Posts Tagged ‘family history’

Hey folks,

It’s Friday!

Making this short…today marks a year since my Cousin Prince passed away. I’ll be posting a blog post later on about how today went but in the meantime here is a short piece I wrote which has also been featured on the blog, Hill Street Viewz written by Sean Hill. I also posted a new Prince Tribute Video on YouTube.


April 21st, 2016 is a day I’ll never forget. That Thursday morning, felt like so many other tragedies: Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti Earthquake and countless others. It was devastating and left me shock like so many people who had heard the news about the loss of the Legendary Artist known as Prince. A month later, I made an amazing discovery that changed my life. I did some research on ancestry.com out of curiosity and discovered Prince was my fourth cousin on my Dad’s side! Apparently, I had come across a branch in my family tree that seemed to be forgotten for years! While the discovery was exciting it was also heartbreaking in that the one person I would love to share this with isn’t here.

Since then, I have gotten in touch with Prince’s friends and members of my extended family.  We all miss Prince and being able to talk and remember him has helped. My Dad’s also a musician and like Prince, has worked with various people in the industry. I’m in the process of putting together a documentary based on my research. I hope by sharing my experience that it inspires others to do research on their ancestry and family history. I miss him and often think about how things might’ve been had I learned we were related sooner. It is heartwarming to know so many people love him. My cousin has inspired me in more ways than one and being related to him is something I cherish.  A year later, the loss is still hard to deal with. Last April, the world lost someone many consider a brother, friend, hero and mentor. For me, it was my cousin. In the past year, I’ve learned a lot about who I am, where I come from and that I’m one of several people who shares the same blood as the legendary Artist known as Prince. Quoting Brian McKnight’s song and one of my cousin’s greatest hits, after this Friday, I might dry my eyes but without a doubt, this won’t be when one last dove cries…




“All 2gether”


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Hey folks…

Last night the American Music Awards aired on ABC.

Though the show wasn’t anything to write home about, the highlight was that Purple Rain won Soundtrack of the Year, exactly 32 years after the movie was released in theaters and became a box office hit and the album sold 20 million copies. The film and album are what helped my cousin to become a household name.

But anyway, here’s a short piece I wrote that I wanted to share…grab yourself a kleenix tissue…you’re going to need it! I’ve titled this piece…

U and I…


The year 1066 is where our family history begins. The Nelson, Carmichael and Clark clans of England, Scotland and Ireland once had a seat of power, some were Chiefs and Lords, others held the title of the oldest Royal clans to rule over their homelands.  600 years later, these three families sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of a better life away from the hardships of their former home. As time went on, more and more of them left the highlands and coasts of the United Kingdom for the Eastern seaboard of America. These families eventually spread out and headed South. 100 some years ago, our ancestors crossed paths in the states of Alabama and Louisiana. Some born as slaves or children of masters. After years of hardship and long suffering, they were finally free!
Eventually they went their separate ways, some remaining in the South, the others headed North to Minnesota. Generations later, they’ve all since passed on…you came before me and I’ve missed you since you’ve been gone. For years, I knew I was different but unbeknownst to me, you were out there and felt the same way too. If only I knew, somehow, somewhere there was someone like me whose looks and personalities were nearly identical to my own.
Your uphill struggle against those who set out to break you down, gave me hope that one day I too will overcome my own battles and rise up like you did. There are those who are skeptical and doubt we are related but I see it every day as I learn more from those who knew you.

I miss you day to day, but the same blood that runs in my veins will always stay.

Though we were miles and years apart, there is no distance between loved ones and their hearts.

All these years I have walked through the streets of LA, the Bay Area, Vegas and New York City, not knowing that during any of those times, there was a chance we could meet.
This time last year, you were still here…If only I knew what I know now, I would have contacted you…somehow. As days go by, I remind myself there’s a place for you… not in a heavenly atmosphere but on a paradise Earth, whenever it gets here.

Where your journey ends, is where I hope mine begins. You set a great example that I’ll never forget. Every day I think of you as I try to keep it together, but there are moments that still get to my heart. You and I are alike in more ways than one, if only you were still here, we could talk face to face. The story of our ancestors is one I’ll gladly tell. From the coastal highlands of the United Kingdom to the cotton fields of Alabama and Louisiana and the front gate of Paisley Park; our family has come a long way. One hundred years and four generations later, the journey’s not over yet. Our family has a rich history that many have yet to know. You told stories through your music and there’s one more that is still unsung. I look forward to writing that story in memory of you and hope it will help ease the pain of missing a chance to walk with you in the Purple Rain…

Purple Rain-Best Soundtrack American Music Awards 2016.

Thanks for reading.

See you on Wednesday!

