The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)

{May 4, 2013}   The Results are In…..

On February 27th I sent in my mom’s DNA.  The allotted time given for processing was six to eight weeks but some received their results as early as two weeks.  This DNA testing was so important to me.  The last time anybody had gotten this far in my family was my Uncle John.  The story is he traced us to Haiti and we were direct descendants of Alexander Dumas.  He found all of this out before DNA testing even began.  DNA testing began in 1985; he died in 1961.  That is 24 years earlier! Can you imagine  the time that he had to spend on his research? Being a Black American during the 1940s and into the 50s while trying to conduct an in-depth research of his family the restrictions he probably came across were phenomenal.  Given the time period the information was definitely not as available to him as it was and is to me.

There were so many different stories; we were descendants of the Huguenots (; we were slaves of the Yeldell farm in SC (hence the name);  my 2x great-grandmother Martha although owned by the Brooks family was born a Yeldell.  All of these stories needed some type of answer and I just knew these results would help in some kind of way.  So to say that I was waiting impatiently was not even a partial description of how anxious I was.  The wait was as long as the wait for my son Marcus to make his debut into the world and Marcus had started my labor pains in February but was not born until May (but that is another story).  I had great support from my fellow genealogist telling me things like “stop watching the pot boil.”  Although that was great advice I never stopped watching the pot and finally it boiled.  I am going to do the breakdown of  the findings.  Now for family members who might be reading this it is a huge step in learning who we are and where we come from.  Here are the results:

Ancestry Composition

“The Ancestry Composition tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of 22 populations worldwide. The analysis includes DNA you received from all of your ancestors, on both sides of your family. The results reflect where your ancestors lived 500 years ago, before ocean-crossing ships and airplanes came on the scene.”  (direct quote from 23 and me website)

My mom is 87.3% sub-Saharan, 11.2% European, .4% East Asian & Native American and 1.2% unassigned.  When I originally and as I alluded to early on in this post I had hopes of finding out more about my 2x great-grandmother Martha Brooks.  I thought that I would finally prove one of my Uncle’s theories that we were from Haiti.  I figured that since the type of test that had been conducted on my mom’s saliva would be testing her DNA from all of her grandparents I would be able to get my answer.  Well I wasn’t wrong but I wasn’t right either.    Yes some of my mom’s DNA came from Martha but it would be by luck if it was from the strain that connected us to that island.  Also since the main test that gave where all the mother’s were from could only be tested from my mom’s maternal side this would exclude Martha altogether since Martha was the paternal grandmother.  So I learned pretty quickly that the mystery of Martha’s origin would not be discovered; at least not in this go around.  I also realized that Mama Lula was still not finish with what she wanted me to discover.  So, the information I did learn came from the mother’s of the Senior, Peterson, Williams women and beyond.

My mother’s Haplogroup is L3e1a2 this basically means the L3e1 branch of L3e likely traces to present-day Mozambique. We come from Bantu-speaking people from Central to South Africa.  When I looked up images of the Bantu tribes I came across one article that states calling these people Bantu is consider a racist comment. Why because

“the term “Bantu people” is used to describe the roughly 60 million Africans who speak languages in the Bantu language family. Given that there are approximately 400 of these closely related languages, it should come as no surprise that these people are incredibly diverse, and that societies and governments among Bantus can be radically different. Some people feel that the term may not be entirely appropriate, since it encompasses such a huge group of Africans; these individuals may prefer to identify individual communities instead. (found at

I also found that Shaka Zulu the  illegitimate son of a minor chieftain who sparked a revolution that changed the course of southern Africa’s history, and one of my mother’s favorite person’s in history, was also apart of this group of Africans.  The most important thing that I found was how the women had a striking resemblance to my great-grandmother Mama Lula.

Lula PetersonBantu Speaking people

In the picture to the left Mama Lula is holding a pipe.  My mom and her siblings spoke about her and the pipe.  In the image on the right these women as well smoked a pipe.  Could this be where this came from for her?  Did her mother Ann smoke a pipe as well?  Although the pipe was the first thing I noticed I also saw the bone structure of the women and my great grandmother.  She favored these women.  I strongly encourage you the reader to do more research on the Bantu name.



