Andre Walker and Peter Wilson

Recorded June 3, 2011 Archived June 3, 2011 40:58 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: DDB000925


Andre Walker (25) talks to Peter Wilson (68) about the genealogical research that has led him to learn a lot about his family history.

Subject Log / Time Code

AW is a very family oriented person. He liked talking to his grandmother about family history when he was younger. When AW was 13, he met a friend who was doing genealogical research who found relatives dating back to the Mayflower. This inspired AW to do his own family research. AW’s grandmother had 10 kids, so there is a lot for AW to research.
AW’s family is from Louisiana and Mississippi. He has never been down there before, but in July is going to a family reunion in Newellton, LA. AW’s grand aunt had 27 children, so the family is huge. Most of the family are members of Stonewall Baptist Church in Newellton, AW likes to give back and build positive energy. He has lots of preachers and teachers in his family.
AW likes to learn from people from different cultures and backgrounds. He went to a summer camp that brought together kids from all different backgrounds. AW went to North High in Minneapolis. He went to Morgan St. University in Baltimore until his mom got sick and he returned to Minneapolis.
AW’s dad is a musician -- he plays guitar, drums and piano. AW has a half brother who was born 4 months after AW and has the exact same name as AW. AW met him when he was 10. He also didn’t meet his sister until later in life.
AW has an profile of the Walker family tree. There are more than 200 family members and AW’s family has been “blown away” by AW’s research.
AW’s cousin, Buster Triplet, did a lot of family research in the 1950s. It was a great head start for AW and traced the family back to 1852. AW found a marriage certificate from 1906.
AW has family in California. The family ended up in Minneapolis after someone witnessed a crime in Chicago and moved to Minneapolis to start over.
AW’s mother likes music. She is a very strong woman. She was diagnosed with lupus when AW was 10 and was still able to raise AW on her own. She always encouraged AW’s interest in volunteering and giving back to the community
AW wants his children and grandchildren to know that it is important to know where you came from. Your family history impacts your life -- it is a journey to figure out where you came from.


  • Andre Walker
  • Peter Wilson

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00:06 This is Peter Wilson. I am 68 years old. This is June 3rd. 1911. No 2011 at the main library in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We're both Thunder and I do some research in family history.

00:28 My name is Andre Walker. I'm 25 today's date is June 3rd, 2011. And again, we're at the main public library in Downtown Minneapolis and pure and I both do research.

00:42 How family history?

00:47 What got you interested in family history?

00:51 Well, I've grown up to be a very family-oriented person. And so I thought that speaking to my grandmother that I will one day become more interested in trying to feel or how to get a share of what my ancestors were like, you know, so I thought if I do the research I can at least have an idea so I began to try to go about putting pieces of wood together. How did you start what first Drew your interest? I was a teenager. I was about 13 or 14 onzas back in 1998. I admit one individual who have found ancestors from back by the Mayflower time. I thought that that was pretty amazing and she inspired me to go further with my research and So eventually that's when I began to go whole lot deeper.

01:46 Is that a teacher she was genealogy researcher volunteer with the main Public Library at its older locations before this panty library was built I met her.

02:02 And what did you have a project of your own at that time regarding your own family and it wasn't much of a project. I just knew my grandparents and great-grandparents. Everything was a little rusty. It was and nowhere compared to what it is now.

02:23 And you you knew all four of your grandparents. There's a few that I didn't know if I knew of my mother's father, you know, and I knew love my mother's mother my dad's mother my dad's father. I never met him before so Mom other grandparents, I have met my grandmother was the closest grandparent my mother's biological mother. So those are the individuals that I have met as far as being parents. So they your mother's mother was the most powerful influence and making you interested in the history. Yes. Yes, my grandmother had 10 kids and so I just thought that having those many kids. There's so much for me to find out so much for me to know so I thought that the research will be very valuable well worth my time. What would she like or what is she like

03:23 What's that really strikes? You my my grandma that she's very blunt. She's straightforward. She's strong. You know when it's the only woman I ever met with a whole lot, you know cancer runs in the family. She lost her father around 13 years old and all of her siblings are deceased. Now, she's only one here and so she seen great-grandchild a great grandchildren who passed away her own daughter grandson. And is she is she be 81 next month and she still shown she still talkin, you know, I had a few strokes but that hasn't stopped her from staying closer for family in trying to attend different family gatherings.

