Finding Your Roots - In Search of our Fathers

"In Search of Our Fathers"

Season 2  September 23, 2014 8pm PBS
Episode 1

Courtney B. Vance - Gloria Reuben -Stephen King

Courtney B. Vance:   Courtney's story rang True  with a lot of people. As a Retired Veteran I was so Honored to see his family member serve in United States Colored Troops
Now that is something in the words of Dr. Gates, only "most People of Color dream of"! 

Soldiers always had a Impact in our History. Especially for African American's. We have done this in every War, we have always proven we are battle ready.

My family is African American. 4 Generations of Firstborn Lewis's who served this Country. That is what held Meaning to me; for Courtney. 

4 Generations of Military all Firstborns 

I always wondered if I could go back, see where this strength comes from beyond myself?

 Was there something long ago that all 4 of us stepped up that we didn't know we got from our Ancestors?

Was that Ancestor a USCT Soldier?

I did wonder during the Program what Courtney's y-DNA test revealed about his Haplogroup?

 I have my Father tested through 23andMe


We're most likely always left out of the narratives of History. Our Elders in our Community, we get most of our family lineage through Oral History. This is were we find someone has served long ago.
 My Grandfather proudly told of his World War 2 Service. Most from his generation are quiet about their life of service, he was to. It was when he got older did he begin to tell of his Life's Journey.

 That is a starting point for most African Americans, Oral History.

This is how I learned of our family's service to this Country. 
Thankfully my Grandfather left me his WW2 Army footlocker full of goodies. His Original enlistment papers, patches and pictures.
 Most of all! his Oral History of his travels and what happened. That was the beginning for my family on reconstructing our family members military service. These are items I had clues to go on to look for official records.

Collection of Daddy's Original WW2 Personal effects

My Father is a Retired CSM of the Marine Corps with 28 years of Service. I'm what they call the "Clinton Baby" I served during his time of Presidency. My Son. My 1st Born has been in the Army with 3 Tours of Duty.
Our experience being Military have allowed us to know where to look for the records on your Military Family Member. 

I try to show people where they can find records as well as put their information online so we aren't left out of History. So much sweat, tears and blood have been shed for us to have our own personal freedoms when this Country has denied us for so long for so many years in all kinds of way. This has been a history with our People in the Military to show we should be treated as equal to this Country.

My 1st stop would be NARA . National Archives Records Administration. 
US Army Heritage & Education Center in Carlisle Pa. & Fold3.

Courtney's Great Great Grandfather a Union Soldier named John Janey! who marched for President Lincoln's funeral procession! 
It allowed for everyone to know about the USCT United States Colored Troops. Records are plentiful in each State even at the local level of government, as well in Washington D.C. I've had the pleasure of going the USCT Museum to see how you can obtain records on your Ancestor. 
Most of these organizations take requests by mail, fax or email.

This part of Courtney's story about his Grandfather Union Soldier John Janey beautifully woven into telling what you can find and research on your Ancestor. It is possible. Take some time to research with patience.

I started with Oral History. Getting clues, asking direct questions. Then I went to the local level. Utilized online family history sites like Family Search and From there I collected what was needed for my Grandfather. I requested records from the following organizations. 
Now that we have my Grandfather's Military Records in order. Us next 3 Generations have ours in order to make it easier for the next generations to have all the information that is needed. 
The 1# thing you need to find is Name, Date of Birth, Enlistment date and Service Number, now a days it's the SS# and a DD214.

 Once you have those things you can start your Journey! Everyone should know and investigate their History.
 Knowing from "Whence thy Came" always makes Life a little easier.

You can Follow on Twitter!  using #FindingYourRoots

 Finding Your Roots Facebook Page

"My back is a little more Straighter" ...knowing. Words of Courtney B. Vance

In Remembrance of my Grandfather PFC James E. Lewis,Sr.
Daddy & Mom, 1944.

We Salute You.
United States Colored Troops: 22 Regiment Colored Troop:  

John Janey!


  1. What a great story, True! I have some of my ancestors military records as well!

    1. Thank You Dawn! I was surprised to find so many as well. I'm working on my Patriot Nicholaus Barrick from the Revolutionary War now. That is my next goal. To get my Line recorded for him.

  2. Nice job! Love the show too.

    1. Thank You Ellie! Trying to get a perspective on the show on how I see it! I love the Show too!