Toomer Family BLOG

Our goal is to celebrate ALL Toomer family members today and yesterday. This blog will include history, genealogy, and reunion news. Additionally we will share our talent in poetry and prose, along with spotlight news on family members.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Who Are You, Really?

What do you know about your pedigree? A pedigree shows your direct ancestry, the people responsible for your being on this earth. First there is you. Next are your parents, followed your grandparents and so on. What do you know about your parents and grandparents? It is surprising how many basic life details we do not know about our close relatives, until we think about it. Do you know where your parents were born and married? I knew when and where my parents were married, because this information was in the family bible. However, I was very surprised to find out that my maternal grandparents, Maggie Mae Daniels and Charles Malcolm Toomer eloped in Elkton, MD. Have other Toomers eloped? I asked Grandmom why they eloped and she said that they just wanted to get married. Then I asked her, in retrospect, would you have done that again? We both laughed. You guys who know my Grandfather know what I am talking about. But when she talked about this marriage event, there was something in her eyes that I had never seen before. Those two were really in love. They have 12 children to prove it. Now, if I had never asked her about her marriage, I would have searched for marriage certificates in NJ in vain. I may have searched in PA, but not in MD.

Fill in this Pedigree Chart to see how much you know. (Everyone, do not email Floyd for your pedigree.) You may be surprized how much you know. Number 1 is for your name, birth, and marriage. Include date and location. Number 2 is your father and Number 3 is your mother. Continue by entering your grandparents. Go as far as you can. This will give you an idea of what you know about yourself.

The next step is to do oral interviews . Interview family to help fill in the blanks on your pedigree chart. This is what Floyd did. He talked to Big Aunt Ida and Little Aunt Ida (his Mom), among others. I heard that there were recordings. The thought of hearing their voices again..................................................................

So interview your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends. By doing this you will gain a better understanding of, who they are, why they think, and do the things that they do. Additionally you will learn more about yourself. First get the basics: first, middle, last and maiden name. Then collect vital information such as: birth, marriage, divorce, death. Get the date and location for these events. Next you want to learn about their parents, brothers and sisters. Print the Family Group Sheets, two pages, Ancestors site and record this information.

After you learn the basics, ask about personal recollections of, childhood, church, education, sports, activities, work, military, and more. But the most important thing to remember is: Be Patient. If they do not currently discuss the old days then it may take some time to remember that stuff. In my case Grandmom said that she did not know anything, She remembered her Grandpop William Stanford, that was it. But once we talked about it more and I showed her documents, her memories started coming back bit by bit. Eventually, I did not have to ask her questions, she would just start talking about Alabama. I thought, wow, this patience and diligence stuff really works.

Learn what you can now. View the oral history questions from the UMass RootsProject to get you started. This site contains oral history questions, with an emphasis on African American Genealogy.
Soon, when someone asks you, who are you, really, you can say proudly, how much time do you have. Enjoy learning about yourself.


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