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

Today was another day of genealogy research and phone calls. It all started with my cousin Julie calling me from another relative's house in Miami, Florida. Georgia Bell is the daughter of my mother's Uncle George Ryals , the brother of Maxie Ryals, my mother's father. This is a side of the family that my mother is familiar with but I am not. Georgia's daughter Brenda is about my age so we were able to work through some of the details. She told me about this other gentleman and his sister that live in Miami that she believed was the second family of Essex McRae. They believed that Essex had a second family where he worked and the family that we knew of where he lived. It was the first that I had heard of it so I was both surprised and a bit skeptical . I also knew from my research that there were quite a few black men in the area with the name Essex Ryals that were not related.

So I called John Ryals whose father's name was Essex and believed to be our Essex and John was believed to be apart of the second family.

John is 79 years old and a very nice man. We chatted for a bit and then we started talking about his father. There were very obvious differences between his father and my great great grandfather. First of all they were born 27 years apart, his father being born in 1889. The most obvious was his father's name was Samuel Essex Ryals, and eveyone called him Essex. The other obvious difference is that our Essex was a short man with dark complexion, and John's father was a tall man with a medium brown complexion and a stocky build.
Therefore these are two different men and my great great grandfather didn't actually have two families.

I was relieved to discover that he didn't have the two families at the same time, even though it has been known to happen.

John told me that he has a book that he bought some years back about the Ryals family and since he has two copies of this book, he will send me one. Even though he is not a blood relative, I intend to keep in touch with him He was definitely a pleasure to talk to.
It is also great that I was able to connect with Brenda, a cousin that I knew nothing about, and we are around the same age. Hopefully we will keep in touch as well. She is suppose to update me on her side of the family, the family of George Ryals. I am looking forward to that. There is still a great deal more work to do in just finding the descendants of Susie and Essex Ryals as well as Susie's parents Matilda and Moses McRae. There is still little known about Essex Ryals and his immediate family, even though I do have the names of his parents.
I will continue to push on with this.

We were always told that there was Cherokee blood in this line of the family, but we never knew where it started. In talking to Georgia Bell today she made it clear that her father always told her that his mother was Cherokee. We are pretty sure that she was not full blooded Cherokee, because we have pictures of her parents, but we don't know if it is from Mose or Matilda. I am leaning more toward Matilda because we were told by my Aunt Susie that Matilda's surname was Horn, but we have not found her with that last name, we discovered that when she married Mose at 22 years of age, her surname was McAllister. We also know that she had a brother named Andrew Horn, and Horn is a common surname for Native Americans. My cousin Jesse found a great deal of Horns that were Native American in the midwest but not yet in the southeast. However I am prone to believe that she was a Horn before she was a McAllister, because she was indeed born in slavery, and was deemed mulatto in the first census. Mulatto was merely used for someone of mixed lineage, not necessarily black mixed with white as many assume.
Other posts in this blog explains a bit about her brother Andrew Horn.

I am having a great time with these discoveries and I hope to learn more and more about my family as time goes on.

Until next time.


Natissia Adderley said...

Thanks for the post, Brenda is my aunt and I am looking into my family tree.

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