My Heritage… Genealogy, The Bridge To Africa…

I am the self proclaimed historian of my generation in my family. I was fascinated to the point of near obsession about my lineage. I have put together a pedigree as far back as I can go on until the black hole of slavery stopped me. I have gotten as far as 6 generations including mine.

All information before the 1870 census was not available, so I hit a dead end because slaves were not documented until the 3/5 Compromise when they were identified only by age and sex, no names and that was only to give the white slave owners an additional 3/5 vote per slave, before that our black ancestors were considered property and documented as livestock, regardless of whether black, mulatto or white with 1 drop of black. You were ‘black’ regardless of the mixture unless you ‘passed’.

It is however interesting to me to follow the of the plantation owners of my enslaved forefathers to see how far I could trace them, I have gotten to the 1600’s. I created a parallel pedigree for their lineage as well because I feel a connection. They were from whom my furthest direct maternal descendant’s acquired their surname, Cantrell and quite possibly were the source of my 14% European (2% Asian, 1% American Indian), yes, I also did the DNA and found that I am 83% African, it also shows you what % regions or countries in Africa your gene pool arises from so I feel like it is the bridge connecting me to the motherland and hopefully one day I will be able to connect with some actual distant relatives in Africa. Then I can find some surnames and languages that would have been mine if not for slavery and forced assimilation. Maybe my pedigree can extend beyond.

I am sharing all of this to say this: Yes we (African Americans) are all mixed with Europeans and therefore may share the heritage of the Confederacy but I do not identify with that history, nor were my ancestors allowed to participate in their heritage except as slaves. I believe this is the same for most of us but maybe yours was different.

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