My Family research is in the NW part of Louisiana, but I’m starting to love all things Louisiana especially New Orleans.

I’ve grown to love the music and now starting to get into the food from the city.

I was speaking with a friend and he mentioned “King Cake”. I asked whats that and he challenged me to find out. “Do the Research” he said. So heres what I found out:

In the Southern United States this tradition was brought to the area by colonist from France and Spain and is associated with Carnival, which is celebrated in the Gulf Coast region centered on New Orleans, but ranging from the Florida Panhandle to East Texas.

“King Cake” parties in New Orleans are documented back to the eighteenth century.

The “King Cake” of the New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition comes in a number of styles. The most traditional is a ring twisted bread similiar to that used in “broche” topped with icing or sugar usually colored purple, green, and gold(the traditional carnival colors) food coloring.

“Cajun King Cakes” are traditionally deep-fat-fried as a doughnut would be and there are many variants, some with a filing the most common being Cream Cheese and Praline.

It has become customary in the New Orleans culture that whoever finds the “Trinket” must provide the next “King Cake” or host the next Mardi Gras party.

I’ve never been to New Orleans, but looks like I will be going real soon.


This is one of my favorite pictures of my MoM.


Thanks again to Footnote Maven for the invite to participate in Blog Caroling 2010.

A couple of years ago one of my co-workers heard me talking about this song and me saying how hard it was to find the CD.

I don’t know how she did it but she found the CD and gave it to me as a gift, which I was most grateful.

This is one of my family’s favorite Christmas Song and now that I have the CD my Mom plays it all the time not only at Christmas.

I want to share with you my family’s favorite:

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole


This is a repost from last year. I will continue to post every year until I have the answer to my question!

I have been researching my ROBERTSON line for some time now, and when I read this story I thought “This could be one of my ancestors.” I found the story interesting and I hope you do too!!

On October 1, 1871, Nancy ROBERTSON a freed slave, was found dead at her home in South Bossier Point. Mysteriously, the house was locked from the inside. Neighbors could see her lying dead on the bed through a window and called for the parish coroner.

Earlier another freed slave had collapsed while plowing a field, from what white doctors diagnoised as fluid on the brain brought on by the heat of the summer. But fellow freedman were not convinced by the doctors diagnoses and remembered that the summer before this, Nancy had fell out with the man and had made vague threats against his life. The freedmen decided that Nancy had bewitched the man with a curse. The man lingered for a few days and died.

The local coloreds quickly arrested Nancy ROBERTSON and sent for Charles Steele, a freedman and a celebrated witch doctor to have her tested for being a witch.

Charles Steele had gained fame earlier for invoking a “miracle cure” upon another colored women. This women had been sick for months with chronic chills and fell into a general state of poor health. Charles informed her she was bewitched, and that he could cure her. He prepared a nauseous dose that caused her to vomit freely. Afterwards, he held up the vessel in which she had purged and showed her several lizards, toads, crickets, and such therein. He told her that they had caused her sickness, pronounced her cured and she did indeed become well.

While on their way to get the infamous witch doctor they came across a fellow white neighbor who warned them that they may face consequences for taking the law into their own hands. The white neighbor told the freedmen to have a post mortem examination to see if the man was poisoned. When physicians examined the man, they announced that poison had nothing to do with the death (they believed it had been caused by fluid on the brain.)

Apparently the freedmen were not happy with this explanation and still presumed the death to have been caused by Nancy ROBERTSON and her “bewitching.”

When the coroner, with his jury and physician arrived, the mystery of the locked house murder was solved. They broke into the house and quickly deduced that the woman had been shot through a crack in the wall with a shotgun. Indeed several of her neighbors had heard that shot, but had failed to investigate. Three of the pellets penetrated her heart and killed her instantly. An arrest warrant was soon issued for Anthony Williams for the murder of Nancy ROBERTSON.

Although Nancy was murdered, I can not dismiss the fact that she was suspected as being a witch and her last name is ROBERTSON. My research on this family is not complete, but I feel like she is apart of my family and in some way in me. How may times have we just wanted to say to people “Drop Dead” in this case Nancy would say it and it would happen.

