Monthly Archives: July 2012

African Roots Podcast Episode #173 July 27, 2012

This Week's Pod Cast


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

It’s good to be back from a week where I completed a 1000 mile drive from Arkansas to Maryland this week. Driving across the country was an amazing experience and a fascinating trip to make! What a good way to see the country and to reflect on how our own ancestors traveled in earlier years.

End of summer announcements, and events:
The University of Delaware library has announced that one can now have online access to a set of newspapers—black newspapers from 1827-1998. This provides access to over 270 newspapers which cover a period of over 150 years!!! The collection rests on their database. HOWEVER it is only available to people who are in the UDelaware system. So if you can obtain a library card or become a “friend of the library” you may be able to gain access.

Emancipation Petitions are Now Available Online.

Emancipation Petitions. Have you ever heard of them? Well they are now digitized and one can get a good glimpse at their content on a website shared by a fellow researcher:
Civil War DC is the web site: At that time, Abraham Lincoln who was a Congressman from Illinois in 1849, presented a plan for ending slavery in Washington, DC, through gradual, voluntary, and compensated emancipation. This is a site devoted to those emancipation petitions. They make a very interesting read, and yes they are unique to the District of Columbia

From Central MD—an extensive schedule of events is still unfolding for the remainder of the year. Remember this is the group that had the fascinating 3 part Census Extravaganza when the 1940 census was launched in the spring of this year. Well they are still going strong with their own activities, and will have beginning in August a 2 part lunch and learn program. On August 11th and September 15th at 1 pm each day a discussion on state-focused research. In August the discussion will focus on genealogical research in DC/MD/VA. The September lunch will feature a discussion on the Carolinas and Mississippi and Alabama. Note that these areas were selected and based on the data provided by members when they sign in and indicate geographic areas of interest. So these are member generated areas of focus.

There are plans to have lunch and learns to focus on other states as well in the future.
These are informal sessions and also note that these lunch and learn sessions will be held at the library in Columbia and not at the Owen Brown Center.

Last night’s Bernice Bennett show was a good one with Dr. Pearl Alice Marsh, who is one who has approached the genealogical experience on many levels and who has emerged also as a leader in the community having been one who influenced the congressional action to preserve Record Group 105, the Freedman’s Bureau. She had some wonderful insights to share with the listeners. Also in last night’s show, the August line up was, shared and it is really a fantastic line up! Check out Bernice’s show every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.

Well as we roll into the end of the summer I hope you have plans to document these wonderful events as they are unfolding. Having just come off the road from an amazing drive, across the country helping family members move, I did remember to document the packing, the move and to tell the story of the move by capturing some video footage. This portion of the family is opening a new chapter by this major relocation. I felt obligated to capture part of this move so that future generations will be able to also tell this story.

Thanks for listening, and please remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!

African Roots Podcast Episode #172 July 20, 2012

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Coming up in Central Virginia:
Life for Women and African-Americans in Virginia 1865-1900, Dr. Larissa Smith-Fergeson will Saturday, July 21st 3:00 p.m. at The Louisa Arts Center, Louisa Virginia.
This looks like a fascinating presentation focusing on the lives of women from the years following the Civil War through the early 20th century. Her presentation will cover even the years of Jim Crow, and lives up to the years of World War I.

What did you miss when your history survey courses jumped from the end of the Civil War to World War I? Did you ever wonder how the South came under the control of Jim Crow? What was the world like for women and blacks in Virginia immediately after Reconstruction and why did it later change? You’ll know the answers after this presentation. Free.

(note: AAHGS Chapter of Central VA is not meeting Saturday, instead members plan to attend this event)

From Arkansas and the Arkansas History Commission a new brown bag program called, History Bits and Bites. This is a great time to learn about the deaths in the state prior to 1920. This database contains information on how to utilize this state archives in the most effective way. I always appreciate it when libraries and archives hold sessions on how to use their facilities efficiently. This event is free by the way but they do want people to register in advance. Contact Jane Hooker

Do you ever work with Freedman’s Bureau records? Well if you have or even if you have not–this is good time to inspect them and see how valuable they can be. For the next three weeks, Low County Africana —that wonderful site is uploading a new labor contract from the Hilton Head area every evening at 6 pm. That means an upload every single day for the next three weeks. This is a good time to see how wonderful these records that recorded the first “paid” work experience of many people who had labored for generations without pay. These records from Record Group 105 are incredible and worth exploring!

Did you get a chance to listen to Bernice Bennett’s show last night? Frazine Taylor was her guest and she shared so much good information for Alabama Researchers! Ms. Taylor is the author of “Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama.” She also researched Tom Joyner’s family history for the PBS program “African American Lives.” She also coordinates the African American track at the Samford University Genealogy Institue in Birmingham Alabama. Her background is a fascinating person one who says that she “backed into” genealogical research. She began as a cataloger and eventually moved into work as a reference librarian at the Alabama State Archives. She advised beginners to study the state, and local history where the family originated in Alabama. She advised looking at different record sets, such as the investigations into the Klan. Genealogical organizations in Alabama that concentrate on African American records—the Black Belt African American Genealogical Society, the Birmingham Afr. American Genealogical Society and Afrian American-Atlanta Genealogical Society. The show was also good, because there were callers to the show who did pose some good questions. Ms. Taylor is familiar with just about every kind of record for the state. She spoke with knowledge about the content of the various records even those records that provide data for people in the years between the census years. Some unusual records such as “Dog Tag” Registrations are found and one can find out information about the family. The Alabama Department of History has a great website and Ms. Taylor walked the listeners through the website. Her knowledge of records available by county is extensive and she was able to speak with knowledge about the state holdings. The show was wonderful, and remember her show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm EST on Blog Talk Radio. If you miss the show you can always listen to the archived version of the show, and you can also download it from ITunes.

Want a new experience? Would you like to be in a genealogy reality show? Well there is a Casting Call for people who live in the greater New York area. This is short notice and I am putting the link for you here. This is all going to happen within the next month so you have to act quickly. REQUIREMENTS You must be available for 1-2 hours on July 26th or 27th in Midtown Manhattan, be willing to sign an appearance release and discuss your ancestry and possible genetic health issues and must live in one of the 5 NYC boroughs. The final requirement is to be willing to allow filming of the “results reveal” in your home on August 28th (1-2 hour time commitment). So time is critical, sign up today!

A quick shout out to George Geder for sharing the link about his story that appeared on the History Detectives. Apparently his episode was “favorite” of Elyse Luray, one of the hosts. What fun it was to revisit part of that show again!

I read a neat article online from the Armchair Genealogist about blogging and how one can use it to enhance your research, and I always urge people to consider the many uses of blogging as a means or a platform to tell your family story. I like the author’s suggestion of instead of giving away all of the family data on a blog, to simply document the research journey. That way if you are planning a project such as a book, the family story is in the book but you have written some of it by sharing details about the journey to find the information. It’s a great article and quite thought provoking.

Well thanks again for listening and continue to do what you do–keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.