Friday, June 29, 2018

Twenty Seven Years Of "From The's"

FROM 1991 - 2018 Still Scratching That Itch

Twenty seven years is how long I have been researching. It is not long compared to others that I know who have been at it much longer than I.

Some days good, some not so good. My pajama research spills into the early morning light.  I had to align or manage my feelings and thoughts after I went into the dark places I visited in the pages of yesterday.       
The glistening rewards of my heart strings as I stumbled upon the good in humanity.

From The census pages I read where family was found and the next year where one or two  had disappeared. That Mortality Schedule half blacked out on the lines I really needed to see.

From The brave great grandmother found in 1880 on the Agricultural Census telling the state how many horses sheep and cows she had and what crop she toiled while her husband was no where to be found so the taxes could be paid.

From The birth certificates of those born healthy as I suddenly see a maiden name of my ancestor or finding out another ancestor was the midwife who helped to bring that child into the world. Then make it a mission to find more of her midwifery.

From The death certificates where I saw family who had expired from high blood pressure, cancer, starvation, burned in a fire, old age, young age, new born to drownings.

From The newspaper articles where humans  had been auctioned off  to the highest bidder and silently wondering if they were one of my ancestors.  From the tears shed when I found the article of my cousins great grand who was being taken to the safety of another jail by a sheriff only to be overtaken by a vicious mob and dragged to the nearest tree.

From The numerous articles with pictures that bought joy to my sisters mother of her ancestor who stood tall in the anals of Texas as President of PrairieView College; Who also was friends with and stood side by side with the likes of WEB Dubois.

From The DNA results that yield so many cousins from all parts of the country.  North, South, East and West, with ethnicities tied together from material  matter sealed in the complexity of the nucleus.   As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for "that" matter  twenty three of my Chromosomes all paired up like lovers there would not be a Me. 
(My favorite chromosomes are sixteen and twenty three but I need four more numbers to play the lottery)

From The spittle and scrapes of my children's mouths, as well as my siblings, nieces, cousins on both sides, the neighbors, they all contribute to who we are and where we come from. All so that our ancestors will never be forgotten and your descendants will hopefully do the same for you.

My daughter would say that if I could ask the dirt to spit when I run out of people I would.

From The sight unseen dear genealogy friends who have shown me through deeds, words and sharing, that their passion is the same as mine.

 From The ones who I have chatted with for long hours laughing and talking as if they were with me trying our best to find another link, another clue.
On many occasions a call from all across the country from those who just wanted to say hello.

From The ones I have seen, from cousins to genealogy groups, to the one that I graduated with at the University Of Phoenix, to my AfriGeneas mentors, and to the one who is not RELATED, I look forward to twenty - eight years of research or more with or without finding  Mariah.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mother's Day 2018 : The Talk

                Mothers Day Talk With My Mama
                            As If She Were Here

Not a day goes by that I do not think of you
And I am more than sure that Bruce does too
We know with all our heart 
You wanted to stay and not leave us
But time!
Your love for all your children carried you 
Through the times you endured alone 
The one thing that you insisted was for us 
To always be spiritually strong
But time!

We often laugh and smile at the things
You used to say and do 
Back then we were your consumers
Innocent and guilty too
But time!

Tears, oh yes, I still have them 
As they well up in my eyes
And just as quick as they come
A remembrance so funny appears
But time!

 Like the time you cut off all your hair
To our surprise you were bald
A week later to  your dismay
It grew back straight as the day you cut it
But time!

"Oh Nooo she didn't " we  said
Years later, we laughed
Afros were "in"back then
But time!

Love and miss you
My smile is yours
Ingrained in my thoughts
Happy Mothers Day!

               Happy Mother's Day To You As Well
                          As If I Were There

 In Time
The tears will be less
You must confess
Though they will appear 
Now and again

Those quiet days and nights 
They won't be hard when visions
of me appear
Besides a tear or two lets me know
I am in your thoughts

I left you that way, strong yet soft 
loving and kind able to think, use your own mind
Being helpful to others is your strength
You will begin to see 
As the years progress 

Love your children as I have loved you
Throw a little of that love to others
So they may see the goodness in themselves
You know you mean it and they will too

Now, about my hair young lady!!!



Monday, November 13, 2017

Salute: African American Troops FT. Dix

We owe a deep gratitude to the African American Troops who served, protected and kept us safe. 

My Niece Tanya was kind enough to copy this image and send to me. My prayer is that someone somewhere will see this and recognize their grandfather, father, uncle, brother or even their next door neighbor. 

This photo came with no names but did have Ft Dix 1941. 

This is history at its finest and I salute all who have served.

I had to crop in sections


The Salute goes on !!!

Until The "On" keeps On

And On!!

With Pride and Honor, Thank You!!!!

