Monthly Archives: April 2010

Podcast #55 April 16, 2010

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and Welcome Back!
Today is Friday April 16, 2010
My name is Angela Walton-Raji and this is the African Roots Podcast!

You can always reach me at

How is everyone today? Hope that you are doing well in the middle of this springtime season.

Lots of workshops are going on. I had the chance to attend the 6th Annual Genealogy Fair this week at the National Archives. There were lots of events for people on all levels. Representatives from AAHGS,, Footnote and others were all present and the event proved to be an excellent one with good turnout.

A number of upcoming events from Salt Lake City, to Arkansas are coming up. The NGS Conference will be underway soon and this past week, news about an event in Little Rock was recently shared with me. The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and are sponsoring a two day event on African American genealogy, in Little Rock Arkansas. This will take place on May 14th and 15th and will feature Tony Burroughs noted genealogy speaker as well as Lisa Arnold from Ancestry. This will be a great chance for many to learn about the usage of the African American filter, and also how to use the Wild-Card search when conducting searches on

There is some good news for Virginia researchers. For Culpepper County Virginia, the records of the chancery court have been digitized. There is a lot of good information about researching the histories of families that were possibly enslaved. A number of will were posted which also include the names of slaves that were mentioned when estates were settled. From the website it states that Henry Menefee’s list of slaves was more than 100 pages filling several columns on a long sheet or paper.

Also included on the LVS site is a set of co-habitation records. Among those are slaves from Augusta county who were children whose parents were no longer cohabitating but who were recognized by the children as being the children of their fathers. Also included for the same county were records of married couples. This entry was more than 30 pages long.

Best wishes are extended to the people of Washington DC as they celebrate Emancipation Day. In 1862 April 16, was declared as Emancipation and slaves in the District of Columbia were legally freed from bondage. This day was celebrated for many years, and it is stated by historians that this was among the first acts to begin to dismantle the legal institution of slavery in America. A number of events celebrated today and for the remainder of the month are planned. It provided for immediate emancipation, compensation to former owners who were loyal to the Union of up to $300 for each freed slave, voluntary colonization of former slaves to locations outside the United States, and payments of up to $100 for each person choosing emigration.

This week I posted something on my blog My Ancestors’s Name about a series of books I have in my possession that reflected a tiny black community in Drumright Oklahoma. I discussed the need to look at unusual records or sets of records that come from an unexpected source. As I was posting on the blog I took note of the fact that part of an entire community was documented in this book for school children. Drumright Oklahoma was not a black town, and in fact the population probably never exceeded 200 for the black families who lived there. But the fact that there were so many photos makes the need to document the history of this tiny community even more important. The blog post is found here.
Sometimes those opportunities to study an entire community come to us in expected ways, and I realized upon close examination that there is so much more to tell about the few families documented in this text. This an opportunity and one in which I shall put some time to follow up on, for this is history long lost, but hopefully that shall not be forgotten.

Thanks for listening this week, and please keep doing what you do, keep sharing, keep documenting, and please keep sharing what you find.

African Roots Podcast #54 April 9, 2010

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello everyone and welcome back!
This is Angela Walton-Raji and this is the African Roots Podcast
You can always reach me at

How is everyone? I hope you are enjoying wonderful spring weather and that the pollen is not bothering too many of you. I have my antihistamines close by and am staying on top of my own allergies. Well, the conference season has begun. Many of us are looking forward to upcoming workshops and events Next week in the greater Washington DC area we have a number of things going on.

April 10
Tomorrow the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a genealogy workshop at 1 pm on researching Native American ancestry. The speaker is Angela Walton-Raji and the presentation begins at 1 pm in the museum Resource Center.

April 14-15th
The National Archives is hosting a Genealogy Fair for 2 days the 14th and 15th and it is free and open to the public. I attended last year and enjoyed it immensely. Representatives from and Ancestry were there, as were several local MD/No. VA organizations as well. In addition there were a number of lectures of interest to researchers at various levels in their research.

April 14th (evening)
The evening of the 14th folks in the local Washington area will get a chance to hear Megan Smolenyak the researcher who investigated Michelle Obama’s roots and creator of Roots Television. That is at 7 pm at the Archives and it is free to the public.

April 17
Next Saturday April 17th will be a busy day and a fun filled day for people in greater Washington DC as well. The LDS Family History Center in Kensington MD is hosting an all day genealogy workshop as well. That promises to be an interesting event for everyone and there are workshops on a number of topics for African American research, Native American research, local MD research and so much more.

Of course many researchers are gearing up for the first of the big 3—the NGS Conference in Salt Lake City that takes place at the end of the month. I wish all of you well who are attending that event.

April 22-24th
April 22-24th Ohio folks can attend the Ohio Genealogy Conference in Toledo Ohio.
Dr. Deborah Abbot and Timothy Pinnick are among some of the African American speakers on the program. Dr. Abbot will be speaking about slavery era research; Timothy will be speaking about black Ohioans found in newspapers—such as the Chicago Defender. Dr. Abbot will also be speaking about cluster genealogy.

The Lemon Project
The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg VA has recently launched an intiative looking at its own slave past. A project called The Lemon Project has begun and will be considered a project towards Reconciliation and healing.
The project is named for a slave called Lemon whom the College owned in the early 18th century. It is hoped that this effort to move towards a healing that this could become a model for other institutions to also follow. As stated on the website, “the goal of the project is to better understand, chronicle, and preserve the history of blacks at the College and in the community and to promote a deeper understanding of the indebtedness of the College to the work and support of its diverse neighbors.” Now not much is really known about the life of Lemon, other than the fact that he was given a bonus at Christmastime in 1808 and was given the permission to grow his own food. He was treated for an illness in 1816 he died the following year, in 1817.
Finally in 1817 the College purchased a coffin for him

How many other persons once enslaved, are there, who are only known by name, and whose stories need to be told? Many times, we search for our own, and we find others whose stories are also asking to be told. How many other Lemons are there? How many Lemons do we see?

As we scroll through the names of enslaved, we need to sometimes pause even if they are not our ancestors, and reflect those unknown men and women, those unknown Lemons deserve to be acknowledged and to have their stories told. Those who descend from the many “Lemons” in our line and those who descend from those whose ancestors enslaved the Lemons, all of us need to reflect, to work together to acknowledge that this history existed, work to tell those stories and we may perhaps take ourselves into a new direction of healing.

We have seen some of this through the initiave of A Friend of Friends, but there needs to be even more healing and cooperation. Let us tell the story of all of the Lemons, both known and unknown and move into that direction.

Well that’s it for me, this week, and I thank you for being there and doing what you do. Please continue, and remember to:
keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

(To hear previous podcasts, click on the date of the previous podcast)