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.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Order a Certificate of Ancestry

Display Your African Ancestry

Order an exclusive, one of a kind, Certificate of Ancestry. This certificate contains the African ancestry DNA results for three lineages. Printed on textured linen cloth and framed, this 5x7 certificate is a must have for all Toomer family members who descend from Henry Toomer and Bertha Walker. For those who descend from Caroline Toomer, there is a custom certificate representing this individual DNA result. Use the items for sale form to order. $5.00

Order Now!

Certificate of ancestry for Toomer Family members.
Purchase for only $5.00, while supplies last.

Order Now!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Toomer Get Your Papers In Order

PASSPORT: First step in getting to Africa

Of course, now that we know who we are, there is more desire to visit the great continent of Africa. Cousin Katherine Pointer Baylock and husband Edwin Baylock, frequent visitors suggest that we get our passport in order. Family get your papers in order. Whether you need to get a passport for the first time or renew your expired passport - don’t wait. Do it now. (Camden County citizens can apply at the County Store in Echelon Mall.)

Visit the Passport web site for more information

Passport Home

First Time Applicant

Passport Renewal

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ride the West African Time Machine


Toomers now that you have more knowledge of who you are as an African, take a moment to jump onboard the time machine. This ride will begin 700 years ago in West Africa and end 250 years ago. Learn about the lives of your people, the Songhay and the Fulani.

700 Years Ago in West Africa
The Songhay Empire

…Mali went into decline after the death of the great king. The subject city of Gao rebelled in 1375 under the Sonni ("king") Suleiman-Mar. Around 1400, Gao was strong enough to raid the Mali capital itself, and about 50 years later became the centre of the new Songhai Empire, which now became the most powerful state in West Africa. In 1468, Sonni Ali (picture on the left) conquered Timbuktu. Sonni Muhammad Toureacute (1493-1528) made Islam the state religion of the empire…
View full 700 years ago passage....

400 Years Ago in West Africa
The Songhay Empire

The Songhai Empire reaches its peak under the successors of Muhammad Toureacute, what is called the Askia dynasty. Leo Africanus, a writer and traveller, reported that Timbuktu in 1513 was a sophisticated and prosperous city. King Askia Daud ruled from 1549 to 1582 from his capital city Gao. During the reign of his successor, Askia Ishak, the Moroccans under Sultan Ahmad El Mansur invade Songhai in 1591. A huge battle is fought at Tondibi northwest of Lake Chad. The Moroccans, well equipped with muskets, defeated the Songhai forces who had only a few firearms and still relied on the charge of lance-armed horsemen. The Moroccans did not permanently occupy the Songhai lands, and soon withdrew back north, but the power of the empire was fatally weakened. The increasing demands of the trans-Atlantic slave trade further destabilized Songhai.

View full 400 years ago web page...

250 Years Ago in West Africa
The Fulani People

…The Fulbe people (also called the Fulani) create three new states around the Senegal and Gambia rivers--Senegambia--near 1700, following the collapse of Songhai…

…Slaves were not considered property in the Senegambian states. Slaves used to farm land were more like the feudal serf in Europe, farming their own small plots and giving a fraction of the produce to their masters. Royal slaves were often used to lead armies (they had no claim to throne and were considered safer than members of the royal family or other nobles), and thus became very important people. Some states had no slavery at all…
View full 250 years ago passage...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

2006 Toomer Items for Sale

Order While Supplies Last

2006 Toomer Reunion items are now available. Visit the Toomer Store at Use the Sale Items Form to order.

  • Reunion tee shirt ($14-$16)
  • Reunion sweatshirt ($30)
  • Khaki Africa hat with green Toomer ($20)
  • Cookbook ($15)
  • Certificate of Ancestry ($5)

Tee shirts and sweatshirts must be ordered by September 18th.

Tee shirt
Youth sm, med ($11)
Youth large ($14)

Adult sm, med, lrg, xl ($14)
Adult 2xl, 3xl ($16)

Adult sm, med, lrg, xl ($30)

Visit the Toomer Store
Sale Items Form

Toomer Past Items for Sale
Lite green Sweatshirt with Emblem
Khaki hat with green Toomer
3xl Emblem tee shirt

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Toomers Meet Other with Songhay DNA

West African Exhibit in Haddon Township, NJ

Less than two weeks after learning of our Songhay DNA results, I learn that a person with the same results will be in Haddon Township. Miami Herald journalist Leonard Pitts Jr. and Philadelphia Inquirer photographer Sarah Glover visited Africa and were now coming to our county to talk about it. I could not believe our luck. Floyd and I read his article online days ago.

Floyd M. Riley and Leonard Pitts Jr. at the West Africa Exhibit, held at the Camden County Cultural and Heritage Commission in Haddon Township. January 14, 2006. Their mother's DNA trace back to a present day Songhay of Niger.

View Leonard Pitts Jr.’s article on his trip to Africa Seeking a Heritage in Africa

Monday, September 04, 2006

How do you feel Songhay, Fulani, Akan?

Toomer DNA Results Revealed

Now that you know, how do you feel? How do you feel to know that your DNA matches that of a present day Songhay in Niger, a Fulani in Niger, and an Akan in Ghana?

Leave a comment and let us know How you feel.

Below is my response to the African Ancestry DNA forum topic, “How do you feel now that you know?”

  • sjordon Posted December 27, 2005 12:05 PM
    We are doing tests as a family. This will be the 2006 reunion surprise. I just happened to check my mail on Christmas day, on my way out to deliver my home baked cookies and brownies. My mailbox was packed. A big thick white envelope was the culprit. When I saw that the return address was from African Ancestry I think that my heart skipped a beat. Then I did the African jump back to my car and called my cousin immediately. Then I cut the cookie drop off from 10 stops to 1stop.

