That Time I “ALMOST” Gave Up…

After my great grandmother passed away I couldn’t bring myself to look at anything genealogy related… Even though I was constantly tempted to log onto my ancestry account and pick up where I left off, it just didn’t feel the same…. I would think to myself… “if I do find something new who will I call?” Fighting the urge to pick up the phone and both burst into tears at the same time.

I had just started my new web series “Pressing My Way Genealogy Web Series” and was ready to start episode two… This second episode was nearly completed but I had to delete it because I wasn’t even able to get through it. The entire episode is dedicated to my great grandmother and is pretty much about her because hers is the generation that I’m currently working on. It was set to be released on Nov 21, which would have been her 91st birthday.

A very good friend of mine reminded me that I can’t give up… and our little meaningful chat helped me to get my mind in gear. I decided to take a break until the beginning of the year which is where we are today…

A few months have gone by since she’s passed. I watch videos that I’ve made with her and I love to listen to the conversations of ours that I’ve recorded, I’ve gone to visit her… I’ve made my peace (as much as possible) and continuously attempt to come to terms with the absence of her physical presence (even though sometimes I feel like she’s still just a short drive away) I miss her dearly (as to be expected) but I feel like I’m finally ready to get back to doing what I love and keep her spirit alive with me in her research…

Episode two is scheduled to be released next month…

Saying Goodbye ~ Mommom Ringgold ~

There are people that are in your life that you take for granted and don’t realize their value until it is much too late. That certainly WAS NOT the case between myself and my great grandmother Clara Hannah Harris-Ringgold.”Mommom Ringgold” I knew what a gem she was and that is why it was my saddest moment to acknowledge her passing…

~ Clara Hannah Harris “Mommom” Ringgold ~

November 21, 1925 – October 31, 2016

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Why I love purses so much!

I had originally planned to meet my grandmother (Marva) at her house yesterday evening but a series of events led me to have to meet her at my great grandmother’s (Clara) house instead. She and my aunt Judy were there cleaning out old items from Mommom Ringgold’s house and they were giving me a box of photos to scan and add to my research. (TOTALLY WORTH THE TRIP!) I get the box and I walk around reminiscing in the house as I tend to do whenever I’m there and something led me to Mommom Ringgold’s bedroom. I’ve been in there many times, nothing new, I looked around and I saw three purses stuffed into the corner at the top of an empty closet. Two were Vera Bradley, and one was different.


It was a plain clutch-like purse with a little handle strap and a snapping metal clasp. It looked so classic, I loved it instantly I had to ask if I could have it…  It seemed like they were just going to end up throwing out…

“Sure Tee”, they said when I asked about the purse, “I can’t believe you like that.”

“There’s something about it”, I said.




Boy was I right! I opened the purse and what do I find… a slew of photos that I can only deem as “PRICELESS”! We sat and went through the photos, they called out names (most of which I can’t remember) and laughed at memories…. I can only imagine what may have happened had someone else found those pictures… I’m just glad that something led me to them

This is why I love purses so much!

My biggest score so far is this photo of my great-great grandfather (Benson Samuel Harris) holding my grandmother (Marva) when she was in infant (1943)  ~ I’m on cloud 9!!

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Pressing My Way Web Series…


I spent the entire weekend on youtube, searching for something remotely like what I want to do and I couldn’t find what I was looking for. To be quite frank, I was kinda bored and unimpressed. So I did it… I launched the page and made a video and before I knew it I had a few subscribers (I hope you’ll be one of them) to the BRAND NEW Pressing My Way Web Series! I’m so excited and I can’t wait to get started making videos and updating via blog. There are so many things that I want to say instead of just type (besides you can’t type tone.. or jokes for that matter). Now yes, I know this means that I have to deliver beyond measure but I’m totally fine with that because I’m not doing it for approval, I’m doing it for the love of the ancestors!

Check out the show opener…  (RIGHT HERE) and don’t forget to press the SUBSCRIBE button!!!!

A New Platform…. THE ULTIMATE DO OVER!!!

I’ve decided to scrap everything I THINK I know and have a COMPLETE DO OVER…. This time however will be different than any other time I’ve decided to start over…. This time it will be documented via my Blog (you already know where this is), my paperwork, online databases, a new online public tree via AND most excitedly by VIDEO ~ Vlog address TBD ~ it will probably be fueled through my YouTube page. (It doesn’t have a  looking forward to seeing if I come up with the same family connections that I did originally. Lord knows I’ve made some mistakes in the past… This time though I’m going “By the book”….Following the genealogical proof standard (which will hopefully aide in my genealogy certification) I’m so excited about this because 1. I’m going to get a chance to see my research unfold in front of me, and 2. I won’t have to read it all…. and 3. I can share it with my children when they are older and they won’t be bored because they won’t have to read it all lol. I’m going to do my best not to make it boring and to keep you entertained 🙂 The first episode should be rolling out sometime this upcoming week. 🙂


GO FUND ME UPDATE: It’s made enough to purchase the first of what hopes to be many DNA kits… More donations and help are still needed to make this a successful endeavor.


Seeking Help

While I was away at my family in Tennessee, I met the oldest of my family members on that side. Cousin Alfred. He is 94 years young and is in great health and spirit. I though to myself, how awesome would that be to be able to have his story captured, as well as have his DNA profile available? So then I had the idea to start a gofundme page to assist with this project and that’s where we are now…. Please offer some support if you can. Thank you in advance…




Gaithersburg, TN ~ Family Reunion

It was so worth the 11 hour drive… Two cars, four passengers per car headed from Maryland to Tennessee. It was family reunion weekend and we were celebrating the 67th CONSECUTIVE “Thompson, Bryant, and Choates”. We adorned our lime green family reunion t-shirts and toured the city of Pigeon Forge, TN with nothing but smiles. We had such a great time. I look forward to next years reunion.

SPEAK UP…. My 1st Presentation

So those who know me in real life know that as much as I like to talk and to write that public speaking absolutely paralyses me! So much so that I won’t even speak in front of a room filled with more than 20 of my own family members unless I have to; and even then it is filled with stuttering and stumbling over sentences that I speak on a regular basis. Today however, all of that changed. I made a vow to myself that as of my 30th year that I would let go of that fear and essentially “speak up”.
My opportunity came as a few of the conferences that I plan to attend this year. AAHGS (African American Historical Genealogy Society 2016 in Atlanta) and the IBGS (International Black Genealogy Summit in DC)  put out their calls for papers. For those who don’t know a call for papers is sending out a proposal to be a speaker during the conference. I really really wanted to do it but realized that I was in no way shape or form ready for such a huge undertaking… I was however, ready to “speak up” in front of my genealogy detectives group that I love so much. Even though I don’t get to attend as regularly as I want to I made sure that I made it today (well yesterday now). Even if it meant not getting any sleep after I got off work at 7am in the morning. (Yes I realize that it is almost 3am as I type this but ~ I’m at work again) The reason that today was so important you ask… it was because I, yes ME Tierra Kellow was going to be SPEAKING… delivering a presentation that I created about genealogy and the evernote program. I was so excited because I love evernote and I use it all the time. Especially since I am trying to not have to carry around my “Big Book of Everybody” unless it is absolutely necessary. (S/N I need to remind myself to get a rolling suitcase, I’m sure my research will eventually cause severe back pain if I’m not careful – that book is really heavy).

I didn’t get nervous until it was actually time to speak and people were filing into the meeting room. There were only 12 people but hey to me that was a big deal… I had my powerpoint together, I knew what I was going to talk about, and I did it with a smile on my face.

I was originally worried that I wouldn’t be able to stand in front of a room and deliver a presentation that lasted for more than 20 minutes. I packed the slide show with roughly 80 slides to make sure that I didn’t run under time… Little did I know that I would end up going “off script” into an almost impromptu presentation, giving a live evernote tutorial using my own personal evernote. That, along with questions (that I was able to answer) and comments/conversation from the crowd, I managed to stay at the podium for almost TWO HOURS… I couldn’t believe it myself. I was so proud of me 🙂

After the presentation I was shocked to learn that everyone enjoyed it. People even wanted a copy of the power point. Here I was ready to hang my hat on this failed attempt and call it a day. Boy was I wrong… One of the group members is making plans to recommend me to speak on this topic at another engagement. Another group member asked me if I was available to speak at a separate group. I think I might be up for it so long as the crowd is small (for now).

Maybe one day I’ll be able to command a large crowd without wanting to curl up in the corner and cry. At least I’m getting there, one step at a time… Until then I’ll just continue to do my best to “SPEAK UP”





Saying Goodbye ~ “Pop”

Another blog post that took me a while to write… A little over two months ago, on  January 28, 2015 I lost my Stepfather Harold “Bata” Brown or “Pop”as I affectionately called him. I had the pleasure of having him in my life for more than six years and even though I can admit that it took a while for him to grow on me I can honestly say that knowing him made a big difference in my life. Even though I was well over the age of “needing a father” I will say that he helped me in many ways that only the “father type” could. He was a large part of the inspiration that lead me to start my photography business and for that I will always be grateful. According to him there wasn’t much that I couldn’t do when I put my mind to it. I’m starting to embrace that and I owe it to him. Pop will always have a special place in my heart.

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~ Harold “Bata” Brown ~

January 15,1964 – January 28,2016