Category Archives: African Roots

African Roots Podcast Episode #285 September 19, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well in a few days, summer will official end, and fall will officially arrive. Although it’s kind of sad to see the leaves fall, I admit that autumn is truly a beautiful season, so time to enjoy some beautiful colors that the season brings.



Thanks to everyone who tuned in to listen to my webinar that took place this past Wednesday for the Georgia Genealogical Society. I enjoyed it an am looking forward to the next one!


Facebook and the active African American Genealogy Groups!

Sample of groups on Facebook

I was fascinated to see an interesting new Facebook group this past week. And a special congratulations to Robin Foster and Jan Edwards. They have launched a new group called “Genealogy, Just Ask”. They are looking for those willing to share their volunteer services so congratulations to them. And it is a good place to also ask questions as well, so go and take a look.

I am continually amazed at the vigor in which people are pursing their family history! Social media is reflective of that activity! I am impressed with the number of groups that are out there, so take a look. at some of these groups:
Our Black Ancestry
African American Blogging Circle
Afr. American Genealogy Forum
Afr. American Genealogy Interest Group of Texas
Afr. American Genealogy & History Society of St. Louis
………and so many more!

Take a look at the dozens of African American research groups on Facebook, and join them!

Folks in the Mid-Atlantic area will be hearing Tim Pinnick tomorrow present his session on Newspapers. He is sponsored by 5 organizations in the Washington-Baltimore areas, and you are urged to contact the local groups to see where the event will take place. (No website link available for this session.)


Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show was focused on Louisiana Resources for African American Genealogy. Judy Riffel was the featured guest who shared so much information about the amazing resources coming from that state! Plantation records, church records and so much more were discussed. So much information on this complex and very interesting state was presented, so if you missed it, tune in to hear it. As you know, Research At the National Archives & Beyond airs every Thursday evening at 9:00 pm on Blog Talk Radio. And check out some of the other archived episodes for you.


Story of Mystery Tombstone, courtesy of KJRH TV

I have a mystery for you.

A cemetery in Wagoner Oklahoma featuring a headstone featuring names of people who have ties to an AME Church. The church is called Bethel Hill AME church. But there is no such church in the town, so genealogists are puzzled by this marker in Elmwood Cemetery. Here is a link to the story for you. Mystery TombstoneIf you have information call 918-485-2741.


Best African American Genealogy Websites 2014

Congratulations to the 5 websites names “Best” African American websites by Family Tree Magazine!
-Afro-Louisiana Genealogy Database
-Digital Library on American Slavery
-Documenting The American South
-Low Country Africana

All of these sites should be familiar to you, and if you are not familiar with them, please explore them and become familiar with them! And—what are YOUR favorite websites that are are not on the list? Please share them!


What is your Genealogy Specialty?

This question was placed on a Facebook group today, and I thought I would ask the question to the listening audience? Do you have a passion for a specific place or time period? Are you writing about it, or sharing information that you have? Consider “coming out” with your passion and create a blog or write an article about this passion. Possible specialties: Cemeteries, Preservation, Civil War, Women, Teachers, Rosenwald Schools, Jeanes Teachers, Contraband Camps, and on an on. What is your interest? Dare to tell the story and dare to become the authority! We need so many more writers and specialists. And we need them to share their passion with the rest of us.

Well, thanks for listening and tuning in today, and thanks for sharing your stories and links! In the meantime, have a great week, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!


African Roots Podcast Episode #284 September 12, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Story Corps Booth

This message is for friends in St. Louis: StoryCorps, the ongoing national oral history program has arrived in St. Louis and the mobile booth will be there for the next 30 days or so. They are conducting oral history interviews and I know that they are hoping to have a good number of African Americans involved in the project. As of today they still have a some openings on their schedule. (About 8 open slots are still available right now!) Get your own story told and have it a part of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian’s permanent collections! But if you don’t get on the immediate schedule they expect to have additional openings over the month, as many times people have changes in their schedules. so there is also a waiting list. Get on that list if you can! They have a few slots open for today, so please tell your story! The mobile booth is located at the Missouri History MuseumIf you listen to the local NPR station you will have possibly heard about the project. I just spoke with one of the organizers. Here is more information! Act quickly as the slots are filling fast!


A Georgia Genealogy Society Webinar

I am getting ready for a webinar next week on the 17th of September with the Georgia Genealogy Society. My focus is using databases and search engines to find African American families. I shall focus on how to use the large databases such as the subscription and free sites, and also how to use the African American-specific sites. And included will be some suggestions on how to use search engines to find unique African American data.


Upcoming Events September & October

In the Greater Baltimore Washington area on September 20th there will be a special presentation on African American Newspapers by Tim Pinnick.

Other Fall Genealogy Events:

AAHGS National Conference

Chicago African American Genealogical & Historical Society Annual Conference

Indiana African American Genealogy Group will host Melvin Collier as a speaker also.

As I look toward 2015 things are unfolding. The 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies will hold their annual conference in Salt Lake City in February of 2015. At the same time Roots Tech will be unfolding at the same place at the same time –the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah! I will be attending both conferences, and will be speaking at Roots Tech.

Another event that I might consider attending just to learn, will be the annual institute hosted by the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy that will take place in Texas in March 2015. Note that there are actually two institutes that will unfold during the same week, one for beginners and one for more advanced forensic researchers. Forensic genealogy and DNA are the two areas that I think are the new frontier for genealogical research.


Are you researching the era of slavery? If you are, and if you have been involved in any degree of work pertaining to that era, you might find that last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show will inspire you. Her guest was Konnetta Alexander of Tennessee, who has immersed herself totally in the process of studying the lives of enslaved people, and telling their stories. Some of us remember her presentation at the AAHGS conference of enslaved Matilda telling her story of her life. Her work extends so much more beyond that as well.

Konnetta Alexander

 She spoke about the resources beyond finding the names of enslaved in wills, but she pointed out additional resources that exist for people to document this period in history. This was a very inspiring interview. As you know Bernice Bennett’s show, Research at the National Archives & Beyond, airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.

I strongly suggest listening to this episode, because the dialogue suggested the many possibilities that exist for researchers to take their work in new directions. I also found that the inspiration that emanated from that interview to extend to the greater community. There is possibility for us to consider developing a new curriculum. So many of us are out there with a number of our own initiatives and there are “specialists” in African American genealogy from various places. This is good thing, but there is no standard curriculum. We have a foundation that has already been laid by those who have dared to go in that direction, but perhaps there is a larger need for a standard curriculum to be created, an African American Genealogy Methods Primer is perhaps needed, and I would urge any and all who could undertake such a project to direct such a collaboration, to do so. The time has come.


Call for Presentations

Opportunities for those wishing to present at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree are at hand. The deadline is October 1st, so if you are considering speaking there next year,


Well thank you so much for tuning in for this week’s podcast! I appreciate your time, and I love hearing from all of you, thank you. Have a great week ahead, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!