Another group I was interested in was .4% of East Asian & Native American.  As Blacks or African-American we all say or hear how somewhere down the line there is Indian in our family.  If you listen to Professor Henry Louis Gates he states “that 99.9% of African-Americans have 0% Native American in them. He also states that out of all the African-Americans he has had DNA tested .01% had any trace of Native American in their genetic makeup and that Native Americans would not mix with African-American.” well in my family’s case, although it doesn’t seem to be as much as I thought it would be, we are that .1% that do have it.   The ancestry composition breaks the .4% down even further by saying that .3% is of East Asian descent while the Native American is .1%.  Now you are asking, “Why do you think it should have been more?”  Well because my mother’s maternal grandfather, according to her and others, was full-blooded Cherokee.  Johnie Senior a.k.a. Papa Johnie had beautiful long hair that he always kept braided. Given the fact that half of my mom’s DNA came from her mother and half came from her dad I really thought this percentage would be a lot higher.  Now this is not to say that it won’t be higher in the next person that I test.  I just have to make sure the next person must be from the Senior side.  Let’s move on to the next area of the 23andme site.

DNA Relatives

This section of the 23 and me site is the best part.  Why?  Well here is where your DNA is entered into the database of hundreds of thousands of people to see if you are related via DNA.  I got my full results about two days ago and because of this feature I now have over 370 new cousins that I am trying to meet and talk with.  These cousins range from 1st cousins to distant cousin, but all relatives nonetheless.  When talking with some genealogist they say they don’t reach out to the distant cousins because of the long shot.  But if I want to find out more about my family especially the family that started this journey (the Yeldell’s) I don’t think I have a choice.  Out of all of those 370+ people there were only three Yeldell’s  and I already knew two of them.

My summary

The DNA testing did not answer the questions I originally had instead it let me know that it needed more information. I am not discouraged nor am I upset at what I have found so far.  I mean to know that my people come from the same group of people as the Great Shaka Zulu is amazing!  And I was able to find one additional Yeldell.  My job now is to get others to get tested.  I know that I have to grab as many elders as I can.  Pay for their kits if need be and get them sent in.  I am also asking for those who think we are related to get tested.  This is the only way that we will have some inkling of knowing if we are related.

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 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…

{January 10, 2013}   Two Cities, One Church

Does your church have a unique name? What I mean is can you go outside of your state and find the name of your church somewhere else?  More than likely you can.  Did it ever make you wonder if those two churches were connected? I never would have thought like that had I not researched my family.  There are two Springfield Baptist Church in two different states that are connected.  One is located in Edgefield SC and the other in Washington DC. Both happen to play a huge part in my life.  These two churches didn’t even know they were connected until I started to research my family.  Who am I, my name is Donya Williams and my ties to both Springfield’s run deep may be even to both of their beginnings.


Springfield of DC

When I first started my research I already knew my connection with the Springfield of DC.  It was organized in 1939 by my grandparents and three other people. The first church was a store front on 7th street NW in Washington DC.  Although the suggestion of the first pastor came from a friend my grandfather was the one who acquired him, the Late Reverend Eddie Gallmon.  From the beginning granddaddy was the go to man.  His name is on the cornerstone as Chairman of the Deacon Board, I have documents that had to have his signature and from stories I have been told they went to him for everything.  Finally there was my grandmother. I am sure she held her own when it came to the founding of the DC Springfield but the most important part was naming the church after the same church she attended as a child. You guessed it The Springfield of Edgefield. My grandparents involvement was so instrumental that one person said the Yeldell’s were the glue that held the church together. In Edgefield SC the history of Springfield was not that different.  With the exception of how long both have been around their story is very close to identical.

The Springfield of Edgefield was organized in 1870.  The history tells us that the first pastor and four other men brought it to light in a blacksmith shop on the Major Bowles Property.  Natonne Kemp a friend, family member by marriage and fellow genealogist was able to dig up the deed and get the name of the men.  Joshua Peterson, who we are not sure if he is both of our relative, Andrew Harrison, Pickens Rearden, Miles Holloway and Nelson Shepard were all involved with the organization and founding of that church.  With the exception of Pickens Rearden I know that Harrison, Holloway and Shepard are all connected to my family.  Like my grandfather in DC they were deacons of the church in Edgefield.  Both churches are still in existence.  The Springfield of DC just celebrated 73 years while Springfield of Edgefield has been around for 142 years.

