The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)

{April 29, 2013}   What do you do?

When I started this journey I did so with my eyes open.  I knew the things that I would find; like slavery, rape and possibly incest.  It is expected given the time period, the small town my family was from and the closeness of African Americans during the slavery time.  They were truly all that each other had.  I prepared my mind for everything.  Little did I know that although you take the precautions, you meet the slave owners but there is no amount of preparation that can be done when you find the incest.

Now I am not going to divulge which family this happened with, but knowing that all of the people that I have found are not further than 3rd cousins (dead or alive) it truly bothers me. I pose this question to fellow Genealogist.  WHAT DO YOU DO?  How do you react when you know the family members that this has happened with? What do you do when you know there are others that are researching that same group and they find this information and come to you for confirmation?  How do you answer those questions?

My nerves are bad but in the same instance conducting this type of research helps you to stop these types of instances from happening at least knowingly.  Being faced with all of these questions and more would deter some people.  I know that even if I wanted to stop here I couldn’t because my ancestors have more to say.  So to all of my fellow genealogist What do you do?  comments and opinions are truly wanted.

Until Next Time…


{April 24, 2013}   Mama Lula Has Spoken…

Okay so you all know that my great grandmother Mama Lula was a little tired of me working on my 2xgreat grandmother Martha Brooks.  I think she felt that she was more than patient given how long it took me to really grasp this genealogy thing.  She was subtle with her entrance by every now and then poking in my dreams and interrupting my thoughts on one family by placing in thoughts of her family.  Then she got down right mad when she just started throwing her family in the mix when I was looking for a totally different family.  It makes me wonder was she like this when she was alive.  So as you know from my post the Peterson family of Edgefield is humongous  but in spite of its size it still may be two sets.  So when researching them I have to be very careful.  The problem however is this; the same names that run in my Peterson family also runs in the other.  This makes it harder to tell the difference and it makes me think that maybe it is not two sets of Peterson’s.

Mama Lula had a nephew named Bishop Peterson.  Bishop was the son of Enoch Jr. Enoch Jr. is the one with 10 children by one woman and 10 children by another.  Mama Lula’s husband Papa Johnnie had a niece named Rosa Lee Senior and she was the daughter to his brother Moses Senior.  Bishop and Rosa Lee although cousins by marriage only could not fight the love they had for one another, got married and had 11 children together.  All of this happened in the early to mid 1900’s.  Now let’s fast forward to 2013.  My cousin Kyle had just read a post from me about the Homeplace Newsletter for the Edgefield African American Genealogical Society and he posted this comment:

“When I was 8 years old, I was in the Higher Achievement Program in DC, a gifted and talented program for DC public schools. One day, my dad comes to pick me up and this woman stops him and says “Hey aren’t you Uncle Moody’s son?” They start talking and the woman was picking up her granddaughter Ja’Nelle. We knew each other (she went to Randle Highlands ES and I went to Anne Beers ES). From that point on she was my cousin. She went to Banneker for HS, raised in SE and went to Xavier (LA) for college (even stayed at my house for weeks during Hurricane Katrina). When we asked her grandmother years later how we were related, she said verbatim “Well we’re cousins on one side…and married to each other on the other side.” I shared with her some of the findings after I saw the last names Peterson and Blocker (her grandmother’s maiden name is Peterson and Ja’Nelle’s last name is Blocker).  I think this PDF and other information would help bridge some gaps for her and for us.”

Kyle introduced Ja’Nelle and I via Facebook and she got me in touch with her grandmother Maxine Peterson Blocker.  When I spoke with Maxine she was able to provide me with her grandparents name…you guessed it Bishop and Rosa Lee Peterson.  When she talked to me she said the same thing she said to Kyle and Janelle that we were related by marriage and by blood.  But she didn’t know that happened because of her grandparents.  We proceeded to talk and I learned more about the Peterson side.  Because she lives in this area she also told me about other family members who live here.  One name I learned from another cousin name Brandi.  Brandi told me about Bishop’s daughter Lottie and stated that she lived in the DC area.  Maxine is going to introduce me to Lottie and Lottie has pictures!!!!!!!!  The other big deal about Lottie is she married another surname that I was told we were related too..that’s right Curtis Lottie is a Gilchrist.  I am so excited and can’t wait to meet both Cousin’s Lottie and Maxine.  Well Mama Lula has spoken and her voice has definitely been heard.  I am on the Peterson’s Mama Lula I hope I am making you proud.


