Velda Kyle, Who Are You?

The History of the Kyles, Hunter, Mackey, and Wright Families



Welcome to my family site, Velda Kyle Who Are You. This site was created to record my genealogy quest. The difficulty in this is that my family is a confidential family. By that I mean we were taught,

"what happens in this family stays in this family".

With that in mind, I cautiously began asking questions about my ancestors. I found many interesting truths about our family but nothing that was so horrible that it should not be repeated. Some stories begged to be repeated.


The "s" on the end of my name has been omitted.

When my father was drafted, in 1941, there was a typographical error by the US Army.  Due to the red tape of the US government, the typographical error was never corrected. So in all actuality, I am a member of the Kyles family and not the Kyle family.

Before the Civil War, slaves were referred to by first names only. All published records such as wills and deeds referred to slaves by first name only.

The slaves themselves would sometimes take the master’s surname when they believed him to be kind and fair. But this was not always true.  Judging by the assets records kept by the slave owners, the last names do not seem to have been recognized by the governing slave owners. They list the slaves by their first name only.

It is a myth that all former slaves chose the surname of the men who once owned them.  Once they were free, records indicate that most of them chose names of distant plantation owners whom they liked or Northerners whom they admired.

After the emancipation of slaves, they were free to choose any name they wanted. For example; a slave called Mary during slavery may have chosen the name Velda Kyle after being freed.

 1870 CENSUS

As a result of not recording surnames, the 1870 is as far back as most slaves’ descendants’ can trace. However with the ever increasing technology of DNA testing, a rising a mount of people are finding the region of Africa they originated from.

A few African-American Genealogist have been successful in obtaining the assistance from the descendants of the slave owner in their quest to identify their relatives.

However, most attempts have been met with hostility and the fear of identifying their ancestors as slave owners and their family with the slave trade.

During slavery, slaves were forbidden to learn to read and write. It was actually illegal in some southern states to teach a slave to read and write. Although a larger number than was initially believed, did learn to read and write. After the slaves were free, they told of how, as small children, they learned to read and write, but kept the fact from their slave owners.

The slave master would send the slave child to school with the slave owner’s child to take care of the owner’s child. The slave child would silently get his unofficial education.

One of the reasons for this forced illiteracy was that the slaves were required to carry a pass when traveling from one place to another unescorted. Some slaves would write their own pass to assist them in escaping to freedom. 

Because of the huge amount of illiteracy during the first census that included African Americans as people and not property in 1870, there are many variations of the spelling of the new names.

The census takers were writing down what they interpreted the sound of the name to be. Our American melting pot can take the credit for much of the spelling deviations.

Example: A census taker of Scottish decent with a Latin influence might interpret the Kyle as Ceo; or Cil. They did not use the letters K or Y.

A German or Dutch descendant taking the census might interpret Kyle as Kehl, Keil, Coil or Kail.

An English descendant taking the census might intrepid Kyle as Kail, Kyli, Kaile or Kile.

So, don’t get hung up on the spelling of the Kyle or Kyles. This research is to identify people. We know we have the correct group of people.



What started out as a Christmas present to my son, Tre, a few years ago, became a loving obsession.

The only written material I found about my family members was in bibles (not much) and in obituaries (mostly obituaries). I am determined for my ancestors to have a more pleasant experience when they embark on their journey to find their ancestors!


African-American Resources

The African American Mosaic Pages

Guide To Tracing Family Trees




The Cival War

Photographs of African Americans During the Cival War

Cival War Papers


Genealogical Informatiion For the State of ALABAMA

 African American Lives 2

American Indian Resource Directory

 African-Native American History & Genealogy Web Page

Native Americans in the Census1860-1890

The Cherokee Nation

The Choctaw Freedmen and Oak Hill Industrial Academy

The State Historical Society of Missouri

Cyndi's List of Genealogy 

Christine's Genealogy Website

Back 2 Past

Voices From the Days of Slavery 









North Carolina



African American Cemeteries On Line