Lowcountry Africana – A Go-To History and Genealogy Site

Lowcountry Africana - Resources on African American Genealogy in SC, FL, GAOne of my favorite websites is Lowcountry Africana. The site, run by the amazing Toni Carrier, is dedicated to sharing resources for exploring the genealogy of people from the U.S. Lowcountry of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Their resources include primary source plantation records from that area. In these records, people may find references to their enslaved ancestors’ names and occupations; they may find family listings; and they may find notes about where their ancestors came from or went to.

Lowcountry Africana also has a rich research library , where individuals can find guides on how to begin doing their family genealogy, tips on doing this research, and links to the Freedman’s Bureau records and other archival collections that can be particular useful for researching African American people.

Plus, the site runs its own blog, as well as blogs about research in SC, GA, and FL, all of which are worth looking to for up-to-date research information and stories.

The way I keep up with ALL of the great things that the folks at Lowcountry Africana are doing is to follow their Facebook page.  It’s chock full of links to their own research, resources from other researchers, and fascinating and important stories that are not always shared elsewhere.

If you’re looking to do research in GA, FL, or SC, you won’t want to overlook the resources at Lowcountry Africana.

Grandma Lula’s Story – Phyllis Lawson’s Quilt of Souls

Phyllis Lawson's Quilt of SoulsI met Phyllis Lawson online, as is the way with this world-wide web of ours, a few months ago, and I loved her instantly for two reasons: she was passionate about her family history, and she was equally passionate about sharing that history.

And for good reasons, Phyllis’s book, Quilt of Souls is one of the best family memoirs I’ve ever read. It is beautifully-written and unflinchingly honest without being in the least bit bitter or cruel.

Phyllis says,:

Quilt of Souls is a book the world needs to have. It is more than my personal memoir; it is a historical unveiling of hushed bloodlines and stories of a time and place that got swept under the carpet- powerful, intense, poignant stories that need to be heard.

At the age of four years old, I was plucked off my front porch, from the only family I knew, and delivered sixteen hours away to land on the doorstep of Grandmother Lula, who I never met before. I was abandoned by my mother, pure and simple. I needed a miracle and that miracle took the form of an old tattered quilt (a family heirloom) that my grandmother made out of the clothing of long lost loved ones who died in the face of extreme bigotry, racism and ugliness that was pervasive to that time.

Lula Horn (1883-1986), through oral tradition, and through the weaving of ripped up pieces of clothes transformed into quilts, told me the tragic stories of my ancestor’s lives and deaths. Each piece of cloth woven into the quilt had the blood, sweat and tears of Black people living and dying at the hands of unconscionable injustices. The weaving of their clothing into a quilt mended each broken life back together with each pull of the thread.

I highly recommend you pick up Phyllis’s book, Quilt of Souls, and get out the tissues. It’ll break your heart and then stitch it back up again, like a quilt sewn with all of Grandmama Lula’s love.