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Black TikToker draws attention to missing public records of ancestors

In a viral video, a woman draws attention to the lack of public records of Black ancestry she discovered after completing an AncestryDNA test.

TikTokerin Sheena Miranda (@shiinawatches) explains how the lack of knowledge about who her great-grandparents were may be due to property records being passed within white families. Miranda and her family would not have access to these records as they are not public.

She captioned her video: “It’s one of the reasons I’ve avoided DNA testing for so long. I knew I would have to ask at some point [white person] if their people kept ‘good’ records.’” The video has now garnered over 284,000 views.

@shiinawatches #stich with @govasana, that’s one of the reasons I’ve avoided DNA testing for so long. I eventually knew I had to ask a πŸ‘±β€β™‚οΈ if their people kept “good” records #blacktiktok #ancestry ♬ original sound – ShiinaWatches

Miranda had sewn or responded with a video to the original video posted by Govasana Renas (@govasana). In the video, Renas recites a conversation she had with her grandmother as a child.

The caption in the video read, “Me as a kid: ‘Grandma, who was your grandma?'” to which Renas revealed that her grandmother “had no idea because her grandmother was an undocumented slave whose children happen to be in government documents early 1900s.”

Renas goes on to explain in another video that she checked ancestry.com and another website that tracks genealogy called familysearch.org for more information. She found documents showing which plantation her relatives lived and worked on, but no records of their names. Instead, they were listed as numbers.

@govasana I forgot this happened until I made my last video. Now I understand why she stared into space for a second #fyp #panafrican #blackhistory #FindYourEdge #melanin ♬ Lofi – Acey

In the comments section of Miranda’s video, others in her position shared their stories and sympathies.

“Whenever someone tells me slavery was ‘that long ago,’ I want to scream,” said one user.

“I recently saw a story about a black family who bought a house in their hometown. They didn’t know their ancestors were enslaved there!” commented another. The story mentioned was of a veteran who bought a home in Virginia only to find out later that the property was a former plantation where his ancestors were enslaved.

“There needs to be a federal search and all of these records need to be collected so people can reconnect with their families,” said a third.

In an update video, Miranda shared that she stumbled upon potential information about the enslavers on her father’s side with the help of Walt Way (@formerlovepoet). Miranda also found her grandmother’s name as well as the origin story of her uncle’s name.

@shiinawatches reply to @ninatravis21 @formerlovepoet I’m one step closer! I haven’t put him in the tree yet. #family #familytree #blacktiktok ♬ Original sound – ShiinaWatches

The Daily Dot has contacted Miranda and Renas via Instagram messages and TikTok comments.


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*Initial publication: June 6, 2022 at 4:44 p.m. CDT

Lauren Castro

Lauren Castro is a reporter from Austin, Texas.

Lauren Castro

https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/public-record-black-ancestors-ancestrydna/ Black TikToker draws attention to missing public records of ancestors

Jaclyn Diaz

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