My Family Affair

Keitt|Sapp|Shumake|McRae|McMillian|Clark|Ryal - All from Georgia

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“Over the course of the millennia, all these ancestors in your tree, generation upon generation, have come down to this moment in time—to give birth to you. There has never been, nor will ever be, another like you. You have been given a tremendous responsibility. You carry the hopes and dreams of all those who have gone before. Hopes and dreams for a better world. What will you do with your time on this Earth? How will you contribute to the ongoing story of humankind?” ~ Laurence Overmire

A few days I was talking to my younger cousin Antonio, who is only 20 years old and is really into genealogy and that is amazing to me. I didn't become interested until I was well into motherhood and in my late 30's. This was about the time that I realized that I wanted my daughter to know where she came from, what she is made of, and also understand the meaning of family. Antonio got this much earlier than I did, and boy am I grateful. He has been instrumental in my research, and yes we met through

A few days ago the information that I received from Antonio caused my family tree to do something that it had never done before now, it started to wrap around. There were a great deal of interconnections here. This is mainly because my maternal grandparents are from the same general area in Georgia. This was a pretty rural area, and it just shows how neighbors married neighbors. People always make a joke that since in the late 1800's and early 1900's that most people married only as far away as they could walk. It seems like a joke but actually it is quite true. Therefore at some point this family tree starts to wrap back around to those that are already listed in the tree.

One thing I discovered about my relations with Antonio, at least at this point, that he is not my cousin by blood, but his grandmother married my maternal grandmother's nephew, and they had one son together and later separated, but every child his grandmother gave birth to after this separation, including Antonio's mother, still carried his name, because she had taken his name in marriage, therefore they took the mother's present surname.
In Antonio's search through the Georgia Archives, he came across my great grandmother's death certificate and he later informed me and of course I went in search of this death certificate. Her name was Marth Clark McMillian. One thing I discovered is her cause of death, which was something called Nephritis, which is inflammation of the kidneys. This condition is often associated with Lupus, which is then incurable, but when it is not associated with Lupus, it is often treated with antibiotics and/or steroids. What else is quite interesting is that her granddaughter Dessie died from this same disease at the age of 13.
We all know that healthcare was not readily available to Blacks in the early 1900's, but it does make we wonder if this was actually associated with Lupus in these two instances, and if so, how many other family members died from the same, or contracted lupus.


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