Until Next Time…

{April 19, 2013}   14:2

Uncle brother 2I bet my title seems rather weird to you but the first number is the total number of children my grandparents had while the second is the number of children that are still living.  This week has brought about funerals, death and tragedy all around the world.  From the funeral of Margaret Thatcher to the terrorist bombings in Boston, America has seen its share of pain this week.  My family has also suffered a lost this week.  My Uncle Joseph Philip Yeldell affectionately called “Brother” to his siblings left us this week.  Known to his nieces and nephews as Uncle Brother he was an extraordinary man.  He picked up where his parents and other siblings left off in cementing the Yeldell name into the hearts and minds of native Washingtonians.  Where his father started in the early 40s by founding a church he picked up and continued for three to four more decades by making himself known in politics.

Like most families there are stories both good and bad but my personal story didn’t start with him until my research.  I went to see my uncle one day just out of the blue.  I was in his area and decided to stop thru just to see how he was doing.  When I knocked on the door he answered and I said “Hi Uncle Brother, I was in the neighborhood and something told me to stop by.”  he responded by saying “Hey Papoose! I don’t normally answer the door but something told me to do so.”  We laughed and he said “we must have been meant to see each other.”  I came in the house and proceeded to talk to him about my research.  He was the one person that I wasn’t sure of if he knew what I was doing.  I talked to him about what I had found about his parents and grandparents on both sides.  I even showed him our family tree.  He expressed to me how proud he was and encouraged me to keep going.  We talked a little while longer and I received some really great advice and then I left.

Now like most parents, aunts and uncles they are always proud of their children, nieces and nephews, but I didn’t know how proud he was until I learned how he would refer others to me when talking about the family history.  When his brother Robert died and a building was named after him my Uncle did a speech at the unveiling of the new name on the building.  He called my mom to get his numbers from me as to how large our family really was in 2007.  He stated in his speech that day how the Yeldell family was its own tribe.  He also referred me to Springfield’s own Trustee Charles Cooke. Charles wanted my Uncle to help with working on the history of Springfield and he told him, “I want you to contact my niece Donya.  She is the historian of the family and has all the information you need”  I was so honored to hear that he called me the family historian.  I was even more honored when he and my cousin Freddy spoke about actually sending me to his parents, my grandparents home of Edgefield, SC.  But nothing floored me more when he agreed to do the DNA swab to help me learn more about the family so that I could share our history.  Now although the trip didn’t happen through him nor the DNA it will however happen, and I will continue to research, learn and share the history of this great family.  I will continue to make My Uncle proud of me and I am truly glad I was able to know him and get the advice he shared with me.

Uncle Brother leaves behind his loving wife, his daughter, two sisters, his son-in-law, three granddaughters, one grandson and over 250 nieces and nephews.  In the bible John 14:2 says:  “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Now I know that my uncle is not Jesus Christ but I believe he is helping to make sure that things will be ready for his family when we get there.

Until next time…

this post was done two years ago. some of the information has been confirmed however the question are still the same. I look at this and smile at the progress that I have made and I am so glad to continue to move forward and learn more. Until next time…

The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)

I am putting questions along with necessary information you will need if you think you have come across a possible family member. We have several different names in our family.  For a long time we only knew for sure that outside of Yeldell’s there were Peterson, Senior and Ryan. Now we can add to our definite list Freeman. If you think you have come across a possible relative here are a few questions you can ask before you start the deep researching:

Where is your family from?
This is the best first question to ask in this family.  In my research I have learned that the family’s from the edgefield area (Edgefield county, McCormick, Aiken, Greenwood etc…) are more connected than they even know.

