The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)

{May 19, 2013}   The site has moved

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{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 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…

Jefferson and Annie Mae Yeldell

Jefferson and Annie Mae Yeldell

This was supposed to go into the first issue of New Beginnings our family e-newsletter.  It was a suggested article by our cousin Nicki to do a story about our grandparents.  I thought to myself this should be easy.  I have written so much about our family I was sure I could just use an old writing from my blog.  I searched and searched and low and behold there is not a story written specifically about them.  I never knew my grandparents personally, but the research has allowed me to chronicle their steps from birth through their death.

In December of 1913 Jefferson Davis Yeldell (age 19) married Annie Mae Senior (age 15) at Springfield Baptist Church in Edgefield SC.  If they knew then what we know now do you think it would have made a difference?  I would like to hope that it wouldn’t.  The story says they met at church.  They lived in the time of circuit preachers. What are circuit preachers?  Traveled from church to church to spread the word.  So it is said that granddaddy traveled to a different church each Sunday to receive the word of GOD.  One Sunday they went to Springfield and he met Annie.   Well I am not too sure that was the way they met.  Granddaddy lived in Greenwood while Grandma lived in the city of Edgefield.  They both however lived in the same county which was you guessed it Edgefield County, SC.  The county was split up in to townships.  Townships are made up of 36 sections each measuring one square mile. The 1910 Census states that both granddaddy and grandma lived in the same township called Blocker.  Given the area they did not live that far apart.  They could have met in the neighborhood or even went to the same school.  No matter where they met their union created a legacy that should never be forgotten.

When they married grandma was pregnant with their oldest son Thomas.  From 1914 to 1923 every 18 months to two years they had

Katie Adams Yeldell Death Certificate

Katie Yeldell’s death certificate

six children.  Out of those six, three of them were introduced to granddaddy’s mother Katie.  Katie died in 1919 from what is now known as Congestive Heart Failure but back then it was called Dropsy.  She was 52 years old when she left this earth.  So far my count of grandchildren for her before she died was eleven.   It is clear now why my aunt’s and uncle’s did not know her.  Granddaddy’s mother lived with his youngest brother Gary and his family lived next door according to the 1920 census.  Did you know that granddaddy and his younger brother both registered for WWI?  This was the first time I saw his signature.  So just

Jefferson Yeldell WWI Reg Card

Jefferson Yeldell WWI Registration Card

like us they lived around each other, worked together, went to school together, played together and just simply hung out.  The census says that Granddaddy lived in Richmond for a time.  My mother says that he traveled a lot for a year so I am guessing this was the time he did the traveling.  In spite of the travel they found time to get pregnant again. So in 1926 his address was 1711½ Venable Street, Richmond VA, while grandma was living in at 90 Mountain Street, Asheville, NC.  During this time Uncle Dave was born.

For whatever reason they did not stay in Asheville long and they moved to DC. I don’t know if grandma was pregnant with Uncle Rob when they moved to DC or not but he was the first of the second set of children to be born where we all call home.  She did another 18 months to Two year trick with the children and by 1939 the entire set was born.  Did you know that Aunt Josephine was a twin?  Some say the twin lived a little while and even had a name, while others say the baby was stillborn.  Well I have records from the “District of Columbia Deaths and Burials, 1840-1964” that states the baby was stillborn and she was not given a name.  After Aunt Josie and her twin but during the pregnancy with my mom (Aunt Juanita) the start of grandchildren had begun.  There were five grandchildren before my mom was born.  The grands were from Uncle John, Aunt Lula, Aunt Sis and Mama Nell.  Uncle John had a son, Aunt Lula had a son, Aunt Sis had a boy and a girl and Mama Nell had a set of twins.  Her twins died before my mother was born.  Then my mother was born and around the same time two of her daughters had three more children Morris a.k.a Maurice, James a.k.a Monkey and Edna.

thanksgiving with the yeldells

Thanksgiving with the Yeldells

By 1940 they had birthed all of their children and had 6 grandchildren three of those six were older than their aunt by one year.  Realizing this made me think of the Thanksgiving picture of our grandparents, their daughters, one son and their grandchildren.   If we ever wanted to date it we could.  Barbara Ann was the baby being held by the lady to the right in the picture and she was born in 1943.  Looking at the picture she could not have been more than one or two years old so this picture was taken in 1944 or 1945.

With all of these children they still found time to found a church.  In November of 1939 they decided to bring the church that we were told brought them together to Washington DC.  Yes they made their own Springfield right here.  They nurtured that church just like they did their children and 73 years later it is still in existence.  When my mother spoke at the honoring of her mom at the Springfield of DC she spoke about how great her mother was.   She was chairwoman of the Deaconess Board and Founder and President of the Women’s Auxiliary Club, Pastor’s Aid club, the Nursing Unit and the kitchen committee.  In 1950, our grandmother passed.  She left behind a loving husband 6 sons, 7 daughters and 18 grandchildren.  Granddaddy remarried before the year was out and continued to take care of his family the best he could. He kept the church afloat and in 1964 he was called home to be with the Lord.  Both of them were eulogized here in DC but their bodies were sent back to Edgefield and fittingly buried in the cemetery of the church where they began.

We can only guess at how they met or how long they courted before Jeff popped the question.  But had he not done that we would not be where we are today.  Right now they have over 400 hundred offspring.  For every beginning there is an end.  Because of the size of our family the end is nowhere in sight.

{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.

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…

et cetera