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Hey folks,

I had a wonderful time on Monday and wanted to share a teaser trailer for one of my Prince related projects. Every shot I edited frame by frame and set it to the theme music from the 2016 remake of Roots.

Prince: An Unsung History is based on my essay, A Like-Minded Match.

Everyone knows of Prince’s rise to stardom but what if…there is more to the story?

The premise of Prince: An Unsung History is a documentary on my cousin’s ancestry and a journey that began long before Purple Rain.

Alex Haley wrote Roots, which told the story of his ancestors and family history.

To get Prince: An Unsung History from an idea to an actual production, will take several supporters. For now, it’s just in the planning stage. Will post more details for how things go.

In the meantime, enjoy this teaser trailer for Prince: An Unsung History.

See ya on Monday!

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My cousin Prince… missing you everyday…

“When the door closes, another one opens…I walk through it, with my head up…”- lyrics from “New Beginnings” by Bear and a Banjo.

Hey folks,

This will be my last full blog post before I send my laptop out for repairs.

Anyway, there’s a potential change in the ballgame regarding Prince’s estate.

It seems that two people who have come forward as possibly being his sons…yep, that’s right!

One of which tested 99 % positive on the DNA testing and another who had filed a claim but was sadly rejected due to restrictions by Minnesota state law.

If either of these individuals or both turn out to be Prince’s sons, they would inherit Prince’s royalties.

As for me, I did file a report with a genealogy firm looking for Prince’s relatives but for legal reasons, first and foremost…I’m not looking for personal gain from any of this and personally, am glad not to be caught in the courtroom drama. My report, however, was kept for documentation by the genealogy firm.

However, the court dismissed the search for Prince’s other relatives which includes extended family. Now before anyone says ‘I told you so!’ or anything… I was told by the genealogy firm about how a case like this could go and as it turns out, Minnesota’s law regarding an inheritance applies to immediate family only which includes a person’s wife, children, siblings, etc… extended family such as cousins like myself are exempt.

But that’s a NOT problem for me…just being related to Prince is what means a lot to me and something that holds a special place in my heart.

I am however, both hurt and angered by the comments regarding his sister Tyka and possible descendants.


Well, those who come forward with possibly being descendants of Prince, such as a son or daughter…I’m trying to keep an open mind because should any of them prove to be his offspring then that makes them my cousins too!

Like me, their lives were different before that tragic Thursday in April and they probably didn’t think much of the possibility of being related to Prince.

The 1980s was an open time and it’s not uncommon for people to have kids or siblings they never knew about. Examples I can think of are Oprah Winfrey who had a sister she never met until around 6 years ago and BB King had 15 children who have different mothers. Ray Charles also had a son from a previous relationship but sent a check every month to support the boy and his mother. The same could have happened to Prince.

As I said before, it hurts to read the things people write online about your family. Nobody likes to see anything like that especially on the internet for all to see.

Why I am keeping an open mind about Prince’s possible descendants is that as mentioned before, should they prove to be his offspring, then they’d be my relatives as well.

So, I only want to show kindness, sympathy and compassion towards them because there could come a time that I might cross paths with them some time in life.

If that happens, I for one would welcome the opportunity to meet my extended family. Even if they knew Prince or not, I believe getting to know them would be beneficial and help ease the pain of losing a loved one that we’ve all felt these past 90 days.

Plus, it would show that even though Prince is no longer around, a remnant of him is still here, in addition to Tyka and the other siblings.

Alex Haley wrote the book, Roots which told the story of his ancestors and family history.

I hope to write my own ‘Roots’ story about my ancestors and family whether it’s a book or documentary.

I believe Prince would have loved it. Quoting the song ‘New Beginnings’ by Bear and a Banjo:

“Every ending… is just a new beginning.”

And that’s it for now, until my laptop comes back from repairs…

See you in August!

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Hey folks…

Had to post this to clarify some things…

With all the news media going on regarding Prince’s estate and relatives, I sadly have received some negative commentary since posting my discovery. Below is a link to my blog post about my ancestry research:

WhereEver the Road Leads…

I want to make it clear, I love my cousin…that’s something that will NEVER change, being related to Prince means a lot to me… my research was strictly curiosity not personal gain.

I seriously would have done everything in my power to contact Prince if I had known sooner.

I truly believe he would be impressed with my research and that we would have become close.

When I look  the mirror at my reflection now, it’s a different feeling than before.

Who wouldn’t want to be related to Prince?!

I’m proud to have that connection to Prince and want to do something in memory of him.

It does hurt that I didn’t meet him but I plan to reach out to those who knew Prince including Tyka… she is my relative too, after all… How much Prince knew about his extended family, that’s up in the air, but there’s a strong possibility that his relatives had lost contact with those in my family after they left the South and moved to Minnesota. This is 2016, 151 years after slavery ended.

