“I wish I’d know’d more people. I would of loved ’em all. If I’d a knowed more, I would of loved more.” — Baby Suggs, Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Previously, I was a Professor in African American and Women’s Studies, but in the last four years I have been working in the IT field. Although I no longer teach, I am still invested in research topics within African American and Women’s Studies, and that’s what lead me to researching my family. Understanding how my family’s stories fit into the larger narrative of black people’s experiences in this country has been extremely rewarding for me.
This project has introduced me to family members that I did not know existed, though many of them lived within a 40 mile radius. My journey in learning more about my family has led me to cousins I now have a relationship with. I am reminded of a quote from Toni Morrison’s Beloved, where Baby Suggs says, “I wish I’d know’d more people. I would of loved ’em all. If I’d a knowed more, I would of loved more.”
I have been researching my family history for almost a decade now, and I look forward to chatting with others who are doing this same type of research.
About My Blog
My mother was close to her mother, and so we were all close to her. My grandmother died of cancer in 1989 when I was 14 years old, before I was interested enough to ask her questions about her family. When my mother’s siblings passed away, I still wasn’t as engaged in the research that I am currently conducting. My mother, who is the last of her siblings is now stuck (I am sure she would say “stuck”) with answering all my questions alone. Unfortunately, this is the story of many genealogists: we wish we were engaged in our family history while those we love most were still alive. I hope this blog will inspire others who are just dipping their toes in the genealogy study pond to ask questions and get pictures sooner rather than later.
What I learned in the years to come is that my grandmother came from a large family in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She was a Butler and the Butlers had been in St. Mary’s County, MD since shortly after the British arrived. In the 19th century, some migrated from St. Mary’s County to Charles and Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Then, there is my father’s family, who I have only been researching for a couple of years. Their story is more like my mother’s family then I originally anticipated. One of my biggest surprises came in researching my father’s family, is that I learned that Princess Anne, MD, the small town where I attended college, is where my grandfather’s family hailed. In fact, there still remains a significant number of people with my family’s surname (Dorman) in that town.
This blog will explore my family’s experiences in the United States, mostly as it pertains to their experiences living in the mid-Atlantic region. It will address such topics as migration, Jim Crow/segregation, helpful genealogical tips, and my experience researching my family’s history. I also intend to invite genealogists more experienced than myself to help readers learn about the tools they used. In this blog, I want to address the importance of connecting the stories to the documentation that we find in the U.S. Census Records, wills, and other documents.
Please take some time to peruse the blog for some of the resources I listed. Also, I have listed my family’s surnames and geographical areas of research. You can expect two posts a month (every 1st and 3rd Monday) from me and the occasional post in between whenever I feel so inspired. To make sure you don’t miss out on a post, please subscribe to the blog. I look forward to sharing my research with you.