Sunday, February 14, 2016

Identified as Caucasian for Five Generations!

David W. Jackson, Descendant of Slave
David Jackson searched 30 plus years for his great-great grandfather Arthur and wife Ida with no luck.  But then…he broadened his search, and revisited those documents and tick marks that looked like Census Taker errors.  Could it be?  Could this man enumerated as ‘black’ be his 2nd great-grandfather? Well, possibly he thought.  Indians were often listed on census as ‘black.’ Plus David’s grandfather always said ““Grandpa Arthur wasn’t black. If anything he was an Indian. I met a half-brother of his once and he looked just like the Indian on a buffalo nickel.”

The A-B-C-D Trail of Hints
As we encourage researchers to do, David interviewed his eldest ancestor - Grandpa Roy. Beginning in about 1980 with a photo in hand, David and Grandpa Roy researched and traveled to uncover the ancestral history of ArthurGrandpa Roy had lived with Arthur and his wife Ida. He remembered the family stories. But, the dots never connected.  They rarely do when “passing for white.” “Passing,” as it is commonly called, was rarely mentioned, even when the family knew. (Also read Could He Pass for White? ) But with DNA, many are uncovering their mixed heritage.
A.  Decipher census record information. GG-Grandfather Arthur Jackson was consistently enumerated  as ‘black’, wife white, children mulatto. But based on Grandpa, he was probably enumerated ‘black’ because he was ‘Indian.’
 B.  Listen to family stories. Of course family stories need to be substantiated. But Grandpa Roy mentioned once that Ida (wife of Arthur) had stated that the family was related to the prominent Dr. Jabez North Jackson of Kansas City. Early genealogy efforts of  Dr. Jabez Jackson did not reveal any connection to neither Ida Jackson, enumerated as white, nor her husband, the poor landscape gardener Arthur.  
 C.  Broaden your research.  A cousin researching Ida found the best hint of all in abt. 2010.  In the 1880 census a 21 year old Arthur Jackson, black, was living with an unfamiliar white Jackson family. But who were these Jackson’s? David traced the genealogy of  this white Jackson family. The names of this family were familiar.
 D.  DNA Test. DNA tests will assist in identifying ethnicity and will help support the family researcher when turning to the family.
Revisiting Research 
It was in 2010 that David revisited his 1980 research.  Who was the white Jackson family that this Arthur Jackson was living at the the time of the 1880 census?  They were the ancestors of Dr. Jabez Jackson. David states “Grandma Ida only told part of the story, leaving out the family relationship to Dr. Jackson’s slave family.” Oh, and David confirms that the DNA supports his research.

The Book That Tells It All
"Born a Slave: Rediscovering Arthur Jackson’s African American Heritage,” written by his great-great grandson, David W. Jackson, is a must read.

David began his presentation at the Mid-Continent Library, North Branch with - 

"I rediscovered my great great grandfather, Arthur Jackson, was born a slave. State and U.S. Censuses over 40 years listed Arthur as ‘black’ and his wife, Ida, as ‘white,’ and their children ‘mulatto.’”

He will be presenting Born A Slave Thursday, March 3, 2016,
7 p.m.  Claycomo Branch, Mid-Continent Public Library, 309 E U.S. Highway 69, Kansas City, Mo.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

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