If there’s two things I learned from this experience is more about who I am and that my family has a unique history.

I understand people will be skeptical about my research but I’m prepared for that.

Though I do recommend anyone reading this do some research on your ancestry like I did. What you discover might surprise you…maybe even change your life, like it has done for me.

As always I will continue to post updates regarding this story… The journey continues!

See ya on Friday!


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Hey folks!

It’s Monday!

Summer has officially started.

On of the highlights for me will be watching the BET Awards on June 26th, Sunday night.

No words can describe how it feels that the person being honored with a tribute is part of your extended family.

I only wish that I could be there in person but I will be watching.

Tomorrow marks two months since my cousin has been gone. I miss him terribly and I know others do too.

I encourage those who had the opportunity to see him in person or met him to hold on to those memories. They are priceless!

I sadly didn’t get to meet my cousin but had at least four possible moments where he and I could have crossed paths but probably didn’t.

More on that later.

This journey has started, I will continue to post updates of how things work out.

Thanks for stopping by.

See you on Wednesday!

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Hi all,

I would like to share a wonderful discovery I have made…while Prince is still greatly missed, almost 2 months later…during that time I decided to learn more about him and in my search, I came across something that has since changed my life…Keep in mind, that for legal reasons I CANNOT answer questions or give out names other than what I’ve written below.

I will say that while reading what I have written in this blog post, I highly recommend whoever sees this, please be sitting down, don’t eat or drink anything…it’s that serious… Also prior to this I had seen the 2016 remake of Roots on the History channel which really brought the research I did to life…so here’s my story…

 “When the door closes, another one opens, I walk through it, with my head up…”

“Every ending, is just a new beginning…

– Lyrics from ‘New Beginnings ‘by Bear and a Banjo


On the morning of May 19th 2016 was when I started my research on the history of Prince’s family, the Nelsons. The main reason behind my search was curiosity. I had wanted answers as to why Prince and I had so many similarities including appearance such as hair, eye color and skin tone, just to name a few.

I learned the last name, Nelson had roots in England, Scotland and Ireland. The Nelson clan lived around the same time as the Clark and Carmichael* clans in the middle ages. The Clark and Nelson families lived 116 miles away from each other in England. I found out that the Nelson and Carmichaels traveled to Ireland at the same time during that period. Both of them hold the records for the oldest clans in Ireland.

*Carmichael is my grandmother’s maiden last name.

Searching even further, I learned the Nelsons, Clarks and Carmichaels also left the U.K. for America just two or three years apart from each other during the 17th century. More of them came to the U.S. during the 18th and 19th centuries.

After their initial arrival in Virginia and other states on the Eastern Seaboard; many members of all three families dispersed into the South, ending up in states such as The Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and eventually Louisiana.


I sorted through dozens of names, locations and dates on ancestry.com…
Much of these family lines consisted of a history of relatives who were slaves or children of slave masters. Because slaves were regularly bought, sold and traded, members of both the Nelson and Carmichael families were scattered. If a loved one died, they would remarry, their children who eventually grew up, also started families. It is well known in the history of slavery that there are numerous cases of female slaves being forced into relationships with their masters and male slaves who became involved with the wives of slave masters and plantation owners.

The next three generations of Nelsons and Carmichaels which followed during both the final years of slavery and the civil war; consisted of former slaves and free Blacks who married into each other’s families. There were also cases of Whites marrying former slaves and Blacks that were born free or became such later in life. The end result were many cousins and half siblings within the Nelson and Carmichael families.

After two days of research and sorting through dozens of names, locations and dates, on Saturday May 21st, was when I had a breakthrough. That morning, I was finally able to make a connection between Prince’s family and mine. One of his great uncles had married one of my older cousins, this would make Prince my 4th cousin!


Below are some questions, that I’m sure I would likely be asked about, so here they are:


What led you to research Prince’s genealogy?

Answer: It was all curiosity, I wanted to know why we had so much in common. I don’t associate myself with the 700 some people who claim to be related to Prince.  I have no ulterior motives at all. Their search is different than my own which was to find out the reason behind the series of similarities Prince and I share.


What was your reaction when you made your discovery?

Answer: When I made the connection, I was…quiet, sat at my laptop for a few minutes just staring in shock. I did get teary-eyed, followed by a chill down my spine. Of all the people to share the same genetics with, mine is shared with the very person who wrote a song about purple colored rain!


Why did you do this search now, and not sooner?


