Special Issue "Genealogy and Critical Family History"

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 February 2020) | Viewed by 28647

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Christine E. Sleeter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Education, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA 93955, USA
Interests: anti-racist multicultural education; ethnic studies; teacher education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Family history has become increasingly popular, particularly with the growing availability of online genealogical research tools. Many people research their family’s history for a sense of personal identity or belonging. As a result, when carrying out their research, family historians, especially those from dominant social groups, tend to focus mainly on the individual family itself. Family memories and identity, however, are never entirely individual, private matters. Rather, they reflect and often incorporate public national narratives, including their themes and silences. Uncritical appropriation of national mythologies related to racism and colonization enables people to avoid confronting how their ancestors participated in or benefited from exploitation thereby avoiding accountability for unjust power relations today.

Critical family history refers to a process of situating a family’s history within an analysis of larger social relationships of power, particularly racism, colonization, patriarchy, and/or social class. A critical family historian uses tools of genealogy as well as historical research to understand how relations of power impacted on the family, and how the family participated in, helped to construct, resisted, or simply experienced the larger context. Analytical frameworks from critical traditions, particularly critical theory and critical race theory, inform the kinds of questions that a critical family historian might ask. These include questions about which socio-cultural groups were located in the vicinity of a family, and what was the nature of relationships among them. Or, one might begin with current inequities, asking how they were structured historically and how one’s own family is part of that story.

Some potential questions that articles in this Special Issue take up might include:

  • How did a family over two or more generations experience white supremacy, and how did that experience impact on the family’s social position today?
  • How did a family navigate the social class structure over one or more generations, and what does their experience imply about social class?
  • How do dominant national narratives hide or silence family stories that do not fit those narratives?
  • How might a family historian tease out clues of LGBTQ family members in the past?
  • What do family records of property ownership and transfer of wealth through inheritance reveal about social class, race, gender, and/or colonization?
  • What can digitized newspapers from the past reveal about the context of power relationships in which one’s ancestors lived?
  • What does family history reveal about how racially mixed people navigated racism historically?
  • What might we infer about patriarchy over time from the lives of female ancestors?

Prof. Christine E. Sleeter
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • family history
  • national mythologies
  • social power relations
  • critical theory
  • critical race theory

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Critical Family History: An Introduction
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020064 - 13 Jun 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1490
Abstract
Critical family history challenges historians to ask about their ancestors. Who else (what other groups) was around, what were the power relationships among groups, how were these relationships maintained or challenged over time, and what does all this have to do with our [...] Read more.
Critical family history challenges historians to ask about their ancestors. Who else (what other groups) was around, what were the power relationships among groups, how were these relationships maintained or challenged over time, and what does all this have to do with our lives now? These are different questions from the questions most family historians ask. This introductory essay elaborates on what critical family history is and where the concept came from, then provides a brief overview of the articles included in this Special Issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)

Research

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Article
Structural Violence of Schooling: A Genealogy of a Critical Family History of Three Generations of African American Women in a Rural Community in Florida
Genealogy 2021, 5(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy5010020 - 12 Mar 2021
Viewed by 761
Abstract
Through the lens of structural violence, Black feminism and critical family history, this paper explores how societal structures informed by white supremacy shaped the lives of three generations of rural African American women in a family in Florida during the middle to the [...] Read more.
