The Root Doctress

Susanna Toney was born around 1789 in Barre, MA to Abraham Toney and his wife Mary Harry. She was commonly known as Susan. Barre was and is a small rural farming community just northwest of Worcester. Her mother, Mary Harry, was part of the Narragansett tribe and her father, Abraham, was a Black man born free in Upton, MA to free parents. Upton was another … Continue reading The Root Doctress

Muriel and Alfred Shepard

When I think about my dad, it’s not my biological father that comes to mind. The man I call ‘Daddy’, Alfred Bruce Shepard, was my step-father. He raised me and loved me as if I were his biological child and I am forever grateful for it. When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I called him first – weeks before I told … Continue reading Muriel and Alfred Shepard

Hattie McKinley Anderson and family

Some photographic images recently surfaced of African-Americans living in Worcester, MA in 1900. Two of those photos are labelled ‘Kenneth Anderson’ and ‘Mrs. Anderson and baby’. Kenneth was my great-grandmother Hattie’s younger brother and Mrs. Anderson was Hattie’s mom. Here’s a quick genealogical sketch of my great-grandmother, Harriet McKinley Anderson Bostic. Hattie Bostic with a neighbor child and two grandsons. Hattie McKinley Anderson was born … Continue reading Hattie McKinley Anderson and family

Mary Jane (Scott) Smith and James Martin Smith

Mary Jane (Scott) Smith and her son, James Martin Smith.  William Bullard, Mary Jane and James Martin Smith, about 1900, courtesy of Frank Morrill and Clark University.   Mary Jane Scott was born on 13 Nov 1862 in West Boylston to Edward W. Scott and Catherine Annie Jackson. Edward and Catherine were former slaves who traveled from their birthplace in Warrenton, VA to Massachusetts with … Continue reading Mary Jane (Scott) Smith and James Martin Smith

Sarah (Scott) Shepard

Florence Shepard, Sarah Scott Shepard, and Eugene Shepard, Jr. circa 1900 in Worcester, MA William Bullard, Mrs. Shepard and Two Children, about 1900, courtesy of Frank Morrill, the Worcester Art Museum, and Clark University. Sarah Ann Scott is my 3rd great-aunt. She was the daughter of Edward Scott and Catherine Annie Jackson of Warrenton, VA. You can read more about Sarah’s parents and her younger brother, … Continue reading Sarah (Scott) Shepard

The Family Scott

The above picture is a plaque that now hangs in the second floor of City Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. The ceremony yesterday was charming and long overdue. As it states on the plaque, Charles E. Scott served as a City Councilor from 1918 to his death on 11 October 1938. Elected not by the tiny people of color population but instead by white, mostly European … Continue reading The Family Scott

The #mycolorfulancestry Craze

It seems like every genealogist on Facebook posted their version of the colorful Excel chart developed by Geneaspy blogger, J Paul Hawthorne. So without further ado, here’s my 5-generation Excel chart showing the birthplaces of myself and my ancestors. As you can see, I am a New Englander. And here’s a 6-generation chart which shows a little bit of variation. Aquene! Continue reading The #mycolorfulancestry Craze

The Storms of Vermont, Part 2 – Susannah Storm’s Probate Record

Susannah Storms was the eldest child of Primus and Parmelia. She was born in 1788 in Fishkill, NY to a slave mother and free father. The family traveled to Basin Harbor, Vermont with Platt Rogers, mother Parmelia’s owner. The Storms became one of the many free, land-owning Black families in Vermont. When Susannah died unmarried on 16 September 1845, she left her 54 acre “Home … Continue reading The Storms of Vermont, Part 2 – Susannah Storm’s Probate Record

Caesar Toney

Caesar Toney is my 5th great-grandfather. He married Margaret (Peggy) Romsor of Worcester on 7 September 1756 in Upton, MA. Peggy and Caesar had two sons Caesar Jr. and Abraham. Caesar Jr. and Abraham married two Narragansett sisters, Susannah and Mary Harry. Caesar and Peggy and their family lived on their own farm in Upton, MA – a bit unusual for people of African descent … Continue reading Caesar Toney

Not Just YOUR Ancestor – Joseph Pegan, Revolutionary War Veteran

I heard some folks talking during a recent event about their ancestor, Joseph Pegan, and his Revolutionary War service. They sounded a little proprietary to me, as if he belonged only to their family. Which seemed strange because he is a claimed ancestor to hundreds of Nipmucs including those belonging to these families – Henries, Sprague, Nichols, White, Wilson, and mine! Dudley, Massachusetts vital records … Continue reading Not Just YOUR Ancestor – Joseph Pegan, Revolutionary War Veteran