So having a stiff back and a new pair of tennie's I was able to walk 4 miles with my family on our once a week we all have together. Armed with a portable heat pack and beautiful weather we were able to make it to Carmichael's book store where I found "Weird Kentucky- Travel Guide to Kentucky's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets" by Jeffery Scott Holland. Opening it gave me the instant inspiration for this blog which kinda piggy's back on some mysteries I am hoping to uncover as an Amateur Geneologist.
This is a map of Kentucky, specifically Cherokee lands created in 1900. It has been a long standing rumour in my family that my Mother's Father's Mother was a Cherokee, at least part. I was offered a scholarship for being Native American for college got me thinking. How does one prove it when so many folks hid their nationality because of Racism? I didn't end up applying for the scholarship my thinking is that there were kids on the reservations with full Native/Indian blood who needed it more and I had access to jobs to pay for myself.
Due to a mistake on my Birth Certificate I was up for a Chinese one as well. Thank you Oakland, but I am not Chinese (my Father was born in China in a British Colony so they assumed we were Chinese)and my Mum sent it in to get corrected. Hence the ethnic identity confusion (well many others were certainly confused when teasing me in the school yard when we moved from the Bay Area and I went to Public school) and looks that garner questions, I certainly have an interesting background to share (I am multi-ethnic , I guess Euro-Asian is close enough to be a catch all for the English/Scot/Welsh/French and Japanese that I know of for sure and Heinz-57 that I am still finding out on the family tree (such Cajuns that took off to Canada and came back after the Civil War).
And don't worry my dear readers , there indeed is a paranormal angle, well perhaps they could help with this? Much of my life I feel like is a game of hide and seek with my playful Ancestors. They love my quest for knowledge and my acknowledgement and we both benefit from the excitement of finding out about each other. In fact, as my Ghost tour Trainer for the Old Louisville points out, sometimes something Paranormal can help up to find out about the history of a place. Even as a skeptic, he acknowledges that sometimes these experiences can lead us to historical fact. This , I thought could be the key to finding out my past and if those Spirit Guides can help, all the better! Like my recent discovery of the real existence of the voice of Reason, my great Uncle as a Spirit Guide. I love the names on our family tree, including a "Mistory" as well!
What started out to be a search for my husband's father blossomed into tracing our family tree to see what the truth to the rumours such as being related to Jean Laffite, the Pirate, and how exactly we are related to Ernest Tubb the Texas Troubadour? Are we really Cherokee? I wanted to know where the connection to some folks started and figure out if the rumours were true or figure out how some rumours can be cover-ups for other stories that people were too ashamed to admit. (lest they experience racism back in the day... that no matter how much father we get away from the past,still manages to rear it's ugly head in one form or another.)
I have the lumps on my head and shovel teeth of a "Melungeon" (tri-racial folks from the Kentucky/Tennessee area) and very much looked a different race when I was a kid and more Euro as I got older. I have been jumped and beaten for being a "Red- N-word" (sorry but my aversion to the word means I can't even type it out, even when explaining that I was called that word and beat up) and I have been mistaken for all sorts of things from Hawaiian , Mexican, Chinese, and the You- name- it -Native- American tribe etc..etc.. Of course I do have half brother and sisters that are Mexican and Hawaiian so it really isn't a stretch to assume that about me either when you see us all together.
While Ancestry.com had provided some surprises: directly linage to English Royalty (pre Tudors)and a Great X5 Uncle who was a Confederate General and some that fought in the Revolutionary War, some were really sad to find that need honouring, namely a Maria who was property willed to a daughter I found in a will of another Ancestor. It goes on to prove that my family came from both sides of the tracks, the Father of said human property Slaver was a Quaker (those who opposed Slavery) that relocated to the South from the North looking for work when his descendant , embraced the what his Father was against.
Perhaps my being drawn to African things culture,language and Religion could be a way to honour this Ancestor.
As a Public Resource Speaker for Stanislaus County in Ca.in High School I would go to schools and explain my linage to help people understand multiculturalism. Namely the story that my Father , Grandparents and Great Grandparents were interned in Japanese Prison Camps in China during WWII, even though my Grandmother and her Parents were both Half Japanese, My Great Grandmother was descended from my great great George Lee who Great Uncle was Robert E Lee. When he left the Georgia he met a Geisha Hiroto, and she had a daughter born into the geisha house of Kyoto named Emma Lee. Confused yet? You should have met the kids at my High School. I was actually proud of the rumours and loved to keep them guessing... because I had a soulful voice, could dance and have a French same, perhaps I was a Creole, my Da overheard that one at a Dance Recital! Well ya never know..
When the American's dropped the Atomic Bombs on Japan, my family was freed from the Japanese Prison Camp and went to Scotland before coming to America. My father remembers his first chocolate bar and their childhood friend went on to write a book about their experiences called "Empire of the Sun" later made into a movie. What if they moved to America say before the war? Would they put my family in Internment Camps?
