Ancestry reunites family torn apart by slavery using letters

Genealogy website Ancestry premiered “A Dream Delivered: The Lost Letters of Hawkins Wilson” to carry to gentle a family reunion greater than 100 years within the making.

HOUSTON — As lots of you rejoice Juneteenth, KHOU 11 News took a deeper dive into family tree and descendants of the enslaved.

Following the Civil War, a technique tens of millions of African Americans looked for one another was by writing letters. 

Now there is a new Ancestry brief movie that tells the story of lost letters of Hawkins Wilson reuniting family members within the Houston space.

“I’m standing on the grime the place my nice grandfather stood on, the place he most likely cried, the place he was afraid,” stated Kelley Dixon Tealer, Hawkins’ nice nice granddaughter. 

Twenty-four years of enslavement, the person Houston natives Tealer and her mother Alva Marie Jenkins converse of is, Wilson.

RELATED: Watch full KHOU 11 presentation of ‘Juneteenth 1865-2022: The Pursuit of Economic Equality’

“I do believe Hawkins was looking down from above,” stated Jenkins, Hawkins’ nice granddaughter.

Hawkins was as soon as a younger boy in captivity ripped away from his siblings in Virginia and delivered to Texas.

“Dear sir, I’m anxious to study my sisters to whom I’ve been separated a few years,” Hawkins’s letter learn.

“And it simply got here alive to me,” Jenkins said. “He was now an actual individual.”

Genealogists stated as soon as liberated, many African Americans dictated letters to the “Freedmen’s Bureau” in Galveston, desperately trying to find their long-lost family members, like Reverend Hawkins.

“Who would’ve thought that he’d put those little pearls out there so we could trace back to him,” stated Tealer.

Detailed gems that Hawkins dropped in his letter.

“By naming each and every individual that he remembered from his sister and his uncle.”

But his letter by no means arrived.

They used family tree company Ancestry’s database to match the names Hawkins listed in his letters.

“That’s the power of this letter, because even though the county it was sent to was wrong the details, he had surrounded the names and locations put us in the right place today,” stated Nicka Sewell-Smith, an Ancestry genealogist.

“You start to see birth certificates, marriage certificates, and then I started seeing the addresses where my great grandparents lived,” Tealer stated.  

All of which led them to a rare family reunion. Hawkins’ dream delivered 150 years later.

“It was just so exciting to meet them, to meet someone that was connected to a person I didn’t even know about,” Jenkins stated. “Learning extra about Hawkins and the issues he is performed…it is a full story for me,” added Tealer.

It’s a whole story for this family, however there are such a lot of extra untold tales like his.

“We wouldn’t be sitting here today if he didn’t just keep going,” stated Jenkins.

You can watch “A Dream Delivered: The Lost Letters of Hawkins Wilson” on Ancestry’s YouTube channel or within the video under.

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