Friday, December 27, 2013

Are you related to such n such???

Are you related to such n such? No I am not and no I don't even know this person. Throughout my life i have encountered people who always try to tie me to someone else. You know how folks are. Same city, same last name and they automatically assume you are related. When my brother and i we're born, we were given the last name Christman. We we're the ONLY 2 Christmans in our whole family until i had children of my own. I can't tell you how many times we have had to explain why we're aren't Christmans and why we aren't related to and don't know any.

So, here's the story. My mom Vera married Jack. It is my understanding that at that time he was Joseph Christman his alias. They had my brother Orsby in 71. I was born in 72 but my dad is Derrick Mckissack and my younger brother Andra was born a year and 2 days later and his dad is Theodore Clay. I guess it was common for the child to have your married name even if hubby wasn't the father. 10 years after i was born, my sister Samuelrita came along and her dad is Samuel Thomas. Now it was told to me that when Vera and jack we're married, they left tn and went to Ohio where is people lived. I guess that wasn't her type of place so she didn't stay. now at some point about 3 or 4 years after that, jack decided he wanted my brother to be with him. I think he had my brother for a visit or something and decided not to give him back. He left tn with him and went to Ohio. He changed his name to Jack Tate and changed my brother's last name to Tate. Some wild story of abandonment was told and some documents we're forged and my brother was essentially kidnapped. I remember attempts to get him back whenever they came to town but none we're successful. Why would he risk coming back to town if he already had my brother you ask? He had family here and oddly enough it was also our family. My great aunt Henrietta married a Ross and Jack was related to the Ross' and we lived in the same neighborhood. Paths we're bound to cross at some point. Growing up, i would see my brother from time to time because his uncle would sneak and bring him to visit so he always knew his family. when he turned 18 he came back home and back to his family and the 4 of us are closer than ever. You would think this name thing would be a one time thing in a family but its not. My sisters last name is Larkins. Here's why, My grandma married and her last name became Larkins and they had a daughter, velvet. When they got divorced my grandma kept her married name so the 2 children she had after that also have the name Larkins, when it should be Hill.

When adding to my family tree i try to remember to make a note of the different last names and why they don't match up. 100 yrs from now i don't want my descendants to be confused and encounter any unnecessary brick walls. when i am able to, i plan on changing my last name and my children want theirs changed also, even if they marry. i need to be sure that we can be connected to my family. 

I know, hot mess right? Well, it is what it is. I'm glad i know the story behind it and not just going through life with a name and now knowing why.

Until next time................


  1. Wow! That can be confusing...and it is great that your are telling the story of the surname changes. This is something that happened during slavery and after slavery. When I look at different ancestors in my family line...some of them have three to four different surnames.

  2. So good that you know who's who, and that you are providing that info for future generations. Also great that your brother was able to rejoin the family.

  3. There are quite a few situations like that in my family where children by different father's were given the same surname. It's great that you were able to reconnect with your brother.

  4. The beauty of your post Derrica is there will never be any question about how to trace the lines & understand the surnames. You've provided clarity right here. And no honey, not a hot mess -- just life and family girl. Life and family!:)

  5. Wow, I can understand why it would be confusing at first with so many name changes. You have cleared it up and explained it very well. The best thing was that you reconnected with your brother. Keep telling your story.

  6. It is common for the children to take the married name of the mother. or at least it was back then. I'm glad you are writting it all down so it won't confuse in the future!