NEW ORLEANS —As many gather in New Orleans over the Thanksgiving and Bayou Classic weekend, one family celebrates with a family reunion. In recent years, many people all over the country have taken interest in discovering their family history, as television specials, such as Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s Finding Your Roots grow popular.

The Clark family is thankful this year for recent findings in their family tree.

Robert McKay is a member of the Clark family who has had an interest in history since he was a child. He knew there was more about his family that needed to be discovered.

“There was family legend. There was also a family tree document, with a couple of names on it. Nobody seemed to be clear on who these people were. Over the past 15 years, I’ve been able to stich together a pretty good story,” says McKay.

This year, around 50 people attend the family reunion. Robert and his son, Kharson have researched the history of their family.

McKay says, “I’ve always had an interest in that kind of work. When I was in the fifth grade, I told my teacher I wanted to be an archeologist. She had no idea what I was talking about. Now my son is involved in it as well as a college film student.”

Much of the story from the research began with Daniel Clark, a major businessman whose body is resting in St. Louis Cemetery #1.. Daniel Clark, in history, owned quite a number of plantations, along with the enslaved. He was the first delegate from the territory of Orleans to the United States House of Representatives. Robert McKay’s great grand father’s great grandfather, was once owned by Daniel Clark. Robert discovered this information in a bill of sale from a plantation that was once in Lecompte, Louisiana.

“I have an 1850 inventory of the plantation and now this Tom kid, is married to a woman named Chloe,” says Robert McKay.

As the research continued over the years, Robert visited the National Archives in Washington D.C.. He discovered that his immediate ancestor was Miles More, a drummer boy in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Over the years, more musicians would be part of the family, including Al McKay, the guitar player for Earth Wind and Fire.

Robert’s son Kharson, in recent years, was able to be part of a reenactment of his own ancestor.

Robert says, “Kharson’s mom sewed him an outfit and I took him and my grandson on a road trip to South Carolina. He was spectacular!”

As more family members were discovered, from the past, David and James McKay are Robert’s ancestors who were the first black licensed electricians in the state of Louisiana.

“According to this 1939 article that I had found, it says that Uncle Dave, with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, started wiring people’s houses and taking them from kerosene to electrical,” says Robert.

As time passed, written accounts, bills of sale, newspaper clippings, photographs, inventories of the enslaved, marriage licenses and other documents became tangible discovery.

Robert, Kharson and the Clark family’s message is that anyone can dig up diamonds out of the past to see the composition of a family and it’s integrity. They encourage everyone to do some soul-searching and ancestry-finding.