Coming to the Table (CTTT) is a U.S. non-profit “working together to create a just and truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal from the racial wounds of the past, from slavery and the many forms of racism it spawned.” The Linked Descendants Working Group includes CTTT members who “want to know the truth about their ancestors, discover their connections, maybe even heal a bit of the wounded past.” Members descend from enslavers and enslaved and some are connected through slavery and some as family. Members discuss how to make connections including genealogical research methods, practical matters regarding communicating with potential linked descendants, and the emotional aftermath of slavery. Members descended from enslaved people are searching for their family history. Other members seek to share the information they’ve uncovered about enslaved people through researching their own family history. That’s where the U.S. Black Heritage Project comes in.
The U.S. Black Heritage Project’s mission is shown below.
The similar interests of the two groups have provided me an opportunity to support the Linked Descendants to begin using WikiTree. Once they feel comfortable with WikiTree, they can join the many projects within the U.S. Black Heritage project (such as the Plantations Project, or the one I am involved with the Heritage Exchange Profile Improvement Team.)
If you would like to know more about using WikiTree to support your family history, including your Linked Descendant journey, I’d be happy to share resources if you contact me. An introductory video I created is available via the Virtual Genealogical Association.
“The reality is that most of our ancestors were nobodies. Most of them died without fame or fortune, most of the people in the past could not read or write and they didn’t leave all those wonderful records that historians can find for the elite. And yet, their lives have merit. They have more ability in my view to teach us about the past than we will learn from the lives of the rich and famous.”
On June 13, 2022, Elizabeth Shown Mills received the Coddington Award of Merit from the New England Historical and Genealogical Society. The award “recognizes the highest standard of excellence in American genealogical scholarship and lifetime achievement in the field.”
Mills’ lecture addressed the value genealogical research holds for society. Lessons we learn from every life provide insight into history. Elizabeth Shown Mills goes beyond sharing genealogy and history through scholarly work. She also wrote a historical novel based on the history she discovered.
A novel by eminent western author Wallace Stegner reminds me of my paternal family’s history. In Big Rock Candy Mountain, described as a semi-autobiographical account of the author’s life, Stegner recounts the Mason’s family boom and bust relocations throughout the west. Stegner’s story parallels the lives of my grandparents, Edna (Workman) Davis and Walt Davis, although our family’s story has a happier ending. My grandmother taught me more about the Great Depression than a history book ever could. Her memoirs describe her marriage to my grandfather in 1931 and the farms and businesses my grandfather and grandmother started and failed at before they finally found financial security in the crop-dusting business. Their story of following a dream, hopes being dashed, and moving again is the real story of the middle of the last century.
I share my family’s history through their profiles on WikiTree. It’s one way I can contribute to history, one person at a time, preserving the past.