Monthly Archives: June 2014

African Roots Podcast Episode #273 June 27, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Family Search Digitizes the Mississippi Freedman’s Bureau Records!

Good news is out this week from Family Search—the effort to digitize the Mississippi Freedman’s Bureau records is unfolding! This is exciting, since so many families from throughout the country have ties to the state of Mississippi, this is a critical body of records. So far about 66,000 records are there to examine, and hopefully even more will surface. Since this is a new collection–it is taking time for them all to be viewed, but within a few days this should be completed, and all will be easily seen.

And of course—-join the effort to index these records! We need these records to be indexed as soon as possible, and truly need to become a part of this critical project!


MAAGI is 10 days away!

The Midwest African American Genealogy Institute is 10 days away. Nationally known speakers are going to be there, Thomas Macentee, Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, Bernice Bennett, Dr. Shelley Murphy, and Janis Forte!
For more information about MAAGI, click HERE.


Those in Washington DC are invited to join Bernice Bennett and Ellen Butler for a book signing at the Family History Center in Kensington MD, tomorrow morning at 9:30 am. They are two of the authors of the collaborative work, “Our Ancestors, Our Stories”¬†published earlier this year. If you have no yet obtained your copy, then this will be a great opportunity to meet some of the authors and to learn more about the collaborative process as well.


Speaking of Edgefield South Carolina—they are truly amazing and I have to salute them. Their records are intact, and I appreciate the fact that this community is embracing its history. They are sharing their history—with the African American community as well. I was recently shown a copy of The Quill, the newsletter of the Old Edgefield District Genealogy Society. The most recent issue of the newsletter contained data from an estate inventory of John Ryan, who had left data on the slaves on his estate. I know that there are wills, estate inventories and so much more. I hope other communities will put this data in their publications as well.

If you come from a community in the South where there were lots of people enslaved and if your society newsletter does not reflect those enslaved people–this is a great opportunity to do so. If you need a model–check out the Old Edgefield District Genealogy Society. To get a copy of the Old Edgefield Genealogy Society Newsletter—contact the organization at this link.


Library of Congress Acquires African American Oral History Archive!

News came out this week that the Library of Congress has acquired the archives of the History Makers, a series of oral history interviews documenting African American life and culture.

This acquisition consists of over 14,000 tapes, 3000 DVDs, 70,000 paper documents and so much more! What makes this so significant is that this is the¬†“single largest archival project of its kind since the Works Progress Administration‚Äôs initiative to document the experiences of former slaves in the 1930s.‚ÄĚ To describe this as larger than the ¬†WPA Slave Narrative project says a lot.

This project began in 1999 and has traveled throughout the nation as well as countries to capture this very rich history. For more information click HERE. 

For more on The History Makers, click HERE.


If you missed Bernice Bennett’s show last night, you are urged to tune in to hear an interesting discussion of a book and a discussion on race, class and color. Her guest was Daniel Sharfstein, author of The Invisible Line. He discussed the book where he researched three families that went intentionally from Black to white, and how identity has changed. The discussion in the chat was a poignant one on race and color. ¬†To hear the archived show, go to BlogTalkRadio.¬†Remember her show, “Research at the National Archives and Beyond airs every Thursday evening at 9pm eastern time.


AAHGS Conference¬†Announcement is out—also check out their newly ¬†This may be a good time for you to consider planning to attend the conference in October in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania!


Use Social Media to document your research journey and your findings in the records and in the community! I was excited to share something on Facebook with another researcher who shared her challenge in finding an ancestor’s headstone. Well it turns out that her ancestor had two headstones! By sharing the story of finding one—I was able to follow a clue on a death certificate that she shared—and I found the other headstone! And this is the one that resides on the actual burial site of her ancestor! I am speaking about Robin Foster and you should be fully aware of her amazing research, and her hard work. She is one of those unsung heroes in the genealogy community and is one to follow. The benefits of sharing in social media cannot be discounted!

