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What We’re Reading: Digging into your ancestry and history

Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog
Published in
4 min readNov 20, 2023


When was the last time you researched your family? I don’t mean just remembering Granny’s stories, but actually digging into the attic, the library, and the census to see if you can find records of what she spoke?

I did the research back when my grandpa told me he worked alongside esteemed writer Richard Wright at the Chicago Post Office. Similarly, writer Halie Suzy was complaining about her frizzy hair when an aunt, attempting to explain the texture, said something off-the-cuff about a possibly black ancestor.

Suzy found the records and wrote about the truth.

“Great Grandpa Garfield, born to my second-great grandparents as Verona G., dropped his birth name. He called himself Garfield, declared himself White, and even bumped his birthdate by one day on his WWI and WWII draft registration forms.”

Suzy isn’t alone. With research, Lacey Dearie found a long lost childhood cousin. Matilde Ferreira traced her Cape Verdean roots using a variety of agencies, libraries and websites. And Greenland Genealogy researched the maternal line of deceased basketball legend Kobe Bryant and family history of former CDC director and Covid-19 pandemic expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Many people around the world are now gathering to celebrate any number of holidays that occur between now and the new year. If you decide to delve into your own genealogy at the dinner table, I’d love to read about what you learn. And should you come across any interesting ancestry stories on Medium, feel free to send them to me and tell me why they resonate.

Have a great weekend.

Adrienne Gibbs — Director of Content @ Medium

What We’re Reading

Five. Hundred. Million. Dollars.

Published by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone

The point is to trust your instincts in the face of a king’s ransom, even if you’re smaller and less powerful than the other team.

Anyway, we went on to do okay. And fourteen years later somebody who likes jokes acquired Twitter for Forty-four billion dollars.

Doing Things That Don’t Scale

Published by Anchor founder Nir Zicherman

Don’t reject solutions that won’t work in the green when you’re still in the red. Realizing that is quite liberating. It means that the solution space for any problem is substantially bigger the earlier on you are in your journey.

The Scary Science Behind the Ouija Board

Published by Kathleen Murphy in Wise & Well

Does this eerie parlor game really give voices to ghostly spirits? While the answer is debatable, scientists envision even more intriguing clinical applications.

The Final Word goes to Neeramitra Reddy, who wrote an impressively detailed, 18-minute story about how he found his own perfect morning routine. He broke down every segment of the morning, prioritizing soul and body before moving on to work.

Here’s what Reddy, a productivity author, writes:

Symbolic for tackling the day’s most dreaded and complex task first, “Eating The Frog” [or completing the hardest task first] is a productivity game-changer:

  • The more you delay eating the frog, the more you dread and delay it.
  • The momentum and sense of accomplishment from downing the frog lets you cruise through the rest of the day.
  • Even if you slack after eating the frog, the day will remain a win.

Fortunately, our routine’s mind + body + soul activation reduces the croaking frog into a pill-sized tadpole. Here are five more tips to protect your focus and avoid procrastination…

Want to read the additional tips? Head to Reddy’s profile and soak it all in.

What have you been reading this week? Let us know in the responses.

Inspired to write? Get started.

What We’re Reading” is a weekly roundup of insightful stories and perspectives from across Medium. Browse previous editions here.



Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog

Director of Content @Medium. Award-winning journalist. Featured in a Beyoncé reel. Before now? EBONY, Netflix, Sun-Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe.