Maria Sharp Montgomery (with Allison Thomas)

Maria Sharp Montgomery: My name is Maria Suzann Montgomery; my maiden name was Sharp. I came to genealogy in my early teens when I found the family plates in my maternal grandmother’s bible. Unfortunately, I did not take advantage of my opportunity to begin collect oral histories. I actually have only a few memories of my maternal grandfather. He died when I was three. It would be years before I began my search for his family. I had been told there was something that drove them from their home on Gwynn’s Island. After I had chased as many paper ghosts as I could I decided on a whim to visit the island one day. It was beautiful and all I could think of was, “This was the view my grandparents had.” That was it for me. In one day, I found the news articles, grand jury transcript, and original marriage bond. That was one of the best days of my life.
Allison Thomas: E. Allison Thomas is a film and theater producer with a deep love of history and genealogy. She descends from enslavers back to colonial Virginia. She manages the Gwynn’s Island Project website, is co-chair of Coming to the Table’s Pasadena, California chapter, and a co-manager of CTTT’s BitterSweet blog for Linked Descendants.