This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and welcome back to the African Roots Podcast.
Today is Friday August 28th 2009
You can always reach me at

FGS Conference—Next week. Many workshops will take place for African American genealogists!

The Arkansas AAHGS chapter will be hosting an luncheon at the conference and there will be a booth hosted by the chapter as well, so stop by and say hello to the folks there.

Among some of the presenters are:
Deborah Abbott Slave Research: It’s a Needle in a Haystack
Roberta “Bobbi” King African American Homesteaders
Arkansas AAHGS Luncheon—How Genealogy Informs History and History Informs Genealogy
Timothy Pinnick—Reconstruction 101
Judy Riffel—Techniques for researching enslaved ancestors
Linda McDowell—Arkansas African American resources & Arkansas WPA interviewers
Ronnie Nichols—the Battle at Big Creek.
Trevor Plante—Researching Buffalo Soldiers
More on the conference can be found on their website.

The summer home of Booker T. Washington will retain its status as a national landmark.

The owner, John Rice of Northport, has withdrawn the request he had submitted to the Huntington Historic Preservation Commission, according to his attorney, Michael Sahn. The home sits on 1.4 acres overlooking Long Island Sound.

According to Sahn, Rice purchased the property in June 2007 for $1.295 million and planned to fix up the house and live there. But he soon learned of numerous issues including structural damage to the house, land erosion and water runoff from an adjoining golf club at a higher elevation. Sahn said Rice “put a lot of money” into studying the problems and potential solutions before deciding that demolishing the house might be the most cost-effective strategy. Sahn said Rice had second thoughts after considering public reaction to his request to the preservation commission. More information can be found here.

Two interesting Links—
Early Black Women at Cornell

The Challenge of Residence at Sage College 1900s -1920s
Part and Apart in the 1930s

Freedom’s Journal
All 103 issues have been digitized!!
This is the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. The Journal was published weekly in New York City from 1827 to 1829. John B. Russworm edited the journal alone between March 16, 1827 and March 28, 1829. Later, Samuel Cornish served as co-editor (March 16, 1827 to September 14, 1827). Freedom’s Journal was superseded by The Rights of All, published between 1829 and 1830 by S. E. Cornish.
This rests on a site owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

I wanted to mention something that has been on my mind for several days. As you know I do use the internet a lot exploring interesting historical websites. I enjoy reading blogs of researchers who are documenting their own personal journeys to explore their family histories.

As researchers we know to connect the dots, and there is a need to acquire those research skills that will make us more focused and have a sharper eye.

As genealogists we should take what we do seriously. There are a number of workshops and symposiums that take place throughout the calendar year. And if we are serious about what we do—it is logical that some of these events will be on our calendars. There are many restrictions that we may have as well, such as finances that won’t allow us to attend everything, which is why utilizing those resources that are free make even more sense.

It is good to test ourselves and our ability to anazlyze what we find in our research. Keeping mind that we are not rushing to just collect names. We are not in a hurry to go back as far as we can as fast as we can. Our genealogical searches take time, and it is wise periodically to pull out some of our earliest documents and study them again. Listen to the family stories and see if they are corroborated by the documents that we have.

You might recall I mentioned a site where one genealogist actually had proven with more than one document the actual place where an ancestor and died and the actual circumstance under which she had died.

I want to mention this week, a wonderful challenge and opportunity to use your skills in analyzing what you have.

On the wonderful blog by George Geder, whom many of know he shared a death certificate of an ancestor, and then presented a challenge to his readers. There was some conflicting information in the family about the father of a deceased ancestor. Was the father named John or George? Two death certificates of two siblings were illustrated. On one death certificate, the gr. grandfather was said to be George. On another death certificate the same gr. grandfather’s name was said to be John. Which would you choose? Which should be “believed” or what is the next step?

This is a wonderful exercise in analyzing data, and how additional questions must be asked no matter h how experienced we feel that we are. I decided to respond as have some additional readers. In the cprocess of those responses to his questions, he—George himself realized that there was an error in the presentation of the family structure. However, the question still remains unresolved, which of the two informants would or should be taken as being accurate.

I am placing George Geder’s blog link for you to took and to join the process of anazlying data, and in determining when more data is required.

There are two lessons here—-
The first lesson is that in the process of looking at data on primary source documents such as death certificates one must look at the data beyond what is being described. In this case the death of an individual is being described—but factors such as informants are equally as significant. The death records of a collateral ancestor can also point to the same thing can provide at times data that conflicts.

The second lesson is to utilized the genealogical community—by sharing your research with others. A second, third, or fourth set of eyes can sometimes bring assist you in learning more about your own family structure.

The genealogical community is large, complex and full of talent. There are many who take the process of analysis seriously, and who have much to share, which is what we do.

I am impressed to see that many individuals are take their research seriously and take their ability to reach conclusions based on evidence.

This also illustrates the need that we all have to enhance our skills, sharpen our own techniques, and to learn from those who are more well versed in unique areas.

As fall approaches, this brings about a new season of learning in schools, colleges, universities. A new season of research also unfolds—and perhaps it is time that we begin to connect more with each other, and engage ourselves in those conferences, workshops, institutes.

You are also encouraged to start to entertain putting your research out there on another level.
-Start that blog you have considered developing.
-Launch that county research project you have long thought of doing.
-Develop that newsletter for those who share the same research interest.
But also step things up a notch.
-Become active in the historical society that covers your city or county. Have they presented enough information on the black community? If not is it because they have not thought of it, or simply felt that they did not have the expertise? You can become that person who inserts theblack community and places them on the historical landscape.

As you come well-versed—again—-connect with others who are doing the same thing in the same place you are doing what you do.

Thanks for listening. Remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and please keep sharing what you find.

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