Monthly Archives: July 2010

African Roots Podcast #68 July 16, 2010

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Hello everyone!

Hope you are all having a great summer!
I have a number of events and workshops to share with you, so let’s get started!

For those with ties to the West Indies—the National Archives in Washington DC will host a workshop on methods of researching with Federal records, your ancestors who migrated to this country. Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 11:00 am. The session is called “Caribbean Immigrants: Using Federal Records to Locate Ancestors from theWest Indies, 1890-1930.” More info is on the Archives website.

August is going to be a busy month!

In Baltimore the annual “Brick Walls” session of the Agnes Callum Chapter of AAHGS will take place. This is a chance to bring your problems and get help with solving them.

And on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 11:00 am. The National Archives will present their monthly program entitled “Introduction to Genealogy.” Staff archivists will present the lecture on basic genealogical research and techniques. Additional details can be found at

By the way there is time for you to order your copy of the Chicago Afr. American Genealogy Society Heritage Book. They have published a hard bound copy of probably the only all African American Heritage Book which will reflect families from many parts of the country including the south.  Their order form is now available.

August 6-7
Midwestern Roots 2010 conference, in Indianapolis, Indiana. There are several workshops that will interest the African-American Genealogist. Shamele Jordon will be presenting 3 interesting sessions, and for those who are just beginning—these will be great sessions 1) I’ve Traced My Family Back to 1870, Now What? 2) Researching United States Colored Troops 3) Freedmen’s Bureau Research Strategies Shamele Jordon S-33

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 10:00 am. The Library of Congress will sponsor an orientation class
entitled “Resources for Genealogical Research at The Library of Congress.” This is their monthly orientation class and is well worth taking the time to learn about the resources there. The class will meet in room
LJ G42 of the Jefferson Building. Advance registration is required. Call 202-707-5537, register in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room, or go to

Well—it’s time for the FGS conference! That’s right—the Federation of Genealogical Societies will hold its annual conference this year in Knoxville Tennessee. It takes place this year August 18-21 in downtown Knoxville.

There are a good number of workshops at the FGS Conference that will interest African American researchers.

Elizabeth Shown Mills: Poor? Female? Black? Slave? Southern Research Strategies
Russell P. Baker The Five Civilized Tribes of the South and Their Genealogical Records
John Baker Jr. American Families: Using Manuscripts and Special Collections
James M. Rose Tracing Your Family Roots: Utilizing the WPA Slave Narratives with Connections to Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri
James M. Rose African-American Genealogical Methodology

James Dent Walker Lecture: John Baker Jr. Connecting Land and People: Using Farm Records to Illuminate Slave Families ~James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture

I hope you are able to take advantage of some of these workshops and learn some new strategies. I also hope that you will consider mentoring others who are just beginning. We have newcomers all the time and the chance to assist another is always there. Become an active member of the genealogical community.

Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Genealogy Wise, and of course AfriGeneas, as well.

In the meantime—thank you for being there and thank you for listening. Please keep doing what you do—
keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

See you next time.

African Roots Podcast #67 July 9, 2010

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and Welcome Back!
Today is Friday July 9, 2010. My name is Angela Walton-Raji and this is the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me at

National Archives has stated a Saturday pull. That’s right—-if you are in the Washington DC facility—the main branch of the National Archives—the great news is that you will now be able to have documents such as Military pension records and military service records and original documents pulled on Saturdays. This is great news, because for many years pulling records was only limited to weekdays. The Saturday pull times are 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Previously, staff did not pull any records on Saturdays. (Note that Archives II in College Park, Md., isn’t participating in the pilot program.)

Baltimore AAHGS Chapter meeting will take place Saturday July 10, 2010 at the Enoch Pratt Library, Northwood Branch, on Loch Raven. Special Guest this month is Hari Jones from the Afr. American Civil War Museum. The meeting begins at 10:30 am. It is free and open to the public.

Great News from Oklahoma Historical Society:
Coming up at the end of the month in Oklahoma, on July 28 11:30 am—-the Freedman Saga! Explore the history of Freedmen and learn how to trace Freedmen in your family using the US Federal Census, records from the Dawes Commission and other historical documents. Our speaker will be Ron Graham, President of the Muscogee Creek Freedmen Band, President of the NAACP, former Vice President of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association. There is a charge of $10, and lunch included. Pre-registration is required. To register contact the Oklahoma Historical Society Research Center at (405) 522-5225.
Read more: click here.

