Monday, February 27, 2012

Seven Generations of my Family lineage documented On Display At the National Archives in Atlanta

Continuing my ancestral journey on display at the
National Archives in Atlanta. 

    I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the Black Family History Symposium sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in partnership with the National Archives Record Administration in Atlanta, Ga.  The theme of this year's event was "Continuing the Journey of Generations."

   My participation in this event included a display of seven generation's of my ancestry, covering some 275 years. The research on display goes as far back as my fourth generation great-grandparents -- a former slave woman named Agnes, who gained her freedom on December 16, 1779, and her french consort, an American Revolutionary War Patriot, Mathieu Devaux dit Platilla. The display shows the various documents that helped make me eligible for induction into the National Society Sons of the American Revolution .

  Also on hand throughout the day were several family history and genealogical organizations including representatives of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), and the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) Metro-Atlanta Chapter.

  I was honored to have received an Award of Excellence in Leadership and Service from the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. Here are a few pictures from the event.

My sisters, Jane Bronner (L) and
 Cynthia Henderson (R), joined me at
 the National Archives in Atlanta.
Photographed by
Jena P. Jones
the funyfarm  photographic svcs

Jane Bronner (back) and Cynthia Henderson (forward),
review our family's lineage displayed in cases.

Documents and pictures of my induction into the
National Society Sons of the American Revolution
on display.

Civil Rights photographer
  Dr. Doris Derby
reviews my family photos in display case.

 A look from above of what
 Dr. Doris Derby and others are viewing

Author and member of AAHGS Metro Atlanta Chapter,
 Melvin Collier, reviews
my family documents on display.

A view from above of what
Melvin is viewing

My sister Jane Bronner (left) explains
family links to a few onlookers.  

Lady Rochelle sees some familiar faces in
my family history display case.

Representatives Mrs Leslie Watkins of the DAR
and Mr Bruce Maney of the SAR 

These boy scouts were here today to earn their
Genealogy merit badge
Michael Henderson and Bruce Maney
Button Gwinnett Chapter Georgia Society SAR 
Michael Henderson and Charles Williams,
Founder and CEO
 Save the Family Institute, Inc

Members of the Afro-American Historical and
Genealogy Society AAHGS - Metro Atlanta
 assist attendees with information about organization

Virgil and Debra Fancher, Cynthia Henderson
Mrs. Ruth Saunders and Jane Bronner
Full House Captured by Photographer
Jena P. Jones
the funyfarm  photographic svcs

"Your Ancestors are Looking For You"
was the theme of my keynote address.

 presented with an
Award of Excellence in Leadership and Service
by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

         Be sure to visit my Facebook page: GOT PROOF!  there you'll be kept posted on my new memoir due out early spring 2013

Saturday, February 25, 2012

North Carolina Man finds Slave-Turned-Patriot Ancestor

Mr.Earl Ijames,Curator North Carolina
Museum of History, Chaz Moore - descendant of
Slave Patriot Toby Gilmore
and Michael Henderson - President
 Button Gwinnet Chapter Georgia Society SAR

A descendant of a chieftain’s son kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery in Massachusetts more than 250 years ago  became the first black member inducted into a North Carolina chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution this weekend.
Chaz Moore, 30, is a descendant of Toby Gilmore, the son of a chieftain in coastal West Africa who was kidnapped at 16 and sold into slavery in Massachusetts. He gained his freedom after fighting for American independence against the British.
Moore, a native of Worcester, Mass., only recently learned he had an ancestor who had joined the Colonists’ side during the Revolutionary War.
“Growing up, I wasn’t even certain that African-Americans even fought in the Revolutionary War,” Moore said. “It’s not something that’s talked about. Then to say, ‘Well, yeah, they did, and you’re a direct descendant of one’ was unbelievable, humbling. I had to redefine patriotism for myself.”
Moore has been a Raleigh firefighter for about five years. On Saturday, he’ll become the first black inducted into the North Carolina chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution in a ceremony at the state Museum of History, according to The Associated Press.

The involvement of blacks on the American side during the Revolution is an often overlooked fact. Many blacks, both enslaved and free, sought to join with the Colonists, believing that it would either lead to their freedom or expand their civil rights, according to Philip Foner’s work, Blacks in the America Revolution.
American states had to meet quotas of troops for the Continental Army, and New England regiments recruited black slaves by promising freedom to those who served.
During the course of the war, it is believed about 20 percent of the northern army was black, while at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, Baron Closen, a German officer in a French regiment, estimated that the American army was made up of about one-quarter black troops.
Moore’s knowledge of roots came through a cousin whose research into the family tree took her to the Old Colony Historical Society in Taunton, Mass.
The family history took another turn in 2010 with the discovery that a relative named Maud May Sullivan, born in 1881, had been raised not by her mother, but by a stepmother, according to The Associated Press.

Her biological mother, Almira Sullivan, had died in 1883, and she was a descendant of Toby Gilmore, slave and patriot, the wire service added.
So standing there that day in the museum was another Gilmore descendant. And no one was more surprised to learn this than Andrew Boisvert, museum archivist and library manager, who had studied Gilmore for nine years.
Because descendants had moved and last names had changed through marriage, Gilmore’s line was thought to have ended in 1921 when a descendant named Caroline J. Gilmore, who had married one of Gilmore’s grandsons, died. Gilmore’s story is well-known in the area and still taught to children, Boisvert said.
“This is a guy who was born free, raised as a slave and then became a free man afterwards,” Boisvert said.
Gilmore, born Shibodee Turry Wurry, was about 16 when he was kidnapped by slave traders in 1757. The slave ship changed course from Virginia to Rhode Island because of a storm, and the traders sold some slaves to pay for repairs.
Capt. John Gilmore of Raynham, Mass., bought Wurry and renamed him Toby Gilmore.
Some historians estimate that about 5,000 blacks fought against the British, although the number could be much higher.
Records show Gilmore joined the war three times, although he gained his freedom with his first eight-day enlistment, Boisvert said. He became a successful farmer, built two homes (one of which still stands), fathered eight children and lived to the age of 70, according to The Associated Press.
In 2006, when Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. learned he was the descendant of a Revolutionary War veteran, the executive director of Sons of the American Revolution estimated about 30 of the group’s 27,000 members were black.
The society doesn’t ask for race on its application so no one is really certain how many members are black, said Don Shaw, SAR’s current executive director.