A few months ago at work we starting asking each other about the origin of our last names. I was in a group of five people and the only black person. Everyone went on to talk with confidence about their Scandinavian, Irish or German backgrounds. Then everyone looked at me. “Do you know where your family is from?”
This has always been an interesting question to me. I am a black American. Many people see brown skin and immediately just think…Well..duh…your ancestors are obviously from Africa. I don’t think many people even consider that most of the time it is a lot more complex than that for Black Americans. This idea has finally prompted me to want to write about my last name, its history, and my family.
I have a last name that is English or Welsh in origin. When my group asked me where my family was from, I just said I wasn’t sure. I had to be honest. I wasn’t going to just say Africa to make anyone more comfortable. Plus, Africa is a continent and not a country. Africa has over 40 countries and countless tribes with different languages. It would be difficult without a test to really pinpoint the beginning of my family tree.
How did I get an English/Welsh name when I have brown skin? Well, I don’t know. I can only guess the answer to that question. I do plan to research more about my family. It wouldn’t be something I would try to publish – only keep as some information for my family.