I met my cousin from Edgefield in September 2012 and he sent my mom two pictures. One picture was of the original Springfield that was built in 1870.  The other was of what the Springfield of Edgefield looks like today.


1870 Springfield of Edgefield

When I viewed the older picture several thoughts popped through my head.  For example, the Springfield of Edgefield history teaches us that the second Pastor W.M Peterson was and still is their longest-serving pastor.  He served for 65 years.  Knowing this information and looking at that picture the doors are the same doors my grandparents walked through.  They met there, fell in love there, got married there.  They started their first six children spiritual walk there.  I realized my great-grandmother was three years old when this church was brought into existence.  She grew up there and probably met my great-grandfather there and definitely married there possibly by the same pastor who married her daughter.  That picture captured my mind and my heart.  I am so glad to be doing what I am doing to learn about my family and the spiritual connection that spans within two cities.  Nothing is more exciting to find my family responsible for founding not one but TWO churches!



{January 2, 2013}   NEW BEGINNINGS

When I look through my looking glass and I think about the year 2012, I would say that it was the worse year of my life.  I have family members that I don’t talk to anymore and a friend who I miss with every beat of my heart.  I have entered into new frontiers with my children with no way of understanding how to deal with it.  I was mad at the fact that just when I was getting in a groove with my babies they grew up and were no longer babies.  My daughter is working and talking about moving out while my oldest son is old enough to go to a New Year’s eve party.  Did he go?  Well no, but I didn’t realize he was old enough until he asked.  Then there is Demetrius who feels he is oldest enough for rated M games and Cameron who wants to know why he can’t play them now because its not like he doesn’t understand most of what goes on in the games.  I have also been unemployed for two years and could not have been any poorer than what I am.

However through that same looking glass I saw my blessings.  Those family members I don’t talk to I have come to a type of peace that as long as they know that I love them I won’t be hurt if we didn’t speak again, that friend and I are trying to find a common ground even though we have feelings that work even harder to stop us from agreeing.  My daughter and I have come to an agreement to help her get her own while I made it a point to apologize to my son for not realizing that it was something that he was able to do.  As for Demetrius and Cameron the lord has to work on me, with me and through me when it comes to them. I realized that although I am unemployed my landlord has worked with me and helped me in ways that you would never expect a person with no ties with you would.  I eat every single day somehow bills are paid.  I never had the fear of losing the roof over our head while I am unemployed.  I joined my church and I added over 20 new members not even known to us to the family tree.  I found and met family members outside of my grand parents children and on the last day of the year I talked with a side of the family that I was starting to believe had died out and would never get a chance to truly learn about.    If I didn’t know… I know right now that I am truly “Blessed and Highly favored”.

Some wanted us to believe the end of the earth would be December 21st, but it wasn’t the end but a new beginning.  The Mayan calendar wasn’t predicting the end but the start of new…a beginning.  A beginning to acknowledge what I have, an opportunity to try new things, an opening to meet new people.  It has broaden my thought process which in turn given me a new outlook on life.  My journey in finding my family, or should I say more of my family, has become more than a hobby to me.  It is now apart of my life that will not end for me.  It started out with me searching for my grandfather’s family and now I have both my grandparents family. We are not just Yeldell’s anymore.  I mean don’t get me wrong we were never just Yeldell’s.  There were always other surnames, but the difference is we were all descendants from one man and one woman.  But now everyone isn’t from them they are from their parents. We are Freeman’s and Harrison’s and Peterson’s and Seniors.  We are bigger and stronger and we need a new name.  Because I am doing this I feel responsible for letting them know that all are welcome.  We are a new Beginning.

My family has had somewhat of a famous status.  It isn’t as glorified as actors or musicians but in most instances you can’t mention the name Yeldell (especially to older or longtime residents of DC) and someone not know or recognize the name.  And just like with some celebrities where their name can help them or hurt them, in the DC area the Yeldell name can do the same.  From my grandparents founding and keeping a church stabilized that still exist 73 years later to my Uncle being chosen by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve on the first DC Council the Yeldell name is considered well known.

