About

Dad, Grandpa and MeJosephine Burton Ford was my great grandmother. My search for her and the rest of my family history began when at age 12, I asked a simple question: “Grandpa, are you white?” My grandfather’s answer sent me on a lifelong journey to piece together our family story and reveal a not uncommon but often untold part of American history.

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14 responses to “About

  1. Andrea Ford

    Hey Aunt Dionne,

    I absolutly love reading your blogs. I love learning about my family history, and I don’t know much about my Ford side. I look forward to reading more.

    Andrea

  2. Alice

    This is such a great blog, and now to be a subscriber–it’s all pecan pie!

  3. Hi back, Dionne!

    I’ve officially subscribed — hooray! Beautiful blog. It was great meeting another genealogy blogger, and your research is fascinating. Looking forward to learning more.

    Liz

  4. Lisa Rosenberg

    Hi, Dionne–

    I am so amazed at how much you were able to discover about your family. Such a victory; it gives others hope for what we might find. Love your blog!

    Lisa (Zoe’s mom)

  5. cheryl stuart

    I am really enjoying your blog and have nominated you for the “Ancestor Approved Award.” The rules of this award are that you must list 10 things you have learned about your ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened you and then pass the award on to10 other genealogy bloggers who you believe would make their own ancestors proud.

    I write a blog called “Twice Upon A Time” as the ‘family historian”

    Cheryl Stuart (nee Lundy)

  6. My maternal grandmother was a Ford. Her name was Corrine Ford and she married my grandfather Ed Grider.
    The homestead in Hartford, AL, as well as was buried there too.

  7. Hello Cousin, I just read every one of your amazing blogs about our family. Cousin Monique found me yesterday and told me about you. I am daughter of Alfred B. Smith, son of Madame Tempy Smith. My father grew up on the family farm in Ocean Springs Mississippi. He said it was a custom for the oldest son to be raised by the grandparents. He told stories about his grandfather ‘Papau’ having a dairy farm, being an unofficial veterinarian, as he was famous for curing and healing farm animals–including repairing a horse’s broken leg. He said that they had several back, back, old barns that functioned like wings of an ‘animal hospital’ for various animals recovering from accidents and conditions. He spoke of land, sky, music, food, being Methodist. But, when I asked him if he would like to go back, he always said No! He would only vaguely speak of lynchings, not being allowed to walk on the sidewalk with White people or look them in the eye.
    I do remember that our grandmother Madame Tempy looked like a White woman. She was my first music/piano teacher. Her sister, my favorite Aunt Bertha was ‘passing’ and was married to a White man! We never met him. I accompanied my father driving Aunt Bertha, like a scene out of ‘driving miss daisy,’ from the City to our ancestral home in Rockaway Beach called the ‘Cherokee’ I remember asking the same question that you asked as a child: “Is our grandmother White?” Why do so many of our people look like White people? How can you tell if these White people are really Black people. In exasperation, my mother once explained that if they fell asleep after eating, then they were Black. But, Lord knows, that’s not the answer!
    After reading your entries and viewing the photos, I wished I had pressed my father to at least visit one more time ol’ Miss and New Orleans. I have never been down there! Maybe it’s time. I always wondered why did they leave so ‘suddenly’ and go ‘on the road’ with their classical musical salon?? OR–Was it a sudden move up North or was it planned? So many questions. Thank you, thank you for the great honor and dignity that you and Monique have given our amazing people. Thank you for placing colorful stones and flowers on our ancestors grave; also for publishing that letter of our great great grandmother searching for her family. Much love, Cousin Cookie (Sylvia Smith Isabel)

  8. Dionne, this is amazing! You have made so many fortunate connections because of your blog, and the hard work that you (and Monique) are putting into your research! I’m so happy for you, and hope you continue to be showered with genealogical blessings. (And I won’t be mad atcha if you want to send a few my way!) 🙂

    Renate

  9. What a wonderful blog! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey.

    Genealogy is a wonderful journey for me, also. I suppose that the only greater joy than learning, is sharing the discoveries with others.

    Absolute, profound bliss is when those who seek, find.

    Continued Success!

    Jones, My Opinion
    ~Barbie~

  10. I love your blog! Congratulations on your nomination!

  11. Jim

    Hi Dionne,
    I read Freedom’s Child when it first came out. It was on the new books shelf at the library. It seemed to jump off the shelf and say to me, “Read me!” It is a fascinating story and I’ve read it twice. A few years later, I moved to Montclair, NJ and from time to time, I’d remember the book and wonder where the house was that the Allen family lived in so I could take a picture of it, but I just never got around to going to the library to look up the address of where the Allens had lived in Montclair, because though the book said what the address was, I didn’t remember what it was.

    A while later, I had to move from this house where I had lived in Montclair, because the elderly woman who owned the house (and lived downstairs) was moving to a nursing home. I was sitting and talking with her and noticed an old Montclair High School yearbook and looked through it. There was a pretty girl in it named Dorothy Allen and I asked this woman about her. It was a girl she went to school with in the 30s, she said. She added that Dorothy’s granddaughter had been by one day asking to see the house, because her grandmother had written a book, Freedom’s Daughter or something like that. That is when I came to realize that not only had I already taken pictures of the former Allen home, but I had also been living in it for more than a year. After that I looked up Carrie Allen McCray’s number, where she was living in the south and called her. She was happy to hear from me. I also cleaned the attic out during the move and found some old Allen family correspondence and sent it to her.

    The reason I came to your site was that I was googling Carrie Allen McCray to see if I could contact her again, because there is a man in his 80s in Montclair who is trying to get in touch with people who remember the old days in Montclair, and after I told him about her, he was interested to know if I could contact her again. (But, as I’ve found, Ms. McCray passed away several years ago.)

  12. Aislinn Kennedy

    I just happened across your blog and noticed we have common family. We as a family my cousins and our parents have never really been told too much by our elders. It was as if our families origins was taboo and to remain secret. Me and one of my cousins just happened upon knowledge that madame Tempy Smith was our grandfather’s mother. All we know about him is his name is J.B Smith I don’t know whether his name is John or Joseph. If you could contact me I would appreciate it greatly.

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