04:19 Speaking of gatherings you're going to go now your people from the Mississippi River on both sides of it in tensas Parish Louisiana crosses over the river in couple counties in Mississippi. Never been down there. I never been down there. I do have a union that is July 8th to the 10th that I never been to before. Where is it located? It's in newellton Louisiana New Orleans. And what's so special about newellton is very special because it's inside where it's located that county is self. Both families on my father and mother side had once lived there. And so I just thought that there is some type of significance to that town.

05:07 And there's a church which is Stonewall Baptist Church where most of my family and you were 10 have lived and still live. It's been around for over a hundred years. So they're hundred anniversary was last year at the church, which I thought was pretty significant will learn family reunions be near the newellton church at the church. It will be for my understanding is not far away. So I will be able to attend church. My family is huge. I have a bad 27 kids, you know ever seem unreal to me, but I've asked more than one family member and she has confirmed that yes my on John Lee had 27 kids and none of them are living right now. That was your aunt my grandma.

06:05 Well, she had to be strong. I think so. Yes 27 kids Milton Baptist Church are going to be maybe a few relatives. There will almost everyone will be one of my aunts. It called a Nutty I thought I thought her nickname was Lily because the name is Elizabeth, but she is called by the name of nutty. I don't know where it comes from, but she she's confirmed for me that everybody for the most part will be family in the Stonewall Baptist Church. There's a few Priests of pastors that are actually still there as

06:54 Do I actually still do it as passes right now Trent Lee and does a deacon that is a family member as well at the Stonewall Baptist Church. So almost everybody including the past years is a relative a cousin of some sort Troy. I know that time since I've worked with you on it that you've had a number of many ancestors were either preachers are teachers and you weren't tempted to become a preacher a teacher up and was told a lot of times by my cousin's you always trying to preach because I was a good guy, you know, I never was a follower of I've grown up to be a leader and I still am I like to get back I'll work for non-profit organization for 12 years. And so I thought that you know,

07:46 I will have some type of significant by building positive energy from negative energy and which I seen a lot what nonprofit did you work with you scares a nonprofit organization and they have like giving you free programs for Multicultural purposes. They want to be able to build a stronger core with you from different backgrounds. So you learn about other Heritage and you get to know people that speak different language is get a chance to go to summer camp. So I thought that it was pretty cool kids fun in the city get to see something different. There's not so much things that you take for granted such as technology. You know, it's The Rustic Camp if you go to and you get to experience what life was once before with not all the things that we have now, we're where was can it's arrested in Minnesota Rush City.

08:44 Well, you know, there's a whole bunch of different. Staff that works there discharge in counselors. And this people that come and volunteer from my Americorps. So it is it's big there's different folks that they go through to get grants Kevin Garnett. He gave the grand to the organization before and if you got this so Travelers is another sponsor, you know, it's a good program. I've got chances to do so much. I've been to the Bounty 187 ever went to this Camp. I never would have been to the Boundary Waters. I've been winter camping. You know, how many kids went in the city goes winter camping. So yeah, it's pretty pretty cool. You know, I will always love and courage in you from the cities to go to this Camp because you get a chance to learn whole lot winter camping in a pop-up tent.

09:42 Emily Charlton, yeah, it was it was some kind of chilly but we had a whole lot of ladies on other countries are near Romania France. You had somebody and people there and moan people so I got a chance to learn language phrases in different languages. She's such as liking somebody I gave you a free squatting is how are you in Somali? So I thought it was cool or you know among those young, you know, so it is pretty cool to be able to at least greet individuals from different like arches or not. You think if you were traveling one of those countries, you have a more open heart and an open mind because you're their personal contact you had most definitely I think it's always good to learn more about individuals from different backgrounds before you get you before you go about making noises.

10:42 Stereotypes of anything of the sort you have

10:49 You're an athlete in high school you ran cross-country ice November is excuse me. It's cold. And these little shorts you have on there like daisy dukes. And I thought like this is my last time running cross-country. I love to run, you know, traffic is fine. I did her those Sprint it I did 800 believe 800-meter 110-meter. I was the actually expires running why I sound I did like to play football and basketball as far as a hobby, but due to like going to Camp. I've been portaging at the Boundary Waters and I had a crazy experience. I had a tackling drill at football practice when I thought about joining in hesitated on a tackling drill because of my back spasm.

