when we got to doing the research, she had already done research on both lines.
And so when I contacted her and I said, What is it you're really looking for?
Because I see you've done extensive research on both sides.
So it was like we weren't quite sure what she was wanting.
She was well, I have a lot of DNA matches that do not match anyone in our family tree.
So through that, we've taken a different path than what she was expecting.
Rosetta can relate to Thelma's situation.
She became interested in genealogy as a result of her own family mysteries.
My folks died when I was young.
My dad died when I was two.
My mom died when I was eight and I had guardian parents, the raised us and we always thought my dad was an only child.
Well, when I was 25, a cousin found me on my dad's side and he was actually from a family of 13.
He was the youngest.
Her dad was the oldest.
And they were the only two passed away.
So that summer I got to meet all 11 aunts and uncles and cousins, and that's what got me started.
Who else was out there that I didn't know about?
Genealogists Sherri Camp explored Carolyn Wims, Campbell's ancestry.
Again, researching the family history of African-Americans can be challenging for a number of reasons, including the fact that enslaved people were usually not named in census records prior to 1870.
Every single nationality has its own challenges.
I do a lot of African-American research because it's the hardest and the least done.
I would say the challenges that I face most often are.
For instance, we're transplants to Kansas.
My family were Exodusters to Kansas, and so finding where they came from to here is a challenge.
The person I'm researching is Carolyn Wims Campbell, and I'm trying to get past the 1870 brick wall.
That's what we call it, a brick wall where we are looking for the people that were enslaved.
So that's a little bit of a challenge.
She has quite a bit of great resources and research that I've found, but I'm still having a problem getting further back past that 1870 brick wall.
Carolyn Wims Campbell already knows a great deal about her family history, so another challenge will be to find information that she doesn't know.
That's part of the challenge, is telling her something that she doesn't know.
However, they may know their family history.
They may even talked about it.
But having those records, having actual images of the various records of birth, death, marriage records, copies of the obituaries, those things like that will help enrich the family's story.
And every now and then, you find something in an obituary or in a record that you may not have known.
A lot of people say, Oh, well, I have the obituary, or maybe I know all the family members, but you'd be surprised.
Every now and then there's just this one little piece of something that will give you a clue to something else.
So with all of that history, thank you for sharing that, you know, just kind of your your life story, because I think it's important to share our stories while we can right because you want to tell your story.
Or do you want someone else to tell that story for you?
So with all of that, you know, why are you interested in finding out about your family history?
I am interested because and I don't know if you've heard or you probably have heard this before, but we in the black community, we don't share.
We I don't know.
I love my grandma.
When when my father died, we lived next door to her.
Well, momma couldn't afford, so she moved home.
So Carolyn Campbell had a big mama and a little mama.
And folks will tease me and say, we'll call your house.
And you say you want big mama or little mama But anyway, we didn't talk a lot.
And I remember asking Mama.
I remember sitting on our front porch one evening and I asked ma about my quote, grandpa and Mama said, That's not nothing.
You want to ask your grandma, you know?
And she even I was smart enough to know not to go too directly to Big Momma, too grandma, to ask my mother.
And then with my mother, when my father died, she till the day of her death, it was hard for her to talk about losing him and what little bit I know about him was, you know, at his service, you know, graduate from Topeka.
So it's just now that I'm old and want to know and I look at Henry Gates and I think I wish he'd do a special on me.
A special on you the whole show.
So that's why I was so happy when I guess I saw something on the Internet or he got an email from Miss Camp or somebody.
That's how you got the information.
Well, I mean, you mentioned Henry Louis Gates.
Big shoes to fill here.
Yeah, I'll tell you what our researchers have found out about your family.
So based on what you submitted, we've done genealogical research.
And I want to start with sort of on your Wims-Christian side of the family, and that they come from Kentucky.
You're aware of that.
And they show up in that Kansas Exodusters period excuse me, during the Exodusters period And one person I want to focus on here is a gentleman by the name of Moses Wim's Sr. That's That's my grandpa.
My great, wait a minute great grandpa.
So I'm talking about your second great grandfather,.
Say that again.
Your second great grandfather, Moses Wims.
Senior He lived in Nicodemus and Topeka.
He owned a business, Nicodemus and he had ads in the 1887 Nicodemus newspaper, which I have one here to share with you.
Okay, so this is Moses Wims Sr.
Your second great grandfather.
So his son is your great grandfather.
