Library workshop traces family history

By From page A3 | February 10, 2013

FAIRFIELD — Cynthia McDaniels used to know little about her family history.

Tracing her genealogy was difficult, she said, because much African-American history was destroyed.

McDaniels started her quest to discover her family tree at the library, reading as much as she could about the subject. She attended numerous genealogy workshops and seminars and along the way stumbled upon some important discoveries.

She found that her grandma’s brother, her great-uncle, was a Buffalo Soldier who fought after the Civil War.

While trying to find out more about her great-grandfather, McDaniels ran into a roadblock: She knew that he died before his wife, but never knew how or when. McDaniels finally discovered two old newspaper articles about her great-grandpa. The articles said he had been shot and killed in 1918 and the shooter was later hanged.

McDaniels has since continued her pursuit of genealogical studies, except not only is she looking into her own history, she’s helping others as well.

“Just finding relatives and making connections . . . . It’s fun, it’s exciting,” she said.

She helped community members learn a little more about their own history Saturday during a free genealogical workshop at the Fairfield Civic Center Library. The library held the workshop in honor of Black History Month.

Dorlene Harris found something very interesting during the workshop – her grandfather’s birth certificate. He was born in 1884 in Louisiana.

Harris considers the discovery a stepping stone toward tracing the rest of her history. Her own parents did pass on the family history to Harris before they died, but she hopes she can find out as much as she can about her history to give to her children and grandchildren.

Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San covers Rio Vista, features and general news for the Daily Republic. She received her bachelors of art degree from the University of Oregon.

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