Coming to the table too

I have been on a journey to uncover my family’s genealogy and I recently had my DNA test taken by AncestryDNA.

I anticipated finding out what my ancestral countries of origin were in Africa and hopefully the tribes my ancestors belonged to. The good ole “this” percent African and “that” percent what-I-thought-was-Native American.

Well, I didn’t find a single trace of Native American DNA. But I did find 28% European.

AncestryDNA provided a three person genetic match with a man named Gustavus Boone Robertson and his wife Isabella (Gentry) Robertson.

On my father’s side, my paternal great grandmother is Gladys Gentry. I know nothing about when she was born or when she died. I have her husband’s name, Henry Jackson 1874 – 1967. What I do have from her is her blood. Her memory. A suggestion of a tragic memory from her family’s past as enslaved Africans.

What I ended up finding was DNA traced to a genealogist that suggests we are 3rd – 5th cousins with a three-times great grandfather in common, Elijah Gentry Jr.

After trading many emails, running DNA into two different systems, and analyzing the data, my cousin Judy G. Russell wrote this blog post that brought me to tears and gave me goosebumps.

It gave me something I never anticipated finding, and brought two people from different worlds together who may never have met if it wasn’t for advancements in technology.

The confirmation of pains of a traumatic ancestral past as the descendant of enslaved African ancestors and also the hope for a future built on knowledge and acknowledgement as well as love.

“But as she and I are turning to that paper trail now … we do so with an eye on a dream. It’s a dream articulated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his speech at the Washington Monument on August 28th, 1963. It’s a dream, he said he had, “that one day… the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”So maybe it won’t be the sons, Dr. King.Maybe this time it’s going to be the daughters who will sit together.”
Read the blog post for yourself.

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