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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Re: oral genealogy vs.documented genealogy

"Will the real great great grandfather please come forward..."

In another instance, we were always told that although light complected, our great great grandfather and grandmother were most certainly African American. Imagine our surprise after comparison of a combination of DNA tests, surveys of vital records, and census records it was determined that our great great grandfather was actually 100% caucasian and our great great grandmother was Black, Indian and White, each being 33 1/3%.

Even when presented with irrefutable evidence, I can say, the majority of my family still believes that Great great grandpa was an African American man.

Sometimes, I believe in genealogy, that when family is presented with new information, that may be outside of their comfort zone, they initially dig their heels in and say they only believe what their ancestors have told them in the past.

But I have to believe that when given the "test of time", when given time to process the new information, family will come to understand the truth of DNA tests, vital and census records and the conclusions to be drawn from them. Even if it takes a full generation to do so.

Everyone deserves their story to be told, the way they want it to be told. Some lies survive for generations. The important thing is to be sensitive to your oral histories. So what if they are not 100% true. Acknowledge the truth that is in them and be thankful you have th stories-some people don't!

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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