Monday, July 20, 2015

Discovering North Carolina Free Persons of Color Ancestors

As a Literature and History Major I became interested in African, Native, and British American History and Literature. These studies led me to an interest in Genealogy and the search for my ancestral roots. Though much research has been developed on Free Persons of Color before the Civil War, I noticed a gap between those years immediately preceding and following emancipation. This gap caused me much distress during my research and the years between 1850 and 1870 are the most difficult to locate and designate ancestors of color. Yet, these are the defining years for connecting the dots.

It is not by accident that many people of African and Native American descent keep hitting "brick walls" during genealogical research. There was, and still is, a concerted effort to block our discoveries because of the so-called American "Taboo" that discourages individuals from acknowledging and embracing their rich heritage. As long as these secrets are kept the true history of America will never be told and people who contributed much to the building of this Nation we call America can not receive proper credit for their ancestor's contributions to the building of this Nation.

It has been said that most Americans whose families were in America preceding the Civil War have "People of Color" in their family trees. So, we are more alike than we are different. Many people may admit to their Native American Heritage, but will not admit to their African Heritage. Many Americans are not aware that the ancestors they thought were Native were, on many occasions, African.

As a descendant of Free Persons of Color in North Carolina and Virginia, I discovered that my ancestors fought in the Civil and Revolutionary Wars and they included Native, African, and Europeans. Before I began my research, I was proud of my ancestors that I knew served from World War II and later. I originally thought, like many people of African descent, that the Civil War had nothing to do with me. As we make these ancestral discoveries we realize that our ancestors fought bravely in all wars fought on these American shores.

This blob was developed to help individuals bridge that elusive gap and discover their true ancestry. I will begin with Surnames in my family of known Free People of Color Melungeon. Feel free to contact me with any information or photos that you may have on these Free Persons of Color and with the Surnames of  Locust, Lucas, Grice, Bunch, Artis, Best, Pettiford, Roberts, Archer, Newsome, Hamilton, Mitchell, Walters, Warters, Campbell and connecting families. I will post the information to my blog and share with others in hopes that we will find the connections we seek.

Happy Researching and Be Blessed

Gigi Best

1 comment:

  1. In the past two weeks I have connected with cousins on and it is very exciting because they are 3rd cousins. Our great grandfathers were brothers. These great grandfathers were the sons of Thomas Locust Fuller. One cousin was able to send me a picture of the rocker that GGF Thomas made with his own hands. They were able to help me link to more of his children whose descendants left Kinston, NC and moved across the United States. I am so blessed to have found them.

    Last week I spoke at a local library about my book and my 2nd great grandfather and his Melungeon (Free Person of Color) Ancestry. At least two people in the audience were descendants of Melungeons and we shared common surnames. What have your experiences been with locating ancestors and previously unknown relatives?