What are your grandparents name?
Most yeldell’s that I have come across do not know beyond this point in their family.  I don’t know why but Yeldell’s…

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{April 10, 2013}   That Feeling…


Every genealogist goes through something; I can’t call it by name what that something is.  But whatever “it” is I believe it is the driving force that keeps us wanting to learn more.  My something is my spirits.  My ancestors continue to make themselves known to me.  Most times it is my great and great great grandparents.  Yesterday, it was something totally different.  I have posted the picture above several times both on Facebook and throughout this blog. When you look at it you see what we all call Springfield Baptist church. You always hear me say join us, come fellowship with us.  But did you know that once you get there you are walking into the building next door not the traditional building you see first in the picture. Now don’t misunderstand, both buildings are Springfield Baptist.  The brown one however, is the more recent one built over thirty years ago while the more traditional looking church was the one they walked into in November 1941.

Between researching and creating the newsletter for the church a lot of memories were formed inside the first building. Memories of baptisms, careers were made in that building (renowned gospel singer Edna Gallmon Cooke), famous preachers and singers (C.L Franklin and his daughter Aretha) performed in that building, historical photographs were taken in and on the steps of that building.  So much more happened right there. When interviewing and researching I always said I have to go in there one day. It’s not like I couldn’t the first Springfield is now home to the Kingdom Kids Childcare Development Center. Yesterday I had to go inside to get some information from Sister MacFadden and as I entered the building I was immediately overwhelmed with a strange feeling.  It wasn’t a bad feeling but the kind that produced visible goosebumps on my arms.

While talking with Ms. MacFadden she saw something on my face that made her ask if I was okay.  I told her that I had never been in this particular building but I always wanted to come in.  And now that I am here I was getting this strange or weird feeling.  She asked.  “You are related to the man whose name is on the building?”  I responded, “Yes.”  She then said, “It is him.”  She proceeded to tell me that even parents who would walk in and would always state how they have a good feeling and vibe that they get while being inside the church.  I smiled at what she was saying but was still truly mesmerized by the feeling I was receiving.  I told her that it may be my grandmother because she always took care of the children of the church.  She saw the awe in my face and said, “It is good to know that they are watching over us.”

I am still filled with that feeling.  Realizing how my grandparents are not just watching over us but they are watching over the babies of Springfield Baptist Kingdom Kids Child Development Center.

springfield cornerstone

{April 8, 2013}   What’s up Next?

Fresh and new things has been happening in my life.  I am so excited to share.  First things first.  You may have noticed the website name has gone back to adding the with in.  That is because I have been able to create a new and improved website. is dedicated to my family and finding new family.  During my 17 years of researching I have learned that I am not the only one trying to find my family connection.  We have several different surnames and they are all looking.  So I want to make it easier for us to find each other and work together to get that connection.

The Yeldell family website is a gateway to give insight to those who are looking for their families with surnames similar to mine.  I thought that because the last name Yeldell was so unique we could find each other easily.  I was half way right. We could find each other but couldn’t find the connection.  The time has come to stop that trend and I believe this website is the bridge.

The other great thing about the site is once we have found the connection the goal is to never lose it again.  This site will allow us to forever be connected to those who are alive and those who have passed on.  We have a virtual cemetery through  This is set up to see the parents connections and see the siblings.  We will also be able to leave virtual flowers and notes on birthdays, anniversaries and special holidays like veteran’s day, memorial day, mother’s day and father’s day.

Finally as a Yeldell I already know that you are a great think and entrepreneur in the making.  As family we should help each other get to where we should be in the world.  So if you have a business and you want to advertise it for a very small fee you will be able to advertise on the web.  This advertisement will allow you to display your logo that can link to and outside source and give you a page  dedicated to you to talk about what you do.  You will also get a personal email address showing your family name.  If you don’t need an email address use it as a tracker to help you see just how much traffic comes to you from the site.   Check out the video of my family the DC Yeldells – Our Beginnings

Did you think I was finish not by a long shot.  I have been blessed to meet nine people with a common bond.  That bond is Edgefield SC. We are joining together to write our story.  How we are connected and our journey in finding our ancestors who eventually led us to each other.  We are excited to write this book.

And last but not least I sent in my first DNA sample.  I used my wonderful mother.  This is exciting because the family that I have found so far is not far apart and DNA sampling states the closer the relation the better the results.  So on February 27th I sent my mom’s DNA to 23 and me.  As of right now it is being tested.  So you see I wasn’t ignoring just so much has been happening.  Stay tuned and be blessed.

Until Next Time…

et cetera