African-American’s roots revised

If you’re an African-American, tracing your roots back to the ancestral continent is hard enough — but tracing them back to the ancestral family? That requires genetic testing, plus family-history scholarship, plus trips to Africa, plus a little bit of faith. William Holland has filled all of those requirements, and to celebrate, he’s planning a cross-continental family reunion for Memorial Day weekend in Virginia, where his ancestors were once held as slaves.

“Memorial Day is a time for remembering the loved ones you lost, right?” Holland said. “So it’s a good time to remember all those generations that were lost.”

It’s taken more than a decade for the 43-year-old Atlanta genealogist to fill in the story of those lost generations — a story that leads back to Cameroon, and then even further back to present-day Syria.

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