“I encourage others to be proud of who they are, where they are from, and to consider tracking their own interesting lineage,” says Stephanie Adams.
James Pylant: What sparked your interest in genealogy?
Stephanie Adams: From a very early age, I had a deep interest in certain places and topics. England, Ireland, knights, castles, Druids, kings, and queens were always a form of excitement and interest to me. Somehow, I always felt that I had more of a connection to these people and places than just a flight of fancy or curiosity, so when I embarked upon my very own ancestry, I had a profound feeling that something was going to be quite unique, to say the least, about my personal lineage. But never beyond my wildest imagination did I ever believe I’d have ancestry that traces back from slaves and Revolutionary War heroes to members of the Knights Templar, the House of Plantagenet, Charlemagne, and the Merovingian dynasty. It all seemed so surreal.
JP: Before starting the search, did you know much about your roots?
SA: Ancestry research is truly fascinating, especially when it tells a story that society does not fully know. Already aware of my multicultural and mixed heritage, after combining research from experts and documents, along with detailed DNA results, I successfully created an astounding yet accurately historical family tree for my wonderful family, from roots to leaves, filled with an exciting story of genealogy. According to the notes in our family Bible that’s over a century old, we are direct descendants of two U.S. Presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams. But it wasn’t until my father gave me his family Bible that I traced an entire genealogical history, beyond the surname Adams and what I had originally thought was just family lore.
JP: As your journey progressed, your focus turned to a mulatto ancestress named Delphia. What did you uncover about her life?
SA: With the stories, facts, and great discoveries about the ancestors within my family tree, no one has left me as intrigued and fascinated as my fourth great grandmother, a mysterious woman named Delphia. Delphia Green was an American mulatto of African and European ancestry, born the year 1807 in Virginia. Not much is known about her genealogy, and it is not known whether or not she was a freed slave, but what is known is the fact that she was a love interest of a prominent man from a highly affluent family in Virginia named Dr. Nathaniel Terry Green, who was also the father of her children. Keep in mind that slavery did not end in America until 1865, and it was not until 1967 that it finally became legal for interracial couples to marry. So, because something so natural and perfect as love could not be deterred by such ridiculously racist rules, Delphia and Dr. Green lived in separate homes right next door to each other on his property in Virginia, and continued their love story until the day he died. Delphia was never recorded as being “married,” because she and Dr. Green could not marry. But soon after Dr. Green passed away, she distinctly chose to record herself in the U.S. census as “widowed,” acknowledging their union. Despite the difficulties, obstacles, or circumstances surrounding Delphia’s relationship with Dr. Green, their children—my relatives—are all the result of their highly complicated and controversial yet persistent love. Dr. Green’s ancestors, like many from both my mother and father’s side of the family, trace back to the sons and daughters of the American Revolution. The Green family, however, has the deepest roots with the richest leaves stretching as far back as ancient Europe. Upon discovering this, I soon realized that my ancestry exploration did not end with my fourth great-grandparents Delphia and Dr. Green, but instead had just begun.