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Tell Us About It

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Yvonne Richard Sanchez


 As a young child I was always inquisitive. I have always been intrigued by my parents' moms and dads. I would engage them in conversation for hours, asking about the past. It always fascinated me to hear mama and daddy talk about when they were children.


After a while, I began to make notations in our family bibles about our ancestors; as they were related to me by my parents. I knew grandpa and grandma but I wanted to know about their childhood and their siblings. We would sit at grandma's feet as she told us about her dad, her older brothers Davis, Juan and Jacob and what life was like as a child in the home of Pa Sam and grandma Miley.


We used our mind's eye to visualize what grandma Miley looked like as well as what Pa Sam looked like. It was later in life that we would have the opportunity to see an actual portrait of our great grandfather, in the home of our great aunt, Georgiana Smith Williams. 


We heard stories of how grandma Miley championed the cause of many young women living in Verrett. We heard that she was outspoken and quite a stately figure. My interest was heightened and with this curiosity came the need to quench my thirst with more information about my ancestors. As I grew older, I learned who my aunts and uncles were and I got the opportunity to see them interact with my parents. I began to know and recognize my cousins and understand the relationship we shared. 


During our nightly discussions with mama and daddy, my brother Paul and I began to list ancestral family members. We made notations each time a new name was mentioned. It was our intention to investigate our family lineage as far back as possible, long before Unfortunately, Paul was unable to complete this task with me but I feel his presence encouraging me to finish what we started years ago.


There is unexplainable joy; a sense of accomplishment; an exciting thrill when looking through the census I find the name of a family member when he or she was a child. I have had many delightful experiences finding relatives I knew existed, so imagine how excited I was when I connected Elizabeth Carr in the census to the name and other information previously found in grandpa's bible. It was finding Elizabeth and seeing her connection to grandpa in the U.S. Census that helped me link the past and the present.


In a search to explore my family’s history I was pleased to learn about their original homeland, their journey through slavery and reconstruction, their immense struggles and their brave triumphs. I am especially pleased that even though hindrances were everywhere; they never lost sight of their dream of creating a home, cherishing life and cultivating a family of which I am very proud.  


Many of you have stories to be told. You have silenced voices that wish to be heard. You can speak for your family members through stories that will keep them alive in our memories and our hearts. Please feel free to share your stories with us.

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