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African American DNA Research Forum

Re: Ancestors Traced Through DNA

We wrote down her story and verified it through records of her slave master in Beaufort District SC. Her first name was Leah and she was born in Guinea in 1818. Her people were Muslim and according to Great Great Grandmother Leah, her father was a King. She stated that they (the children) often went to the river and panned gold for her father. I later learned that it was common practice for the King to have his children pan Gold. She stated that she was enslaved in 1830, and taken five miles down river to the slave castle (Boke). She then said that a Dutch Ship came and took them away.

Leah died at the age of ninety seven in Pennsylvania, so she had plenty of time to tell her story. She told it over and over again to her children, grandchildren, and great grands. Leah had several children by the white man (Ruth), who owned her, including my Great Grandfather, Samuel Ruth. In 1857, Robert Ruth sold Leah and her children away from each other. He sold her to Hogg Island and her light skinned children to Savannah. They would not be reunited again, until after the Civil War, when her son, Samuel Ruth went to find her.

As I listened to the details of her story, I was able to trace it backwards. Some of the story had been changed and embellished with the telling. I found an 1850 census of Robert Ruth, and a listing of his slaves, which I deduced to be Leah and their children. I also found a 1870 census with the names of my great grandfathers' siblings, in Savannah Georgia. Then I contacted the Guinean Embassy in DC, and they were very helpful. It was there that I found out my ancestors story was true. One of President Contes' wives sent me a message that the Royal children had been kidnapped in 1830, and eventually sold in South Carolina. She asked me if I wanted to work on a project they were planning with the South Carolina Governor. That was the last contact I had with her, but there was a white man from South Carolina who did a documentary, about the Guinean slave trade. He did not have any African Americans in his documentary, nor did he make mention of South Carolina's role in it.

I am at peace knowing that my ancestors story is out there and we (the family), know who she was and where she came from. That is why it is important to trace our ancestors, and keep their memories alive.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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