Category Archives: African Roots

African Roots Podcast Episode #276 July 18, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

It is good to be back home after a wonderful week in Missouri where I attended the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute in St. Louis. Last week I had two guests who shared their amazing story, so if you missed it, do tune in to last week’s episode. Check out the many blogs and posts on Social Media about the experiences.


Well this is the season for institutes, and I know that many are on their way to Pittsburgh to attend the Genealogy Research Institute in Pittsburgh, and hope that they have a wonderful week! If you are hoping to increase your skills, you are urged to attend a genealogy institute. The benefits are amazing and the people who attend often bring their own wonderful talents. All are urged to attend these events in addition to the conferences and lectures in our own local area.  I also thank those who were in the Professional genealogy track, as I learned a lot from their enthusiasm that they brought with them to the institute as well.


If you missed it, do tune in to listen to the Blog Talk Radio show produced  by the Professional Genealogy Track at MAAGI.  In this show one of the participants took on the persona of an ancestor Matilda, who asked the question Why? She in character, asked the questions to each of them why they were pursuing genealogy. They produced this program in less than 72 hours! I sensed their energy and while they were broadcasting live, we were listening to them in the other classes. If you missed it, tune in an enjoy!

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Now, if you missed Ms. Bennet’s show last night, please listen to the archived version. Her show is Research at the National Archives and Beyond. Her guest was Andi Cumbo, who is a writer who lives on the old family estate where her ancestors lived. She has written a wonderful book called, “The Slaves Have Names.” She has come to terms with the fact that her ancestors were slave holders. In a sense she has begun a healing of source. She has had the courage to address it, and she made an effort to put a human face on the names of the slaves.  Hopefully others who descend from slave holders will take time to read her book. She spoke of how writing the book had changed her, and how it has affected her own life in a new way. So tune in to hear this amazing discussion. Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9 pm on Blog Talk Radio.

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 Family Reunion, the O’Jays

Well, this is family reunion time! I hope that  as you prepare for the reunion, that you plan to take a bit of history to the family as well. Beyond a family chart display—how are you going to share the stories with the family? Of course respond to your own strength, your own niche. Share your passion and your talent, and apply it. If you are an artist—share it at that family gathering.

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A shout out for the work that Robin Foster of South Carolina is conducting. As you know she is a leader in the genealogy community and recently in the community of preservationists. She has been working so hard to preserve a cemetery that was almost lost to overgrowth and time. Take a look and show some appreciation for her wonderful work and her hard work. See her work on Fairview Cemetery that is still unfolding.  And we all know that summer is great to travel, but not the best time to address neglected cemeteries as there can be snakes and other biting insects as well. But hats off to her for what she and others are doing in South Carolina. Her work is truly inspiring.

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Well here is a wonderful announcement that will interest Civil War enthusiasts. The African American Civil War Memorial Museum has extended an invitation to all descendants of United States Colored Troops. This invitation is for May 17th, 2015. We know that 2015 is a milestone year—the abolishment of slavery, of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution and the beginning of Freedom. You are invited to participate in the Grand Review Parade that will occur on May 17th  2015in Washington DC. This will be a march down Pennsylvania Avenue in honor of the end of the Civil War and the preservation of the Union, and for us who descend from the enslaved—this will symbolize the end of slavery. You are invited to participate, with at least one member who will be attired in Union Army regalia honoring their service. That entire weekend will be full of other activities from Thursday to Sunday. This is a great time to think about participating. As more information is available, I shall be passing it on to you.

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A congratulations is extended to Renata Sanders gave a presentation to the Heritage Society in Franklin County North Carolina. There is a lot of energy coming out of that part of North Carolina, and hope it was a successful event.

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Don’t forget that in the fall, Pittsburgh will be the place to be in October 9 – 12th. The 35th National Conference for AAHGS will unfold. The website now has full detail about that as well. The PDF can be downloaded from this page.

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Thanks for tuning in to listen this week. I know many of your are traveling this week and as those reunions and institutes are unfolding in this wonderful summer season! So you are appreciated for your taking this time. In the meantime, have a great week, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

African Roots Podcast Episode # 275 July 11, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

What an incredible week! Today, I am coming to you today from that wonderful city on the banks of the Mississippi River, St. Louis Missouri. And as some of you know, I have been here the past several days attending the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute. 

There are no words to describe this week’s experience except that it was a success in so many ways! The four tracks unfolded and the participants were challenged by the instructors and the instructors were stimulated by the myriad of excellent questions and were equally impressed by the talent and skills brought to the institute by the participants.

So many things stood out this week, and as many of you will be watching the threads and looking at the photos and videos as they will be appearing in social media and likewise on a number of blogs, the spirit and energy of MAAGI will be evident.

For me, the most incredible part of the week was to see how much effort that the participants themselves took on the challenges presented to them, and how hard they worked outside of class. This was exemplified Wednesday evening, when a group of participants had an impromptu study group and were engaged in a 4 hour study group back at the hotel.



This group worked until after midnight and somehow they were still back at class promptly at 8:30 the next morning for classes.

But a magical moment occurred when a member of the group Gary Franklin shared his timeline, and mentioned a family to which his family was connected. At that moment, Renate Sanders Yarborough Sanders recognized the name and place. Yes, it was one of those moments where the ancestors must have been smiling down upon them both. Not only was there a connection made, it appears that incredible information was shared about the slave holding family, their records and the descendants of the slave holding family. Renate, has a blood tie to the slave holding family, and has been communicating with one of the descendants of that family. Well, as the magical moment continued, the descendant happened to have phoned Renate, and she was able to allow Gary to speak with her, and Gary heard the names of his ancestors read to him and confirmed many pieces of information that were said to have only been oral history.

Both Renate and Gary are guests on the show this today, and you will have to hear them tell their story themselves. To hear this story is to appreciate that sometimes, things are meant to happen. These are two people who never knew each other, do not live in the same state, and whose lives might have never crossed, but they did cross in St. Louis, and an amazing connection was made.  There is much more to this incredible story that I am sure that they will begin to tell themselves and all of us will be listening to hear more.

To say that MAAGI was a successful event is a mild statement. It is hoped that future institutes will be equally as intense, equally as dynamic, and equally as revealing. It has been an honor to have been a member of the faculty and to have been exposed to the talent and enthusiasm of the group, and I am grateful to have had the exposure to the talents of everyone whom I met in St. Louis.  I hope that the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute in St. Louis, will have a bright and successful future.