So here you can see in 1887 he is advertising his business and he does draying and hauling.
Did not know.
Had never went that, to go back that far.
To go back that far.
And so I really think it's important when we're doing this research, especially when you're thinking because you knew Junior, right?
Moses was as soon as I said the name, you were like, Oh, no, no, no, wait, who's this?
You have that incorrect, right?
But there's a senior there.
And I think with these records, it shows or these articles at least that, you know, he was in business in 1887.
So that's one record I wanted to share with you.
The other thing, as we go through that and I'll put that aside for you, that's it's amazing, isn't it?
I mean, how does that make you feel looking at it?
You said it's amazing, but tell me more about that.
It is exciting for me because he had a business.
He was making money.
And that's that's the one thing about the folks tease me about the Wimses knew how to work and make the men make make money and and and to know that my the Moses and Luvenia and that's how I always group my great grandparents that he was not he was a junior and I've never seen that before that yeah this was his father.
And so as you said that they were hard workers and.
I think that that work ethic that's been carried down as well.
Nicodemus Kansas is located in Graham County in the northwest part of the state, founded in 1877, Nicodemus is said to be the last remaining black settlement west of the Mississippi.
Following the Civil War, blacks began leaving the south and what came to be called the great exodus.
Thousands of former slaves were fleeing hardship, injustice and violence at the hands of white southerners.
Some traveled north, but many headed west to Kansas.
When the settlers first arrived at the Nicodemus townsite in 1877, they found nothing but empty prairie.
They built dugouts along the Solomon River and soon began tilling the soil.
More and more black refugees or Exodusters arrived the following year, and by 1880, close to 500 souls were living in and around Nicodemus.
The town had a bank, hotels, general stores, a newspaper and three churches.
Nicodemus continued to grow and prosper until 1888, when the Union Pacific Railroad decided to bypass the town.
This, combined with the years of drought, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, led to the town's decline.
Today, only a handful of buildings and residents remain.
However, Nicodemus became part of the National Park Service in 1996 when it was designated a national historic site The Nicodemus Township Hall and Visitor Center is open year round.
So I want to stay on with the with Moses, right.
And with that line of the family.
So you're related.
A first cousin once removed to Gwendolyn Brooks, the famous poet from Chicago.
Now, Gwendolyn's mother Keziah Keziah Yes.
Please correct me, please.
Correct, me You notice I did.
Look, you know, I appreciate it.
Keziah Wims Brooks wrote a biography that details much of the family.
So we have a copy here and it's entitled The Voice and Other Short Stories.
And we got it from the speaker room here at the library.
But what I want to show you is you just mentioned Moses and Luvenia.
See, I look, you see, Moses and Luvenia and here are pictures of them.
And so I think what we can see with these photos in this book, it ties you to not only as you know, to Gwendolyn Brooks, but the you ca now know this is Moses Junior.
Yeah, that's whats blowin' my mind.
Because here it's not even identified.
So more than likely, she probably didn't know.
And see, Gwendolyn is gone now.
And so how much time do we have?
Im going to show you... Oh wait a minute.
Stuff to get to.
I got stuff to get to.
I got Stuff to get to.
It's all good.
I know we can definitely talk about it but I wanted to roll with Moses.
Okay, I'm sorry.
It's ok, look, I appreciate you are excited.
I appreciate you're excited about it.
Right, because that shows me that you're interested.
And now you have you didn't you have a new relative that you didn't even know existed?
Before we continue with Carolyn's family history, let's hear more of Thelma's story.
What I thought about in listening to your story is that I could see when you said you didn't have a maternal figure, right?
That's something that you would have liked growing up.
You had all these incidents that occurred in your life, right when you were very young child.
And so for you, you know, you said you guys hung out with the guys, but how do you think that impacted you and your identity today?
Before I even answer your question or give you any information.
How how has all of these things happened in your childhood impact impacted your identity right now at this moment?
Well, it impacted my identity quite a bit.
Like in high school.
Also, one thing I didn't say is that we were we were very poor.
You know, there's the "“wrong side of the tracks"”.
The tracks were in my backyard and the other side was the Hutchinson Reformatory.
So, you know, it's like in Hutchinson, it's not a good neighborhood.
And we also didn't have indoor plumbing.
I mean, a bathroom in our house.
We had water, but not a bathroom.
And so I didn't make friends with many girls.
Even throughout my childhood high school, because you were on the wrong side of the tracks?
