Genealogy… Secret Southern Bi-Racial Babies

People usually keep things secret to avoid the danger involved in exposing themselves. Quite often, the person with the secret is doing nothing wrong but something that others don’t approve of. Throughout history, having babies out of wedlock was certainly one of those secrets. Having a bi-racial baby was an even bigger secret.

For centuries bi-racial marriages in America were forbidden. The Slave Code of Louisiana (1724-1803) prohibited “white subjects, of both sexes, to marry with the blacks…” and forbade “all our white subjects, and even the manumitted or free-born blacks, to live in a state of concubinage with blacks.” If there was an “issue” that arose from one of these “forbidden” relationships, the issue being a child born, that child was to be “adjudged to the hospital of the locality, and said slaves shall be forever incapable of being set free.” Wow, pretty heavy punishment. But guess what, those forbidden relationships still happened and look at us today. Bi-racial couples are everywhere, including on mainstream television.

If you’re working on your southern family history and you suspect there’s a secret, good luck trying to get the older relatives to speak up. As far as they’re concerned, that secret was buried and will stay buried. And those of us who want to uncover the truth? I think some of these old timers think… shame on us.

No one has ever given me reason to believe that my family history has one of these secrets but I suspect it does. I have questions that are unanswered. There are a lot of people in a three-hundred-year-old family tree and undoubtedly a lot of secrets. My hope is that southern hospitals are digitizing their old records because as the Slave Code of Louisiana tells us, look to the hospitals.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

Available Here:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

http://smashwords.com/b/313643

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Looking for Something to be Proud About? How About African American Attorneys?

In Louisiana, between 1724 and 1803, a slave code was created called the Louisiana Code Noir or the Black Code of Louisiana, designed to give guidance to colonists who “owned” slaves. The French king established these codes of conduct, based on rules created in 1685 for French colonies in the Caribbean. Because I live in an era when the president of the United States is black, the codes serve as a reminder that we have come a long way. One of the code articles has this sentence:

“… nor shall they be called to give their testimony either in civil or in criminal cases, except when it shall be a matter of necessity, and only in default of white people…”

Think of the thousands of African-Americans who have successfully finished law school, passed their bar exams and now serve as legal attorneys for the American people. Of that… we can be proud.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy. Available Here:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

http://smashwords.com/b/313643

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Ever Wonder Why the Fleur de Lis is So Popular?

Image result for public domain picture of fleur de lis

Humans have adorned themselves for thousands of years. The Scots have colorful plaids that represent their tribe, Pacific Northwest Indians tattooed their chins, the Jews have the Star of David, Christians have the cross… seems everybody has a group they identify with. A popular icon today is the fleur de lis. I see it all the time. It was flashed around a lot during the movie, The Da Vinci Code, as if it were the emblem of some powerful secret society. Perhaps it is, but it may also represent bravado among the most oppressed of us all, the enslaved.

During the days of slavery, in French Louisiana, the king signed a document, the Louisiana Code Noir, also known as the slave code, the laws pertaining to slaves and their masters. If a slave was caught stealing livestock, produce or provisions, they were legally allowed to be whipped by the public executioner and then branded with the mark of the fleur de lis. If a slave ran away and was gone for a month, his ears were cut off and he was branded with the fleur de lis on the shoulder. If a slave ran away a second time, again for a month, he was branded with the fleur de lis on the other shoulder. Quite a sign of rebellion. Unfortunately though, we run out of shoulders for the third offence. The punishment for that is death. You have to wonder if a tattoo of the fleur de lis was a status symbol, one of rebellion and anarchy. At least they tried.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy. Available Here:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

http://smashwords.com/b/313643

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American Born Spaniards… Creoles… Should Have Received More Respect

Spanish King Ferdinand made some bad choices. In his realm as master of the kingdom, he was quite cruel. He instituted the Inquisition, and followed through on his plan to make Spain a Catholic country, leading to the death or banishment of thousands of innocent subjects who refused to submit. But when Spain had colonies in the New World, his choices were also harsh. Ferdinand expected his New World subjects to trade only with Spain. That didn’t go over well. We have the history of pirates and smuggling to prove that. Those whose parents were born in Spain but they themselves were born in the New World were referred to as Creoles and they did not receive the respect they deserved. Laws that allowed only Spanish born subjects to hold higher offices in the government and within the Church brought discontent. Revolts of all varieties in the New World grew so strong, Spain was unable to control the colonies and eventually lost them.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

Available Here:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

http://smashwords.com/b/313643

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English History… the Nobles Spoke French… Illiterate Peasants Spoke English

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I just finished reading an article about the Magna Carta. (The Rule of History by Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, April 20, 2015.) Lepore writes about England’s King John and how in 1215 he signed the Magna Carta. She writes:

“Magna Carta is written in Latin. The King and the barons spoke French. ‘Par les denz Dieu!’ the King liked to swear, invoking the teeth of God. The peasants, who were illiterate, spoke English.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised that the King and barons spoke French. Being a fan of early European history, I know that in 1066, William the Conqueror claimed his right to the English throne. William was from Normandy and spoke French. But, because English has been perfected and many take great pride in their mastery of it, it’s strange to think of those who spoke English as being, “illiterate.”

Suellen Ocean is the author of the historic novel The Celtic Prince Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Prince-Before-After/dp/1484086392

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

The Arabs Granted Religious Freedom but the Christians Fought On

When the Moors crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and entered Spain in 711 A.D., they became the rulers of Andalusia and much of what we know today as modern Spain. At the time of this invasion, there were Christians and Jews who had built great wealth. The conquering Arabs (rulers of the Moors), were not interested in converting their subjects, they had come for wealth and prosperity so let the Jews and Christians go about their lives speaking their languages and observing their religions. The era of Moorish rule, though it had its infighting, was a time of great cultural growth. The arts and sciences flourished, Arabs and Jews developed friendships and had intellectual debates about math, poetry and religion. Leather working, blacksmithing and the building of spectacular mosques are remnants of this enlightened era.

But not all of Spain was conquered. The defeated Visigoths (Teutonic/Germanic tribes) were able to hold a tiny portion of territory in the far north of Spain. This region became the Christian fighting north and they did not give up. Eventually, through several centuries, the Christians regained all of Spain. And a few hundred years after that, Spain was in full blown religious oppressive mode and with Ferdinand and Isabella in charge, wrought great havoc on the Moors and Jews who lived in the Spanish provinces.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the historic novel The Celtic Prince Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Prince-Before-After/dp/1484086392

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

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Native American Genealogy… The Unbroken Chain… Might Start With a Tooth

Last week I read in the newspaper that a tooth was found during the construction phase of a large highway overpass. That single tooth stopped all construction. Native Americans came from south and west to analyze the situation. If the tooth was human, it could signify that the construction company was digging in sacred ground.

To non-Indians, holding up a multi-million dollar construction site might seem ridiculous. To Indians… it is everything. An ancient burial site is the unbroken chain of ancestry… the mothers and fathers who came before them. Some might argue, “Well, you didn’t even know it was there, so what does it matter?” The reason the Indians didn’t know it was there was because they were run off during the 1800s when Europeans claimed the New World was theirs. If the Native Americans hadn’t been “removed,” they would be protecting their ancient burial sites to this day. Imagine what a sacred spot that would be.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

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