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Honoring Our Ancestors
September 8, 2014


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

This is a special mailing because I'm excited to share my first new video in several years! I hope you'll enjoy this unexpected story about the family history of Pharrell Williams and his connection to Liberia - as well as the message about the ripple effect our decisions have. And if you do, I'd be very grateful if you'd share it with others!

Here's a quick synopsis - and those of you who like all the nitty-gritty details can find more here: https://www.megansmolenyak.com/pharrell/

Every one of us is an amalgamation not only of all our ancestors, but of their decisions, and a peek into the family tree of Pharrell Williams reveals how a decision made by one of his ancestors in 1832 almost erased him from existence. More than 180 years ago, Ambrose Hawkins, a free person of color, contemplated moving his family from America to Africa, and even made a roughly 10,000 mile round trip journey there to check things out. If not for a last minute change of heart, Ambrose’s son would have been raised in Liberia instead of North Carolina and the gene pool that would eventually produce Pharrell Williams couldn’t have crystallized. Pharrell wouldn’t exist and the rest of us would be considerably less Happy. Even so, the paper trail indicates that Pharrell probably has cousins – descended from mutual American ancestors - in Liberia today.



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