Well, and, you know, somebody comes over to play and they want to go to the bathroom and you say, well, it's outside.
You know, that's embarrassing.
So and then so that was quite a bit, you know, affected me quite a bit through those years However, Thelma persevered.
Following her move to Lawrence, Thelma remarried, worked for a time at an accounting firm, and launched her career at the University of Kansas.
and through all my work at KU I started making friends and then I became a master gardener in 2011 and I made a whole bunch more friends.
And so I have lots of women friends.
So I think that's kind of how I overcame the lack of maternal guidance or interest or whatever when I was younger.
So when you started working on your tree and you mentioned the letter that your biological mother had written to you, who was the man?
What was his name that she identified as your birth father?
I think it's Willis Now that you ask me, my mind's gone blank.
I mean, not Self.
because I had an uncle with the last name of Payne and so he was supposedly he's the one I was tracking.
So you got the DNA test, right?
You get the letter from your you have a letter from your mom, you get the DNA test, and then you get all these matches that are not Paynes.
So how did you react to that?
Like, what did you think at that moment?
You know, when that because I know from doing my own DNA results, right.
You get the notification and then you're very excited, but you don't know what you're going to find.
So when you found that out, how did you feel about that?
And it was it was just like, why don't any of these people match?
And so, like, I have my my half brother, so I don't know what the numbers mean, but there's like he's got 1700 cMs.
That match with me and there's this other person that has like 11 or 12 or something like that hundred, that matches with me and it says close relative.
And I'm like, who is that?
So is that right?
Yeah, that's one thing about DNA right.
The Centimorgans are sort of like that your shared DNA but one thing about when you take a DNA test right you get all these matches has happened to me I'm sure it's happened to anyone that's watching happen to maybe find you have to take an DNA test you can get the matches but they don't they can tell you how you're related, but they don't tell you your most recent common ancestor.
So to put that in context, for example, you know, let's say someone and I match and we both have done our family trees extensively, right?
And we're like, well, we know we match, but the surnames or the locations aren't matching, right?
Because we've done our DNA resources in our genealogy research.
The other thing that happens is you did do your research, right, and took a DNA test.
A lot of you will just take a DNA test and then they never do any genealogy, right?
Yeah, they don't they don't research their family history.
So you came to us and our genealogist, right.
Talking with you, trying to figure out that you know the story and explaining it to them and this person is it Wilson Payne is the name of the person your mother was in the in the letter.
I think it's Willis Willis Payne.
And so she said this is your biological father, right?
So we looked at your DNA matches and he is not your biological father.
I mean, that's not too surprising.
I mean, after after getting the DNA, it was like there's no matches for him, so.
And so you said it's not too surprising to you.
By having that letter so.
I dont know how to say this, I feel like my mother lied to me.
She also lied to me about my adoption.
She told me that that Polly & Karl adopted me and never told her and all that.
And after I got my adoption papers just recently, I found the form that she signed and was notarized that said she gave up all rights to me.
And so it just felt like another lie that she told me.
And so then I started thinking, okay, so did she have a boyfriend or, you know, somebody else that, um, she could have gotten her pregnant, but that she blamed it on this guy?
I, I don't know.
I have no idea what was in her mind because she passed away quite a few years ago.
And all my aunts uncles are gone.
I have no one to ask.
So we'll learn more about our guests in a minute.
But first, here are some research tips from our genealogists.
Well, when I first got started, I started at the Kansas State Historical Society, when it was on 10th Street.
I call it the marble building,k because of the beautiful marble floors and the beautiful marble stairway.
And at that point, census records were my best bet.
And actually, census records are still the best bet.
We use books, online databases, ancestry, family search, white pages.
With DNA now use of the DNA, different websites that are connected to that.
And then courthouses meeting with family members and what kind of records they have.
And census, probate marriage, divorce, wills.
Newspapers really help specifically with obituaries, which are included in the birth marriage, death, vital records category.
And so you'd be surprised at what a newspaper article would tell you.
So there's obituaries, which it can tell you next of kin, maiden names, children, all those kinds of things where they came from when they were born.
Church records, baptismal records.
If you can find out the churches in the area, especially when you get back into the older days when there were no birth and death records baptismal, they sometimes kept death records at their church level.
Quakers were good.
If you had Quaker families.
I've done a lot of their research and they kept excellent minutes meeting minutes that would say if they left this parish and went somewhere else, you could kind of track them through your through the Quaker records.
Poor farms, organizations Woodsmans organization kept good records.
