Ever gone digging in your family history? Here's what can happen after a family reunion lands a fresh start on a dead end.
I was lucky enough to know my Grandma Mary. Born in 1888, she lived to be 104 and was from North Carolina. Growing up in the Tarheel state, I can still remember the state history projects and feeling proud that I had a grandma from Nahunta, NC. Her mom was Mary Argent Mozingo, the woman seated on the left in this picture.
One thing you learn about searching your family history is that you'll often find a dead end. When I started asking questions about the glaring dead end in our North Carolina Mozingo line, I was easily satisfied in our family's well-acknowledged fact that no more information could be found.
Twenty years later and a few determined cousins, AND the explosion of historical records now accessible via Internet -- We have a clue!
Joe Mozingo, "a blue-eyed, surfing son of a dentist", of the LA Times reports,
"I started poking around on the Internet. An entry in a genealogy forum noted that the earliest known Mozingo was Edward, a "Negro man" freed by the Jamestown court in 1672 after nearly three decades of indentured servitude."
Joe discovered that more than 90 percent of all Mozingos in America can be traced to this man, Edward Mozingo, who is presumed to have come the west African Kingdom of Kongo, the most Westernized region of the time. Experts suspect Edward was a nobleman or warrior, caught in some political intrigue and sold off to America.
My "cousin," Joe Mozingo, shares three lengthy articles as he documents his journey to find out more about his heritage. He visits Virginia, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina and Kentucky for starters.
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As you may guess, for current Mozingo-ans, news of your family origins can be a burden or a blessing. Mr. Mozingo does a great job identifying the challenges of a "pariah people," some of whom were too dark-skinned to be considered white and some too fair-skinned to be considered black. Add in a stack of conflicting census and tax records and you'll see why time has not made this discovery any easier to understand. Fair warning: If you, too, are part of the Mozingo line and want to read Mr. Joe Mozingo's Article 1, 2 or 3, we've got a lot of feisty cousins who are quoted, racial slurs and all.
We're still working on tying our relative to the Edward Mozingo line. If you figure 14-15 generations have passed in the 340 years since Edward's arrival, chances are I'm an entire 1/16,384th Bantu Warrior.
The once-mysterious dead end now has a glimmer of light . It's not much, but I'll take it!
What have you found in your family history?