Many people researching their African American ancestors long for the day they can uncover the “African” part of their lineage. I’m happy to report I have done just that. Well, kind of.

I’ve been working on writing down my family tree in actual family tree format and have had to double check some of the findings I’ve made. A few years ago I stumbled across the name “Freeman Barnes” in an 1880 U.S. Census as the father of  Emma Barnes Whitehurst, my paternal grandmother’s mother. When I looked at the Census, it noted that Freeman Barnes’ father’s birthplace was Africa.

Fast forward a few years and I’m at said grandmother’s house, enjoying one of my favorite activities: rambling. I came across an old family reunion booklet prepared by my cousin Allie. It had a quick family tree of her father, Theodore Whitehurst, who was one of my grandmother’s older brothers. In the book, it was written that his parents were Marion Whitehurst and Emma Barnes Whitehurst. His maternal grandparents: Freeman and Ellen Barnes.

Marion and Emma Whitehurst, my great-grandparents (my paternal grandmother's parents)

So, once again, the oral history seems to confirm the official record. (Or maybe vice versa?)

However, a closer look reveals an unexpected twist. Stay tuned!