Corey-Ponder-collected-young-minds-8.jpg

Corey Ponder

Google & Founder of em|PACT Strategies

Oakland, CA

I had never really thought about the deeper story of my history before David.  I understood where I came from as a Black man in America, but not who I was and who my family was within that story.  David helped me; I had very little information about my family tree.  Even with partial names of aunts and uncles and only two names of my grandparents, David was able to trace my tree back generations in a few hours.  It felt amazing to tease out where my family came from, even if it was traced back to plantations.  As black Americans, I often feel we are afloat outside of time — American history only acknowledges us in February and African history feels somehow separate as well.  But David's work firmly rooted my story and my origins in a historical timeline and it felt good to know my story wasn't erased.

DSC03145.jpg

Keren Johnson

Founder & Foreign Policy Specialist

Los Angeles, CA

Aside from finding out that I had an uncle in Panama who my dad and I never knew about, David helped me discover so much about my family history. I only met one of my biological grandparents in this lifetime so all I hold dear to my heart are their stories, their oral histories of their parents and their tales about life immigrating to this country or facing racism as slaves and sharecroppers in the deep south before migrating West. 

 

David took a deep dive into everything from census records and property deeds to immigration records to find the rich, untold chapters of my family story. Moreover, David provided me with some documentation and was intent on hearing the colorful backstories from my own memory. For example, I always knew that my paternal grandfather worked on the Panama Canal as a Barbadian migrant worker and that my maternal grandmother was a child when her father was murdered by the KKK in Mississippi. To see the ship manifest that listed my paternal grandfather on the Avianca's voyage from Panama to the United States via Ellis Island was overwhelmingly beautiful... and to see the census records that listed my maternal grandmother as a 6 year old daughter to Delia Strong, a widow, when her father was alive and listed as head of household just a few years prior was overwhelmingly sad... but both of those stories have shaped me into who I am today. I am now more excited than ever to continue my work with David, find more lineage information and to document what I know for generations to come. I am so grateful to him for the work that he has done for me personally and the work that he continues to do for the culture. Black people from the diaspora should be so lucky to work with him and I highly recommend his services.

48932503_10108823157962523_3648913762670

Marc Bacani

International DJ & Photographer

Oakland, CA

David is such a blessing! I was helping my mom complete her U.S. citizenship application when we hit several roadblocks. One of the questions required information from her late father's naturalization documents. With him passing away over 25 years ago, finding the paperwork wasn’t an easy task. Before starting the scavenger hunt, I asked David if he had any advice on where to start. He simply said, “let me see what I can do.” Within 30 minutes, I received an email from David with a copy of the documents I was looking for! My mom was extremely happy and completed her application that same day.

Additionally, this was around the same time that my father had passed away. Given the curiosity that comes with this life event, I wanted to learn more about his side of the family in the Philippines. David did not disappoint! I knew my father had 14 siblings, but knew nothing about the generation before him. David tracked down multiple lines in my family tree and found branches that I didn’t know existed. Learning more about my father helped me with the grieving and healing process.    

EricaCFA.jpg

Erica Hartfield

Owner & Operator - Chick-fil-A

Los Angeles, CA

David did an incredible job finding my ancestors and giving me additional clarity into my own personal history. He even found that my 2nd Great Grandfather fled South Carolina because of racial violence and changed his last name! That discovery was incredible and I'll be forever grateful to the work David did for me and my family. I hope others can utilize his unique talents.