Friday, February 24, 2017

The Delany Sisters

(Annie Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany - L & Sarah Louise "Sadie" Delany - R)

Sarah Louise "Sadie" Delany (1889-1999) and Annie Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany (1891-1995) - "The Delany Sisters" are credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the world's oldest authors at ages 103 and 105 in 1994.They co-authored two books, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years and The Delany Sisters' Book of Everyday Wisdom. After Bessie's passing, Sadie authored a third book, On My Own At 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie. Prior to their work as authors, Sadie was a schoolteacher until retirement, and Bessie was dentist - being the second African-American woman to become licensed to practice dentistry in the state of New York. The sisters were the second and third eldest of ten children. Their mother, Nanny Logan Delany, was an educator; and their father, Henry Beard Delany, was born into slavery and later became the first African-American to be elected Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fingerprinting: The Interesting Case of Will West and William West

(Will West is believed to be pictured in the top photo and William West pictured in the bottom photo)

The story of Will West and William West continues to fascinate me! Unintentionally, these two played a major role with ushering in the process of fingerprinting as a means of identifying individuals. The story goes a little something like this:

In 1903, a prisoner named Will West arrived at Leavenworth Penitentiary.  A clerk who saw West's mugshot believed that he had seen him before, although West stated that he had never been to Leavenworth. The clerk pulled a record that contained West's mugshot and measurements. West believed himself to be the individual in the photo, but did not know how it got there since he had never been there before.

Well...the clerk and the Will West were both correct! Will West had never been to Leavenworth, and the clerk did have a file for West - William West! William West was already incarcerated and serving a life sentence for murder (I do not have the specifics of why Will West was sent to Leavenworth).

The measurements and mugshots of both prisoners were almost identical! Needless to say another means of identifying these two prisoners was necessary. After checking their fingerprints, it was discovered that they had different fingerprint patterns, and thus the process of fingerprinting became a more reliable process in identifying individuals (the Bertillon system was used previously).

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

It's Black History Month!!!

I'm so excited for Black History Month! This year, I've decided to highlight some lesser known individuals who have impacted and contributed to the black community. There are so many unknown figures whose stories should be shared, and that is what I aim to do! So I hope you'll follow along and enjoy as we share this time to explore a rich history which encompasses some exciting and influential figures!

And remember, Black History is Our History so take time to learn it past these 28 days. :-)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

It's My Blogiversary!

Two years ago today I launched my first blog post! Through the highs and lows, I've enjoyed every minute of it! I thank you all for your support over these past couple of years! The best is yet to come!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mystery Monday: Heirloom Archaeology - Connecting Family to a Vintage Photo Album

(Courtesy of Chris Hodge)

Heirloom Archaeology finds lost family heirlooms, and through research, returns these precious family artifacts back to their rightful owners. Chris Hodge, owner of Heirloom Archaeology is on a mission to do just that!

His most recent discovery is in the form of a photo album he purchased from an online dealer in Maine. This discovery encompasses a collection of photos which dates back to the late 1800's. The surnames of those photographed include: COLE; LOWELL; YOUNG; SPOFFORD; NEWELL; AUSTIN; CUMMINGS; TURNER; KEITH; and GOODWIN. The mystery is "Where are the living descendants to the people in these photographs?" Like many of us, Chris shares a passion for family history and has set out to unite the living relatives with their respective family photos. Additional details of this story can be found on Heirloom Archaeology's Facebook page. If you are related to these families or have additional information to lend to this research, you can contact Chris at

Happy searching! :-)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Share a Memory!

My family and I are gathering to remember my mother as we approach a milestone anniversary of her passing. It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by, because in my mind it’s still as real as yesterday. Over time we’ve been able to look back without so much sadness but there are those times where that longing for her is so strong. It’s important to keep her memory alive, so remembering her life and sharing her life with her descendants is a great way to do just that.

My mother had a boombox (yes, boombox) that I keep in the house. I hardly ever play it – I guess it’s just there for sentimental reasons – and decoration! I can remember one of my nieces who was about five years old at the time asked if she could have it. I explained to her that she could not because it belonged to my mother and now it is mine. She continued to argue her case as to why I should give her the boombox. I don’t remember everything she said but she ended with something along the lines of “And because I knew her too, she would want me to have it.”

I had to explain to her that she did not know my mother – they never met because my niece had not yet been born. She only thought she knew her because she had heard stories about her. She continued to argue that she had met her before. She went on to tell me all kinds of things about her - even her name and describing what she looked like. The kid was so convincing she had me double checking my math...LOL! I couldn’t help but laugh and thought how nice it was for my sister to talk to her about our mom. Whatever she took away from that conversation, she was convinced that she knew her! By the way, she still did not get the boombox!

It’s great when you can know things about your ancestors and don’t really have to wonder what they looked like, what kinds of things they liked, etc. They are blessed to have people who can give them a firsthand account of her life. So tonight we’re having a memorial dinner to remember my mother and share our memories about her.

If you’re looking for a fun way to keep the memory of your loved one alive, this is a great idea! We may shed some tears but the memory of this gathering is not to be sad, but to fondly remember. I’ll prepare dinner and I’ve picked up a few of her favorite snacks to share with everyone. I also have sheets of paper where each person can write down a memory and we can exchange and read them; I especially like sharing a memory because someone may remember something that you may have forgotten and vice versa. It will be great to have everyone share their stories and to share with the younger generations.

Remember, the conversation of family history can begin with one shared memory!

Happy sharing! :-)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

That's MY ____________!!!!!!

We've all been in a position where we have been extremely proud of a family member - at a graduation, a performance, a sporting event, or whether they were recognized for some other notable achievement. People shout out things like "That's MY baby!" or "That's MY sister!" so forth and so on. I've done it too. In our eyes they have done something so magnificent, that we want to sing the praises of our family member to the world.

This also applies to our ancestors! Many of you can relate that doing genealogy is such an emotional journey! You began to learn all about your ancestors. They become so real that you can feel the highs and lows of their life's story. Oftentimes, there is always that one ancestor who stands out as our favorite or most fascinating. I have one - he's my 2x Great Uncle! His accomplishments may not be a big deal to some, but they are major to me. "That's MY Uncle" and I want everyone to know! I hope to share some of his story tomorrow for Family Friday!

Who is your favorite ancestor? I encourage you to share their story tomorrow also! Remember to use #FamilyFriday and #ThatsMY*insert relation* when posting!

Happy Sharing! :-)