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

Kissy Swain -from Africa - Born 1781

Posted by Tonya Keitt Kalule

For many years my family only knew our ancestors back to the late 1870s - early 1900s with Martha Clark and William McMillian, but now I have traced back 90 years more to Kizzie Swain born in 1781 in Africa. Yes that is what I said Africa.

 Martha's mother was also named Kizzie Swain, so this is Martha's great-grandmother, Kissy from Africa. At this point I don't have any idea when Kissy came from Africa or how old she was or even where she landed, but I do know that she was 99 years old in the 1880 census with her son Peter Swain, Martha Clarks' grandfather. I believe that Kissy may have had other children, but for now I only see her in the 1880 census with her son Peter and his family.

 However, When I look at the voter registration log book of 12 August 1867, Peter at the age of 45 registered to vote and the three names listed behind his were Henry Swain, John Swain, and Philip Swain. This leads me to believe that they all went together for this monumental and momentous event of Registering to Vote. This was the first year the black man was allowed to vote.

In the 1870 Presidential election,Ulysses S. Grant was elected President thanks to 700,000 black voters. It was also in February 1870 that the 15th Amendment was ratified to protect the black's right to vote. I am proud that these men my Ancestors, stood together for change, stood together against so much opposition for their constitutional right to vote.

 Peter also had two sons named John and Phillip which would have been too young to vote at that time, so this makes me believe that these could be his brothers. It would also make sense to take men and not children to face the dangers of this task.

 I am presently going page by page of the 1870 census to find any on Peter Swain and his family. but as you know, that is a process. It is in the 1900 Census where Peter states that his mother was from Africa, by this time Kissy had already passed.

 Now I will have to try to find when she came over to the US and where she came from. I am hoping the DNA will help me with some of this.

 Probably finding her slave master, would be the first step.

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