So yeah, without the bomb, I wouldn't be here, how's that for Irony?
My Da's paranormal experience happened when Grandma Emma traded rooms with him for the night when they lived in Oakland back in the 1960's. He felt a cold come into the room , linger and then it left. The next day he had found his Grandmother had passed away. He always wondered if Death came looking for her, realized they had switched rooms and went on to find her. She is buried in the buried in the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland in the beautiful Mountain View Cemetery.
*As an aside we will revisit this cemetery in a later blog, this is where Elizabeth Short the "Black Dahlia" is buried.I wish I'd known at the time that Emma Lee pictured above was buried there before I moved!*
Things are starting to cook up , now that we are in Kentucky. Not only do we feel oddly like the Ancestors have a mission for us here in Louisville, but other evidence has started to come up that means that some of us, namely my husband are actually from here! And in that "my brain just broke" way that Ancestry.com and shows like PBS's Faces of America can turn your idea of who are topsy turvy that is how my research went once I started getting hints into my husband's side of the family. Could it be that our Ancestors had a hand in our moving here to Kentucky to find out more about my hubby's side of the family?
Little is known about my hubbies family and it abounds with rumours just as anybody's family does. What were rumours of Native American in his tree are turning out to be more African American as we do searches on certain folks in his Family tree which is quite exciting. In his case there are copies of deeds within in the family for Free Persons of Colour passed from Cousin to Great -Grandmother.
And just to make sure that our rainbow family truly is even more fun stuff turned up.
A recent article sent to me by a friend gives another group of folks who live in Hazard County of Kentucky with the last name Stacy, like ours. It is a rarer last name and since we don't have records of his Grandfather just yet, every lead is worth pursuing. This Article which I will link here:
and this one with pictures of blue folks here:
In these articles they detail a group of folks descended from a French Immigrant who carried a most fascinating gene which in some will manifest in blue skin. There are certain surnames that are connected with this family, namely Stacy and Richie as well as Combs and the of course the Fugates. My hubby has both Stacy (that being our last name) and Richie on his Mother's side who hails from Eastern Kentucky and settled in Louisville!
I had to say this took me by surprise, if not a connection, it is a interesting coincidence! I thought I knew all sorts of weird stuff but that there were possible connections was interesting to say the least. It later goes on to explain in the genealogy section how the trait is passed down and how it manifests to where some folks are "born blue" or have bluish nails or marks without being related to a heart condition that causes blue babies.That made me consider our own lil bundle of cuteness born on New Years Day 2011. (1/1/11)
Looking over the medical paperwork of our child's birth and medical records. She was , in fact , born blue which over the course of time she turned pink, and I had concluded this was an oxygen related condition as I was put on Oxygen during the course of her birth to make sure she had enough due to monitor readings, she also had a true knot in her cord which is extremely rare as well as wearing the rest of her cord like a feather boa for her dramatic entrance. She does have what are called "Mongolian Spots" which are are blue patches of skin, like a birthmark which remain blue.
Here is a great Wiki -Article here about them:
All of these conditions are related to blood in some way, and most are treatable.
I get a lot of questions about my daughter and her heritage just as I got as a child. After being Blue, then Pink and for a short time Yellow due to Jaundice, she settled on a Olive shade much like her Pa, surprising some folks that she is much darker then my current shade (which by this writing and the Kentucky sun is now a reddish tan.) Her Dark Pewter Blue Gray settled on a dark brown. Her father's are blue and mine are Hazel and to me I can see her Grandpa , my husband's father in those eyes , who was said to have the same colouring. Her hair is just like mine un-dyed, brown with reddish copper streaks.
I get asked " Is she mixed race?" and honestly I answer "yes" what exactly those mixtures are is our journey to find out. Until we can get her Pa a DNA test to discover the roots of his family we are going the old fashion routes of ancestry.com and following leads from friends. Only time will tell if the little one will have Shovel teeth and her blue-ness will fade by puberty but I do love the Spiritual explanation in some cultures that is her blue spot on the hiney is where "the child was 'smacked' out of the spirit world before birth" .
Perhaps our guides or family passed on can send us some hints or perhaps we can better figure out the hints we do get by looking at our Family tree as more hints turn up as more folks look into the past to discover answers.
I can't help but to wonder if perhaps things worked out in the Spirit world to help us out and to get us here to Louisville where I was able to find out very interesting facts about my Hubby's family tree! Within blocks of my home is the Filson Society (Historians of all things Kentucky and the person who lived here) , Daughters of the Revolution and beyond a mile is the Louisville Library with a floor dedicated to Kentucky genealogy.
I daresay they led to to the right place to figure out these family mysteries!