It kind of makes since to me since my mom said someone had put a root on my great grandmother Amanda for messing around with married men or a married man, not sure which one. I know someone has the true story and would love to meet the ancestors of the person that put the root on Amanda, and ask why?

I know there are some that don’t believe and are skeptical, but it is always the unknown that gets the most none believers. Thats why we research, to make the unknown known.

(Disclosure: The article is from Bossier Parish History The first 150 years 1843-1993 by Clifton D. Cardin pg. 204-Witch Found Dead in a Locked House. Sources; Buried Treasure; Atlanta Times, (Georgia) February 13, 1872, Sunday Edition, Ray B Fults and Witch; Bossier Banner, October 7, 1871.)



Mom and Me June 1980. Happy Mother’s Day!!


I previously did a post with all my Ancestors Surnames that I knew about up until this point.

I have some more information that I want to share.

Looks like my Robertson Line used two other Surnames: Robinson and Roberson.

I knew about the Roberson Surname because on the 1870 Census the Family was listed as Roberson, but by 1880 and beyond it was Robertson.

Now on the 1870 Census there was a Charity Roberson that was listed as a daughter and she was age 10. Never thought anything of it, just thought Mandy started having children a little early. By 1880 Charity had moved on and married Edmund Livingston. Charity and Edmund had seven children: Frank, Aurela, Emanuel, Mary, Ella, Hattie, and John.

Frank married Ida and had 7 children: Rosie, Artis, Isie, Frank, James E, Cora E., and Monroe.

Ida passed away sometime between 1910 and 1920. Frank then married my Great Grandmother Amanda and had a son: Amos Livingston. (Supposedly)

Not really sure what happened to Amos, just asked my Mom and she said “No one ever mentioned Amos”. Her Mom or Uncle Joe never mentioned him. What happened to Amos?

Frank Livingston passed away January 26, 1919. I checked his death record on Family His father was listed as: Edmund Livingston and his mother was listed as: Charity Jackson.

Jackson, where did this Surname come from? If my Great Grandmother Amanda was the Informant for Frank, she would have known Frank’s Mom Surname since they grew up in the same household maybe.

Was Charity kin to Ben or Mandy or was she just someone that they took care of? Who knows I know I have to find this out since the Ancestors guided me here.

For the rest of the Family I found and obtained Death Certificates for:

Minerva Roberson Lewis: who was married to J D Lewis(Nickname was Babe). Babe was connected to the Longs. Minerva passed away March 08, 1940. Babe was the Informant for her death and her Mother and Father was listed as Amanda Roberson and Ben Roberson both from GA. Minerva and Babe had one son named Son and he was Mentally Challenged.

Reverend Cornealous Robinson: son of Ben and Mandy. Cornealous passed a way July 24, 1943 and his wife Angeline was his Informant.

Babe Roberson: daughter of Ben and Mandy. Babe passed away October 12, 1954. She was listed as a widow and no information on a husband or her parents was listed on her Death Certificate.

Amanda Bryan Roberson/Robertson: My Great Great Grandmother herself. Mandy passed away March 19, 1926. Was able to obtain her Death Certificate from the information obtained from Minerva’s Death Certificate. She was listed as Roberson not Robertson and that is  why I was unable to find a Death Record for her. She died from Influenza and she suffered from it for at least a month or so.

Looks like Babe was buried at New Zion Cemetery in Minden and no burial information for Mandy, but looks like she passed away in a Hospital somewhere in Minden(rural).

I am slowly but surely putting some puzzle pieces together, but each one leads somewhere else and where ever these pieces lead me to I’m going to put my Tree together one piece at a time!

Source cited: Louisiana Secretary of State, Family, Cousin Eddie McMurray(Sam Long’s Nephew), and Cousin Clarene Long(Sam Long’s Granddaughter)


I don’t remember my maternal Grandmother Odessa Amos(Big Momma to some but I like calling her NaNa). She passed away when I was 2 years old.

My Mom and Dad worked the evening shift and NaNa Odessa babysat for my brother and I a lot, especially since her and my Mom lived across the hall from each other in the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, IL.

I’m quite sure we spent many evenings in the kitchen talking, sharing recipes, and eating together.

I’m thinking thats where my like for cooking and baking came from. Mom said NaNa always made her cakes from scratch and would have a strong dislike for the instant cake mixes that they sell today.

