Monthly Archives: January 2014

African Roots Podcast Episode #252 January 31, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

 

Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me HERE.

I hope you are all safe and warm after the amazing weather. Lots of snow in the Tidewater area of VA and of course all of friends in the Atlanta area I do hope that you did not suffer too much after the snow and incredible gridlock that you faced a few days ago. This is amazing winter, so do take care everyone.

GENEALOGY NEWS:

Exciting news from READEX! I was not familiar with them before, but apparently more than 3000 works that were published over 100 year span have now been digitized by READEX. This amazing collection consists of the American Antiquarian Society holding of slavery and abolition materials and now more than 3500 works have been digitized for scholars and researchers.  The collection will consist of high resolution color images of books, pamphlets, graphics and ephemera, including southern imprints. The images that they already have are truly amazing and it will be exciting to learn more.

This collection will cover the years from 1820 – 1922. Note also that truly rare items are in this collection. Books and papers covering the establishment of the Republic of Liberia, and topics from slavery to the Jim Crow era, and personal narratives such as the narratives of Equiano, Denmark Vesey, and even DuBois.

For more information, about this new collection, contact a Readex representative by calling 800.762.8182 or by using their easy contact form.

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Destruction of Records Again!

Oh gracious—it has happened again!! This is coming out of St. Louis County in Missouri, where two workers have admitted dumping, destroying or intentionally misfiling at least 1800s records . Some of the records were found dumped in a wooded area in the Spanish Lake area of St. Louis County. In an assessment, 5 other workers showed a disproportionate number of missing documents as well.

This is quite disturbing as it comes after the Franklin County NC incident many of us in the genealogy community are still quite upset over the unbelievable destruction of records that occurred in December in Franklin County NC.  So let’s follow this story as we depend on the people to preserve these records in our repositories so hearing about this is truly unsettling. More information HERE.

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Front Cover of  ”Memories of Union High”

Congratulations to Marion Woodfork Simmons, author of Memories of Union High has received an award for her work. You have heard me talk about the work of author Marian Woodfork Simmons before. She wrote the beautiful book called, “Memories of Union High” depicting a 60 year history of Union High School of Caroline County Virginia. The school was created when persons of African Ancestry could only attend one high school in the entire county—and that was Union High School. For decades, people in remote parts of the county would send their children to the town to live with relatives and some to live with strangers, just so their children could get an education. The book that she wrote is truly a legacy to the commitment of the people of the county to insure education for their children. Well the latest news is that this week, On January 26th 2014, Ms. Simmons received the Caroline Historical Society Award for 2013 for her work in researching and preserving Caroline County, VA . The book is something that you should have in your library anyway, especially if you have ties to that county and its history. So congratulations Mariaon for this wonderful accomplishment and not that your award was well deserved. If you wish to send words of congratulations to her, you can do so, at mvrc@aol.com.

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At the Civil War Memorial and Museum – Descendant’s Day Presentation

Genealogist and Author Melvin J. Collier will be giving a presentation on how he researched his Civil War ancestor. Edward Bobo of the 59th USCT. This is part of the Descendant’s day program every 1st Saturday of the month, at the Afr. American Civil War Musuem on Vermont Avenue NW, in Washington DC.

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February 1st, in Baltimore MD -A Genealogy Expo!

For those in the Baltimore Maryland area, you have a chance to attend the annual Baltimore Afro Am. Historical & Genealogical Society Expo! This will occur tomorrow at the Enoch Pratt Library Branch on Cold Spring and Loch Raven and is free to the public. This is a chance to ask questions, get answers and also see some wonderful genealogical displays by society members who will discuss their own projects. The event is free and will begin at 12:00 noon.

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February 11th 2014   Okmulgee Oklahoma

A special genealogy presentation will be sponsored by the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band focusing on genealogy research and family history. Featured will be Freedman records, and the 1900 & 1910 U.S. census, Dawes census cards, land records, 1866 treaty,  history books and other vital documents. The presentation will be on Tuesday, February 11, at the College of the Muscogee Nation, 1200 Hwy Loop 56, in Okmulgee, OK at 3:00pm, in room 103.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information call 405-488-4244.

