Friday, January 21, 2011

Follow Friday

Viewing and Reading Inspired by the Ancestors

Several months ago, Dionne Ford, Finding Josephine, mentioned how her journey to trace her family history had broadened her reading tastes.

I agree with her. (Friends and coworkers are always picking at me about the books I read.) For me, in addition to broadening the scope of my reading, it’s also broadening the scope of my viewing pleasure.

The documentary Family Name has been out for a while, but I only recently come across it and decided to purchase it.

Similar to Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball, Family Name documents the journey of a young man, Macky Alston, in exploring his family’s slave owning past. The documentary was the winner of the 1997 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS September 15, 1998. I acquired a copy of the film through It can also be purchased via Amazon.

One of the things that drew me to this documentary film was is its ties to North Carolina. Whether book or film, if it documents slave ancestry in North Carolina, I gravitate toward it. I think it is how I make up for the lack of stories on the paternal side of my family.

In the documentary, this seemed to be a spiritual journey as well as a genealogical journey for Macky Alston. Ironically, in the credits at the end of the documentary, it is revealed that Macky really isn’t an Alston at all, since his 3rd great grandfather was illegitimate.

1 comment:

  1. Mavis, like you, I tend to gravitate towards all thing North Carolinean, in the hope of learning more about the circumstances surrounding the lives of my own ancestors. I also can't help but to think that perhaps one day, one of the books, videos, blogs, or web sites might even mention one of my ancestral families. I am not sure if I've seen Family Name, but I'm going to look it up, and view it again with "new eyes"!

    Renate :)


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