See NaNa Odessa left Cotton Valley, LA with only a third grade education and knew that she wanted something better for her children. She made sure all of her children took advantage of any and all opportunities that were provided to them. Each one recieved a Degree and two recieving a Master Degree(my mom being one of them).

She never wanted my Mom to marry my Dad, but of course my Mom did, but by the time my Mom recieved her Degree NaNa Odessa was already gone. I know she was proud of my Mom nevertheless.

One of the hardest things NaNa Odessa had to do was bury a child.

My Uncle Augustus Banks Jr. passed away sometime around 1968. What strength she must have shown while inside dying from a broken heart. She knew she had to go on for the rest of her children and be strong for them.

I still have all the cards and well wishes that was sent to my NaNa. I can tell she was well liked and really cared about the Community. I have her Voters Registration Card from 1964 and I am quite sure she voted every chance she was given as soon as African Americans were given the opportunity to vote. Since I found her card, I decided to vote every chance I get and Volunteer more in my own Community.

One thing that I have learned from her is her STRENGTH. Coming from a Community in LA with no electricity and runnung water, to a Community where she worked as a maid and raised her children to recieve College Degrees.

I watched my Mom bury 2 of her 3 brothers and keep it together like no other. She never lost it in front of us and I can see NaNa Odessa doing the same.

After everything that my Family and I have been through within the last six months, one thing that we remained is Strong. A trait that was passed on from generation to generation. I can hear my NaNa Odessa Spirit saying to me “Its ok Lisa, everything is going to be alright”.

See thats what she named me. Never being able to pronounce Felicia correctly she told my Mom “I’m calling this baby Lisa”, and that is what my Family and close Friends call me to this day. She also noticed that the spelling on my Birth Record was incorrect. I have a slash through my middle name on my Birth Certificate and the real spelling is above that.

I can hear her now teasing my Mom “Beverly why you name this girl after the Whale on Moby Dick. My middle name is Rachelle, but on my birth record it was spelled as Rachel and thanks to my NaNa, Rachel was crossed out and my true name was added.

No matter if I can remember her or not, her Spirit is with me everyday. Everytime someone says my name or I have to show a copy of my Birth Certificate.

Some of the stories about her I found out after starting my Research, but I knew about my name change at such an early age and that is the story about my NaNa Odessa that I carry with me everyday and deep in my heart. I know she  is so proud that I was choosen to tell the Nola Story, wouldn’t be surprised at all if NaNa had a hand in it all like all Grandmothers do!!


I have been Researching my Louisiana Line for over a year now and have never posted the Surnames and the information that I have about each one.

So here goes:

Robertson: Ben Robertson born in GA about 1844. Married Mandy Bryan(t) around 1865 and had 11 children: Charity?, Henry, Georgia, Jennie?, Minerva, Thomas, Cornelius, Emma, Mary, Babe, Amanda, Martha, and Annie(Charity and Jennie are not for sure known children of Ben and Mandy, but show up on the census in the household in 1870), No known date of death for Ben.

Robinson: Not sure of the connection yet, but do know that some of the Robertson children used this Surname. (Rev Cornelius Robinson).

Bryan(t): Mandy Bryan(t) born in GA about 1850. Married Ben Robertson. No know siblings at this time. Mandy was found on 1920 census living with her son Cornelius and wife Angeline. No know date of death for Mandy.

Amos: James Manuel Amos born in Minden, Louisiana about 1870. Married my Great Grandmother Amanda Robertson about 1898 and had four children: James, Willie, Joseph, and Odessa(my Grandmother).

Bell: Martha Robertson married Robert B Bell February 8, 1900 and had 7 children: Alberta, David A, Dezeria, Jesse B, John B, Robert Jr., and Savannah.

Long: Emma Robertson married Sam Long sometime before 1910 and had 8 children: Martha, Cleveland, Paul, Albert, Carter, Coleman, Julia, and Central. Sam and Emma were members of Saint Peter Baptist Church and are buried there.

