Monthly Archives: May 2010

African Roots Podcast #59 May 14, 2010

This Week's Pod Cast

Hello and welcome back! Today is Friday May 14, 2010
My name is Angela Walton-Raji
You can always reach me at

Lots of interesting events coming up for you.

Tomorrow May 15, 2010 at the National Museum of the American Indian there will be a workshop on African –Native American genealogy. I (yours truly) will be speaking there at 1-3 pm in the resource center at the museum. This workshop is free of charge, and no registration is required.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm. In Washington DC, the Martin Luther King Jr.Memorial Library is sponsoring a Genealogy Database Workshop.
The program will provide an introduction to Heritage Quest,
a genealogical database and the Historic Washington Post & Baltimore Afro-American databases. Additional details can be obtained by calling 202-727-1213 or at the library’s website.

Next weekend May 20-21 genealogists in Little Rock Arkansas will be treated to a 2-day genealogical event at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. On Friday participants can listen to Tony Burroughs nationally known speaker, and on Saturday Lisa Arnold from will speak about the large number of resources at Ancestry. This is a great chance to learn how to use the African American filter, and about the databases that are of interest to African American researchers. Best thing about it all—-it is free.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 10:00 am. The Library of Congress will sponsor an orientation class entitled “Resources for Genealogical Research at The Library of Congress.” You must bring a picture I.D. to obtain the card. The card must be obtained prior to the class and can be obtained in room LM 140 of the Madison Building. It is suggested that you arrive at theMadison Building at 9:30 am. to obtain the card and have time to walk to the class in the Jefferson Building. Advance registration is required. Call202-707-5537, register in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room, or go to .

Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 10:30 am.
The Baltimore’s Afro-American Historical & Genealogical
Society / Agnes Kane Callum Chapter will sponsor a picnic at the Benjriamin Banneker Historical Park, 300 Oella Ave. in Baltimore County, Maryland. Additional details can be found at

Samford Institute for HistoResearch (IGHR) in Birmingham, AL provide an educational forum for the discovery, critical evaluation, and use of genealogical sources and methodology through a week of intensive study led by nationally prominent genealogical educators. This will be an entire week of genealogy from 9 – 5 and I will be attending this year for the very first time. The classes are filled, but you might want to look at the tracks to put it on your schedule for next year.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 8:30 am. The AAHGS – Prince George’s Maryland Chapter (PGCM) will sponsor the “Juneteenth
Program.” Additional details can be found at their website:
Keynote speaker is Caroll Gibbs, Author and historian.
When? Saturday, June 19, 2010; 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Watkins Nature Center
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Hopefully the spirit of Juneteenth and Freedom celebrations will begin to spread as we have no real national event to celebrate the abolishment of slavery.

I was inspired by a wonderful database coming out of Charlottesville Virginia: The African American Families Database
comes out of Central Virginia. This is an amazing collaboration among genealogists, historians, anthropologists, researchers, and the local community and they are really analyzing the local area to pull out some unique history. They are known as the Central Virginia History Researchers (CVHR). CVHR is developing an on-line database for connecting African-American families to their antebellum roots and tracing patterns of community formation in the post-bellum period. Well I have looked at it and I am impressed.

Two areas of Focus Hydraulic Plantation and Bleak House Plantation. Hydraulic was a house, a plantation, and a millworks about five miles north of Charlottesville, at the junction of Ivy Creek and the South Fork of the Rivanna River (Fig. 1). From 1829 to 1860 Hydraulic was owned by Nathaniel Burnley (1786-1860), who was a saddler and tavernkeeper at Stony Point for some years before purchasing the Hydraulic Mills.

One unique feature is the neighborhood map. This page actually features information using plat maps about the families that lived near the old estate and shows the inter-connectedness of families geographically.

Now Bleak House is just as interesting. In 1860 the Bleak House plantation had 41 slaves and 9 slave dwellings. The inventory of Rogers’s estate (1864) includes 36 slaves. An estate sale in late 1863 did not include any slaves. But why? The Civil War had begun and there is a strong possibility that many of the enslaved men joined the Union Army when given the chance.

What has emeged from this has become in my opinion a model for other researchers and communities to emulate. This project is an excellent study in African American research, and looking at families towards the end of the slavery era.

The question now arises—-How much are you studying your own community? The project out of Central Virginia is a lesson on the value of researching the local history to record the data that is still there.

I have become aware of the projects coming out of South Carolina and the Drayton Hall and Magnolia plantations, and have learned about how they are reconstructing those communities there. I have had the honor of doing some look ups on a few of those records of men who served in the civil war, and to share the pension files of some of the soldiers.
Likewise I have been able to collaborate with a colleague who has documented the entire African American community of Crawford and Sebastian counties, in western Arkansas. Through the acquisition of civil war records, pension and service records, marriage records, census records and some newspaper databases, she has acquired an immense database on the community and a rich history has come forth. I have learned to appreciate the fact that from one small file, the witnesses who provided depositions, or signatures, were those involved with the family or an ancestors in some way. By following up on these records, relationships have been learned and a rich cultural history of a community that was supportive to its members. Some of the old newspapers have provided wonderful glimpses into an era long past and a warm network of friendships and networking has been discovered by immersing myself into the community history.