As a Black American you know that somehow you were affected by slavery, someone somewhere down the line was owned.  In being owned your identity was stripped immediately.  You took the last name of your master; you followed the rules of your master and did whatever he wanted you to do.  My great great grandmother on the Yeldell side was a breeder so she had babies to make more slaves like a cow has a calf to generate more milk.  We also know that the women were raped.  Sometimes they were raped because that owner simply wanted the black woman, but mainly it was to make her husband or man to feel inferior and show that he cannot protect his family.  Knowing that your ancestors were raped reminds you of the possibility of them getting pregnant by their owner.  So as much as some are unable to deal with it the possibility of being related to the person that owned your ancestor can be a hard pill to swallow.  Not only is your identity taken away from you but you now have or share the same bloodline.  The one thing slavery didn’t take away (even if it was tried) was the blueprint of who you are.  In fact it added to it.  The make-up of you comes from all of your ancestors whether you like them or not.  So as I do my research and I look at who I come from and who I might come from I am able to look at the similarities as well.

So far I have added about 8 new surnames to my already big list.    Those names are Freeman, Talbert, Peterson, Adams, Sheppard, Williams (on my grandmother’s father side) Holloway and Brooks.  Brooks, Peterson and Yeldell are the names in my family that people tend to always be familiar with.  Peterson’s in the Edgefield area are huge.  My 2xgreat grandfather was a big man in Edgefield. I am guessing because of his farming.  He was so big that in 1909 he was mentioned in the paper.  Enoch Peterson was a Negro agriculturist in Edgefield SC.  He was mentioned in an Aiken County paper because he died from a disease called Pellegra.  Pellegra, which was a disease caused by vitamin deficiency, was a new illness and people were afraid it was contagious.  Although the papers biggest reason to post about him was to let the people know he was not from that area the fact that an aged negro man was mentioned at all was a huge deal.  During that time black men didn’t have obituaries and this was the closest a black person would get to having one.  To top it off at the top of the article it was stated special to the state.  Because of this article I was able to learn the date of death and the year my 2x Great granddaddy died.

Enoch Peterson Obituary

Then there are the Yeldell’s.  I already mentioned about my grandfather and uncle, but what about where the surname came from.  The white Yeldell’s in Edgefield were very influential people.  They had a farm and trained their slaves with high paying trades like carpentry and blacksmith.  They were instrumental in government in South Carolina and it seems so far they were not that keen on slavery.  As life went on they seem to be a part of the first to move on with it.

Now we get to the Brooks family who were the owners of my family.  So ok you already know where my dilemma is if you follow me up here.  Our last name is Yeldell but my 2xgreat grandmother was Brooks.  My research lets me know that she changed the names of my great grandfather and his siblings from Brooks to Yeldell by the time of the 1880 census.  I know that at one point she was married but I have no idea who she was married to nor do I know where or why the name changed.  Because of this I have a question of where my bloodline is.  Now there is DNA but number one I don’t have the money to do it and number two in order to find that out for that side I need a man to do it.  I am working on my male cousins and uncle but so far no luck.  So in the meantime I am looking to see if I see myself or my family in my Ancestors.  I started looking at my ancestors and paid attention to what they did and what my family is doing.

Did this help? Well no.  Yeldell’s and Brooks were both politically involved families.  Very outspoken, definitely feisty and when they believe in something it is supported one hundred percent.  Yeldell men, both white & black from what I hear treat women like they are supposed to be treated, are very handsome and extremely intelligent.  When talking with other Yeldell’s or viewing pictures no matter what race I hear and see my family.  I know going this route is not concrete but it is fun to do and I think will make that final discovery through DNA that much sweeter.

Until Next time…

One thing I can say about my research is that I am not alone.  I have found so many Yeldells that have the same story as mine.   Sure other people have problems during their research but they can connect their families.  I have run across hundreds of Robert Yeldells and not find a connection with any of my Roberts.  The one thing that is for certain with all Yeldells is the same surnames that are in my yeldell family are in other Yeldell families and we can’t even connect them.