11:49 I pulled a muscle in my shoulder blade when I was Portage in in The Boundary Waters. So it was kind of funny at the same time. I got high top of me and I get a card. So yeah football, you know, it's something to do, you know in basketball as well.

12:09 You went to a traditional Afro-American college for a while. Tell me a little bit about that. Where was it? I want to North High it which is in North Minneapolis. And it was predominantly African-American. I would say about 85% African American High School the school before you when I went there many years ago was a Jewish school because the whole Northside used to be predominantly Jewish and it was kind of interesting how I changed how people migrated to the North Minneapolis and the African-American Community. I thought that was pretty cool to see how that transition had came about so that the high school was pretty interesting to attend.

12:56 I started college at the University of Minnesota 1960 and a lot of My Brightest classmates were Jewish kids from North High so I know what you're talking about what you went to college in Maryland for a bit and then there's some family thing that yes, I want to Morgan State and Baltimore, Maryland and it's not far from John Hopkins, and I thought that it was amazing to see so many African Americans get education you living in the cities and you see a whole lot of African Americans living in poverty. So I thought that it was very inspiring to see so many African Americans trying to get a better education for themselves and have a lifestyle which will be much better if rather than being in Sadie's in the streets and stuff and example where it could pay off, you know, you're poor yourself into something and you learn a skill and

13:56 Other people respect and you make money rather than some kind of staying in the hood and then I'm not doing much but kill time a few relatives that dad passed away. When was murder here Minneapolis and was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away with with cancer stage 37 while you were in, while I was in college so you so which caused me to come back to Minneapolis? And from there on I started working for a corporation called Gilman management and wish I work from now. I thought that I will find some type of work because of all the different stuff was going on. I just thought I'd ask him pulling in some extra income and see where I go with my college career afterwards.

14:52 You didn't go back to college right away. Didn't I had actually I went to a summer camp at that time. You want to mention earlier Camp Sunrise. That was my last year working in 2007 and I transfer it to Concordia Saint Paul and 2017 the fall 2007. I didn't know what I was getting myself into as a younger person you sometimes you rush into things and being at a place where there's not much communication. Not much you can do as far as calling individuals you sometimes and rush to get things done. So yeah Concordia, it was just so expensive. It was it was different, you know, it wasn't as diverse at any of the other colleges that went to mctc was the first college that I went to and diversity is something that means a lot to me because I don't like to be isolated with social my own background or anyone for any other back when I think that you know being around a mixed group of people who are always

15:52 You know it help you out in a long run as far as I'm in the real world. It's not only in the Bible bedtime in genealogy. Everyone's related.

16:13 Well, they just came from actually going to the summer camp back in when I was in 8th grade in 1998. I have been introduced to summer camp. I became a camper in 99 and I met all these different visual is there was you know, folks of your penis in the Somalians the Hmong people and folks and bars near Romania also seen no folks of African descent from my Romania and France that came near that speak the language fluently and inspire me to learn more about others in different places, you know, when you actually get to know these individuals you come to find out they are all the same, you know, where we all are saying, you know, they just speak different languages and their cartridges just a different in our state the way life is a little different.

17:05 Your fiance is she going to college the girl that I have cheese and cottage and she attend mctc at this moment, but she will be transferring to Metro State we should squat go to as well. I will be going back to Metro State in the fall of this year 2011. Where is Metro State state is in st. Paul, Minnesota.

17:38 Listen to Twin Cities family history ways. Your father has he's a musician. Tell me a little bit about your dad. Yes, my dad. He's very talented as far as music and I'm a dad can play the guitar the drums and piano. It's very interesting how he can listen to a song or let's watch a video and play alone to it because he know how to figure out the notes that fast so he's always been good with music he sang in the church and there's a group The Family group called The Trash Brothers. I try to do research to find them on YouTube, but I haven't found any video but there's something like the Apollo not the same your name, but you know this a different organization that had these different talent shows for local artists and local groups was that in Chicago or Minneapolis, Chicago?

18:38 Trask is Trask. Yes.