I hope that many of you will be sharing your experiences on social media from the reunions and research trips that you will be making as well over the next several weeks! Enjoy and share!


Well thanks for tuning in again this week, and know that I appreciate you all for sharing your news and announcements. Also next weekend is the 4th of July holiday weekend, so I know that many of you will be spending time away with family, so do enjoy that as well.

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

African Roots Podcast Episode #272 June 20th 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome to the African Roots Podcast!  I can always be reached at

Well a Happy Juneteenth weekend to you!

This is the 149th Anniversary of the day that General Granger sailed into Galveston Harbor informing those still enslaved that the slaves were freed at last! Major events have been unfolding throughout the country since last weekend, and I hope you have been able to take advantage of them.


Press Release from Family Search 

Family Search Offers More Freedman’s Bureau Records!

Great news came out on Wednesday of this week! Family Search has announced that there is a brand new set of recently digitized Freedman’s Bureau Records for researchers!!

The new states included are:  Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland. This brings their total number of states now digitized to seven, and there are now hundreds of thousands of pages to study and to index!

This release comes in honor of Juneteeth, which is the celebration of Freedom that originated in June 1865, when General Granger sailed into Galveston Harbor and notified those still enslaved that freedom had come!


New African American Funeral Program Collection Online

Enoch Pratt Library has just announced that they have added a special collection of African American Funeral Programs to their digital holdings. Enoch Pratt Free Library is the public library for Baltimore, Maryland, and this collection consists of close to 2000 funeral programs, of mostly African Americans from Maryland. There are also some persons of national reputation also included in the collection. Each page of the funeral programs are digitized and can be viewed online.

To view entire program, click HERE 


Best wishes to our friends in Kentucky! They are having a special Roots picnic and a get to know you gathering, on this Juneteenth weekend! They already has a special Juneteenth event honoring the event last weekend at the African Cemetery in Lexington Kentucky! I have been following them for some time, and I think know that there is a good amount of Civil War activity in various parts of Kentucky.

And a shout out to my own local friends here in Maryland of the Agnes Callum AAHGS Chapter as they are having a special 25th anniversary banquet this weekend.


Listen to Podcast HERE!

¬†I mentioned 2 weeks ago when I was at the SCGS Jamboree, that I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Genealogy Guys—-George Morgan and Drew Smith. Well I am excited to tell you that the podcast was uploaded this week from that interview!!

I was thrilled and honored to be interviewed by these two and it was so much fun!!  They are the pioneers in genealogy podcasting, and what a treat to be guest on the very show that inspired me to host this podcast!

Thanks George and Drew!



Speaking of podcasts, if you missed Bernice Bennett’s show last night, then tune in to hear her show as a podcast, as her guest was Craig Steven Wilder, author of Ebony and Ivy!

What an eye opener—this book addresses the little known segment in history of how the Ivy league institutions–each and every one has a hidden legacy of slavery. On some campuses there were more slaves than students—all labor in the late 1700s and early 1800s was complete by enslaved men and women. If repairs were needed to facilities—to raise money—a slave was sold to pay for it. The story discussed was a fascinating one, and truly enlightening. You will want to purchase a copy of Dr. Wilder’s book after hearing the show. Remember that Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm EST.

Only two more weeks to get in your proposal for the 2015 Roots Tech event in Salt Lake City Utah in  February 2015.


Legacy Family Tree Webinar

Tune into to my webinar next Wednesday June 2th dicussing Native American Genealogy Research.


Well winding down on this Juneteenth weekend hoping that you will take some time to reflect and remember what Juneteenth is about, remember those who went through so much during the years of enslavement and also to appreciate the fact that not only did freedom come—but to commit to finding and telling your family’s freedom story.

¬†Thank you for listening and taking time from your own schedule–you have tons of choices—I appreciate you and love hearing from you.

Remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.