Genealogy is my passion. Since 1996, I have travelled around the United States visiting archives, libraries and relatives to dig up all the information I can find about my ancestors. I can trace my lineage back from my grand nieces and nephews to the 17th century--15 generations!
This site is for sharing information, stories and photos that I have found in my search. "Say My Name" is the title of my findings which was first published in 2003. Instead of trying to distribute it in hard copy, I am making it available online to family members and other interested parties.
The photo is of Liza Koonce, daughter of Solomon and Cherry, born in the late 1800's.
Thank you to all that visit my website. I hope that it has been helpful in your own journey. I appreciate all the feedback that I get and all the new relatives that I meet.
Today I received an email from Michael Cotten. He is involved in a Cotton/Cotten DNA project. The purpose of the project is to create a database to help identify the various families bearing the Cotton or Cotten surname. I have been sitting on the fence about DNA projects. On the negative side, the results cannot prove a paper trail. It costs. And it depends on the amount of people in the database. But on the positive side,in the future when the database is more extensive, it may be more conclusive. And of course, if few participate, the database can't grow. Plus, as it states on the Cotten webpage, it can help to back up research, and a negative result can disprove many incorrect assumptions.
According to Michael, the information I have on the origin of the Cotten name is false. He wrote, "You mentioned a Cotten family who was descended from a John de Cotentin. Unfortunately there was no such person. The "De Cotentin" descent was invented by a man named Matlock who drew up an extended fake genealogy."
So it seems like it's back to the drawing board. I found a pedigree for Joseph R. Cotten on familysearch.org but the url for the source is xtremechat.org. Very suspicious! The person who submitted the source went to a lot of trouble but of course, that doesn't mean he is right or legit.
Although I don't believe we are related by blood to the Cottens, I am certain that they are the reason my grandfather chose that name. That is the reason why I am interested in the origin and the genealogy of the Joseph R. Cotten family.
The link to the Cotton/Cotten DNA project is http://home.comcast.net/~cottondna/.
January 6, 18?? Sheppard M. Ashe"
According to oral legend, the illusive Amy, mother of Solomon's first children, was a full blooded Cherokee. In a cursory search for information about this, I found that the relationship of Cherokees and slaves in the south was very complex and complicated. I plan to do research on this subject and include it on this site. Hopefully, I will also be able to glean more about Amy.
Besides this site, I blog on "But Now I'm Found, " http://blackgenealogy-griot.blogspot.com It chronicles my investigation into more of my family history. It is not exclusive to just my family. I post pertinent information concerning the difficult task of researching African-American genealogy. It will also be more timely. I hope you it enjoy also.
Although this family history is mainly for my relatives, it is also a story about the many African-Americans who survived slavery. My family ancestors are Koonce, Brassfield, Warren, Featherston and Roberts of Tennessee and Alexanders, Cottens, Wallace and Saunders of Mississippi. The counties where my relatives lived were Haywood, Dyer and Crockett in Tennessee and Pike, Lincoln and Amite in Mississippi.
There are more dates and names on my family tree. I will keep updating it when I can.
Since posting this page, I have met some cousins that I probably never would have met if not for the internet. One of them, Benjamin, has caught the genealogy bug and together we have been looking for more information on our great grandparents. Through him, I discovered that my great grandfather's brother used the surname of Cain. It is a mystery so far why our greats used so many surnames--Cotten, Cotton, Anderson, Deer and now Cain. If anyone has a clue about these relatives, please let me know. More information about the Cottens can be found on the appropriate pages.
Carolyn Nance is at the podium. I am standing next to my mother, Thelma Cotten. Next to her is Christine, her husband Lovelle Warren, and Ernest Warren, my uncles.
These are the descendants of James Koonce, son of Solomon Koonce, that attended the reunion in St. Louis.