Black British Family History Research and Identity

Black British Family History Research and Identity

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by Penny Walters

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Black British Family History Research and Identity


Black and mixed race people have a rich ancestral heritage, which, over the generations, they know less and less about. DNA testing has now led people to want to investigate the missing links between their Caribbean and African ancestors. In Ghanaian Akan mythology, the symbol of Sankofa - ‘Go Back and Fetch It’, meaning It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.  This symbol represents the need to reflect on the past, to build a successful future. Researchers can investigate records through various archives, each of which can present ethical dilemmas. How do these findings impact on people researching their family tree now? This session will reflect on the speaker and her mixed race children experiences of ethnicity as a case study, including comparison of ethnicity DNA results, expressed identity, and narratives.


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Presenter: Penny Walters

Dr. Penny Walters has been a University lecturer for 30 years in Psychology and Business Studies. Penny's interest in genealogy started after having her first child and then wondering about her biological parents, as she was adopted. DNA testing initially revealed 71% Irish heritage, which has been refined now to 94%. Having researched her 2 family trees for 30 years, Penny lectures internationally and writes articles about a variety of genealogy topics). Penny has authored the books: 'Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy,' and ‘The Psychology of Searching.’  

Penny Walters