THOSE WHO STAYED Arrives in Nassau June 10th: Pre-Order Your Copy Today

I’m excited to announce that we’re introducing Those Who Stayed in Nassau on Saturday, June 10 with a book signing at Logos Bookstore.

Having been a Logos customer for years, I’m beyond thrilled that my own book will now be part of their great Bahamian history section. Plus, I’m looking forward to meeting some of you Green Turtle Cay and Abaco descendants at the event and discussing our shared ancestry!

A tip for Little House by the Ferry readers — Logos is now accepting pre-orders for the book. Given the volume of inquiries we’ve had, and since I’m bringing a limited number of books with me, I’d recommend that you drop by the store as soon as you can and get your order in. 

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with Logos at (242) 394-7040 or info@logosbahamas.com. And of course, you can always contact me directly.

I’d be grateful if you’d forward this blog post to anyone you think might be interested in Those Who Stayed, or in attending the June 10 event at Logos.

Hope to see you there!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Best Online Genealogy Forum for Bahamians

If your family tree is rooted in Bahamian soil and you’re interested in tracing your ancestry, check out the Bahamas Genealogy Group (BGG).

The Best Online Genealogy Forum for Bahamians - The Bahamas Genealogy Group

(May 2, 1938) The wedding of Clarence Pedican to Lillian Saunders, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. (Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum.)

It’s a Yahoo group of 600+ members, all Bahamian or of Bahamian descent, and its purpose is to promote and preserve quality Bahamian genealogical and historical information. Continue reading

Bahamas DNA Project – Untangling My Family Roots

DNA vials 5

Some people’s family trees grow in neat, tidy branches. My ancestry is more like a twisted, rambling vine, or a set of tangled Christmas lights.

On the Bahamian side, my ancestors include Eleutheran Adventurers (English Puritans fleeing religious persecution in Bermuda, who settled on the Bahamian island now known as Eleuthera), British Loyalists who fled the U.S. and settled in Harbour Island and Abaco following the American Revolution, and at least one pirate.

Faced with a cholera outbreak, potato blight and political unrest, my Dad’s great-grandfather moved his family from Germany to Jamaica in 1834. My paternal grandmother’s heritage goes back to Curacao, Cuba and the Danish West Indies before bringing her to Jamaica where she met and married my grandfather.

Because of the relatively tiny communities in which many of my ancestors lived, I often find I’m related to the same person through different pathways. For example, I’ve discovered that three of my four maternal grandparents are direct descendants of Wyannie Malone, a Loyalist widow said to have settled Hope Town, Abaco in the late 1700s. Long story short, I’m the human equivalent of a Bahamian potcake.

Hard to believe that one of these tiny vials holds my complete genetic history.

Hard to believe that one of these tiny vials holds my complete genetic history!

One of the speakers at this year’s Island Roots Heritage Festival was Peter Roberts, administrator of the Bahamas DNA Project, a private, non-profit organization that connects people who share Bahamian ancestry and traces their origins in Africa, Europe, and North America.

DNA testing, Peter explained, can help determine whether others with your surname are related to you, and identify family connections that may not be traceable through other genealogical research methods. It can also scientifically verify traditional genealogical research, and locate relatives you never knew you had.

Peter also recounted some of the many success stories that have emerged from the Bahamas DNA Project. For example, DNA testing has shown that Bahamians with the surname Albury (i.e., my Mom) can trace their ancestry back to medieval European nobility. And though most assumed that the Bahamian Lowes (including my 2x great-grandmother, Jessie Lowe) were of British ancestry, testing shows that their roots are actually in Mexico, Portugal, Brazil and Tanzania, and their heritage can be traced back to pirates. Matthew Lowe, a well-known pirate in Bahamian history, was my 8x great-grandfather.

I’ve wanted to participate in the Bahamas DNA Project for a while, and after Peter’s presentation, I signed up on the spot. Submitting my DNA sample was easy. I just swabbed the inside of my cheek with a tiny brush (plus another one, for backup), sealed the brushes in the tiny vials provided in the test kit, and mailed off the samples.

Genetic Makeup

My genetic makeup, from FamilyTreeDNA.com

I ordered two tests: mtDNA and Family Finder. The mtDNA test traces maternal DNA passed from mothers to their children, male or female. It traces your maternal line (i.e., your mother’s mother’s mother, etc.), and is best suited for revealing deep ancestry. (Men with paternal ancestry in the Bahamas can also order a y-DNA test, which traces your father’s father’s father’s line.)

Family Finder helps to locate more recent genealogical matches (i.e., within the last 10 generations or so.) It’s an autosomal DNA test that compares your DNA with that of others who’ve been tested, and identifies people who share parts of your DNA.

