By GCPL Genealogist Cheryl McClellan

Genealogy research can lead to surprising discoveries about your family. Parma, Ohio native, Gail Lukasik, discovered in 1995, while researching census records, that her grandfather was black. Her mother had kept this fact hidden from the family. An award winning author, in 2017, Gail wrote White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing.  The book chronicles her discovery and how it changed her perceptions of herself and race. Lukasik was recently interviewed by Cleveland-area TV and radio personality, Rick Jackson. Also interviewed on the show were our own Geauga West reference assistant, Sandra Beane Milton, and Sunny McClellan Morton, prominent genealogy writer and daughter of GCPL genealogist Cheryl McClellan.

Sandra’s own Aunt Rose passed as white in one world while coming, alone, to visit her black family in her other world. Rose would never allow the two worlds to meet. Sunny discusses the importance of understanding census terminology. For instance, terms such as “mulatto,” “black,” “colored,” and “Negro” have different meanings at different times. Sunny points out that genealogy records and DNA can lead you to roots that you’ve been disconnected from and family you didn’t know existed.

Gail Lukasik will be at the Newbury Auditorium Mon., Jan. 20, 2 – 4 p.m. Please register here.

Lukasik’s book can be checked out from the Clevnet catalog.

The show can be accessed here.