Reactions to PBS Docu-series Black in Latin America

In a Q & A piece about the PBS documentary “Black in Latin America” Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explains that it was more difficult to drum up interest and support in developing this series than he had encountered in previous partnerships with PBS. No matter what one’s personal evaluation of the quality of the series or opinions about the man who spearheaded it, I think we should be extremely grateful that the topic has received a bigger spotlight than it ever has before. 

Given my interest (nee obsession?) with the topic I’m humbly offering my own reactions to the series.  I want to be sure to display my gratitude for the execution of this project by highlighting what was done well as well as offering constructive criticism or just observations about other directions that could have been taken. Continue reading

Dear 2011

Dear 2011,

I’m not going to dwell on all of the things I could’ve accomplished in 2010. Obviously there’s nothing productive that can come of that. Rather, let’s just focus on how you and I can work together over the next 12 months to make 2011 really count on the genealogical front. Continue reading

Hurricane Devastates Soufriere

An important part of my genealogical research involves learning about the places my ancestors came from by learning about their histories, cultural traditions, and contemporary social and political conditions.  As a start, I am posting the following “breaking news” regarding St. Lucia and Barbados.

Not only has a hurricane hit one of my maternal islands of origin, St. Lucia, it has apparently caused the most devastation in Soufriere, the part of the island we believe my great-grandmother once called home.  You can read about what is known of the damage here.

Another one of my islands, Barbados, sustained the most damage.  Even though they the Bajans will have to undergo their own recovery effort, they will also be offering aid to their neighbors that were affected – St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Unfinished Business

Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.  You know you’ve done a horrendous job of maintaining your new blog when you forget the URL and the password!  In the two months (yikes!) since my last post I have, in the odd moment, said to myself in a panic, “Oh, my blog! I need to update it.  I need to update it regularly!  I’ll do that tonight.”  Then NADA.  Thinking back on when I started this blog is almost laughable - how excited I was when I first created the blog, of all the time I spent crafting those first posts, of how this was going to be the thing that really got me working on my research on a constant and frequent basis.  That lasted for, oh, a couple of weeks!  Then NADA.  Continue reading

Birth Certificates

As stated in the first post, the purpose of this blog is to serve as a log or journal of my family history research.  Before I describe the first few encouraging steps I have taken on my genealogical quest for knowledge, I feel the need to detail the background information I have gathered informally over time.  I guess that should be expected from someone who is interested in researching her family history – how can I tell you about where I am without describing the events that brought me here?

In the 8th grade one of my teachers arranged a potluck in which each student was to bring in a dish from their culture and explain where it came from. When I asked my mom why our Panamanian family eats fried plantains (pronounced plantin’ NOT plantanes, thank you), she talked about how everyone in Panama eats plantain.  As some sort of afterthought she mentioned that that her grandparents, who were from St. Lucia and Martinique, and my father’s grandparents, who were from Barbados and Jamaica, came from countries where plantain was also widely consumed. 

This was the first time I had ever heard of most of these places in any context, let alone in my own family tree!  Continue reading