05 June 2011

This Is The Face of Genealogy

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
June 2011
An insulting, degrading picture was recently attached to announce an upcoming genealogy event in California by LA Weekly.  All genealogists are asking what was the author thinking?  Can she possibly be such a horrible person? Where were the editors of LA Weekly to allow such a degrading, insulting photograph  to make it into publication?

The paper was obviously swamped with complaints and by 4:00 this afternoon the picture has been removed from the article.  Thank goodness.  But it has still left me seething!

Usually I don't utilize the Eastern Kentucky Genealogy Blog for this sort of thing.  But not only was this hurtful to the California genealogy group sponsoring an educational seminar, and an attack on the science of genealogy, it also offended my beloved Appalachia.  

My only comment is to say to the author and the world that the photograph in my blog represents the true nature of genealogy.
This Is The Face of Genealogy

My beloved grandmother Katherine Marie Halderman Feyler 1892-1980

So I now wonder, in the year 2011 how many people in the world still visualize the pioneers of my beloved area in derogatory terms.  In a climate where we all fight against racism and want equality, what do the jokes of southern and Appalachian culture actually do?  Raised here I have laughed at "red neck" jokes.  Laughed when people ask why my farm is called Deliverance Farm but quickly set them straight! For the record: de.liv.er.ance: the act of delivering ...set free...liberation. Coming back home to Eastern Kentucky was a breath of fresh air. 

Why would anyone think our pioneer ancestors, good or bad were not the foundation on which our own lives are based?  Tonight I think I will bow my head and pray for the person who has created an international genealogical uproar!

My best to the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree June 10-12 2011.


  1. Teresa,

    I too was incensed to no end. I am happy that they have taken down the photo but I don't think that is a enough. I really think an apology is in order.


  2. Teresa, someone said not too long ago that hillbillies were the last acceptable group to make fun of. Having taken my eastern Kentucky accent and idioms all over the country, I have seen prejudice first hand. At a dinner party in Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles) many years ago, a colleague at the Laboratory of Nuclear Medicine was expounding on hillbillies. I told him he was talking about me and my wife. He tried to say that we "were different," but he shut up when I informed him I was descended from the Feuding Hatfields.

    By the way, author Sharyn McCrumb says her mission in life is to show folks that the movie Deliverance was not a documentary!


  3. Bless you, Teresa. Evidently if you are a hillbilly or a Christian you are fair game in this world today. Folks with Christian values are the evil ones and heaven forbid we should be proud of our ancestors who fought for the south in the Civil War (which mine did). And on it goes back to disrespecting even our Revolutionary ancestors and Founding Fathers.

    Even tho I did not grow up in Apalachia, many of my ancestors were early Kentuckians and I feel I have lived here long enough to proudly claim Kentucky as my home. I did, after all, raise my children here and Mike and I enjoy taking a Kentucky vacation every year to explore the wonderful history of this great state.

    By the way--I love the way Jim set the California group straight. If we don't speak up, we're gonna loose more than our heritage--we'll loose our grandchildren's right to the American Heritage our Founders sacrificed so much to give to them.

    You see--you really started something here. Good for you, Teresa.

  4. Teresa, Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my picture. I too am from Kentucky those ancestors were a huge loving part of my past. I over came a car issue on the side of the road the other day, the mechanic was amazed at my ingenuity, I said "it was the dirt farmer in me". We carry it forward. BTW My daughter didn't have a chance, my mom was a twin, and her father was a twin. Interestingly, out of 6 she is the only one with twins.

  5. It is a good thing they took the picture down.