The Gift of a Family Tree

Genealogists know that a person’s family tree is an incredibly important piece of their family story. It can be difficult to put together, especially for people who are African-American. The records that are accessible tend to stop at around 1870. As such, one can imagine how special it was for a Congresswoman to receive her five-generation family tree as a gift from another Congresswoman.

Representative Mia Love represents the fourth district of the state of Utah. She is a Republican and a Mormon. Representative Marcia Fudge represents the eleventh district of the state of Ohio. She is a Democrat. Both women are members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Representative Love asked FamilySearch (which is a service provided by the Church of Latter-day Saints) to put together a family tree for Representative Fudge. Carol Smith is a FamilySearch researcher who spent weeks compiling the information.

Carol Smith found a marriage record on Fudge’s family tree among the historic Freedmen’s Bureau Records. FamilySearch International, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the LDS Church, gave a digital database of the historic Freedmen’s Bureau Record to the Smithsonian National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington D.C.

On May 4, 2017, Representative Mia Love, along with researcher Carol Smith and Elder Von G. Keetch, a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presented Representative Marcia Fudge with her family tree. It included a total of five generations.

In general, we tend to think of the Representatives in Congress as not getting along with anyone who is in the opposing party. It often seems like the Democrats stick together and fight the Republicans, and the Republicans stick together and fight the Democrats. In this story, we have a vivid example of two members of Congress – from opposite parties – who get along with each other very well.

Those who want to find find generations of their family tree may want to start at FamilySearch. It is free to use for everyone – including members of Congress. The Freedman’s Bureau Records database is free for African-Americans to use and can be found at

Image by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Related Articles at

* FamilySearch Introduces Family Tree Lite

* Volunteers Index More than 1 Million Freedman’s Bureau Records

* Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

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