Exploring Roots

Alex Haley planted the seed of interest in millions of people including his own son, William, for whom finding every root and branch is a journey he’ll never finish. Speaking to a group, Haley preached his version of his father’s gospel.

Your ancestors did what they had to do to survive. Make sure they’re not forgotten. Don’t worry if you’re searching for relatives from the days of slavery who had no surnames in 1865 but have faith you’ll find what you need. “You learn life lessons from your family stories. And remember they only took the strongest. You are descended from the strongest.”

Katie Brown Bennett freed her slave ancestors from the papers of North Carolina family history collections, where they lay buried in bills of sale, personal correspondence and wills. The gift, she says, was to learn how they persevered. Bennett’s genealogical chronicle, Soaking the Yule Log, takes its title from the practice her 18th-century kin devised to lengthen the Christmas holiday. Having been granted “a vacation” by owners for as long as the great yule log burned, slaves learned that a good soaking in creek water added hours of time off.
submitted by Ken August Brunner from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution