25 October 2012

Haiti connections

Jean-Marc Fracnis & Josephine Humphreys
Friends of the Library presentation: Novelist Josephine Humphreys was researching her family history when she came across some curious figures, among them a woman hiding in a tree to save her life; a mysterious nobleman; and a young mulatto woman fleeing the Haitian Revolution to make a new life in Charleston.  On a genealogy website she was surprised to see the name and email address of another researcher, Haitian-born Jean-Marc Francis, who seemed to be following some of the same characters.  An email exchange led to a sharing of information and a meeting of their families in Orlando, where Jean-Marc now lives.  They will share some of their surprising discoveries and stories, as well as their interpretations of colonial Haitian slavery and history with the Friends of the Library.
You may have missed it but I didn't! I made it to the Library in the nick of time to catch their talk. The fun thing is that they met online when they caught each other researching the same ancestral trail. They figured out they were distant relatives.

If an unknown distant relative ever claims me I'd like it to be someone as cool as Josephine Humphreys please! If you have never read Josephine's essay on Charleston for the Smithsonian Magazine you can find it here.