We all tried at least once in life to imagine how our great-great-great grandmother looked. We were usually interested in their way of life, the difficulties that occurred to them, or the way they ceased to exist. Sometimes, we just want to make a family tree for our children.

One of the people who share this point of view is Jeremy Alexander, a Georgetown employee. Mr. Alexander is a forty-five-year-old executive assistant in Georgetown’s office of technology commercialization who wanted to make a family tree for his nine-year-old son.

The dark past

Mr. Alexander was a witness of the University which struggled with its dark past. This dark past refers to the sale of slaves in 1893 to help rescue it from financial ruin. Mr. Alexander was familiar with the difficulties that had occurred many years ago and the impact they had on the slaves and their families. Moreover, Mr. Alexander could not imagine that his own great, great, great grandmother, Anna Mahoney Jones, who was enslaved with her two children at the plantation in Ascension Parish, was one of the slaves that were sold in 1898. Anna Mahoney Jones was one of the 272 slaves who were sold by two priests for $3.3 million in today’s dollars.

The shocking truth

Everything started in 2014 when Jeremy Alexander had his DNA tested, along with his wife and parents.

The search ended at the name of his great-grandmother Ana Jones who was the granddaughter of Anna Mahoney Jones. In the beginning Mr. Alexander did not pay a lot of attention to the name, so the search was stopped for a while. Last fall Mr. Alexander received an unexpected mail, which was from Melisa Kempt who introduced herself as a distant cousin who lives in Boston.

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Soon, they started talking about old relatives they know and the name of Anna Jones came up.

Ms. Kempt acquainted Jeremy Alexander with the name of Anna Mahoney Jones, the name which would resolve the dilemma and further explain Mr. Alexander’s lineage. Ms. Kempt told him that Anna Mahoney Jones was among the slaves which were used to save the University from financial ruin. For Mr. Alexander, this was amazing and incredible, as at the time, he worked at the university. All this was confirmed through archival records and DNA tests by a genealogist, Judy Riffel.