Through the lens of structural violence, Black feminism and critical family history, this paper explores how societal structures informed by white supremacy shaped the lives of three generations of rural African American women in a family in Florida during the middle to the late twentieth century. Specifically, this study investigates how disparate funding, segregation, desegregation, poverty and post-desegregation policies shaped and limited the achievement trajectories among these women. Further, an oral historical examination of their lives reveals the strategies they employed despite their under-resourced and sometimes alienating schooling. The paper highlights the experiences of the Newman family, descendants of captive Africans in the United States that produced three college-educated daughters and a granddaughter despite structural barriers that threatened their progress. Using oral history interviews, archival resources and first-person accounts, this family’s story reveals a genealogy of educational achievement, barriers and agency despite racial and gendered limitations in a Southern town. The findings imply that their schooling mirrors many of the barriers that other Blacks face. However, this study shows that community investment in African American children, plus teachers that affirm students, and programs such as Upward Bound, help to advance Black students in marginalized communities. Further, these women’s lives suggest that school curriculums need to be anti-racist and public policies that affirm each person regardless of the color of their skin. A simple solution that requires the structural violence of whiteness be eliminated from the schooling spheres. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
The Story of the Black Family: What It Means to Be Black with an Interracial Family Tree
Genealogy 2021, 5(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy5010006 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1168
Abstract
This paper is using a critical personal narrative and decolonialization theory to share the story of my family. It is the story of my great-grandfather, who was the child of a slave master and a house servant, and his story of survival, using [...] Read more.
This paper is using a critical personal narrative and decolonialization theory to share the story of my family. It is the story of my great-grandfather, who was the child of a slave master and a house servant, and his story of survival, using historical documents. Race and racism have been a part of my family from its origin, because of the cultural and social meanings of Blackness, which are discussed in the article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
Autohistoria: Traversing through Time and Space to Explore Identity, Consciousness, Positionality, and Power
Genealogy 2020, 4(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4030086 - 17 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1141
Abstract
How do our own cultural-historical experiences in geographic spaces like the border(s) we occupy shape our identities, consciousness, positionality, and power? Using the autohistoria-teoria methodology, the intent of this manuscript is to explore my paternal grandmother’s family, Los Martínez’ cultural historical experiences as [...] Read more.
How do our own cultural-historical experiences in geographic spaces like the border(s) we occupy shape our identities, consciousness, positionality, and power? Using the autohistoria-teoria methodology, the intent of this manuscript is to explore my paternal grandmother’s family, Los Martínez’ cultural historical experiences as descendants of conquistadores, who eventually lived along the Rio Grande-Río Bravo del Norte, which is now the Texas–Mexico border. Archival data, including birth, marriage, and death certificates, land grants, maps, border crossing documents, published books, and family oral stories were used to establish a timeline and develop a narrative that spans across time and geographic zones that were originally indigenous, colonized by Spain, became México, and for some of these territories eventually became part of the United States. I will share Los Martínez’ origins that begin in the Kingdom of the Navarre, their story as conquistadores and settlers in northern México and Texas geographic areas that were part of Nuevo España. The overarching theme I plan to capture is the fluidity of borders as figured worlds, but I also plan to highlight the formation of hybrid identities, consciousness, positionality, and power within the spaces/figured worlds that we occupy as both colonizer and colonized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
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Article
Critical Family History and Cultural Evolution: A Call for Interdisciplinary Research to Determine What Works to Replace Anger with Compassion for Social Justice
Genealogy 2020, 4(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4030085 - 11 Aug 2020
Viewed by 873
Abstract
I use critical family history to investigate: (a) my British/Scot ancestors who engaged in slavery and have a history of oppressive treatment of indigenous peoples, and (b) my Acadian and Mi’kmaq indigenous origins. My family’s conflicting history is embedded in historical hierarchies of [...] Read more.
I use critical family history to investigate: (a) my British/Scot ancestors who engaged in slavery and have a history of oppressive treatment of indigenous peoples, and (b) my Acadian and Mi’kmaq indigenous origins. My family’s conflicting history is embedded in historical hierarchies of conqueror and oppressed, as well as family dysfunction. From this history, I wonder how we can create greater positive change toward altruism and social justice? I provide literature based in cultural evolution that investigated the complex social and natural sciences that delineate our search to understand what is happening and what works to create more altruistic human behavior leading to greater social justice Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
Composting Settler Colonial Distortions: Cultivating Critical Land-Based Family History
Genealogy 2020, 4(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4030084 - 03 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1134
Abstract
A collective of three intergenerational and intersectional educators engage in anti-colonial and/or decolonial processes of composting colonial distortions through Land-based conceptualizations of Critical Family History. Engaging in spiral discourse through Critical Personal Narratives, the authors theorize critical family history, Land-based learning, and Indigenous [...] Read more.