Banks: Odessa Amos(my grandmother) married Augustus Banks sometime around 1922 or 1923 and had 2 children: Earl Carey Banks(Carey is Augustus’s father first name) and Augustus Banks Jr. (My Uncles)

Randle: Martha Long married Garfield Randle sometime before 1930 and had 3 children: Margaret, Thomas, and Howard

Pyles: Savannah Bell married Charles Pyles sometime before 1930. No known children at this time.

Lewis: Minerva Robertson married J D Lewis(John) sometime before 1910 and had 2 children: Theleon(?) and Lizy.

Pierre: Georgia Robertson Robert Pierre about 1896 and had 1 known child: Evie E

Dennis: This Surname belongs to Sam Long half sisters and brothers: John, Louvella, Lannie, Jossie, and Nina Mae.

Harris: This Surname belongs to Sam Long half brother: Calvin Harris

Levingston: Charity Robertson(not sure if this was a child or sister of Ben Robertson) married Edmund Levingston about 1876 and had 6 children: Aurela, Emanuel, Mary, Ella, Hattie, and John. (Edmund is believed to have married my Great Grandmother Amanda Robertson sometime around 1917).

Hampton: Julia Long married Luther Hampton and had 1 known child: J C Hampton.

King: Central Long had 2 boys by someone with this Surname their names were: Ollie and Samuel.

James: James is the last nameof Annie Robertson 2 children: Mabel and Oliver James. They were found on the 1920 census living with Robert and Martha Bell.

If you know any of my family, please contact me and share. Thanks!!

Sources: Most of the information was found on  and Clarene Long, Sam and Emma Long’s Granddaughter.

Carnival of African American Genealogy: Restore My Name

I have been researching my Family’s History for a short period of time(One Year) and truly love being a part of the Genealogy Community.

With the showing of Face of America on PBS and Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC, I am hoping that it will spark a lot of new interest in Genealogy and there become some new Researchers and some new Family Trees going up that will allow more Genealogical connections.

There are so few African American Researchers in the Genealogy Community, but there should be a whole lot more. So many Researchers out there, but not enough online sharing information and making Family connections!

On a recent trip to Savannah, GA with my Genea-Sisters(and 1 Brother), we gathered for the Southeast Family History Expo. I sat threw a class given by Darius Gray called “Beginning Black Family History Research”. I was excited because on the front of their brochure it says “Learn to Search for your Missing Ancestors”. I can truly say thats not what his class was about. Although we were showed a slide show of the Gray Family and truly enjoyable as it was, I was for sure he was going to talk Researching.

With a class of 30 to 45 eager Researchers , not one mention about how to obtain records or share information. After the class, Luckie and myself shared our knowledge with the class on sharing information and putting you’re Family History online. Some of them had some very interesting stories and I hope to read them one day online. Praying that we were able to make a difference.

Now I know some believe “Family Business is Family Business”. The only thing I can say about that is “What if you hold the last piece to someone’s Research”? What if you have that information that can knock down someone’s Brickwall”? What if? What if? What if?

The only way I can explain what I am saying and answers those what ifs is:

Since our Ancestors were bought and sold and most Males were used for breeding, I might have some information on one Plantation that he was on, and you might have the information about another Plantation that he was on. If one of us are not online then how can we connect and share information.

It is so important to share any and all information and records that you might have. You see in my mind We Are All Related and I am trying to give my Ancestors a voice and make sure that their voices are heard. This message is not just for the Slave Descendants.

Thanks to Luckie of OurGeorgiaRoots Madness Monday Post: Open Letter To The Genealogy Community-Help Me To Understand and Sandra of I Never Knew My Father Friend of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad Post, Now there are some SlaveOwners Descendants that are willing to share Slave Records that their Family has owned or Slave records that they might have came across in their Research, but there are some that think of this as “SHAMEFUL” and there are some that is “ASHAMED”.

I know during our Research we are going to come across things that our Ancestors have done that might be shameful, unlawful, and unforgiven, but their voices need to be heard also and there is nothing more shameful than hiding that shame and not letting the Ancestors voice be heard or putting the Ancestors with their Rightful Descendant.

You must know that we as African American Researchers hold no grudges. We know it was just what happened during that time period. We want no part of you’re Inheritance or Property. We just want to know where we came from. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have a right to “KNOW THY SELF!!

I know that all records are not online. The ones that are not are the ones that you have, so PLEASE SHARE!!


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