Friday, October 28, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good: When last we met, I referred to my recent contact with a cousin who had done some significant work on our family history. I promised to tell more about that at a future date. Now is that time. The cousin is Steven C. Bowie. Steve's work focuses on the descendants of James Bowie, a free man of color, who lived in Louisiana in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. James Bowie was related to the well-known Texan, Col. Jim Bowie, though the exact relationship is not clear.

I'm a descendant of James Bowie, as are various persons I've referred to here from time to time. Steve's work is excellent and can be found at I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Steve, by the way, is an engineer with many interests. See another of his hobbies at

The Bad: Actually, the only bad thing is that I couldn't come up with anything bad . . . .

The Ugly: Here's an actual (redacted) e-mail exchange I had recently.

From: [Sanford Gines Bowie]
To: [xx]gines@[xxx].edu
Subject: Gines Cousins?
10/02/2005 1:13 pm

Dear Professor Gines

Congratulations on your appointment to the . . . faculty! I have read some of your work from . . . and . . . and may I wish you continued advancement in your scholarship.

I write for a different reason. . . . I am a direct descendant of a man named Richard William Gines (1860-?). With my aunt, Delorise A. Gines of Kansas City, Missouri, I am one of the nation's leading genealogical researchers on African-Americans named Gines. You can see some of my writing at my blog, GeneaBlogie, published under the pen name Sanford Gines Bowie. Other work in progress is at Our LifeTimes: The Legacy of an American Family, centered on the descendants of the aforementioned Richard William Gines.

We have identified six major family groups of African-Americans named Gines. The easternmost group resides in South Carolina. Another black Gines family group resides in western Louisiana. A third group lives in east Texas. A fourth group is centered around the Kansas City metropolitan area. A fifth group is located in the area around St Louis, Missouri. Finally, a sixth group is resident in Tennessee. We know that migration patterns went thusly:

1. SC--->LA--->KCMO
2. SC--->LA--->TX

So we know the families in South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, and Kansas City are related. Extensive research and personal contact confirms this. Although we have some theories, we do not yet understand the connections, if any, between the Tennessee families, the St Louis families, and the others. Our goal is to understand these connections and ultimately create a well-documented, scholarly study of the African-American Gines family.

We have surmised from publicly available sources that you are of the Tennessee families. Let me assure you that we have no desire or intent to invade anyone's privacy--and that is why I have included links here that you can use to check up on me. But may I ask you that time-honored question: Where are your people from?


[Sanford Gines Bowie]
McLean VA
From: Gines, [yy]
To: [Sanford Gines Bowie]
subject: Request for Removal (Gines)
10/05/2005 1:38 pm
Dear [Mr. Bowie],

My name is [yy] Gines and I am married to [xx] Gines. I have the Gines relatives not her. She married into the Gines family. Therefore I am requesting that you remove every reference or link you have of her on your website (or anywhere else you may have them).If you want more information on the Gines family that I come from email me at: or reply when you have complied with all of my request.

Thanks in Advance,

[yy] Gines


From: [Sanford Gines Bowie]
To: [yy] Gines
Re: Request for Removal (Gines)
10/05/2005 6:35 pm

Dear Mr. Gines:

Wow! In genealogical research, I've learned to expect just about everything, but I've not had a request like yours before. And, frankly, I had to think for a bit as to how I ought to respond. However, after giving the matter some thought, I've decided to comply with your request. (It's done.) I hope my good faith in doing so will encourage you to share with me to the extent you feel comfortable any information you may have about African-Americans named Gines. Again, my interest is two-fold: first, to compile a scholarly history of the black Gines family [of which I am a member]; and, second, to know and celebrate my cousins.


[Sanford Gines Bowie]

Do you suppose I've heard back from him?


DeAnna B said...

O_O Wow. Just ... wow.



He's certainly ... protective of her, isn't he?

Wow. :X

Craig Manson said...

"Protective" is a polite way to put it. My experience as a judge was that some women being "protected" ended up needing real orders of protection. Not to say that's the case here . . . .

Chris said...

Maybe she's a covert operative for the CIA. Scooter Libby might know. . .

I guess good manners and good faith go only so far in this world. I have yet to receive a response like this, but it's always a risk when "cold-calling" cousins. I'm not sure how I would have responded, but I'm 99.44% sure you did the right thing--at least with regard to public references.