A collective of three intergenerational and intersectional educators engage in anti-colonial and/or decolonial processes of composting colonial distortions through Land-based conceptualizations of Critical Family History. Engaging in spiral discourse through Critical Personal Narratives, the authors theorize critical family history, Land-based learning, and Indigenous decolonial and anti-settler colonial frameworks. Using a process of unsettling reflexivity to analyze and interrupt settler colonial logics, the authors share their storied journeys, lessons learned and limitations for the cultivation of Critical Land-based Family History. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
Cultural Community Wealth: Project Pride (People Re-Collecting Insightful Data Effervescently) a Commemorative MEmorial Black Collective in Trenton, NJ
Genealogy 2020, 4(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4030078 - 22 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1190
Abstract
Presently, an insurgence is taking place in which Blacks are reclaiming Black bodies, Black community history, and Black responsibility. I employed the theoretical concepts of Cultural Community Capital and the conceptualization of two vectors-the vector of similarity and continuity, and the vector of [...] Read more.
Presently, an insurgence is taking place in which Blacks are reclaiming Black bodies, Black community history, and Black responsibility. I employed the theoretical concepts of Cultural Community Capital and the conceptualization of two vectors-the vector of similarity and continuity, and the vector of difference and rupture. I positioned genealogy as a collective familial history that is integrated and aligned through ancestral roots and development as—“We as one, a village, are one.” Using narrative inquiry, I collected the stories of four Elders and showed how they positioned their bodies, their communal spaces, and their histories as an ancestral community family in relation to the city of Trenton, New Jersey. I define Elders as those 65 and older who serve as present-day sites of wisdom and historical knowledge and chose them as a sign of respect and honor. This paper provides a unique positioning as it gives voice to Elders (ages 68–99) and provides insight into the intricacies and dehumanizing components of enslavement coupled with a determination to thrive. These are stories that one will never experience through White-washed, indoctrinated, and sanitized history books. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
Photovoice in a Vietnamese Immigrant Family: Untold Partial Stories behind the Pictures
Genealogy 2020, 4(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4030067 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1166
Abstract
This paper, in the form of walking meditation, sitting, drinking, eating, and traveling among spaces and times, witnesses how the author as a Vietnamese immigrant child living in the United States (U.S.) traces untold stories of their family through family photos. Further, this [...] Read more.
This paper, in the form of walking meditation, sitting, drinking, eating, and traveling among spaces and times, witnesses how the author as a Vietnamese immigrant child living in the United States (U.S.) traces untold stories of their family through family photos. Further, this paper attempts to find, understand and connect the relation between personal and political, between individual and collective, for a Vietnamese re-education camp detainee and his family, situated in political, historical, and cultural context. The use of photo elicitation comes from the desire that the reader can engage with the voices of the family members as they describe events in their past history. In addition, this paper refuses the forms of “category” and “fixed results” in writing up academic research. Rather, it will appear in the form of daily conversation, collected from multiple settings. Simply speaking, this paper is a form of storytelling that invites the readers to oscillate, communicate and think with the author’s family members on this historical journey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
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Article
A Dream of Dual Citizenship
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020056 - 06 May 2020
Viewed by 1219
Abstract
Many problems exist for United States (U.S.) descendants of Cabo Verde (In 2015, the government of Cabo Verde asked in the United Nations that the official name be Cabo Verde in all documents, opposed to the colonial version, “Cape Verde”) Islands seeking dual [...] Read more.
