Ancestry & Genealogy

“When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves…sometimes even physically.” – Raquel Cepeda, Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina

I remain fascinated by the stories, told and untold, of our predecessors. This passion melds hand in hand with my history fetish.

I do not really remember the first time I heard the phrase “family tree”, but I do know that it sparked my interest in ancestry at a very young age. Unfortunately I had little time to gather facts from any oldest living relatives, and no one else in my circle took enough interest in the topic to flame my passion for it as a small child. But once website platforms such as and other genealogy resources emerged as resources online, I have felt empowered to be able to find bits and pieces of my dna history and try to put the story together for myself and so far, I have been correct in my findings, which have been done mostly by instinct.

In 2008 my cousin and I discovered our grandfather’s military journal in a storage closet. I suddenly felt a new purpose, as I finally had some information available to me that might help me narrow down my Steele surname heritage. Not only was I able to reconnect with my Great Aunt Lotis and her children and grandchildren, but I was able to identify some names of relatives that my father had never taken interest in, and that I never took the opportunity to ask my grandparents during the limited interactions I had with them. I emphasize the lack of interest on part of my known relatives, because (1) I have never heard anyone else mention it or bring it up, which does not demean them in any way, it just means that this is not an area of interest in their lives for any and many reasons and (2) this means there is no one that I can collaborate with about my findings and there is no one to stand in agreement with me or challenge my findings. This makes for a lonely hobby.

I took some of the details that I found in the journal and was able to expand my small family tree, which at that point only included my parents and their parents.

I submitted a sample for a DNA test in 2013 and the results continue to fascinate me. The majority of my ancestry originates from northwestern Europe and West Africa, and Southern Africa.

My Favorite Research Sites:

Texas Specific Sites:

African American Resources:

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