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WEBSITES TO NOTE:

Some Help for Alabama Researchers.

How many times when researching an African American family or community have you found yourself wanting to know exactly where they may have lived while enslaved? You know perhaps that they came from an agricultural community—but are not quite sure where to look and if there is a list of estates where large numbers of enslaved people may have lived or worked?  Well this week someone share an interesting list from Tennessee Genweb site that actually featured a list of plantations in the state of Alabama interestingly.

I am putting a link to this list for you here. But note—this list gives you an idea where these estates—these plantations were by county, so that might end up being quite useful for you. Of course we know that all persons enslaved did not live on plantations—but many did, and hopefully this Alabama list will be useful for you. It does not contain data with names of enslaved people mind you,  but just knowning where the larger estates were might benefit someone in their research of Alabama ancestors. So take some time and explore the Alabama Plantation List.

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Attention Virginia Researchers From Loudon County:  A Very Useful Database on Slavery Data is available on the site called Slave Issues PapersNow it is not common to find sites where there are slavery documents that cover this span of years.  Over 100 years’ worth of slavery era documents are available with enslaved and slave holder names! This is one of those sites that I wish were more widespread—including all of the multiple states that I research. I took at look at this information and was even surprise to see some deeds of emancipation included.  When the document opens it is quite small so you have to enlarge it, but it is fast and easily to manipulate and search through. I strongly recommend this site—even if you don’t research Loudon County—note that much of Virginia was changing over those years, and you might even find ancestors who ended up in other counties or neighboring states who started out in that area. This is quite useful! I have to say that I am impressed because this data actually rests on a government site!! This is not common—and I am so pleased that the county government saw the value of putting this searchable data on their website.

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I had a great time last night on the Bernice Bennett show and I was her featured guest. The topic was Native American and Africa American ancestry and how to document that unique history. The discussion in the room was lively and the questions asked were thought provoking ones as well. The show can be captured online in the archived podcast-at www.blogtalkradio.com/bernicebennett Thanks to Ms. Bennett for having me as her special guest.

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I hope that the news out of St. Louis may bring about some new energy from the research community to establish some “Friends” groups where ordinary citizens can become partners with the repositories where precious historical documents reside. I urge all of us to give some thoughts as to how we can provide a method of forming groups to address the issue of neglected or forgotten records and give some thought as to how we can all work towards the digitization of records so that all of our histories will be protected for future generations.

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Well, this session has come to a close, and I hope that you stay warm and safe and make it through the next week of predicted snow and ice coming through. I thank you for listening, and please remember, to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

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African Roots Podcast Episode #251 January 24, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

 

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

Well I hope you are all keeping warm as single digits temperatures are blanketing the country. But even through the cold things are underway.

NEWS ITEMS

Cancellation: This just in–tomorrow’s meeting of the Central Maryland AAHGS chapter has been cancelled. Low temperatures, high wind and expected snow have forced the board to cancel tomorrow’s meeting. It has been rescheduled until February 22, so stay in tomorrow and stay warm.

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ANCESTORS UNKNOWN. A special congratulations to a new initiative taking genealogy to young people. Dana Saxon is working hard to get young African American and young Latino students interested in their own history and genealogy and is working to have some pertinent exercises incorporated into the local curriculum. Her story is highlighted on her website called Ancestors Unknown. In an interview conducted by Thomas Macentee of Geneabloggers, and Hack Genealogy Dana discussed her unique project and how her goal extends beyond even the local level, but is going across international borders. Her work is to be commended, and she seems to be having some real success!! Take a look at this fascinating interview with Ms. Saxon!

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 FROM TEXAS: 

I am very happy to share some genealogical activity coming out of Texas.  This is from Waco Texas! A month from now—February 15th there will be an all day African American Genealogy workshop. This will be from 9am to 5 pm at the West Waco Library and Genealogy Center. African American Genealogy Basics,  will be presented by Franklin Smith, author of the book A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African American Ancestors: How to Find and Record your Unique Heritage. Using Social Media will be presented by Mary Evans, Deed Research by Edith Smith, and Oral Traditions will be presented by Vivian Rutherford.  For information call 254-750-5945.