18:44 And brings me to a you know, your family is kind of split up like my like my only has you have a cousin. No. No, I half brother in your school. Did he have the same name? You have my brother? Yes. I have a half brother. You have the same full name. My brother full name is under the Divine Walker just like me. My dad must have thought he's Rolling Stones. So he had kids likely form us apart. I don't know. What's really going on with this number 12, but, Dad kids were born in the twelfth day of each month a y n I have a brother that was born in February of a tooth or a 1985, you know, February 12th. I was born in June.

19:34 The 12th day of the month in 1985. So I don't know how I did it but my sister she's born in November on the 12th. I was born about 3 or 3 years later. So yeah, I'm most definitely didn't have a strong relationship where both into I met him when I was 10 years old. So as far as snow my brother, he came on life when I was wrong to 10 my sister. I never really got a chance to meet her until later on cuz she has a disability. Sometimes she gets like water on her brain and this is something she's been born with TBI Bolivar 23 in November when they said she wasn't supposed to leave until she used to it after the age of 6 years old.

20:27 So it is a blessing to have her sit around and you know, it's different. I tried because I haven't been able to run at much. I love her and I don't have a strong as I do if my half-brother but starts living inside of siblings. My mother has a daughter as well wishes 21 right now five years older than her she has a daughter. So I have one niece and nephews. I have no kids. I have no desire to have any kids and he's coming anytime soon. So I'm actually trying to be patient in your finish school and do things such as fine other family members died around my age and my generation and I are much older so I can learn more about my family history.

21:15 I know you've gotten in touch with a lot of them since you've been doing genealogical research family has treated us and you have a website or something. Yes. I do have a website on and it's all that people to go on there that I members put up a family tree and the family should I have is a walker family tree since it is my last name and anyone's open to look at it and you guessed on and it's just amazing. How much information is on there just about over 200 people on my family tree right now and it's many more to come send invites other family members because this is so much more information if you gather and put on a tree, but as of now, they're Alexander's I do have for information on the davises and the walkers.

22:15 Which are all in Louisiana based out of new attend and there are the people that came back the Baptist Church Stonewall Baptist Church. So the family is Big, you know, this reunions would be my biggest family reunions come July. I've haven't been to a family reunions in about I would say 19 years. So I was seven years old when I'm attending my first family reunions wishes in North Memphis. My grandmother has first cousins that live in North Memphis wishes your presence of her father Dave Baker. So there's family there this family in Louisiana and Mississippi and all over the place now, but I really need all the family came from, Mississippi and Louisiana.

23:09 Your mom is a little sore when she discovered that you had a half-brother four months older than you or so. So that uses a split up but you still kept in touch with your dad. And yes, I still do I didn't meet my father till I was in my forties. He wasn't married to my mom. So otherwise a Grace. To my mom but

23:41 What is your what do your parents think about your interest in genealogy and doing this family research? I think my family's been blown away because it doesn't seem as if really anyone else has been interested as much as I am. They haven't shown as much interest and I've been A1 as of now and for some years that I've come to the library and get the Census records and will report back to my grandmother and tell her yeah, I found this is your Aunt or I found out that she had another sibling and so no one else seems to have been really all that interested. I have gotten Futurama. Excuse me family members that have no put information on the cycle So I've got a little help as far as ancestors. I have been the one come to library getting help with individuals.

24:41 52 wishes who had helped me primarily with finding all the different things that I have on my family tree.

24:50 Chris you started out with a huge Head Start Over. Most people you have a cousin Buster Triplett who can remember when he was born but he sat down with his grandparents back in the 50s. Let's say and got down information about the composition of families who married whom back to 1852. So because of him, you know a whole bunch of relatives for you know, what's 18 + 150 years most definitely bus to AAA discounts an amazing band back in the 1950s. He actually came about getting a fun treat. Excuse me gag at The Fountains you organize. I found out the beginning of my Anderson side of the family, which is my grandparents. I never met my grandparents are grandparent Cal Anderson never met him and my dad's brother who's the only product of him I've ever met.