Answer: Different place, different time. My life was much different, I was dealing with moving, my old laptop breaking down and just daily life as a whole. Had I known about this sooner, I honestly would have done everything in my power to contact Prince. I doubt I’d even be writing this blog post this very minute if I had gotten in touch with him.


What do you plan to do now?

Answer: As of now, I contacted a Genealogy firm that is currently looking for Prince’s relatives. They are holding my information for the time being…According to one news report, the next court hearing will be June 27th the day after the BET awards. I will be keeping track of it to learn what the outcome will be. At this point, I don’t know where this will end up.


How do you feel about being related to Prince?

Answer: Even after almost a month since I found out, it still hasn’t quite sunk in. Aside from that, I have a newfound love for Prince, not as a fan but as a relative.

Knowing that we share the same genetic background is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Though I’m still adjusting to seeing and thinking of him as ‘Cousin Prince’.

I don’t know what direction my life will go at this point, but I do know a story as great as this one needs to be told.

I will miss him, even though we never met…he’s one of quite a few relatives I never knew but heard and read wonderful things about from those who knew him.  I’d like to think we would be close if we got to know each other, even if it was just talking on Twitter or possibly Facetime or Skype.

I can relate to him in so many ways, never in my life have I come across someone who reminded me so much of myself.  After making this discovery I realize the reason behind why he and I share so much in common, it’s genetic!  Just 3 generations and 27 years apart to be exact.


What things would you have liked to done with him if you had met?

Answer: Good question…off the top of my head, I would like to have spent time getting to know him…maybe go have lunch or dinner somewhere, see a movie, etc…basically the sort of things people do when they have family who visits from out of town. Would have been a memorial experience, I’m sure of it.


How has this discovery changed your life?

Answer: It’s definitely given me a confidence boost as a writer, artist and a person in general. Knowing that I have a relative who overcame so many obstacles and reached major milestones as a result. To know he was very much loved and respected by many is wonderful. He set a great example and I love him for that.

When I look at myself now, it’s different than before, I suppose a person would describe it as finding out you’re related to royalty in a way.

Like Prince’s father, my Dad is a musician as well(piano) and knew many people in the industry. I plan to document his history and get it published.


What made you come forward with your discovery?

Answer: It just felt like something I had to do, one of which is for legal reasons. I would feel guilty about withholding this from the firm who is actively looking for Prince’s relatives. I also believe those who knew him have a right to know about this as well.


What do you hope people will walk away with from reading this blog post?


Answer: I just hope others will see this search started out as a matter of curiosity not personal gain. I also look at this as when one door closes and another one opens. The door for Prince may have closed but I believe my being related to him will hopefully open the door for opportunities that will help me as both a writer and artist.

I don’t want people to mistake me as a person stuck in Prince’s shadow or trying to follow in his footsteps. I’m not musically talented in any way, other than putting together soundtracks or using music that best fits the story or scene I’m working on.

 I do however, hope to be recognized as having the same level of intelligence, moral code and creativity that my cousin before me was so well known for. He told his stories using music, I tell my own through writing.

If there’s anything I learned from this discovery is about who I am, where I come from and that my family is much larger than I originally thought.  I had always heard of the many success stories with other relatives in my family and Prince certainly earns a special place among them.

I will always remember my cousin for the creative, kindhearted and intelligent person that he was. I just hope others will do the same.


What do you hope to accomplish?


Answer:  As a writer and artist, I hope to get my work out there for others to see and enjoy. I do plan to write a biography piece explaining more about this journey of finding my roots.

I do expect others will be doubtful of my research but trust me, I have never once been dishonest about anything I’ve ever posted on this blog.

I believe Prince would be touched to know he has a cousin who is not only inspired by him but also thinks so much of him and loves him dearly.  Him being gone certainly hurts more than ever, now that I know he’s family.

If he was here, I believe he would offer encouragement and be a wonderful mentor.

In my mind, I believe he’d say: “You’re just like me.”

Having learned so much about him, in all honestly a lot of his personality and certain characteristics echo my own.  I get chills every time I find out something about him that reminds me of myself.

It shows how powerful genetics are and that it doesn’t matter how far apart a generation gap is. Certain characteristics and features can and do skip generations.

Being related to him, I’ll admit I truly feel special.

I’d like to think Prince would be impressed if not elated, by the time, effort and energy I’ve spent researching our family history and the amazing results that came out of it.

Anything negative that is said about him online, I do take it personally to a certain degree. Nobody likes to hear another person talk badly about someone in their family. Prince is no exception.

His reputation as a person who has done countless acts of kindness and overcame many obstacles, doesn’t deserve to be tarnished or dragged through the mud.

My heritage means a lot to me and to have a cousin like Prince is something that will always hold a special place in my heart.


Thanks for reading folks…


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See you on Monday!

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