Grand Army of the Republic has very good records of their members and where they lived.
And in their minutes, sometimes you can catch different things that were going on in the community.
So we just talked about Moses Wims Sr. and also his business.
So one of the things we do know, or at least there was a black business district here in Topeka, of course, which is along 4th Street and Kansas Avenue.
However, your family lived and operated in North Topeka, as you mentioned, at 523 North Kansas.
Now, those businesses were the Wims included.
Now, we would just name a few of them.
We see here we have draying and hauling.
But in this area in North Topeka, they include restaurants photography and printing.
And what we did is take a city directory from 1924.
And here I just want to show you.
You need to read them all.
But with this document, you can see exactly where they live.
You can see Moses, your great grandparents, and then what they did.
So this is really important to help capture and kind of ties these two together for you.
Have you seen the city directory before?
I have been a while, but I was just see 1311, that's...
I have wonderful memories of going to Grandpa's.
and see grandpa was a printer.
He printed up a Christmas card that has me as a little girl and my brother, you know.
But my father worked, too.
I guess he was training him to be a printer, too.
Well, I wanted to share or ask you a question, right?
When we started this conversation, just because I didn't.
I have not experienced segregation.
And you said you were a child of segregation.
I wanted to kind of touch on Brown versus Board of Education.
Couple of reasons.
I went to law school, so of course, we study it as we should.
But I just want to ask you, do you know Leola Montgomery?
How do you know Leola?
Well, because I guess I didn't make that clear awhile ago.
Brown v board.
Reverend Brown was our pastor.
Okay, that's it, yeah.
And so, you know, he worked at Santa Fe.
And then Mrs. Montgomery she was the pastor's wife and the youth director.
And she's the one that told me because she's a choir, told me that I was an alto, so.
So I have some news I want to share with you as it relates to Leola Montgomery.
You are related to Miss Leola Montgomery, the widow of Oliver Brown.
You Are cousins by marriage.
Leola's cousin married your cousin.
So Miss Montgomery is a relative of yours.
Wait a minute.
Now we got to get this in my head.
And I know that I'm kin to some Smiths.
So does have the names on there.
Yeah, and we have that.
And we have the family tree that I can give you, but I will share this with you.
I was in the, there was a call made to Miss Montgomery, basically asking her or asking her if she knew that she was related to you and she had no idea.
So you have a direct tie to Brown versus Board of Education.
And this woman who you've known for some period of time is as yours is a cousin of yours.
What I can do and what we will do and what we do with all guests is we'll give you that information.
But I want to close it by saying this, that we started the conversation around your life.
And I wanted you to get that information out.
We're here in Topeka, Brown versus Board of Education.
We've talked about businesses.
We learned information, but you have a story.
And so you should write your story down and have someone write it down for you.
But, you know, you've kind of come full circle and you're more attached, I think, in my opinion.
And I've learned so much about you and admire you for being willing to come on Identity Quest to learn more and to discover that you have a connection and a deeper connection with Topeka.
So thank you so much.
And it's just I may just be so happy.
I'm happy anyway, because because she's she's really my connection to the past.
And, you know, she celebrated her 100th.
Yes, I heard that.
I heard that.
She's still very, very sharp.
So so we will give you, you know, this copy of the family tree.
This is kind of I mean, it's tiny, but we'll give you a copy of this.
We will give you all the information that shows this connection and everything that we discussed.
So you'll need time to process that anyway before you talk to that cousin.
It was very nice meeting you.
Thank you so much.
So we did analyze the DNA matches.
And what I'm going to show you is a tree from ancestry.
And you will see from this tree common name, here and what we show here is a name, surname of Hightower.
Okay, so that this the Hightower, that's your paternal side of the family.
So here's here's what we're showing you in the family tree.
Because when you're doing this type of research, right, there's a lot of circumstances that have we have to deal with folks that might that are deceased.
Since you were given one story right.
On the Payne side and believe that story.
And now through DNA, your story is as a Hightower.
That's a totally different thing.
So now, as a researcher, you have to start looking at the Hightower family, and you have to start narrowing down candidates because you're just starting with some DNA matches.
And so there are two people possibly.
Those have we've narrowed it down to those two individuals.
Now, this is where it gets tricky.
As you know, when you're down to two individuals.
I believe both are deceased.
They still have family.
And they may not know.
And so how do you handle that situation?
And I think that's really important to think about.
I think it's important for you to think about it.