Many problems exist for United States (U.S.) descendants of Cabo Verde (In 2015, the government of Cabo Verde asked in the United Nations that the official name be Cabo Verde in all documents, opposed to the colonial version, “Cape Verde”) Islands seeking dual citizenship. Much of this is due to multiple 20th century racial discriminatory practices by the U.S. in soliciting cheap labor from Cabo Verde Islands, including changing the birth names of Cabo Verdean immigrants when they entered the United States. Without knowing the true birth names of their ancestors, descendants such as myself have no access to proof of birth in the dual citizenship process. Years often pass by as Cabo Verdean Americans search for clues that may lead to proving their legal status through family stories, and track related names as well as birth and death records. For many, dual citizenship may never be granted from the Cabo Verdean government, despite having U.S. death certificates that state that the family member was born in Cabo Verde. This autobiographical case study explores why so many Cabo Verdean Americans seek dual citizenship with a strong desire to connect to their motherland. Moreover, issues related to language, class and colorism discrimination between Cabo Verdean-born immigrants and descendants in the U.S. are explored. In so doing, the researcher hopes to ameliorate the divisions between the current government policies and Cabo Verdean American descendants, as well as build greater intracultural connections between those born in the Cabo Verde Islands and those born in the U.S. and elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
Descendants of Celia and Robert Newsom Speak
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020049 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2783
Abstract
This paper deploys narrative inquiry and analysis to capture the oral history of two families’ intergenerational memory of an African American woman named Celia who was hanged in 1855 for killing her owner Robert Newsom. It is the first scholarly investigation into the [...] Read more.
This paper deploys narrative inquiry and analysis to capture the oral history of two families’ intergenerational memory of an African American woman named Celia who was hanged in 1855 for killing her owner Robert Newsom. It is the first scholarly investigation into the intergenerational memory of both black and white descendants of Robert Newsom, and the first to be conducted utilizing the theory of critical family history. Through the paradigm of Black Feminist Thought, the paper analyzes the power imbalances embedded in the narrative about family relations, especially those that conjure race, gender roles and class produced through oral history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
“Lucky Little Guy”: Unpacking Mixed-Family Privilege and Marginality through Critical Narrative
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020047 - 09 Apr 2020
Viewed by 741
Abstract
This paper examines the role of narrative as an avenue for critically unpacking family history. In this case, the narrative grows out of the preparation and performance of a one-person play, “A Conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Multicultural Rite of Passage.” Through continuously [...] Read more.
This paper examines the role of narrative as an avenue for critically unpacking family history. In this case, the narrative grows out of the preparation and performance of a one-person play, “A Conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Multicultural Rite of Passage.” Through continuously rethinking family history during the rehearsal and performance process, the intersection of marginality and privilege within a single life trajectory is analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
Reverberating Historical Privilege of a “Middling” Sort of Settler Family
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020046 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1984
Abstract
Critical family history illuminates societal relations of inequality through focusing on the experiences and trajectories of particular families. Here, I focus on unequal relations between white settler colonizers and indigenous communities within Aotearoa, New Zealand. I use data gathered from family wills and [...] Read more.
Critical family history illuminates societal relations of inequality through focusing on the experiences and trajectories of particular families. Here, I focus on unequal relations between white settler colonizers and indigenous communities within Aotearoa, New Zealand. I use data gathered from family wills and archival research to sketch aspects of the economic privilege of branches of my own ancestral families in contrast to the economic dispossession and injustices faced by the Māori communities alongside whom they lived. The concept of historical privilege forms the analytic basis of this exploration, beginning with the founding historical windfalls experienced by the Bell and Graham families through their initial acquisition of Māori lands and the parallel historical trauma experienced by Māori at the loss of these lands. I then explore how these windfalls and traumas underpinned the divergent economic trajectories on both sides of this colonial relationship, touching on issues of family inheritance and structural and symbolic privilege. Neither the Bells nor the Grahams accumulated significant wealth, but the stories of such “middling” families are helpful in illuminating mechanisms of historical privilege that we inheritors of such privilege find it difficult to “see” or remember. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
Family History: Fact versus Fiction
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020044 - 01 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1741
Abstract
Current interest in genealogy and family history has soared, but the research journey may be fraught. Original intentions may be inhibited and inevitably altered as the actual historical details are revealed and documented through recorded evidence. While liberties may be taken with memoir [...] Read more.
