Monthly Archives: November 2013

African Roots Podcast Episode #243 November 29, 2013

This Week's Pod Cast


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and are having a great weekend! If you are joining the crowds and beginning your holiday shopping, I hope that you will be safe as you venture out into the malls and shopping centers.

African American Blogging Circle has come to an end of the first project by blogging our way through the PBS Series, Many Rivers to Cross. Be sure to visit the various blogs of the members of the blogging Circle.

Today is the National Day of Listening! So what are your questions and who is your guest? Aunt, Uncle, elder close to the family? Or are you the elder? And if so—have you told your story?

Thanksgiving is a great time to do that and to create a new tradition—share memories of Thanksgiving holidays of long ago. These taped interviews can be just that. I thought of something yesterday when I took my own turkey out of the oven. How often have you taken photos of the meal? Of the family sitting down to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast? I realized that we never took pictures either when growing up, and perhaps it is time to start doing so.

And this is a great time to create new traditions! This is a great time to also re-visit older traditions long forgotten. And this is great time to reach out to those away from the family.

We have tools that we didn’t have at our finger tips not too long ago. Cell phones, digital cameras and social media have made such as difference—we are often a click away from our loved ones, and only have to touch base by making the decision to do so.

So—if the elders have gone—and you didn’t get to interview them—-then you become the elder and add another chapter to your own story. We know that life is complicated and your own life has had many twists and turns. So—how are you doing to outline what you have done in your lifetime. You know what was important and what it meant—is that the story to tell? You know of the people who passed through your life who are no longer a part—is that the story to tell? You know of the places that you have visited and used to frequent that once essential are now only memories—is that the story to tell? Go ahead and tell that story—and get it out there!

Today is also Black Friday. Enough said about that madness. But—do you remember Christmas shopping and what it used to mean when you were younger? Was there a certain day in which you went holiday shopping? For me it was always one day in particular. Was it an entire season where the message to buy and spend was not as prevalent as it is today? Before the Black Friday hype and the expected fights in the stores emerged—what was the shopping experience really like?

Also—who remembers the stockings—real stockings stuffed with gifts? I can recall all of the colorful hard candy and the big stick of peppermint and the apples and oranges in the stuffed socks. And the pecans—bigger than the slender ones that fell from our pecan tree in the backyard.

And how many of us know the origins of some of these traditions? So many things to think about and record and share—so go ahead.

* * * * *

Did you catch Bernice Bennett’s show this week? She had a special broadcast on Monday afternoon, with guests who discussed the Wanderer Project. April Hynes who found a face jug and that opened some interesting doors for her, and Rev. Fred Morton and descendant of a survivor of the Slave Ship Wanderer was on. The story of the Wanderer has attracted my of attention for many years, and it is one of the stories where many of the survivors lived till the 20th century. I was surprised to learn how much has actually been documented about them. Great story—check it out if you did not have a chance. And also look ahead to hear line up for December. Sharon Battiste Gillens will talk about RG 105, a favorite topic of mine. Elaine Parker Adams will be speaking about the Rev. Peter Clark Preacher and Reformer. Michael Wiliams will discuss finding your Kinship Village, and Sarah Cato will discuss a project that she has devoted her time to—the history of the 56th US Colored Infantry and the effort to provide a respectful memory to 175 men from the Civil War.

* * * * *

Well—the year is quickly coming to an end, but it gives us time to reflect and to plan. I hope you find the same value in slowing down and analyzing where you are with your genealogy, your goals and your skills. Let’s all use this time to prepare for the coming year, and to think about new ways in which we will be able to pursue that which we love, genealogy.

Again, enjoy what remains of this Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. I also thank you for being there and for allowing me to be here, to share some time and thoughts with you. I appreciate this genealogy community so much and can only look forward with enthusiasm to the months and year ahead!

In the meantime, until next week, keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!