We know that genealogy is not practiced in a vacuum, and the lives so often never written about, need to be explored as we document our family history. By doing so—we then learn more about how our parents and grandparents coped in the isolation and insulation that resulted from the Jim Crow era. This is a road I encourage others out there to consider traveling—the history is a rich one, and the joys of unlocking the stories are rewarding in an of themselves.

Well, thank you for listening and tuning in this week, and keep focused on what you do.

Keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

African Roots Podcast #58 May 7, 2010

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and welcome back. Today is Friday May 7, 2010. My name is Angela Walton-Raji and this is the African Roots Podcast. You can always reach me at

First things first I hope that we all keep the people in Tennessee in your prayers as severe flooding has really devastated that are. Several lives were lost so our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones. There was also some major damage to records, but hopefully some will be saved, but after precious lives are saved first and foremost.

I have a major correction to make! As you know I mentioned an event coming up in Arkansas in two weeks. I want to correct the dates—-There will be a two-day genealogy event taking place in Little Rock Arkansas at the historic Mosaic Templars Cultural Heritage Center. May 21-22, in downtown Little Rock, genealogists will have a wonderful treat—Tony Burroughs well known genealogist, and authors, and Lisa Arnold from will be featured in this 2 day event. This is an African American Genealogy event! The best news is that the entire experience is free of charge! I know Tony personally and know that he will draw a crowd and I also have had the pleasure to meet Lisa Arnold at Ancestry! You will not be disappointed by any means. This will be a great time to learn how to use the African American filter at, and to find out what additional features rest on Ancestry for African American researchers.

This event is sponsored by the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the African-American Historical & Genealogical Society Little Rock Chapter, the Curtis Sykes Memorial Grant Fund, and the Preservation of African American Cemeteries. This promises to be a wonderful event, so if you are within a 2 to 3 hour driving distance of Little Rock, by all means make this event! Pre-registration is required, so do contact to register in advance. The conference brochure will also have some more details for you.

Speaking of, I am impressed with the various efforts that they are making to supply information for African American genealogists. As you know they have partnered with the National Archives for major databases such as census records and military records—but they have also partnered with small entities. One of them is the African American Genealogical & Historical Society of Chicago. I have to congratulate the Chicago Society on this wonderful collaboration. Now many of your know that I have long admired the efforts of this organization and how they can become a model for other groups to follow. Well, they have partnered with Ancestry, and they will be participating in some indexing projects. More information is found in their press release.
They began in February of this year to index the slave narratives, and even people from the outside can join this effort. This is wonderful to learn about and much success to this organization.

I also want to mention that they have 8 study groups, including a new study group on Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Visit their site and perhaps your organization can get some new ideas to emulate as well. I also want to mention that the Heritage Book that was announced last fall, is almost ready and they are now taking orders for copies of the Heritage Book. Information is on their website.

Ok—the word is out folks!!! The AAHGS Conference 2010 is announced. It will take place at the University of Maryland in Adelphi Maryland, October 7-10th. And the official CALL FOR PAPERS is announced.

The AAHGS Conference endeavors each year to provide the premier opportunity to explore standard and innovative methods, resources, and strategies centered around African-American, Caribbean and Native American genealogy as well as the expansive history of the African in the Diaspora.

Among the suggested topics are:
The following focus areas are offered as suggestions for session topics
• African American History
• Caribbean-American Research
• African American Migration (varied)
• Periods of War: Revolutionary War; Civil War; WWI; WWII;
• African Americans in New England, Pre-Civil War
• Use of Technology in research (Not product sales presentations)
• Church/Religious History in the African American Experience
• The Civil Rights Movement
• Research methodologies (various levels)
• State Specific Research Resources; Adoption Records
• Local history, i.e. town histories; institutions; industrial history as it relates to the African American experience
• Native American/African American experience
• Blacks in the West;

I hope that you will consider submitting your own proposals and consider presenting at this year’s conference. The deadline for proposals is July 30, 2010. More info can be found on the AAHGS blog.

Do you have a library card? Do you live in a large city with a college or university library? Well, if you do, there is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage with of the wonderful offerings through ProQuest. This was at one time UMI and has expanded it’s databases to offer an impressive African American collection. In addition, ProQuest has parterned with and this has become a wonderful new portal for information for African American researchers. Well, if you have a library card, then you are probably eligible to use their wonderful databases. If you lived on a community near a college or university then they probably have subscriptions to ProQuest. Phone the university library and ask to speak with a reference librarian. If so, a wealth of data awaits you.

I want to also make a pitch for the concept of blogging. Now this podcast site rests on a blog, but it was not till this year that I came to appreciate the true spirit of blogging and what that can really do. In the past several weeks I have come to appreciate the personal benefits of genealogy blogging in particular. I have come to have a platform to share my own genealogical data, and my own genealogical stories. I have learned so much by following others who are also blogging and from them I have come to see the fact that change can also come through a combination of networking and blogging. We all know the lessons of the Jena 6 and how their lives were possibly saved through blogging and online networking. We see the results of a presidential election that also came from internet fund-raising, networking and communication. In the genealogical environment, I have come to appreciate another community as well. I urge you all to become a part of this world as well. Take a look, it’s fun, it’s enlightening and there are personal benefits from those who join the blogosphere.

Hope to see you all online.

Well enough for this week. Thanks for listening. Keep doing what you do.

Keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.