    When we read the results we were just numb. Not really knowing what to do. Frantically we searched the internet looking for information. Soon I left and went to my own home to search the internet. I was awake until 1030am the next day. (One of the searches was on TripAdvisor, to learn the cost and flight patterns.)

    Using Dee Palmer Woodtor's title, it felt like "Finding A Place Called Home" Now, the history of the land now known as Niger is not just African history, it is my history.

    Then I felt pain and sadness as I eyed the African continent, from Niger to the west coast. My eyes well up now just thinking about it. This distance, in itself, is very far. Very far from home. How many family members were lost during this journey. Then the ocean and the darkness.

    Soon my spirit lifted and I thanked my ancestors for surviving the journey. I thanked them for their strength.

    I believe this test will probably do more for African/ African American relations than other efforts specifically design to promote Pan Africanism. Also, knowing of our Muslim past may foster tolerance amongst our strongly Pentecostal and Baptist family members.
    Posts: 9 Location: New Jersey Registered: December 25, 2005

Leave a comment and let us know how you feel.

View the
ToomerFamily BLOG help for help with leaving a comment.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Toomers on Cover of Reunions Magazine

Reunions Magazine called our flea market fundraiser creative. Three photos, including the cover, were part of an article in the bi-monthly magazine. Those registered for the reunion will receive a free copy on Satruday. Thanks to all who donated time and items to this fundraiser.

View Blogs on Toomer Flea Market Fundraiser

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Order Your 2006 Toomer Tee Shirt NOW

Deadline: July 31st, 2006
(to receive on reunion weekend)

Adult Shirt

small-xl --$14.00

xxl-xxxl --$16.00

Youth Shirt

14-16 -- $14.00

small, medium --$ 11.00 (one color)

Print Order Form

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Register Before August 15

To Receive A Pedigree Name Tag

Join us on Labor Day Weekend, September 1-2, 2006 to celebrate the heritage of the Toomer Family. This year we have plenty to do. Included will be traditional and new activities. To encourage registration, we will create a special name badge for all who register before August 15th. Non- procrastinators will receive a badge with the following:

  • Your personal three generation pedigree showing you and two Toomer generations back in time.
  • Your relationship to Caroline Toomer.


Sample Badge

Print registration form

View full reunion agenda
View directions

New at the 2006 Toomer Reunion

Monday, May 22, 2006

Toomer Are You Prepared For Disaster?

Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 21-27, 2006

"Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy."

Are you ready for a Hurricane? Can you survive a week without electricity, running water, or gas for your car? Personally I do not know if I can survive a week without the internet. Hopefully the library will be up and running. I think that I would even walk there. Maybe I need a bike.) Will you evacuate when told to do so, or will you be like many American, “I will tough it out.” Watching the flooding in New England should be a wake up call to us Northeasterners. For some reason we always believe that bad stuff happens else where? Oh, that is not going to happen to me.

An analyst on CNN said that disasters for Americans are not wake up calls, they are snooze alarms. We wake up for a minute and then as time goes by we quickly forget. Even after seeing all of those folks who did not, or could not, leave New Orleans, crammed into the Super Dome, there are many us who are either willing to tough it out or we depend on our government. The people in the Super Dome were not all low income welfare recipients. Many were people like me and you.

The hurricane forecast will be released today. Early speculation states that we will again have a greater than average hurricanes this year, possible 17 named storms.

My aunt Odella told me “remember, don’t live near the water”. I think that I was talking about moving to one of those cool lofts on the waterfront. While we do not have a Lake Pontchatrain with a dollar store levee system, we do have plenty of waterways, and of course the Atlantic Ocean, just a 30 minute drive away. Remember the flooding in the Trenton area. It was hard for me to believe that this was occurring in NJ.

Where will you go when they say to evacuate? My first thought is to simply go to and sleep over in Philly. But how long will I be able to afford the hotel bill, if I can get a reservation. You know that all bridges to PA would be packed. Maybe I will go to the airport and fly out of the impending disaster, but you know the many problems here, crowds, canceled flights, etc. They say that you should not travel too far, so I guess Cathy and Edwin’s house in Ohio is out. We can not all fit into their house. So where will you go?

Are you prepared? Do you have a disaster plan? Is your disaster kit packed? According the National Hurricane Center, a disaster prevention plan should include: (click on links to view information)

Below are items that should be in your disaster supply kit. Some items that are missing for homeowners with generators, you will need gas, gas cans, and OIL to run the generator. They also state that candles can be dangerous due to wind. (Candles were my plan. I better go head to Home Depot or Lowes, and get flashlights and a few break sticks.)

Disaster Supply Kit

Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices— foods for infants or the elderly— snack foods— non-electric can opener— cooking tools / fuel— paper plates / plastic utensils
Blankets / Pillows, etc.
Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Special Items
- for babies and the elderly
Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
Flashlight / Batteries
- Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Cash (with some small bills) - Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.
Toys, Books and Games
Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks filled
Pet care items— proper identification / immunization records / medications— ample supply of food and water— a carrier or cage— muzzle and leash

One final thing, keep an eye out for home insurance. Many insurance companies are canceling policies. According to CNN, many policies have been canceled in Rockaway Beach due to their location. Companies are crafty, don't be caught out there. Remember the fine line that the insurance companies were drawing between hurricane and flood damage.

Main NHC page

Disaster Prevention