Current interest in genealogy and family history has soared, but the research journey may be fraught. Original intentions may be inhibited and inevitably altered as the actual historical details are revealed and documented through recorded evidence. While liberties may be taken with memoir and even autobiography, critical family history requires scrutiny of the lived events uncovered—some of which may be in sharp contrast to family myths passed down through generations. I traveled to three states and conducted archival research in local libraries, court houses, historical county archives, and museums in my search for original sources of authentic information about the names listed on a family tree over centuries. This article reports on how and why research on the genealogy of two families joined by marriage shifted from a straightforward recording of chronological facts to the development of a novel. The case can be made that fiction provides an effective and engaging tool for the elaboration of interconnected lives through the addition of historical context, enriching personal details, and imagined dialogue. Key accuracies needed for a critical family history can be preserved but in a genre that enables characters and their stories to come to life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
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Article
Flipping Our Scripts about Undocumented Immigration
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010029 - 19 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
This critical family history explores a common script about undocumented immigration: that undocumented immigrants unfairly have refused to “stand in line” for official, sanctioned immigration and instead have broken rules that the rest of “our” families have followed. Noting a hole in her [...] Read more.
This critical family history explores a common script about undocumented immigration: that undocumented immigrants unfairly have refused to “stand in line” for official, sanctioned immigration and instead have broken rules that the rest of “our” families have followed. Noting a hole in her knowledge base, the author put herself on a steep learning curve to “clean her lenses”—to learn more information about opportunities past and present, so she could see and discuss the issue more clearly. The author sought new and forgotten information about immigration history, new information about her own family, and details about actual immigration policy. She wrote this piece to share a few script-flipping realizations, in case they can shortcut this journey for others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
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Article
Writing Lifestories: A Methodology Introducing Students to Multicultural Education Utilizing Creative Writing and Genealogy
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010027 - 16 Mar 2020
Viewed by 933
Abstract
In this article, the author describes how she used a university course book assignment to produce a family history book to: (1) Raise consciousness and deepen understandings of other cultures, (2) assist students’ understanding of how intersecting cultures become part of the complex [...] Read more.
In this article, the author describes how she used a university course book assignment to produce a family history book to: (1) Raise consciousness and deepen understandings of other cultures, (2) assist students’ understanding of how intersecting cultures become part of the complex American cultural landscape, and (3) introduce students to research utilizing genealogical tools. The assignment aims to provide freshmen and preservice teacher education students an opportunity to recover personal memories and retell family stories, meld personal fragments into context by researching the historical and cultural backgrounds of their ancestors and produce a work that captures the interior life of a culture where each of us came. This calls for using “historical memory” to recover personal memories and retell family stories. Lastly, the knowledge gained from the Writing Lifestories: Exploring Cultural Heritages’ (2019) course will help students understand and heighten an awareness of multiculturalism/multicultural education through creative writing and immersion into research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
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Article
There Has Been No Remorse over It: A Narrative Inquiry Exploring Enslaved Ancestral Roots through a Critical Family History Project
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010026 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
This paper explores the benefits and value of college students’ conducting critical family history (CFH) projects, which may serve as curricular material to expand students’ understanding of complex aspects of history and immigration. This article unpacks how one student came to see herself [...] Read more.