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Voyage Of Discoveries

I had just spent 5 days on a Genealogy Cruise that went to the Bahamas. It was hosted by the North Carolina Piedmont-Triad Chapter of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society and was billed Voyage of Discovery

We started out in Charleston South Carolina ready to go. Joyce McCollum, Me and Phyllis Grimes. The guy in the middle was the Uber driver who was hilarious and agreed to take a picture.

We met up with Joyce's ship-mate Naziah Hassan on board the ship who I got to meet for the first time. I later found out she is a New York-er living now in Phoenix. 

Next was that big body of water so calm and ready for us to debark and get ready for the speakers we wanted to hear.

I saw Our wonderful Coast Guard cruising along side us making me feel quite protected and at ease.

The Speakers that I listened to was Lamar DeLoach and his talk on Black Indians in the Carolina's.

 Tamela TenPenny Lewis who gave her talk on African American Fraternal Orders

Elizabeth Clark-Lewis and her Using Records to Document Enslaved Person's Heritage.

One of the Plenary Speakers was a fella by the name of William "Billy" Mitchell who is the Historian for the Apollo Theater.

This man had me in tears as he told his story of growing up in New York poorer than poor and rising up from getting sandwiches to the Apollo guests to being the Resident Historian. His presentation was full of humor and spell binding at the same time.  They call him "Mr Apollo" and will have a book coming out soon.

You can't go to any conference without networking. I met quite a few people with some interesting stories. Some of the people I met was on ship, walking along the beach where we had docked or standing in line buying gifts to bring back home.

No secret to any of my family but I love to go spend time at the casino.

They had one on ship so in my free time, I went and played the penny machine.

Next to me was two ladies who were there on a cruise for pleasure and not for the genealogy conference.

We started talking and I told them why I was on the cruise and found out that one of the ladies had taken a DNA test.

We introduced ourselves and found out they were cousins and their names were Vickie and Phyllis.

                                       I laughed and told them my name was Vicky

                                       My ship room-mate was named Phyllis.

That sparked a cruise friendship and also I got a chance to tell them about my aspect on genealogy and the importance of knowing your history.

I think I also may have convinced Phyllis to download her and her hubby's dna data to Gedmatch, and maybe just maybe Vickie will take a dna test.

I would really roll over if one of them matched me or my Arizona Genealogy buddy Phyllis.

After all how neat is this to sit next to two people who have names in common and laughed it up durn near the whole night.  It was the first time it has happened to me.

So knowing me and the way I think I looked up two names in the census and came up with this.

In the 1920 Louisiana Census there was a Philis Victoria born around 1872 living with her three sons and two daughters.

Source Citation
Year: 1920; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 1, Allen, Louisiana; Roll: T625_603; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 17

Living above her is a Victor Victoria and his wife Dora who may possibly be another son of Philis.

Not to be undone in the 1935 Florida State Census there is a Victoria Phyllys widow born around 1893. This reminds me that some states did have state census every 5 years.

Source Information Florida, State Census, 1867-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008.

The people above are not my people but who knows if their descendants showed up on my match list one of these days. 

Would I go on another Genealogy Cruise?

Yes, I would with the stipulation that it would have to be a much larger ship.

I ate too many motion pills and rocked and rolled to many times to keep my words of cuss down to a minimum.
The rooms were a tad to small for me but other than that its a big YEP!

Oh, and I would have loved to have seen  Family Tree Girl aka Shelley Murphy on board. I could have given her my TIMELINE!!!!

Oh well, I guess I will make another one for next year in Indiana at MAAGI .

I left the ship much richer than I arrived. Not with money but with knowledge, new friends and memories  which was my Voyage of Discoveries.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017



Strong: Mary Shadd;  Lawyer and Publisher

Who among us women exhibit strength
Without first knowing weakness
Who among us women are strong
Without being humble

Striking: Valaida Snow; Musician Extraordinaire

Words, not really
We grow through life's beauty
We learn throughout the length of time
We utilize our strength
While increasing knowledge fills our mind

Stalwarth:  Bessie Smith; Actress

We suffer, we laugh, we cry
We dry our eyes when necessary
Straight and tall we stand
Why, because we can?
No, because it's in the plan

Serene: Ellen Sirleaf; President of Liberia

When daylight brings the morning dew 
Winds whispering breezes flow
Lifting up the windows of our souls
Bringing forth our spiritual renew

Spiritual: Sojourner; The Truth For Women's Rights


We softly sing praises
Sometimes under our breath
Long ago songs of fellowship
Are those our memory raises
Old Time Religion 

Substance: Sloane Stevens; Professional Tennis Player

Songs of youth, hymns in church
Jesus loves me this I know
The tap tap of  feet
Waving hands
Up and down to and fro

Sublime: Roshara Sanders; Exec. Sous Chief, Combat Veteran 

Strong women raised us
The best they knew how
Not by happenstance 
Sometimes a blessing in disguise

Steadfast: Symone Sanders; Political Activist

And then we grew


By sixteen

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hey Lady In The Red Polka Dot Dress!