African Roots Podcast Episode #242 November 22, 2013

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Hope you had a good week, I have been busy including writing and working on blogs, and getting myself into the mode for putting thoughts down, and trying to determine which way to go in the next several months.It has been a busy week. I have been following other bloggers. By the way the African American Genealogy Blogging Circle. The group is still following and writing it’s way through the PBS Series, The African Americans, Many Rivers to Cross. It was poignant for me, as I lived through that era, so I ended up writing up about things as I recalled them. So read my blog if you have a chance, and do follow the others bloggers as well.

And this is almost holiday time. The National Day of Listening is coming as well. This is a good memory making time. Speak with the elders and collect some of those stories. Many communities have started a number of Oral History projects have emerged, especially those from World War II. If you still have a grandparent or gr. grandparent—let’s talk to them. The Tuskegee Airmen are still here. So take some time during the Thanksgiving weekend to capture those stories.

Did you capture Bernice Bennett’s show last night? Marquetta Goodwine was featured. She has worked so hard to preserve aspects of her culture coming from St. Helena Island and that of the GullahGeechee community. I find that in the kind of community prersevation that she has been a part of, there is the chance for us to use her work as a model and to consider capturing our own history as well. I have been excited however, to learn about other community projects that people are involved in as well. Let’s work hard to share our own local stories and artifacts, and historical landmarks. The churches the schools, old businesses.

It is time to extend a congratulations to Drusilla Pair, whom we know as Professor Dru. She took the story to the stage. She has taken a story of a family’s “Flight to Freedom”. And she took the story back to the spot where it began. She presented a play that she wrote that came from the Hanover Tavern. She has chosen to go beyond “Grandma and ‘Nem”. The told the story of Martha preparing the food for the children and walking to freedom. She was invited to tell the story and she shared some photos with us, the room was packed. She is telling a community of people, making their way to Ft. Monroe, that fortress of freedom. The lesson for us as genealogists is to find the story. And if the ancestors did not tell the story, then read the books written by others and then analyze what we read. When you see those references to the slaves that left—look closely and tell that story, and the story is just that—that they left. She will be presenting a similar program in the Hampton Virginia area in February.

I had the chance to watch a good webinar on Mind Mapping that Thomas Macentee presented. I learned that Mind Mapping is an interesting tool to keep track of projects. And this could be a method of sorting through and creating a strategy. I was surprised that I got it, and I can see the value especially for African American family structures that are sometimes complex. This webinar can be found on Legacy Family Tree, and might still be online for free.

I had a chance to visit some old databases and websites that I often use. Besides Ancestry and Fold3, I have been looking at some overlooked resources on Family Search. There are a number of Videos, including African American videos on methods and strategies. Many of us become stuck and it is time to shake ourselves out of the rut by looking at new resources. And lately there has been a lot of talk about Brick Walls, or challenges. Well sometimes these bumps in the road or detours can provide new opportunities for us to look at something differently. So look at the holdings at Family Search and some of the wonderful resources—they offer more than documents. And we may want to revisit the documents that we already have. And that is also where the Mind Mapping also appealed to me, to encourage me to think differently. If you research multiple lines and multiple communities then there are facts and circumstance that are unique to that area.

By the way on Monday at 3pm Bernice Bennett is having a special broadcast, on The Wanderer Project. This is a project emerging from the slave ship Wanderer. Well one of her guests is direct descendant of a survivor of the Wanderer. Rev. Fred Morton, will be on her show he will be talking about his family’s history and legacy. And her other guest is April Hynes who will talk about her work after discovering a Face Jug. So tune in on Monday at 3 pm on Blog Talk Radio.

Speaking of slave ships I have been looking at a fascinating story shared on social media this past week about the slave ship Clotilde. This was the last known slave ship that brought Africans to America and many came from the Yoruba speaking parts of West Africa. I have been looking at census records and found many of these people who lived in African Town in Mobile Alabama. Such stories are often shared on Facebook and other forms of Social Media.

Well time has passed and it is time to wrap things up. Next week is Thanksgiving and a great time to speak with elders. Pull out those recorders or even use the one on your cell phone and start asking questions and listening. The entire weekend will be a great time to get those stories told and to hear some new stories. In the meantime, thank you for listening and tuning in, and I wish you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Day!

And remember to keep researching keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!