Because just talking to you've had all these different things that happened to you in your life that you've overcome.
You're sitting across from me.
So you overcome all these things, but you still have to reckon with that your mother lied to you about your birth father.
And went to great lengths to do so.
As you talk to me about now, you may have a surname, a family name, for a family that you belong to.
From a genetic perspective.
But I will leave it up to you to make.
If you want to dig deeper, to narrow these two folks down, because it involves talking to living relatives.
And that in itself is a totally different thing.
So so what we do when you're looking at this tree.
So these are two candidates carry the two candidates back, right on their lines.
So these are ancestors of yours here.
You are part of this family, right?
But what I would like you to do is to focus on.
Are you ready to answer that question?
Because you never know what you're going to find in genealogy.
You did this.
You came to us.
You found out you're not a Payne Your a Hightower.
And I just.
I think this might.
You might need to take some time with that.
I highly suggest it, but.
Okay, so then what I would need to find is that that one person who is has the highest match to me in DNA.
Is he a child of one of these people?
So we even we can know that down.
So you're supposed to find all that.
I mean, I know it seems like it, but, you know, this type of stuff takes time.
Right And I guess I'm saying to you with this that this is an emotional rollercoaster.
Nothing new for me.
I know that.
I know you used to it.
And I know you can navigate it.
And you've done it before.
But you've had to.
This is a decision you're making, and I'm just.
I know you want to do this.
But my guidance to you is it takes some time to process it.
Because if people don't know about you, people may not be as receptive.
And that rejection could hurt and trigger and trauma and other things that you gone through.
So I'm not telling you to stop your journey.
Don't think I'm saying that.
I'm not saying that to you at all.
I'm just saying that I think, you know, you should think long and hard about it.
Well, I am interested to continue doing the research to figure out as much as I can.
I think you should.
I really do think you should.
But I've given you you had an idea, You kind of knew a little bit.
I think you kind of said maybe this is not right.
That the kind of the other side of that is realizing that your mother lied to you about it.
Yeah, I've had a while to deal with that.
I'm sorry that.
So neither one of those people are alive and.
So I'm sorry that they're not.
Because what I wanted to find out was like, my mother got kicked out of her house when she was 13.
She she went to live with one of her sisters and husband.
And then she went to work in a grocery store for a little bit until they found out she wasn't 16 and old enough to work.
So it's like did she have did she meet someone in that time frame?
Because it could have been, you know.
So if I'd been able to say so.
Did you work in a grocery store in, you know, this little town?
And and that's something we will never know.
You never know.
You don't know why people make the choices they make.
And I think they're doing the best of what they have at that time.
That's the way that I try to look at it.
So you may never have the answer to that.
And I mean, the biggest thing that I look at is you don't know the circumstances of the other person involved.
Was it a boyfriend?
What is someone that was already married?
You know, there's so many things that could have happened.
You had this person you were told that was your father.
That is not.
That question has been answered.
You now have new questions.
But again, are you mostly ready for those?
And then now you have a new group of people who may not know about you.
If you were.
If you are able to narrow it down.
So I think that the DNA matches kind of led you down the path to be like this may not be true.
Now you have the last name to work with.
So really being ready to contact those folks that you need to as you dig deeper and preparing yourself for them and maybe not contacting you back.
And that's just reality.
Well, I. I have reached out to several of the people that showed up as first cousins and stuff through the messaging and ancestry.com.
And I'm not gotten any responses back from them.
That's been like a year or two ago that that's actually that's very common.
That's very common because people take their DNA tests and they're like, I'm done, but we will give you the information that we have.
So this this is just telling this right now, the additional information we have, we'll give back to you.
So I really appreciate the work that the the genealogists have done here.
And setting me on a new path.
A new journey.
Answering some questions and starting on a new journey with more questions.
But right now, we're looking sell.
So thank you so much.
It was wonderful.
What I'm so excited about is I found that I had a another great grandfather.
All I ever knew was Moses.
But he is actually a junior.
and so there's a senior and so you folks have given me information on his business in Nicodemus.
It was great.
I found out kind of who my biological father is.
Not exactly, but enough to head me down further down the path.
The other thing...
It appears as though that I'm related to someone that I've always just loved and respect and called her another one of my mother's that by marriage I'm related Mrs. Leola Montgomery.
And she was Rev.
Oliver Brown's wife.
And I hope to find some siblings or cousins and make connections with them in the future.
So that will be great to learn about the other side of my genealogy.