Making Notes

ABOUT

2021

Genealogical research started out as a curiosity for me when I first attempted to verify family stories. That curiosity has since led me into another vocation where I have transformed lives.  I now  lecture and publish articles about my genealogical findings to encourage others to tackle the difficult questions and to continue the search for the missing pieces of our families, of ourselves. We are all connected. 

 

As an author, I also write to give voice to the dead; the forgotten people whose sacrifices, deeds, and achievements were systematically overlooked and omitted from the American historical narrative. I provide research assistance to organizations that bring people together and use genealogy to promote thoughtful civic engagement throughout our communities; organizations that foster community discussions about critical social issues such race and racism and their impacts on society.

I am a member of the following lineage societies:

 

I support several genealogical societies including:

I am also a member of the Atlanta Writer's Club and a volunteer researcher with Bellefontaine Cemetary in St. Louis, Missouri.

My research over the years led to the exciting discovery of my favorite ancestor, my 4th great-grandfather known as "Old Hark" of Virginia, a well-known 19th century professional thoroughbred race horse trainer.​ Although he was a slave, Hark West was part of an elite cadre of antebellum celebrity turfmen who helped establish horse racing as America's first national mass spectator sport.  In 1854, Hark's most famous winner Lecomte, set a racing speed record at the historic Great State Post Stakes held at the Metairie Course in New Orleans, Louisiana. There he became the only trainer to ever defeat the famous champion Lexington. For doing so, Hark was recognized by the Governor of Louisiana, Paul Octave Hébert, at a prestigious statewide celebration in 1855. Hark also trained Prioress the first ever American-bred and American-owned race horse to win a race in England at Newmarket. Prioress, Lecomte and others were from the largest racing stable in America; Wellswood Plantation in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Wellswood was owned by Thomas Jeffferson Wells who hired Hark to manage all racing operations. Despite Hark's many early contributions to the sport, his achievements remain overlooked by the National Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga, New York and by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

In 2020 I was included in the first cohort to be awarded the new Paul Edward Sluby Sr. African American Scholarship from the Board of Certified Genealogists (BCG), a nonprofit professional credentialing body for genealogists. Most recently in 2021, I became one of the newest members of ProGen Study Groups, a resource for those studying to become certified genealogists.