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Over Troubled Water

Strengthening the relationships between all African ancestored descendants

Thursday, August 18, 2011


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Often on the brink of tears while I read, “150 Years Later” has left me beyond words. It is a total masterpiece...a miraculous story full of mini miracles! The painstaking efforts of Melvin J. Collier to uncover his ancestry and to identify each member of the family group of Lewis and Fanny and their whereabouts had me cheering for his success the whole way though the book. I was incapable of holding the yearnings for my own Abbeville County ancestors at bay. My heart raced forward in anticipation of each new discovery of fact, locality, and person. 

He left no stone unturned in his search. He relied on the oral history of the oldest living descendants, but he also produced historical documentation in his unrelenting search. Mississippi research can be quite merciless, but following Melvin's trail brought to light some unique methods that I too can employ in the search of my Mississippi ancestors.

A true genealogist, he managed to carve out time to spend researching in archives and interviewing extended family members and planning reunions notwithstanding his busy schedule. He succeeded in giving voice to the gut instincts often employed when tracking ancestors. I enjoyed being reminded of what it was like to research before the advancements in technology and availability of resources that are at our disposal now. I have a renewed appreciation for the resources at our fingertips today. How far we have come in social networking which not too long ago consisted of posting in a forum and waiting for what seemed like an eternity for a response.

“150 Years Later” kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I appreciate so much how easily it was to follow Melvin's deductions and thought processes as he queried and researched and deduced and concluded and discovered more leads. He was ever true to acknowledge that research success involves being thorough and applying faith. Intertwined within each yearning to know and each of his discoveries were his sense of approval of his ancestors and his desire for completion and healing. 

The many references to “Broken Ties Mended” will be ones that you will have to get the book to decipher completely.  Let me just close by saying that it incorporates ALL the STUFF that every African American family historian dreams about experiencing one day! I do not know how anyone who read this book could not come away feeling a renewed determination to complete his or her own ancestor's story and connect to living family members.  “150 Years Later” for me, stands as the standard to shoot for!

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2 comments:

George Geder said...

Yes, Robin!

An excellent accounting of the book I'm still reading. I'm torn between rushing and savoring.

Melvin J. Collier has become one of the important voices to herald African Ancestored family research and genealogy. Nobody with any sense should be without this book!

Peace & Blessings,
"Guided by the Ancestors"

Saving Stories said...

I am sure it is one we will delve into again and again, George! I agree! Melvin has set the standard! 150 Years is a valuable resource on many levels:
-oral history
-local history
-African American history
-genealogical resources
-family relationships

Need we go on? Get your copy today!

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With the blessings of technology, all African ancestored descendants can develop an online haven where healing can take place. Let's recite and relish in our history. Let's come together to identify the principles that help us to enjoy freedom and happiness. Hopefully, "Over Troubled Water" will be the beginning of that for you. We welcome contributors who will share their history and perspectives that we may all learn and benefit.
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"I believe that all men, black and brown and white, are brothers, varying in time and opportunity, in form and gift and feature, but differing in no essential particular, and alike in soul and the possibility of infinite development." --W.E.B. Dubois
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Over Troubled Water by Robin R. Foster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at overtroubledwater.blogspot.com.
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The village is coming together! We are from many diverse groups from around the world. We invite you to use Over Trouble Water as an avenue that will spark much needed dialog. This dialog can lead to great enlightenment and healing. Every effort will be made to supplement using historical resources for further study, however, opinions or views expressed in articles reflect the contributor's life experiences and are the responsibility of the respective contributor. Comments should be addressed to the respective contributor.

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