This paper explores the benefits and value of college students’ conducting critical family history (CFH) projects, which may serve as curricular material to expand students’ understanding of complex aspects of history and immigration. This article unpacks how one student came to see herself and others from a deeper perspective, particularly through the lens of someone who chose to continue digging into her enslaved ancestors’ roots. Using narrative inquiry, a college instructor and former student collaboratively reflect on the lessons learned from using a CFH project in a college-level class primarily for preservice teachers. A unique aspect of this paper is that it gives voice to a former student in the class, which provides a way of seeing the complexities and dehumanizing components of the lives of enslaved Africans in the U.S.—often sanitized out of history books. In addition, a university librarian suggests approaches to genealogical research, by focusing more on the lived experiences of ancestors that go beyond dates and locations. The perspectives from both a former student and the college instructor add multiple dimensions on lessons learned from a critical family history project, which uses students’ family histories as funds of knowledge as the primary curriculum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
Article
When Everything Changes: Using Critical Family History to Deconstruct Keesing and Fitzpatrick Surnames
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010025 - 09 Mar 2020
Viewed by 2986
Abstract
DNA analysis has enabled a much deeper interrogation of our surnames, Keesing and Fitzpatrick, than was possible via traditional genealogical research. This can inform us regarding the potential ‘hidden’ complexities of some surnames. Through juxtaposing the narratives of our family histories and DNA [...] Read more.
DNA analysis has enabled a much deeper interrogation of our surnames, Keesing and Fitzpatrick, than was possible via traditional genealogical research. This can inform us regarding the potential ‘hidden’ complexities of some surnames. Through juxtaposing the narratives of our family histories and DNA findings we demonstrate, using collaborative autoethnography, how surnames can be haunted by ghosts both real and imagined. The DNA-enabled critical exploration of the history of our surnames, in the context of the social and political factors that shaped them, generates a deeper and more complex understanding of how our surnames were taken/given. In this paper we investigate and deconstruct our Irish and Jewish ancestry. Fitzpatrick and Keesing are anglicised/normanised/colonised surnames that exemplify attempts to dis/member our identities. Here we re/member them, but with that comes a realisation that ‘everything has changed’ and with that come new dis/memberings and re/memberings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)

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Essay
Walking Tall: A Narrative Critical Family History of a Grandmother’s Fight for New Normals
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020058 - 11 May 2020
Viewed by 1210
Abstract
In this genealogical narrative, the author researches her deceased maternal grandmother Eula Mae’s life and explores ways that various events created the social climates that drove her grandmother’s decision-making and influenced her family’s trajectory. The author uses Black Feminist Theory to understand and [...] Read more.
In this genealogical narrative, the author researches her deceased maternal grandmother Eula Mae’s life and explores ways that various events created the social climates that drove her grandmother’s decision-making and influenced her family’s trajectory. The author uses Black Feminist Theory to understand and reflect on relevant factors such as the presence of oppression and mental health issues, while applying information passed down from relatives with artifacts obtained through Ancestry.com, to gain appreciation for her grandmother’s choices. This document details a grandmother’s fight to create a new normal for her children by persevering through figurative chains of White supremacy and systemic racism and a granddaughter’s journey to obtain answers for the questions she didn’t have an opportunity to ask. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
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Essay
Their American Dream
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020045 - 07 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1432
Abstract
Centuries before W.E.B. DuBois named the colorline—i.e., racism—as the problem of the 20th century, skin color stratification was a persistent phenomenon. In 1983 Black feminist, scholar, and Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker termed “colorism” as “prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people [...] Read more.
Centuries before W.E.B. DuBois named the colorline—i.e., racism—as the problem of the 20th century, skin color stratification was a persistent phenomenon. In 1983 Black feminist, scholar, and Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker termed “colorism” as “prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their [skin] color”. Using the tools of genealogy, I conducted a critical family history of my parents, Lem and Mae’s, pursuit of their American Dream. Such exploration digs deep to decipher the nexuses of a family’s evolution. Dr. Maya Angelou routinely shared stories about her past to impart the importance of embracing one’s history. For my parents, the American Dream meant opportunity, which included home ownership. Their American Dream began as African Americans in the United States’ Jim Crow south. Lem was a light-skinned man; Mae a dark-complexion woman. They met, married, and bought a small home in segregated Columbia, South Carolina. Bearing the cloak of oppression, my parents joined millions of southern Blacks in the Great Migration relocating to northern cities—my parents landed in Boston, Massachusetts. Throughout their journey, Lem and Mae reached back to their ancestors, and drew from within themselves to improve their circumstances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy and Critical Family History)
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