It still surprises me when I tell people I have a huge family on both sides of the spectrum.

12+ aunts and uncles on both sides.

My first cousins were my siblings.

My second cousins…well, leave it to them I was Angelica in disguise.

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BUT THEY SURVIVED…through all of the crunchings of popcorn, playing school on 1st street and diving so deep into the pool at the old (leave it to my mom, new) Dunbar High School and dreaming of winning the trophies in the trophy case around 8ft.

My family is and always will be my heart. But that is not why we are here.

Let’s chat about Ancestry.

14364858_10205734337877959_2873814127012007862_nJosephine Carter Howard

I’ve dreamt about my maternal grandmother once a week for as long as I can remember – although I’ve never met her. She died in 1977 while my mother was away at school.

I only have the memories of what people have told me – she was smart, stubborn as a bull (Taurus like me), but loved her family and wasn’t going to let anyone disturb that.

Funny enough, I have all of those traits:

Stubborn

grandma keisha frown

Smart

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Loves family

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I’ve always wondered about the mystery of my grandmother – and this is the year I work to solve it.

My 30th year will be spent in part digging up as much as I can about my maternal grandmother, interviewing her children (Hey Ma!), and tracking my ancestry and family tree with different Ancestry and DNA kits and technology.

Did you catch the reference? Inspired by Alice Walker’s 1975 essay “Looking for Zora“, I knew that it was time to help lay my grandmother to rest – peacefully.

Like Zora, she was outspoken in her community, marched to the beat of her own drum, was a bit of a mystery.

I hope that by embarking on this mission, I learn more about the woman she was and the impact of her legacy on all the people that she touched.

Join me as I embark on the journey of #InSearchOfJosephine.

Have you done any Ancestry DNA testing? How easy were the results to understand? Any tips for me? Sound off!