NewsLocal News


San Diegans begin tracing ancestries ahead of reparations plan

San Diegans begin tracing ancestries ahead of reparations plan
Posted at 5:07 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 20:35:51-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A local genealogist says more families are starting to trace their lineage, ahead of a decision on reparations for Californians who are descendants of slaves.

Yvette Porter-Moore, a professional genealogist, has spent more than three decades investigating her own ancestry.

Both biracial and adopted by a black family, she's traced the family lineage of her adoptive parents, along with her birth father's family, to plantations in the South, in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Porter-Moore likens it to a big puzzle. A piece could be a DNA test result, a photos, or a document. It's a puzzle more and more San Diegans are starting to put together.

“I have received calls from individuals who would like to get their DNA tested and to trace back to the plantation in which their families lived,” said Porter-Moore.

Earlier this month, a task force created by Governor Newsom issued a groundbreaking, 500-page report detailing harms suffered by the descendants of enslaved people. Next year, the task force will release a comprehensive reparations plan, expected to be limited to those who can show they are descendants of African-Americans living in the US in the 19th century.

“There will be a coalition forming. There are talks happening already in Northern California,” said Porter-Moore.

Porter-Moore says a network of genealogists and historians is forming to help those trace family ancestries. DNA tests help form the branches of a family tree, as do bank records, birth and death records, newspaper articles, and other documents.

“Wills and trusts of slave owners, possibly runaway slave ads, or maybe some court records, as we were considered property,” said Porter-Moore. “It is my hope there is justice for our enslaved ancestors, and we begin to recover what was lost.”

Porter-Moore estimates about 10 percent of African-Americans in California may be ready to apply for reparations based on the research they've already done. California is home to the 5th largest black population in the US.