101 Best Websites. Several African American Websites are included!

Congratulations to the following websites that have been named the best 101 Genealogy websites, by Family Tree Magazine. They are cited because the data that they offer is free and of interest to the Afr. Am Community.

Connect with fellow researchers in this site’s forums, chats and mailing lists, or check its slave records collection, surnames database, death and marriage records databases and census schedules.

DIY genealogy comes to African-American research in this handsome home for user-submitted finds and story sharing.

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy 1719-1820This database, which covers 100,000 Louisiana slaves, is the fruit of 15 years of research by Gwendolyn Hall, professor emerita of history at Rutgers University.

Digital Library on American Slavery
This new resource from the library of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro searches information culled from thousands of slavery-related county court and legislative petitions, wills, estate inventories and civil suits, filed in 15 states and the District of Columbia from 1775 to 1867. More than 150,000 individuals are named in the documents, including 80,000 slaves and 8,000 free people of color.

Documenting the American South
Although not exclusively focused on African-American heritage, these digitized collections from the University of North Carolina are a rich resource for researchers with African-American roots. Collections include the Church in the Southern Black Community and North American Slave Narratives.

LowCountry Africana
Find ancestors and history among the historically rice-growing areas of South Carolina, Georgia and northeastern Florida, home to the rich Gullah/Geechee culture, in this site sponsored by the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, SC.

USF Africana Heritage Project
A powerful search engine at this University of South Florida Africana Studies Department website makes it simple to search Bible records, WPA slave narratives, plantation journals, wills and probates, church records and other records of “slaves, freedpersons and their descendants.” You’ll also find a virtual library and reading room with historical and how-to articles.

Here is something that I got from a post on Twitter! The Illinois State Death Certificates Dababase! Have you ever ordered a file and then waited weeks to get in the mail? Well Illinois has made things instantly available to researchers, as soon as payment is received. This death certificates database provides listings of death certificates filed with the Illinois Department of Public Health between 1916 and 1950. AND—I will add that the database actually goes beyond 1950, for I found a great aunt’s death certificate from 1954! The Illinois State Archives has determined that this Web site is an extension of its Reference Room services. Well—-this is pretty good, to say the least! I utilized the site last night and as I said, I found the death certificate of my great aunt Viola who died in Chicago in 1954. I knew she died in the1950s but did not have the exact date. Sure enough, there it was on the database. Now one does pay for the image—but it is immediately delivered to you in a PDF File, that you can print for your genealogical use. Can it get better than that? I was quite pleased to receive it so quickly! Talk about instant gratification!

There are so many things out there to explore and so many new resources for us—do take advantage of them, by all means.

But here is something to think about—How involved are you with genealogy? How involved are you with the genealogy community? Are you active in terms of interacting with others and are you helping others with what they do? One of the best ways to learn is to attend a number of events, where you can get new ideas and tips to help you with what you do—and you have an opportunity to assist others. BUT–I want to encourage you to consider becoming involved in another way—-take a look at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindess. This is a site and a service that many do not always look at enough. It is an opportunity for you to perhaps find a gem of a person who does not mind making a run to a courthouse for you, because they live in that local area. The service is free—except that you must also be willing to perform the same thing for another person. That can involve photographing a headstone at a cemetery, or copying a marriage or death record, or visiting a courthouse in your area to search for a marriage record. All they ask in return is reimbursement for their expenses (never their time) and a thank you. But YOU can do the same for someone else. Trust me—wherever you live—someone out there is interested in a record at the courthouse, or a nearby cemetery, and you can assist that individual by making that run to find that document for them. You have an opportunity to give something back to the community by joining this community of genealogists who for the love of what they do, they perform these wonderful acts of kindness for strangers. Take a look and decide to give back to the community in a different way.

Well, time has gone by so quickly.
Thank you for listening, know that I appreciate you for your time to stop and listen to this podcast.

In the meantime, keep doing what you do. Keep research, keep documenting and please keep sharing what you find.