After about eight weeks, I received an email with a link to my results. Here’s just some of what I learned:

214px-King_George_V_1911_color-crop

King George V

Genetically, I’m 86.6% Western European (specifically from the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland), 5.9% West African (from the Mandinka and/or Yoruba ethnic groups) and 7.4% Middle Eastern (Mozabite, Palestinian, Bedouin, Bedouin South, Druze, and/or Jewish ethnicities.)

I belong to Haplogroup T2, a subset of Haplogroup T. (A haplogroup is basically an ancestral clan, kind of like the Vikings or the Celts.) Haplogroup T is believed to have originated in Africa about 45,000 years ago. Over time, this group spread into northern Italy and eventually throughout Europe. About 10% of modern day Europeans, Palestinians, Turks and Syrians belong to Haplogroup T, which is found in particularly high concentrations around the Eastern Baltic Sea, Ireland and west of Britain.

220px-Jesse_james_portrait

Jesse James

Some better-known members of Haplogroup T (and therefore, people with whom I share maternal ancestry) include Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, American outlaw Jesse James, and Kings George the I, III and V of England.

As for more recent relatives, my DNA tests have revealed dozens of people world-wide with whom I share DNA — and therefore, at least one common ancestor. In some cases, the connections are quite far back in time and difficult to trace. But in many cases, the DNA test shows that the connection is fairly recent. I’ve been in touch with some of my newly discovered relatives and we’re comparing family trees and DNA results in an attempt to identify our common ancestors.

Though quite a few Bahamians of European descent have been tested since the Bahamas DNA Project began in 2004, the project is eager to have more Bahamians of African, Chinese, Greek, Lebanese and Native American ancestry participate.  Depending on what tests you choose to have done, prices range from $49 to $199 plus postage, though if cost is a concern, you can request sponsorship.

To participate in the Bahamas DNA Project, visit the project website, their Facebook page, or the Bahamas DNA Project Page on the Family Tree DNA website.

 

Save

Save

Save

Putting Names to Faces

A few years back, while visiting the Albert Lowe Museum in Green Turtle Cay, I shot pictures of some of the many photographs that line the museum walls. No special reason. I just love old photos from the cay.

Later, while editing the photos I’d taken, I came across the picture below. One face in particular — the girl in the back row, second from left — caught my eye. She looked a lot like childhood photos of my mother and I wondered if she might be a relative. One of my mom’s aunts, perhaps, or maybe even my grandmother. I asked around and emailed the image to various family members. Nobody could identify her.

Then, during our trip to Green Turtle Cay this past May, Mr. Floyd Lowe graciously offered me a copy of his recently written autobiography. Mr. Floyd owns the Green Turtle Cay Ferry Service and several other local businesses. He’s a charming and generous man who, at 94, is one of the cay’s true treasures. As he’s fond of joking, “Nobody can dispute what I say. I’m the oldest person on the island.”

Flipping through the family photos in Mr. Floyd’s book, I recognized one of the girls from that class picture. The book identified her as Mr. Floyd’s late wife, Mrs. Zeddith. I knew that Mr. Floyd, Mrs. Zeddith and my grandmother were all born in 1919 and therefore, were likely to have been in the same class at school.

The next morning, I went looking for Mr. Floyd. He confirmed that the girl I wondered about was indeed my grandmother, Lurey Curry. Word was, he confided with a mischievous smile, Lurey had a little crush on him back in school. Not only did he identify my grandmother, but Mr. Floyd put names to almost every face in the photo. (And Joy Lowe Jossi, one of my Bahamian genealogical heroes, kindly filled in the few remaining gaps.)

Taken in 1933, when my grandmother was about 14, this is the earliest photo we have of her. It will be proudly and prominently displayed at Fish Hooks.

BACK ROW (standing) L-R: Joyce Curry, Lurey Curry, Gerald Key, Zeddith Saunders, Neville Key (brother of Gerald),  Delores Saunders and teacher, Amy Roberts.   FRONT ROW (seated) L-R: Anthony Roberts, Jennie Roberts, Joyce Curry (there were two in the class),  Iris Roberts and Merlee Lowe.   Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum.

BACK ROW (standing) L-R: Joyce Curry, Lurey Curry, Gerald Key, Zeddith Saunders, Neville Key (brother of Gerald),
Delores Saunders and teacher, Amy Roberts.
FRONT ROW (seated) L-R: Anthony Roberts, Merriel Roberts, Joyce Pinder, Iris Roberts, Merlee Lowe.
Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum.

Related Posts:

Faces in Need of Names

Stitches in Time

Photo Exhibit Documents 40 Years of Cay History