Taneya Koonce

Taneya KoonceTaneya is an information science professional with 16 years in information management & organization. Taneya applies her professional experience in the identification, selection, evaluation, & critical analysis of information to her genealogy hobby pursuits. Taneya volunteers extensively with the national USGenWeb Project and is dedicated to helping others locate information to enrich their own family history knowledge. Taneya is an active blogger and participant in the online genealogy community, and has specific interests in technology, historical newspaper research, and genetic genealogy. She currently volunteers with the Nashville Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, and is a member of the online genealogy group BlackProGen and the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society Board of Directors.

Go In-Depth With Taneya

If you could go to any conference/institute, which would it be?
I am looking forward to the day when I am able to attend a RootsTech! I have an avid interest in technology and genealogy and RootsTech is appealing to me for that very reason. Since the conference's inception I've watched the online presentations with earnest and each year feel I learn even more than the year before. My active life at home with my family and my career keeps my ability to travel limited for now, but I look forward to attending, not only to enjoy the sessions in person, but to have the opportunity to meet the many genea-friends I've come to get to know online over the past decade.

What is your most poignant ancestor story?
My most poignant story is that of one of my 3rd great-grandfather, Prince Walker of Plymouth, NC. According to records I've acquired he was born about 1812 and as many of my ancestors, was enslaved. A few years into my genealogy quests, I discovered his death notice in the local newspaper in 1899, in which he was described as a "fore the war darky." This phrase stuck with me as I knew it indicated he went along with social norms of the time and the white residents of the town felt favorably of him for that reason. Then, last year, through an Ancestry green leaf, I connected with a distant cousin who is descended from a son of his whom I did not have any record of - for this son literally ran away and escaped slavery to settle up north in Rhode Island. It was his father Prince that helped him. In speaking with my cousin, I learned that she'd always heard from her family that Prince was an overseer on a large plantation and was seen favorably by the white community. Well, her testament to his character, combined with the newspaper death notice has been poignant to me for many reasons. A striking juxtaposition that he behaved as he was expected to yet risked much to help his son escape slavery.

What are your feelings about adding non-blood related lines into your research?
My parents divorced when I was 10 years old and I grew up with both a step-mother and a stepfather. When I married my husband, he had four sons and I gained an instant family. I definitely believe in adding non-blood relatives! Family bonds go beyond bloodlines and and I feel it is important to be able to record them as closely as we can to each person's experienced lives.

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© 2016 Taneya Koonce

Taneya Koonce actively contributes to the genealogical community and a passionate advocate for family history research.   Taneya volunteers with the USGenWeb Project and the Nashville Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, and is a member of the online genealogy group BlackProGen and the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society Board of Directors. She is also the author of the African American Research Adventures column for the In-Depth Genealogist’s digital magazine Going In-Depth. You can learn about Taneya’s personal genealogy pursuits on her blog at http://www.taneya-kalonji.com/genblog.

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