Family Tree Update – 20180429

I found out for sure, I am part Chinese. Paper is matching science. I also found out my ancestors were Chinese Jamaicans. And…I found out some of my ancestors were born into slavery but set free. This has been an emotional week for me.

I’ve been quiet because the past week has been an emotional one for me. I made very good progress with the family tree and it’s been…humbling.

I now have 3500+ people in the tree. I was able to add a AncestryDNA match to the tree from the Meredith and Williams lines. That has been a brick wall for me for a long time as I have two Williams’ on my paternal side and one on my maternal (that I recently discovered). Lucy and Frank are DNA confirmed and I’m working on breaking the brick wall of their parents. Just to be clear: Frank for DNA confirmed before, Lucy was the mystery.

I received a few Asian, specifically Chinese, matches. There is no doubt about it, I’m part Chinese (maternal). It has been driving me crazy trying to figure out where it was coming from and why my results are skewed. I knew something had to be wrong with my tree. Now, I know where it is coming from. Jamaica. I still haven’t recovered because I wasn’t expecting that. I cannot put into words how many times I noticed a DNA match have someone from Jamaica in their tree and I said, “Nope, that’s not the person I’m looking for” and proceeded to pull my hair out trying to solve brick walls. So, I’m learning about Chinese Jamaicans because I admit…I know nothing about that. Things make so much sense – like my mini-obsession with Chinese philosophies (ying/yang, black/white dualism, etc.), my mother’s mini-obsession with time and balance (okay that wasn’t mini). I feel like I was hit in the gut by a Mac truck and I don’t have the strength to get up yet. So I’ll just be sitting in the corner, chillin’ and quiet, while I process this. Life doesn’t care about that though because the DNA journey went on another mind-boggling path.

My great-grandmother Vivian’s father was a mystery. I know John existed but I couldn’t find him and Harriet together, ever. John has been a brick wall for many years. Ironically, DNA didn’t help me figure this out. I met Vivian before she passed. She was very fair, listed as mulatto on some census records. Her mother was mulatto. The man I was looking for was very fair or white. To make a long story short, I found him (I think).

It seems when the European Blackburns decided to migrate to America, whomever it was who purchased slaves…set them free in exchange for working on the land. I’m not sure what the exact arrangement was or how they came to this agreement but there are quite a few Blackburns, some mulatto some black, on census records instead of slave schedules. Going back that far, relationships are not listed on the census records but I can see they happily opened their homes to Europeans who continued to migrate to America. To put this in perspective, in 1850 a black Blackburn had real estate worth 15K and all his kids (I’m guessing they are his kids) were in school. He had one of the largest plantations in the area.

Ms. No-Emotion cried happy tears as I discovered this. I still have a lot to figure out for proper relationships and match DNA matches. The issue here is that, it seems, many happily changed their name to Blackburn so I have to try and find their original name then see if I can find that in a DNA match’s tree because they most likely lost track of their ancestor not realizing the name change and possible (most likely) relocation. That is the third line on my paternal side that was set free before slavery was abolished.

That’s it for now. I still have a ton to figure out but the foundation is coming along nicely.

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