Tomorrow I go to my first meeting with people who have families from the Edgefield County area.  You have no idea how excited I am.  These genealogist have been researching for years and I look forward to learning from them.  I am also excited because I will be meeting two of my relatives for the first time.  Both who are related to me through my grandmother’s side of the family.  I will give details later

Until next time…

{October 2, 2012}   the Haitian Claim Fact or Myth

It has been said by my Aunts and Uncles that their brother John Carlton Yeldell was the first person in our family to do research on our family.  Other than myself there are three more family members that I know of who have done individual research of their own.  None of us (to my knowledge) has gotten to where we have been told Uncle John did.  According to Uncle John we come from Haiti and we are direct descendants of the famous author Alexandre Dumas.  For those that don’t know he wrote the Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo.  So of course my goal is to prove the claims that

  1. we are of Haitian descendent
  2. we are related to Alexander Dumas.

How did my uncle come to these conclusions?  Now a days it is somewhat easy to find these things out.  I mean with places like, and DNA testing a few hundred dollars can help you find your very first ancestor.  But my uncle died in 1961 so being able to find out something like that in that time period had to be difficult probably even close to impossible.  I mean it took me about 20 years to get what I have.  Well in my research I have come close to how we may actually be of Haitian descendant.  John Brooks the great grandfather to Preston Brooks is said to have traveled from England and in his travels he stopped in Haiti to pick up supplies.  He then made his way into Virginia and finally settling in Edgefield SC.

It seems the slaves he had were passed down.  Sure some of them were sold off but they were famous for keeping some in the family.  My great great grandmother Martha Brooks for example had been with them as a little girl.  I know this because I have the will of Whitfield Brooks (grandson to John) and the will of Preston (Whitfield’s son).  Martha was handed down to Preston when Whitfield died and was sold to a family member named Lemuel when Preston died.  Was Martha parents bought as supplies from Haiti this is apart of goals and what is next for me to learn.

I know that I will never be able to learn the names of my twice great grandmother but to learn her origin and where she came from would be amazing.  Wish me luck as I gather this money and pray this DNA testing can help me solve this mystery.

Until Next Time…

The below post was written when I found out I would have articles published I am placing it now because I wanted it to be apart of my blog.  the title has the original date this was written and posted in facebook.  Until next time…


My research on the Yeldell family has taken me through so many things.  It is oh so exciting to learn about our ancestors.  I know that I said I would not share anymore unless asked but this is something that honors our grandparents, our aunts, our uncles, moms and dads.  The story goes like this:

I was watching the Today show and they were honoring people over the age of 100.  The name Mamie Rearden popped up.  She turned 113 years old on September 7, 2011.  She is from Edgefield, South Carolina and attends Springfield Baptist Church.  When I saw and heard that I lost it.  I stated how great it would be for me to get to talk with her.  She was born the same year (1898) as our grandmother the late Annie Mae Senior Yeldell.  I knew that if I could speak with her she could give me so much information on our family.  So I went to the internet and started to read about her.  I got names of her children and learned that she is of sound mind.  So I thought some more and decided to contact the African American genealogist library to see if there is any way I could speak with her.


Tonya Browder who is the head of the African American genealogist research library and my contact for all things Edgefield gave me the number to a reporter with an Edgefield paper.  She told me that if anyone could get me an interview with Mrs. Rearden it would be her.  So I contacted this reporter.  I explained to her who I was and what I would like to do.  I talked about how our grandparents were born there and migrated to DC as well as spoke about how they attended the same church as Mrs. Rearden while living in Edgefield.  I told her once they settled in the DC area they founded their own Springfield Baptist.  This woman thought that was a wonderful story and is placing an article about our grandparents and their children in the Edgefield Advertiser.  She wants pictures of the Grandma and Granddad, a picture of Springfield Baptist church in dc, a picture of the cornerstone with granddaddy’s name and the names of their children.  My mouth dropped to the ground.


She will be writing this article and placing it in the paper the first week of February for Black History month.  She told me that she would send me a copy once it is done I thought about waiting but I decided to share this with all of you now.  The article will be written by Suzanne Derrick editor and owner of the paper.  I have sent her all of the info that I have found on our family so far and will be in contact with her until the article is written.  If you have any input (pictures, little known facts etc.) outside of what I already know please pass it on to me so that I can forward it to her.  Oh yea and she is going to get me the interview with Ms. Rearden.

et cetera