Angela Y. Walton-Raji on February 5th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast, coming to you this week from beautiful Salt Lake City Utah! Remember you can always reach me HERE.


Well this week has been amazing and I am thrilled to be able to come to you from Salt Lake City, and it is underway! What an incredible week this has been! And Today I have two guests who are sharing their Roots Tech experience with you today! Dr. Shelley Murphy is here and Bernice Bennett is also here and they are going to share with you their thoughts about the Roots Tech experience so far.

In the meantime, I am sharing with you images taken so far this week and am so inspired by the energy and enthusiam of everyone I have met. This year I have met people from Australia, New Zeland, Germany, Kenya and multiple states! What an experience it has been!

In the meantime, enjoy these images and enjoy listening to Shelley and Bernice!

This is clearly the largest event in the world for genealogists to gather, and as the image reflected on the many screens for the opening session–more than 25,000 people were registered.


Sitting in the room among thousands was an incredible experience. Thankfully, we had great seats near the front, and directly in front of the main stage. The image below is a side view of the audience that also numbered in the thousands. Truly amazing to see so many and the energy generated by being around others with the same passion.


The day before things got underway, three of us were interviewed by Family Search, and we had a chance to tell part of our own personal research journey!


It has also been fun meeting new people. Bernice Bennett and I both had a chance to meet and chat with W. Scott Fisher of Extreme Genes Radio Show. If you are not familiar this is an amazing and professionally produced radio program, and you may want to tune in!


Running into friends old and new, and meeting people from everywhere, was truly wonderful. Johannes deJong of Family Search, Hollis Gentry and Shelley Murphy are engaged in an enriching conversation below.


Yesterday I presented a workshop on Native American Genealogy, and though I expected a good number to attend, the fact that the room was completely full with no seats left was quite a delightful surprise! Below is an image that I captured before I began my session.


So things are clearly underway, and I am ready for another exciting day here at Roots Tech 2016!

Thank you all for listening and I hope you enjoyed listening to my guests today! In the meantime, remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on January 29th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can reach me at African Roots


Blizzard 2016 Mtn of SnowMountain of snow in front of my house.

We are now into the final week of January and in the heart of winter. Thankfully most of this region on the east coast survived the major snowstorm of last week! We still  have a lot to dig out, but it was an incredible storm that left us with 2 feet of snow. We were blessed to not have lost power, and all is well, but the big dig out continues and I now face a mountain of snow, thanks to a huge Catepillar tractor that came by last night. But glad the storm is behind us, and we are more or less back to normal.

RootsTech 2016Image Source

Well I am in a pre-travel mode! That’s right I am preparing to travel to Salt Lake City Next week and am quite excited about it! The schedule is quite full and there are quite a few workshops that will also be of interest to researchers of a wide variety of backgrounds. I have the honor of giving a presentation on researching Native American ancestors in the 19th and 20th centuries. The following day there will be a panel of professional African American researchers discussing some of their favorite online sites. And on Thursday evening there will be something new as well. We have all heard a lot about the major Indexing initiative that is underway. I hope that many of your are among the people indexing these records.


Well–on Thursday evening there will be an Index-A-Thon, coordinated by Thom Reed of Family Search, and it is hoped that many will be joining the initiative to participate in that effort. The actual Index-A-Thon event will occur in the computer labs at Roots Tech, but you can also index during the same time, from home.  Here is the LINK for more information.

StudentsFindGraveImage Source

A sobering, yet heart warming story came out of Georgia this week when some students from Emory University found a long-lost grave of  man who was murdered in the 1940s. The story reminds us of many such stories of terror that affected people for many decades. They were able to help an elderly lady find her father’s grave who was killed in front of her eyes when she was only 6 years old. Of course there was no prosecution of anyone for the crime, and for most of her life, the woman lived with a bitterness in her heart for her father’s murder. The story is heartwarming because thanks to students at Emory working on the Georgia Cold Cases Project, she is now at peace and has released the anger and faces the remainder of her life at ease. The tragedy of the incident is there, but at least as an adult being able to touch his grave has helped this lady to heal. Read the story HERE.



Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s story was fascinating. Her guest was Alvin Blakes. He shared the story of his family, and how there was a systematized effort to prevent the minor children from receiving a pension from their father’s Civil War pension. The bias against the family was so strong, and a family of 14 children, most of whom were under 16, and qualified for support, it took decades for them to receive a retroactive payment owed them. The research conducted by Mr. Blakes was quite extensive, and he was quite thorough in pursuing the data and following every lead. If you missed this episode, tune in and listen to the show by following this link.



This week was the kick off for the 2016 Black Pro Gen Hangouts. The topic was an interesting discussion of the PBS program “Finding Your Roots. Discussion among the participants covered the use of slave schedules and the same surname for slave holder search. The genealogical process was discussed, and  the reaction of the researchers to what was shown. Here is a link to this week’s hangout, now on YouTube.


Well time to wind things up and get back to my preparations to travel to Salt Lake City. Stay tuned to social media as we will be tweeting and posting videos and interviews on Facebook as well as  YouTube. I hope that I will get to meet some of you there, as well.

And thank you all for taking time from your busy day to tune into the podcast! I may have a special podcast from Salt Lake City with a guest of two, so stay tuned for that as well! In the meantime, stay warm and dry–it is still winter and quite cold. And please remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!