Category Archives: African Roots

African Roots Podcast Episode #274 July 4, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

 

Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can reach me at AfricanRootsPodcast@gmail.com

Well Happy 4th of July! I hope you are well into the holiday weekend, and that you will be enjoying yourself with the family, and cookouts. Do be careful with the fireworks, though. Better yet—why not go and watch the professional fireworks displays. They are always a pleasure to watch. So relax, enjoy family and friends, eats some good food,  and make some memories. Pull out the camera and have a great time!

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A quick shout out goes to the folks in Charleston SC, who will be participating in the History Fair at Magnolia Gardens tomorrow. Thos with ties to the African American communities of the Low Country, especially in the Charleston area are strongly invited to come! This is a great chance to get some free genealogy advice from two well respected genealogists, Toni Carrier, and Ramona laRoche. This will take place at Magnolia Gardens from 9 am to 4 pm tomorrow.

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Yesterday I had a chance to meet two folks from the Digital Maryland project. They have already put up several hundred African American Funeral Programs collection. They can always use volunteers and if you are interested in working with these folks who are putting up information to make it accessible to a wider range of people.

WEBSITE

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Out of Philadelphia more than 1000 digitized images of interest to African American researches can now be found on the website of the Philadelphia Public Library. Over 1000 digitized images will provide some rare glimpses into the lives of African Americans.

The Philadelphia Library Company has been collecting images since its founding by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, and scholars began collecting photographs, political cartoons and drawings for its African Americana collection in the late 1960s.
Read more HERE

From their website:

“Created from the Library Company’s acclaimed Afro-Americana Collection—an accumulation that began with Benjamin Franklin and steadily increased throughout its entire history—this unique online resource will provide researchers with more than 12,000 printed works. These essential books, pamphlets and broadsides, including many lesser-known imprints, hold an unparalleled record of African American history, literature and culture. This digital edition of one of the world’s preeminent collections for African American studies is available as a single complete collection, or in one or more of ten cohesive modules, organized by historic era.”

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Last week I mentioned the History Makers project has now been preserved on a larger scale. Well this week I learned a lot more about it and was most impressed with the origin of the project—the effort of Juliana Richardson. This tells us what one single person can do. This is the largest collection of  interviews since the WPA slave narratives, and what a lesson for us all to pull out our cameras and to start with our own individual circle of friends family, and friends of the family and much more. Juliana Richardson is an inspiration and we can emulate her work. Her single effort has put so much more of this history on the historical map in a new way! Let’s learn from her lesson.

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Do you have ancestors in Oregon or who moved west? There is an effort now to preserve Black history of Oregon, and the state’s preservation office is interested in learning more about the Black pioneers. This effort is covering the years from 1844 to 1984—so that’s a 140 year span. The goal is to Oregon Black Pioneers says it’s ultimate goal is to nominate significant African-American historic sites to the National Register of Historic Places.

I just learned about this which was just announced this week, so hopefully the word will spread about this noteworthy project. More can be learned HERE. 

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Don’t forget that if you don’t have access to Ancestry, you will have full access till June 6th, so take advantage and see what you find!

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Old Cawhawba Alabama is celebrating it’s history.  At one time, about 65% of the community was Black and though the history of the county for many years never reflected the majority population, the city is now celebrating this fascinating past. And their past is a very rich one. There are many historic sites in the area, plus of course the old estates and plantations were filled with untold stories of the thousands of slaves who once worked the land. The people and the county are now acknowledging this overlooked history, and I urge you to see what they are doing in that part of Alabama.

Old Cahawba Black History

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MAAGI IS HERE!

Well it is the 4th of July yes. And in 3 days—-it is time for MAAGI!!!!! That’s right the MIDWEST AFRICAN AMERICAN GENEALOGY INSTITUTE, is here! And yes, I am a wee bit excited!!!

And if you are curious and don’t know about MAAGI, take a look at the website.  And check out the speakers!

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I know some of you will be attending a Family Reunion this weekend, and many of you are also planning reunions. Well if you are a planner, tune in to last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show, Research at the National Archives and Beyond. Last night her guest was Callian Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins gave good advice and tips on how to not only organize a reunion, but also how to avoid mistakes as well. She herself organized a very large reunion event in Maryland, and as a result, she has lots of tips for other planners. You can download the show, and you can always hear Ms. Bennett’s show every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.

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Well, everyone have a great holiday–take pictures and turn today’s even into something to document. Remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and to keep sharing what you find.
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Meet me in St. Louis!

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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 AfricanRootsPodcast@gmail.com

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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’s initiative to document the experiences of former slaves in the 1930s.” 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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!