25:50 Text with one of your sisters and my sister or excuse. My father's sister. Who is that? Laura? Chery is the name. She had told me that there is always stiff information that they had all the family. And so I called on the Mississippi to a cousin Deborah Deborah had a marriage certificate for a great-grandparent which is John Anderson and a great-grandmother. Who is Virginia Roseboro or January Roseboro. And so it was pretty cool to see that marriage certificate from 1906. But Mary Anderson Mary Reed, which is her maiden name. She was born a slave in 1858 which is the beginning of the story and it tells the story how the slave on it. She was a runt because she was so small and her brother yoga read have raised their they moved to Belzoni, Mississippi and then she

26:50 We got married in 1868 to a green Addison, which is how she took that name and they had quite a few kids and there is many more to come from cousin's kids that Union how many people have responded to your

27:12 Seitan Have you ever had quite a few cousins or just accidentally found you? That way I have just a few cousins maybe before then actually had added stuff on there. But my way of finding other cousins is using a Quest X the white pages online. I got in contact with my cousin one of my mother's nieces in California. She's in the Fresno. She was staying out there before kind of fine. She still is and so my cousin Jessica Wright She's out here in California and I got a number off of the internet visit the site Carver, which is when I went on you. I thought that I'll be able to find some things. Well, her mother is birthright, which is the individual that was married to my uncle name.

28:12 Taurus right. We call him Butch he end up moving out to California when he's around 19 because my family had moved up to a Minnesota witness protection. There was something that went on with the family he witnessed something a crime and my grandmother thought it was best that he goes out to California. So once he got the California from the family slowly but surely got to Minnesota to Minneapolis and smokes to the family of my mother's maiden. Britanis I is here. I'm going to turn aside to see in Minneapolis.

28:53 The State Crime he witnessed was in Chicago. It wasn't Chicago Chicago and the family thought they'd be safer by coming out to Minneapolis Star and I know things over and in trying to keep their life as good as possible it without any Riff Raff.

29:17 It's it's kind of funny that you or your family for a couple hundred years right along the Mississippi. And where do you come back? You shoot a lot of distant cousins and it's a whole lot of in-laws. I am a double cousin, you know, my mother and her sister had kids by my father and his brother, you know, so I had to have a cousin that are still living right now, which is interesting, you know, my grandmother my mom's mother and her sister. They had kids by one of them had a kid by one of the brothers herb assistant that I had dated my grandfather's brother, which is

30:17 Yeah, I believe in another interesting thing is the way I got the last name Walker was that my grandmother had married a John Walker which is my DD. Her real name is Doris Banks. She had kids by him or just now my aunt. I'm not sure. I think my uncle Herman David Herman Walker is his son, but there's still something I got to find out cracking down on that my grandmother her brother and her sister all made Walkers and sub imagine walking family. And that's how I got the last name. My dad's father. Last name is Anderson. So do you do to my grandmother being married? She gave my father the last name Walker?

31:11 I can be confusing if you're doing research in a small town traditional, you know through most of history people marry their neighbors and in a small town. They were all related in the beginning. So it's not so unusual to do, you know, you know, the Walker is best. That is really fascinating that one of my great-grandparents, Florida Alexander.

31:42 Was born in 1899 and 1930 was a older Florida Alexander that lived in newellton, Louisiana, which was born 1848. She was born in Kentucky. My great-grandmother has a brother named on in Alexandria and running Alexandria was born a year later than 1900. The thing is I thought was too much of a coincidence the old Florida Alexander has a sunning on an Alexander. So I put two and two together and I'm thinking like this must be my grandmother's by my great grandmother's grandmother, you know, because it's just too much of a coincidence. He living in the same county same city, you know that you're in the same Parish how would you not be related? So that's something I have been working on trying to figure out more about that. You know, it'd be interesting to see where that goes.

32:36 And there was a book written about a fluoride Alexander in Kentucky. Also. Yes, I went on Google and if you look on Google for Florida Alexander, Kentucky girl, there's a book about a Florida Alexander it when I did my research for Florida Alexander born in Kentucky. There's only two Florida Alexander wishes African-American woman born 1848. So I thought that you know, this more likely will be a family member possibly, you know, that is that could grandmother and my great-grandmother $4 and it so that's something else I've been working on. I think that that would be one of the most nicest and projects throughout my family research that I can find out you were going to have some Emerson is in your family history to my great-grandmother has a father named Mike Emerson or excuse me.

