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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Re: Oprah's Roots
In Response To: Re: Oprah's Roots ()

Hi, Anna.

The photos of Oprah's family were indeed amazing! It is truly a blessing to be able to see actual images of one's ancestors. In a way, they form a visual link to one's past.

Gathering photos can be challenging. Sometimes, it is as simple as asking relatives to share their old photos. Other times, however, it can only be left to what I call "Divine Intervention." :-)

I was in my 30's when my family and I moved to upstate New York from California. Unbeknownst to us, my father's cousin and aunt lived only 70 miles away in Syracuse. I had never even heard of this cousin before. The aunt was actually my father's mother's twin sister! It was a joyous time when we were able to get together a short time later.

Several years later when my father passed, this same cousin attended the funeral in Ohio. Following the funeral, the cousin opened a large manila envelope that he had brought from Syracuse. Inside were numerous old photos of my grandmother's family, including a baby picture of my father! There were also photos of my grandmother as a girl, my great-grandfather, GUY FRANK HOLMAN, and even a photo of my great-great grandfather, GUY HOLMAN, who was born in about 1825! The cousin said that he had found these photos after his mother had died. Copies were made of all the photos so that everyone in the family could have them.

Having copies of these photos and also finding out some of the names lead to my later discovering that Guy Holman had been born in Bledsoe Co., TN and that his parents were TOM and WILLIE WORTHINGTON. Apparently, some of the family had been sold to a white Holman family and had taken that surname.

Another case of the Lord working on my behalf lead to my acquiring a previously unknown photo of my father's paternal great-grandfather, ELBERT THOMPSON, who was born in eastern Tennessee in 1825. In this case, I was lead to try to find information about the Thompsons in Rhea Co., TN by writing to any African-American churches that I could find in that area. It was a miracle when, out of the blue, I received a phone call from someone who turned out to be a distant relative and who had the photo, which she so graciously made a copy of and mailed to me. My father bore a striking resemblance to Elbert!

It is so very important that relatives share photos with each other. It is also equally important that photos be identified. It is frustrating to see a face and have no idea who the person is!


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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