Many of us go through life wondering who we are and where our ancestors really come from. It is especially difficult for people of African descent. We begin a series of activities on Jamaicans.com to help you find out who you really are. The first is a discussion in this series is with "Into Africa" Jamaican author Yvonne Blackwood.
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Who Are You? – Really!

Regardless of who you are, or where you come from, there’s always more to the story, your story. When we were kids, most of us played make believe games, play-acting being Cowboys or Indians, cops and robbers, dragon slayers, swordsmen, anything possible your imagination could dream up based on television and story books.

Fortunately, many of us can look back through photo albums and be acquainted with grandparents, great-grandparents, and sometimes great-great grandparents, and hopefully know a little of our background. However, there are equally as many among us, who can’t describe their family past their immediate mother or father, let alone to go back in time 100 or 200 years prior.

My late-great uncle on my mother’s side of the family travelled to England and Scotland (because that’s where his side of the family (Stuart / Hill) had come from), and took a side trip to Ireland. Now, my mothers’ side are ‘talkers’ (I know I sometimes go on and on), and my great-uncle was no different (definitely much worse), and would talk to everybody! By being so vocal about his quest, incredibly, it was during a trip to a local bank there that he met up with a distant relative! Although I do not have the details, nor documentation he returned with, he further discovered that our roots not only reached Ireland, but also extended into Wales and Holland. He discovered names of ladies in waiting, and various tradespeople, and I’m embarrassed to admit, there were also rumours of one particular highwayman sharing our bloodlines. Recently, I travelled to England. I haven’t a clue who any of my relatives there would be (and there are many), nor where to look (if I had been so inclined).

A great many of our readers are interested in their roots, not their immediate 100 year history, but to go farther past that 200, or 300 years. If you have older relatives living today, spend time with them, learn as much as you can about them, their people as far back as possible. List and link the information, if not for a search purpose, but at least to enable your children and their children to know some of their immediate past history, and the type of people that came before them. Share family photos, and record the events so these little snippets of information can be passed on. Family recipes, documents, little treasures. They all have significance in the future, your future, your children’s future, and provides that link to your past, to your origin.

Jamaicans.com is going to present a series not only for interest sake, but which will take the Guest Discussion concept one step further. Whether you’ ve been putting off looking for a distant relative, who was sent to live farrin when they were young, and since lost track of them, or whether you want to go further back in time and discover your true roots. Keeping in mind that it can be a hard road to walk, seemingly endless at times, and the results you discover can be interesting or ASTOUNDING. Prepare yourself to be surprised, saddened, disappointed OR PERHAPS JOYOUS, but AT LEAST YOU ARE MORE informed and ‘complete’ in that you have attempted an incredible journey.

Keep an open eye, and an open mind as we start the series and take you through the steps over the next few months. Join other members in their search, or share tips and tricks you’ve been successful with in your searches. Read the stories of other ‘researchers’ and learn from them. Discussion times will be posted as they are confirmed. Happy hunting!!!

The first in this series is a discussion with “Into Africa” Jamaican author Yvonne Blackwood.

About the author

Diane "Sistah D" Brown