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  • Writer's pictureKirstie Bender Segarra

The Kings, my Paternal Maternal Lineage

In follow-up to my blog post last month on my great grandmother Mattie, the richness of discovery continues. It may seem strange that I didn’t know about our lineage. I did ask my father many times about his blood line and had an ongoing curiosity. It was often swept aside or I was given short answers such as “probably Cherokee or Apache”. I have continued to stay curious and seek answers.

I sat down with my mom a few weeks ago and she had a photo album with pictures from my Dad’s side of the family that belonged to my grandmother Vernice. In the papers we found Vernice’s death certificate and an affidavit of her changing her maiden name—finally a missing clue to her biological father. The second clue was my grandpa L.E. had a handwritten family tree which named Mattie’s parents!

Having this new information and a little digging I was able to link the information and go back six generations. I learned through the 1880 census that my family was designated as Mulatto and my 3rd great-grandfather was Black, Alfred Butler (see census below).

I have researched the definition of Mulatto to discover it’s meaning. Most people prefer to not use the term Mulatto now as we know the derogatory meanings behind it. Biracial our multiracial/ethnic is preferred. One can assume it means black and white, however it was used to mean any nonwhite person who did not have darker skin that was categorized by the census worker as black. Which means it can be Mexican or Indian. I have to say I am little shocked how much leverage had been given to race in America and that the census worker had 100% discretion in how to categorize a person.

There is a great ancestry website by Robyn,, which offers up a lot of resources on how to research our ancestors and the effects of slavery. It is humbling process and takes time to uncover and feel the losses and allow space for grief and healing.

On a side note, I have embarked on a daily cacao ceremony for 14 days in honor of my ancestors and turning crone. I am using a specially prepared cacao for ceremony from Guatemala and Oaxaca mixed with a little milk, honey and cinnamon. I begin with smudging and sit with prayer flags I made for my ancestors in meditation while sipping the cacao. It has allowed for the space and time to listen and reflect on the emotions and feelings that are brought forth in this process. I personally have found it quite powerful.

Today I found the end of the line at Daniel King of Caswell, North Carolina. I am not sure if he was considered white or black and his father who was from England, John King. I believe the next step is research if my lineage were their slaves or free people of color.

Below is an excerpt on John King.

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