Ealy Family Book

Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy - Volume 1


Volume 1
February 1, 2016
8.5 x 11
Perfect-bound Paperback


Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy is a fascinating body of work that not only documents the Ealy Family’s history back to the 1700s, but it also captures the history of the Leake County, Mississippi communities where the family’s presence dates back to circa 1835. That was the time frame when the family patriarch, Robert “Big Bob” Ealy, was transported to central Mississippi from Nash County, North Carolina as a young man. His enslaver, William “Billy” Eley, used him as a breeder. With his wife Jane Parrott, Big Bob Ealy had 12 children. An additional three children have been found. Because of his forced task of slave breeding, more will likely be unearthed in the future, since DNA technology has entered the genealogy scene. This first volume documents over 3,500 descendants. The family ancestral homes are the Lena and Tuscola communities of Leake County, Mississippi, but many descendants also resided and still live in Scott, Rankin, Hinds, and Madison County, Mississippi. During the 20th Century Great Migration, scores of Ealys migrated to Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, and other points North and West.

Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy highlights four key areas – family, community, church, and school. These topics help to provide a comprehensive history of the Ealy Family. A family history is more than just names, places, and dates. That’s boring. However, this book is like no other family publication because it’s filled with a chockfull of stories and memories from family elders and others about the family, the Lena and Tuscola communities, the churches, and the early schools for African Americans in southern Leake County. Oral history is a major part of family history research, as it gives life to the deceased ancestors. It helps the reader to form mental pictures of their lives, the good and the not-so-good. This book also contains a myriad of pictures that came from the dusty storages, old photo albums, basements, and closets of many family members, thus providing faces to many of the names from the past.

Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy was authored by Melvin J. Collier, a renowned genealogy researcher and author of two genealogical books, Mississippi to Africa, A Journey of Discovery and 150 Years Later, Broken Ties Mended. Collier is a great great grandson of Big Bob & Jane Ealy. He first heard his paternal grandmother, Willie Ealy Collier, utter Big Bob’s name from her lips when he was a young teenager. Consequently, he began his genealogy research of the Ealy Family in 1993, nearly three years after his grandmother’s passing, recalling much of the information she relayed to him. His research of the family continues today. He has currently traced the Ealy Family’s history back to Big Bob’s mother, Annie, who was born circa 1795. Her name was given to numerous descendants. Collier discovered an unfortunate saga that involved the “ownership” of Annie and three of her children. They were the subject of an 1832 North Carolina court case, William Hunt vs. Edwin Bass et al, 17 N.C. 292, which went all the way to the N.C. Supreme Court. Collier’s research has also taken Jane Parrott’s family history back to the 1700s to Lunenburg and Brunswick County, Virginia.  He has also uncovered autosomal DNA evidence of the family’s African roots.

In Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy, Collier uniquely combines the process of genealogy research with story-telling. He discloses how he researched the enslaved ancestors of Big Bob and Jane, while still telling the stories of their lives and their descendants’ lives during slavery and afterwards. This also makes this book a great publication for even non-descendants who are interested in African American genealogy research and slave ancestral research. This book can also serve as a great template on how to structure and write a family history book. Whether if one is an Ealy descendant or not, this book is a great educational resource.

For more info, contact us at BobEalyFamily@gmail.com.