33:36 He bested her cousin. Mike Emerson is one of my cousins and there's a a grand a great-grandfather. I believe that is my Emerson, but

33:48 Is a mother aquarium and seeing who was married to or William Thomas or warm time is acting so there was step-children of this guy her brother reminder inner self. I and I just thought that this Florida Alexander that was living in the year. She was born has to be I think three grand parent or grandparent of some sort.

34:13 Let's go back to your folks a little bit then tell me a little more about your mom and she much she was she brought you up alone. She had to be pretty strong to my mother. She's season 2 music my mom. She's very strong. She loves to work, but she had now has lupus she was diagnosed when I was about 10 years old should be in about 16 years ago in a kind of impacted her with working. But yes, she is strong Shiro's or she raised me by herself. I became the person I am now and I can't ask for more. You know, I am this guy that always try my best to be a role model positive role model for younger kids and even for older people, you know how to keep people on a Tous, you know, he know the right track and I think that's one of the greatest things you can do in the world where there's so much room for negativity.

35:13 So you're my mother has helped me out a lot with staying involved taking piano lessons in the fifth grade was Roberto office said I would volunteer at Shannon Kane made your place and I believe that's where all my interest in volunteering and getting back at started when I was in elementary school eventually got involved with different and programs like a Kardashian collaborative which was with poly City Clinic, which is now on Northpointe Wellness Center in North North Minneapolis. I was a. Decatur High School. So I thought the importance of sex education was very good for. You know, we're on the same age as me because a lot of things were going on such as unprotected sex. Once before HIV AIDS was high in North Minneapolis and STDs and I think at that point kids needed to have more information more well alcohol

36:13 And drug addiction and drug abuse. So those are different things. I had gotten involved with besides the volunteer work with J that you care. When is Haitian.

36:24 I know. I know your character pretty well and having worked with you for about a year and you're the kind of guy who pours oil on troubled waters. You know, you're a peacemaker you get that from your mom or your dad. I sure do I get it from my mother. I always grew up seeing my mother being a nice person. You know, I just never met anyone that could be so nice, even if someone tries to walk over her she continues to be nice and she always tell me that don't worry about it. You know, I'm going to be blessed by God, you know, so she never been concerned. She never complained, you know, and I thought that that is very interesting. You know, most definitely does that make it easier for you to deal with them some family members who were older members of the family were very blunt, you know, you you can kind of it doesn't throw you off if they're quite blunt. In fact, I think you enjoy it. Most definitely, you know,

37:24 Navigate to Joy out of here as well.

37:27 What do you want to say to, you know somebody in like your grandchildren might be listening to that? You know, I really feel like it's important to know where you from that plays a you sniff Akins and you currently you know the day that you actually you know our knowledge and you know, things are some sort and there's different things such as different diseases and stuff that may run in the family that you might need to know about. You might can inherit something you never know. If someone from a whole nother culture or race was some type of family member, you know, so it is just like, you know going on a journey, you know this figure out, you know, where do I come from? How did my family get to the state's? You know, am I a product of a whole entire?

38:27 That's things that I thought would be interesting that ain't your children and your grandchildren so that that should be something that they do so that opens up your mind and heart with all the world I would say is

38:53 I will save this the story, you know that I got from Mississippi Mos Def and I didn't think I was overwhelmed there was so much information and in the story, they go with the maiden names in names after marriage and so it's very detailed that you think about it. It's all the way from 1950s something that this job was reading out and see all the details. I got information on my great-grandparents know I was told when they got married I found out about my great-great parents of great-great-great-grandparents. So it goes It goes real far back. I think that that's one most amazing things that could have happened being that I never met any individuals. So that was pretty neat. You're pretty neat.

39:40 Hey that was 1850 to have you figured out which of his grandparents Buster trip look was interviewing when he put together that family history is about 50 pages in its 4:30 a.m. It is posted that I haven't found out who he's actually interviewing but I feel like you know, this is like it's more of a story that he was riding out about his experience. No grown up with all the family members or known about the ancestors of the family. And so yeah, I didn't think that he had to get the information from an older generation. I believe I believe you did most definitely in that something I would love to find out.

40:24 All right, I did last year.

40:28 Andre it's been a pleasure researching with you and sharing some of your discoveries. Yes. I feel like you know, it has been amazing to have someone like yourself help me. Yo, you always knew how to pinpoint things, you know, everything. I was detailed, you know, you know, it's pretty easy to get specific guy with fun things out.