Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"The Phone Call That Made My Day"

Bernice Alexander Bennett

Yesterday wasn’t any different than any other day until I answered the phone last night. The call was from a cousin who explained that she needed assistance for her 12 year old granddaughter who had a history class assignment to trace one line of her family lineage back 10 generations.

My cousin was prepared to help draw a family tree and was told by her granddaughter that she needed to do it herself, and only wanted the information.

The wise grandmother (my cousin) remembered that I was a genealogist! Hooray! I have an opportunity to share my research with a willing recipient. So, the first question – what is the name of Lil Mama’s mother. Now, Lil Mama is my cousin’s great grandmother and the sister of my great grandmother. Well, I was on a roll. I first told her the name of Lil Mama’s mother’s name – Rebecca Youngblood Clark. Next question, who is Rebecca’s mother? Her name is Minerva Smith Youngblood. I have marriage records for both Rebecca and her mother Minerva. I went to the St. Helena Parish courthouse and copied both records.

My cousin and I were already excited about our maternal DNA match of L4b, and now it was easy for her to explain to the granddaughter that we were all direct descendants of Minerva and Rebecca Youngblood.

Do you know when they were born? Yes, according to the 1870 census Rebecca Youngblood Clark was born in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana about 1866, and her mother Minerva Smith Youngblood was born about 1835 also in Louisiana. Do you know when they died? Minerva died around 1878 according to 1882 succession documents I found in the Livingston Parish Courthouse for Minerva’s husband - Thomas Youngblood.

Wow! My cousin listened attentively and then I said something that triggered recognition in the naming patterns. For example, Lil Mama’s first daughter is also named Minerva and my grandmother Rebecca was named after her grandmother Rebecca Youngblood. Lil Mama was named after her father’s sister Hester.

Next question, where is your evidence to support what you have just told me? Wow, she is asking and apologizing at the same time. She said, "sorry to be so pushy"! Don’t be sorry, I love it! With excitement - ok, I have the evidence. First of all, I have marriage records, newspaper articles, death certificates, and succession records, Homestead application, census records and obituaries. I even have the original 1955 hand written obituary that Lil Mama wrote when her sister Isabella(my great grandmother) died.

She wanted to know if I had a picture of Rebecca Youngblood Clark and unfortunate, I remember seeing the photo because Lil Mama would showed it to me every time I visited her home. She said that she looked so much like her mother. I have no idea what happened to that photo. I do have a photo of Peter Clark – Lil Mama’s father. I even wrote a story about Peter – the Black Louisiana Homesteader.

So, I sent a few documents and then she wrote back – thanks so very much! You don’t know how helpful you have been to my granddaughter and me.

Thanks for asking! “I will take a phone call like that any day”!

This is a photo of the completed assignment!


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