Don’t forget to take another look at the Texas Slavery Project that I mentioned last week. Lots of useful information here for Texas scholars and researchers. The database is searchable by county and other variables.

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USEFUL DATABASE FROM MISSISSIPPI:

I recently learned about the Statewide Mississippi Death Index! I was excited to hear about this and took a look and this useful database covers the years 1912 – 1943. This is an odd span of years, however, it is still useful because it was during those years that many who were born enslaved possibly died, so this might prove to be very useful for Mississippi researchers.

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FROM BRITAIN

Here is some interesting news coming out of the UK. Quiet a few documents reflecting years going about to the 1600s and the slave trade have been discovered in the Foreign Office. Apparently the Guardian newspaper indicated that the British Foreign Office has had a secret archive for centuries reflecting British Merchants and involvement in the African slave trade.

 

Historic image showing how slaves were chained and stacked in the cargo hold of slave ships.

 We are talking about over 1.2 million hidden in a vast archive that the Foreign Office has kept at Hanslope Park,  in the Buckinghamshire countryside north of London. This is quite hard to imagine, but it is truly hoped that something will be done in coming weeks to allow archivists and historians to examine them. Of course this means also that it will be a few years before these will ever get in the public domain. But—can you imagine the magnitude and the implications? New texts, new analyses, and some data could/should alter the paradigm of historiography. There are also records that extend beyond the Atlantic slave trade—so many people from various academic sectors will be anxious to get into this hidden archive. But this will be a story to follow. Read more HERE.

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More News From Ancestry:  Ancestry.com announced once again that there is now an extension of their collaborative efforts with FamilySearch. The result is that now more than 1 billion additional records from 67 countries available on Ancestry.com. This will be particularly useful for those whose ancestors migrated from the West Indies to the US so this will be interesting to take advantage of over the next few years.

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USEFUL WEBSITES TO NOTE:
 African American Resources from Kentucky

 Linked Through Slavery

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From Bernice Bennett’s Show: If you missed Bernice Bennett’s show last night—-tune and and listen to it today.  Have you ever wished that you genealogy society had undertaken some kind of long lasting projects? Well—-a Heritage Book might be the right project for your society to undertake. Now this is an involved process—but I urge you to listen who how this was done in Chicago with the Afro American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago. They produced a beautiful Heritage Book, and I saw the book last October when I was at Ft. Wayne at Allen County! It is beautiful and well done.  Under the direction of Janis Minor Forte, the group did publish an outstanding Heritage Book. Last night, Ms. Forte was on Bernice Bennett’s show, and she discussed the various stages that the book undertook!! Tune in  you will learn a lot. Also Ms. Forte will be going into detail about the various stages of producing this kind of publication at the Midwestern African American genealogy institute.

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Speaking of institutes, registration is now open for the Samford Institute of Genealogy & Historical Resaerch. This year there is an African American track, so if MAAGI is not on your calendar, take a look and see if Samford will offer what you need.

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And speaking of MAAGI—I want to announce that Genealogy Institute that will take place in St. Louis in July.  As last year, Evolution Consulting is offering one scholarship for a participant for Track 1, Basic Methods and Strategies for African American Genealogy. For more information visit this link.

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OBA Meet up in Washington DC  January 12, 2014 Photo courtesy of Melvin J. Collier

OBA MEET-UPS are taking place around the country. This is neat to see and I participated in one last week in Washington DC. One is being planned in California and I understand that folks in New Jersey/Philadelphia area are also planning one. OBA is an acronym for Our Black Ancestry and a group on Facebook. There are several thousand members of the Facebook group and it was suggested that some of the folks who live in the same city meet each other. So the first one was in Washington DC, and now others are stepping away from their computers to meet each other. Hopefully many other gatherings will take place in the future.

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By the way I have mentioned AfriGeneas and the new community on Facebook. I want to encourage you to also look at the AfriGeneas website and fan page on Facebook. Beautiful images and amazing biographies of lesser known people in African American history. Re-visit the AfriGeneas FB page and explore it.

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Well thanks for listening for another week. I appreciate hearing from all of you, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.