African Roots Podcast #56 April 23, 2010

This Week's Pod Cast

 

Hello and welcome back!
Today is Friday April 23, 2010
My name is Angela Walton-Raji and this is the African Roots Podcast.

Spring is in full bloom and hopefully you are all getting ready to attend a number of exciting workshops, conferences, and institutes. Best wishes to everyone on the way to Salt Lake City for the NGS Conference. Of course many are saving their spending money for the California Jamboree in June, and others of us for institutes taking place later in the summer.

If you are in or near Washington DC join the Central MD chapter of AAHGS as they have an in-depth tour of the National Archives. Claire Kluskens one of the archivists will be speaking and will give an over view to the participants. One of the highlights will be a complete case study of an African American family. She will highlight a variety of records that can be used to follow this family back in time. The session is free and will begin at 10:00 a.m.

I am looking forward to seeing folks in New York City next weekend. I will be speaking at the Gustave Heye Center in New York City at 1 pm. The lecture is free. My focus will be researching Blended Families—African-Native American families.

Coming out of Texas:
I have had a great time this week looking at some unique digitization projects that are underway. The state of Texas has some very impressive sites and the various counties are also making their public records easy to access.

Texas Birth Records at Footnote. Many of us know about the Death record but there is now word that birth records are available as well on Footnote.
Texas Birth Certificates 1903-1910 & 1926-1929 Online at Footnote (indexed) (this database is not yet complete; more records are being added – so far more than 350,000 birth certificates have been digitized and put online). Now official copies can be requested online for a fee.

For those with San Antonio ties, take a look at what is available from that area. There is a site that is called land data. All kinds of information is there, and it is so easy to access and what is great is that one can see the actual images. Coming from the County Clerk’s office in San Antonio The document images can be printed and downloaded free of charge. These features are available to better serve the public, who depend on access to this information. Using the site is easy and free and all one has to do is simply register to access the site. Registration information includes a username and password (selected by the user) and a valid email address to activate the account.

Researchers from Dallas and also El Paso are will find this information useful.
Dallas Land Records But don’t let the term land records mislead you. Marriage records also reside on this link. Marriage records 1964- Present.

El Paso County TX
El Paso County Marriage Records Search 1963-current also has birth & death records searches

I almost forgot to mention another event for you: The Baltimore African American genealogical society is hosting Saturday, May 1, 11 a.m. “Picturing African American Community History in Maryland” This is a lecture & book signing. The Lakeland Community Heritage Project of College Park and William Poe of Calvert County explore two new photo history books Lakeland: African Americans in College Park and African Americans of Calvert County. This is the May meeting of the Agnes Kane Callum Chapter of the Baltimore Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (BAAGHS). Museum admission required. BAAGHS members $5. For more information call 443-263-1816.

Some questions for you: How prepared are you as you conduct your research? Have you considered taking a course for formal training ? Classes, seminars, institutes, and college level classes to teach the basic methods are available, and have you taken many, or any? Don’t just follow someone who has simply hung up a shingle—-get yourself trained as well.

A number of people have arisen in recent years, with no sound training, no certification, nor formal back-ground in African American research, yet have emerged as experts in the field. On the other hand there are people who have asserted themselves, and immersed themselves in records for years, but are not giving back. Hopefully there is a mid point in which others will also look at the need at some point to share, to teach, to enlighten and to strengthen the community.

This is an interesting time in which many people can hang up a sign, create a website, cut and paste articles from any number of sources and become expert. But are they? As consumers we must read the fine print on the label, well we should look at the training and the record of the one who is presenting information to us.

If you receive info from one who specializes in your area, yet has never lived there, never interacted with people from there, and in fact, will speak every other places except where that state is—it might be considered somewhat suspect. As one who seeks to sharpen his or her skills, it would be wise to learn where and how this person has emerged as a specialist in that area.

Other areas of genealogy are similar. If one is an African American specialist, they do not have to be African American, but one would hope that their genealogical training has been in that area, their association has been in that area, some exposure to the community has taken place, and that there is no general discomfort around African American people. To simply put up a sign, because one has declared themselves an expert, does not mean that you as a researcher have to follow. Again their history and record and affiliation should provide the evidence of their degree of competence.

At the other end of the spectrum is the need for more of us, also to begin to look at ourselves, and to share the wisdom that has been acquired. This is the time now to teach others, to present the treasures that you have been storing for many years. It is time that others learn from you—the researcher with 10 years, 12, 15 years under your belt. I often see the same people at conferences, and I know they have so much to share with others who are just learning. Just as you should not accept the self appointed gurus, when you have been researching for 10 + years, it is time to share your strategy to those who are just beginning their genealogical journey.

Well thank you again for listening. Have a great week, and remember, keep doing what you are doing—-
Keep researching, keep documenting and please, keep sharing what you find.

(For previous episodes simply click on the data of that episode to hear the podcast.)

1 Comment

  1. Claire Kluskens
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the nice mention. I hope the presentation was helpful.

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