Who Are You Lady In The Red Polka Dot Dress?

Here we go again, as I try to make sense of my dreams.

Lady in the red polka dot dress why were you standing there talking to me with your back turned?

Since I woke up, I am trying to figure out who in the world you are.

I know that if any of my family were talking to me, I would surely know who they were. That includes my cousins in Texas, my sister in laws and anyone else I know, so who are you?

Lady in the red polka dot dress why did you point your finger to the back of you without turning around, then telling me to go to your house and look in the drawer.

What house, what drawer??? I don't even know you.....Maybe if you turn around and let me see your face.

Was it this type of  drawer?

Or did it look like this?

Lady in the red polka dot dress your hair is rather light brown with shades of blond or sandy red combed under  in a large roll.  The style was  really neat not a hair out of place.

Hey Lady in the red polka dot dress was your hair in the front combed into a bang?

You know, like my mama's hair with her bangs looking all cute.

Of Course I would not ever know because Lady, YOU DID NOT TURN AROUND!!!!

And by the way lady in the red polka dot dress, from the back it looks like that dress you have on is none like I have seen before. The ones ladies wear these days are rather sexy looking.

Of  course I am assuming that the dress is "not" sexy looking in the front because again Lady in the red polka dot dress, YOU DID NOT TURN AROUND !!!

Lady in the red polka dot dress you did not give me your address so that I could look in the drawer.

How did I get  there, and how did I know what drawer to look in?.... Because I DID mysteriously get there and I DID go in a drawer....Sheesh!!

Now I am really perplexed.......

Inside the drawer wrapped up in a baggy are numerous cd's that have Microsoft Word and  Excel plus it looked like Photoshop and few more I did not see.

Thats when I woke up!

In my thinking cap mode I tried to gather all the clues that may lead me to the gist of this dream.

Now I am not sure I can blame my elusive maternal 3rd great-grandmother on this one who just happened to be born in 1854 and they had not invented Cd's let alone Microsoft in that day and age.

So who is she and what is she to me?

I will eliminate my paternal great grandmother on this side because I just know she would not even think to wear a red polka dot dress and her hair is not that sandy reddish color.

I know that I owe Shelley Murphy a " somewhat completed" timeline that I should have submitted when I went to MAAGI (Midwest African American Genealogy Institute) in July of this year.

I wanted to do it in Powerpoint....sigh!

By the way, I did not see the Powerpoint cd  so I need to eliminate Shelley as the lady in the polka dot dress.  Besides  Shelley would not wear that kind of dress and is so much younger than that dress even portrayed.

I can't eliminate any houses because I never saw one inkling of a house I have ever been in or near in this dream.
Heck I can't even tell what the dresser looked like but I know it was a dresser because I pulled open the drawer.

Lady in the red polka dot dress I don't know whether I like you or not.

I know I need to purchase a powerpoint program so I can get Shelley off my back and get her a timeline  but you did not have to remind me.

Oh well, I wonder if tonight you will revisit me with a new chapter in this saga.

Lady in the red polka dot dress, I will be waiting and you better turn around so I can see your face or I promise you I will wake up before you even start playing your game.

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Draped in red white and blue


I salute all those whose life was lost 
On this shore Continental called
States Of  America
After or before battle 

Revolution was not airy 
Musket balls, Caissons carried 
Marching troops over hills, through prairies
The sounds of blackened feet
Drums beat
No retreat

We were there weren't we Crispus?
If you could speak today

Page by page, lines one by one
History Books could tell
The farmers son, the widows
The wife, no more berries
 Left to bare the weight of the juice

Your choice I reckon would be
The Truth
We were everywhere 
Standing tall until the fall

Sliding on their belly 
On some hill
Sandy beach numbers 354
Blood shed, Massachusetts red

They say Dorie did not play
Oh no, no way, not that ill fitted day 
On that harbour, Pearls no where in sight
Just fight, 
Trained at home in Texas
Shooting squirrel and rabbits at night

It wasn't a row your boat kind of day 
Dedicated USS out West Virginia way

Not to be mistaken for weak ass men
Just ask
South Carolina, Tennessee Regiments
Companies A & B fighting
US Colored Troops 
Mustered in not out
Hankering to be free from tyranny
Thousands died

W.W.1 and W.W.11, Vietnam and Storm
Oh hell yes there was faithful Semper Fi
Buffalo Soldiers First Division Cav.
Bring us home was the cry
Tuskegee Reds

Ride on and Fly
Through the Airplanes of life
Adversities all the while
Marked we shall overcome 

Sketched and Etched 

Who answered the call
The Soldiers did
Solidly imprinted and fixed
Caught in the Vietnam Jungle 
In Nineteen Hundred Sixty Six
A California neighbor to all of of us
Brother Bruce's friends Jerry Thomas 

Henry Kuykendahl too

Rest in Peace  

Poem by me VDM......