How a family discovery connected two strangers — and opened their eyes to New Hampshire’s history of slavery

Jun 2, 2024

Genealogy can reveal surprises in our family tree. A few years ago, a collection of old family letters led to a discovery that connected two strangers across the country who learned their family histories were connected by slavery in New Hampshire: one, the descendant of a man who was enslaved in Portsmouth; the other, a descendant from the family that enslaved him.

Laurel Guild Yancey and Tonya Ward Singer met in person on Juneteenth weekend in 2022. In this photo, courtesy of Tonya Ward Singer, they stand on the rooftop of the Moffatt-Ladd house where Guild Yancey’s ancestory, Prince Whipple, lived while enslaved by Ward Singer’s ancestors, William and Catherine Moffatt Whipple.

Read and listen to Laurel’s and Tonya’s story at New Hampshire Public Radio.

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