What a great thread! I thought I would share some of my most interesting discoveries:
1)-Discovering and Documenting the Choctaw Indian line in the Family:
The discovery of the Choctaw Freedmen records of my family, occured in 1991. This revealed to me the fact that my gr. grandparents were slaves of Indians who were removed to Indian Territory. Further study of the records led to my discover of the fact that the five nations (now called the Five Civilized Tribes) owned African slaves, that they were southern sympathizers in the Civil War, and some of the slaves in bondage had the Indian blood of their fathers in addition to the African blood of their mothers. This eventually led to my writing the book, "Black Indian Genealogy Research" in 1993, that continues to be a steady seller with Heritage Books.
2)My Search for Amanda Young:
This search began from childhood hearing stories about an ancestor Amanda, who would often tell her children her memories of "The Night the Stars Fell". Through my interest in quilting, I learned about famous quilter Harriet Powers, one of whose quilts told the story about "the night the stars fell." This was a real event---and a story in a quilting magazine provided an excellent footnote that led to the actual date that this happened, and I was able to make a better approximation of Amanda's age by learning about this historic event in 19th century astronomy. I wrote about this finding more about Amanda, on the following website: http://www.angelfire.com/ar/freedmen/stars.html
3)-Discovering Amanda Young, and Pleasant Barr
Mel Collier and I discovered that our family histories overlap. I learned that my gr. gr. grandmother and Mel Collier's gr. gr. grandfather married after the Civil War. I had never heard of Pleasant Barr, since my ancestors' surname was YOUNG. Mel had never heard of Pleasant Barr, since his ancestors's surname was REED. I almost did not find Amanda. I had looked for Amanda Young for months never to find her, nor her daughters Harriet and Violet.
I did, however, see a family with Amanda Barr and Harriet Barr and Violet Barr, in the same community where my family is said to have lived. A chance conversation with an elderly cousin opened the door for me---I mentioned that Amanda was not to be found in the census, but I thought it odd that another family called Barr had some of the same first names in their family. She paused, and then said softly, "well Cousin Elijah was a Barr." I halted----ran to the census file and saw Elijah the young son in the household with Amanda, Pleas and Elijah! I had found Amanda---with a new husband--Pleasant BARR!
Since Amanda was also a Civil War widow it turns out she filed for a pension after her husband Pleas died, and there it was----the full family history---from her life in Tennessee as a Campbell, to the move to Mississippi, to her post civil war life as a widow, then again married this time to Pleasant Barr.
Cousin Mel's tenacious research, and our exchange of information led to the opening of a door to the Barr/Reed family history unfolding. Much of this history is documented on Cousin Mel's website at:
This also led to the eventual trip to Abbeyville SC in the summer of 2004, also documented on Mel's Website.
( Part of the story of how we bumped into each other looking for Pleasant Barr is found at:
4) The Civil War element---9 Soldiers in the Family!
Amanda Young, the catalyst for so many stories, revealed a rich family that involved Civil War soldiers. Amanda's first husband Berry left to join the Army and never returned after the war. Thus she remarried and years later filed a pension. Her pension file led me to look for other soldiers in my other family lines, and I found them----9 in all. Four enlisted together, in my Bass family line, Uncle Sephus Bass, his brother Braxton and two sons Henry and Emmanuel. This led to my documentation of 9 soldiers from 3 different family lines, and stimulated me a strong interest in Civil War history that continues to this day.
5) The DNA Discovery---the results from AfricanAncestry documented a matrilineal tie to the Yoruba of Nigeria. I have visited Nigeria several times, and am married to a Yoruba man whose family is from Oshogbo Nigeria. This revelation through DNA has been one of the most heartwarming experiences in recent years.
The genealogical stories continue to unfold and but this genealogical adventure has truly affected my life in many ways, and continues to do so.
In addition, I must add that I have had the privilege to watch the growth of this AfriGeneas family from it's birth during the period of the old days of the online Bulletin Boards to this massive site. This has been a special enhancement to an incredible journey and an honor to be a small part of its growth.