African Roots Podcast Episode #280 August 15, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

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

Monument to 56th US Colored Infantry – Courtesy of Sarah Cato

I have two shouts out – first to friends in St. Louis, who are attending a dedication of a monument at Jefferson Baracks National Cemetery to Civil War soldiers who were buried in a mass grave. The persons in attendance are Friends of the 56th US Colored Infantry, and under the steady hand of Ms. Sarah Cato and the committee of the St. Louis African American Genealogy and History Society. Well the men are of the 56th USCT, are having their names restored at Jefferson Barracks National cemetery in St. Louis Missouri. In attendance will be a band from Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri, a color guard, Civil War re-enactors, members of the American Legion, members of the St. Louis County government offices, members of the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society, and the public.

Ms. Sarah Cato and members of her committee are to be congratulated on their hard work, to restore the names of these soldiers to their final resting place. Their story has been told several times, and it is heartwarming to hear that at long last honor is being restored to these men who never lived to enjoy the Freedom that they had earned. May they rest in continued peace.

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Let us also remember to say a prayer that peace will come to the Missouri area, after a very long, tragic and trying week. A young unarmed man was killed by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri this week. Violence erupted after his death and then military rule was brought upon that small community. It is hoped that peace will return to the community, that no more lives will be lost and that the future will be one in which the dignity of all will be recognized and honored. Let us keep this town and all of the people in our thoughts and prayers.

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There is a DNA conference taking place in the greater Washington DC area this weekend, and several hundred people are participating. This Institute of Genetic Genealogy is hosting a 3 day event in Washington DC, and the leading voices in the DNA genealogy community will be speaking. Among them are two names that you might recognize—-Shannon Christmas, and CeCe Moore.  Both have been guests on Bernice Bennett’s show in the past and both are among the many well respected presenters in the DNA community. So a shout out to all of those in attendance for that event.

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 Speaking of DNA here is an interesting email that I received from Mr. Brian Hjort, who is looking for family research assistance, and possibly for African-American genealogical assistance. He has been trying to help Afro Amerasians from Vietnam in finding their American father. “Amerasians are children of American military servicemen and Vietnamese women, born during the war and left behind after. ” They have faced much discrimination in their home country and are apparently still suffering. Those treated worse were the those with Afro American fathers, were even more highly treated with disdain in their own country.

Mr. Hjort has helped Amerasians for 22 years in finding their fathers and bring them to USA. But its hard to find their fathers, since they were kicked in the streets and the dna test are the only ones to help them.  And as he said in his email,  that he hopes that “your people would be able to assist me and them, in finding their Afro American fathers, so they can leave Vietnam to their fatherland and those that respect them for their color of their skin.” Here are some links about him: Homepage: www.fatherfounded.org and also this link: Internation Herald Tribune/Ny Times: 

BBC Video
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By the way—the schedules for several upcoming events are up and online. I mentioned last week the FGS conference in San Antonio Texas.  Also note that the schedule for the National AAHGS conference in Pittsburgh is also available and online. And we are all awaiting the upcoming events for the Roots Tech/FGS conference that shall be up in a few days! This is quite exciting because I am happy to say that I will be presenting at Roots Tech in Salt Lake City in February! This will be the largest genealogy gathering in the world—and I am honored that I will there to give a presentation as well! So stay tuned as the schedule for that event will also be released in the next two weeks!  And another speaker has announced that she too will be a presenter—Bernice Bennett, our favorite Blog Talk Radio host will also be a presenter at Roots Tech!

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I hope you were able to hear last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show. It was a re-broadcast of the program with Joe McGill of the Slave Dwelling project. Since it was a re-broadcast—it was still neat that he was in the chat room answering our questions direction about his project. Also it was timely because we were reminded that the Slave Dwelling conference was mentioned, which is coming up soon, in September 18 – 20th in Savannah Georgia.

This is one of those projects that has arisen out of the interests and concerns of one man—Joe McGill. He began as a lone man choosing the sleep in slave dwellings, and now he is seldom alone. Many people have now become aware of the history and the significance of these places, and how truly sacred many of these places are. I was glad to hear the show again and to be reminded of the importance of his project and also the importance of responding that which calls you.

 

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Well thanks for taking time from  your schedule once again, and for sharing your events with me.  And please remember to respond to those things that call you, those unexpected projects that capture your attention,  you heart your spirit. In the meantime, please keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!

 

African Roots Podcast Episode #279 August 8, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

 

Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can reach me at AfricanRootsPodcast@gmail.com

Hope you are having a good week and we are well into August.  Well, this is reunion time, and I am sending best wishes to the Fontaines of the Eastern Shore of Maryland who are having a wonderful family gathering. And I have had some fun this week, doing some research for the another family of MD, the Curtis family who will be having a major reunion later this month as well! Do take photos, and make some memories at those gatherings. And while  having fun—share some family history!

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For those on Facebook I hope you have been able to follow the surname ROLL CALL that is underway in the AfriGeneas Facebook community group There are many distractions on social media platforms, but in the AfriGeneas Facebook Community Group, a surname ROLL CALL is going on. We have well over 3000 people there and this is a great time to see who is researching what family names.

Also a reminder to explore other aspects of Facebook. Remember that AfriGeneas also has a Facebook PAGE…which has over 90,000 “Likes”. This is a great place to learn about lesser known people from African American history. Biographies and fascinating articles and beautiful portraits where information about the lives about people and places are found on the Facebook page as well. And for those who document community history—this is a great platform to share your focus. So remember to visit that part of the FB world.

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Part 2 with author of the Washingtons of Wessyngton

Speaking of community history—last night’s episode of Research At the National Archives and Beyond. This was a wonderful interview. But there are two stories—one is the story of John’s discovery of his family tie to Wessyngton Plantation. The other story is the result of his work with the entire Wessyngton Plantation enslaved community. He can talk about most of the families that came from the estate. He saw the value of the telling the entire community story. This is a critical lesson for all of us. He became the voice and he is the voice of those who lived and worked on that estate. He took a group of people who formed a community—and he saw the value of telling that unique story. The lesson is that we should not only tell the story of our single family but we are urged to also tell the larger story. Our ancestors interacted with others. They had neighbors, associates, people with whom they did businsess, from whom they purchased things and to whom they sold things. The lesson from John Baker, the lesson is to tell the story of the community. This was an excellent interview, and I hope you will tune in to listen.

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I have been playing with some interesting databases this week, including a database I mentioned several weeks ago. You will recall that I wrote a blog post about the Gold Star Mothers who traveled to France. Their names appear on an Ancestry database, not widely used, but still very useful. There were several hundred African American women who also traveled and my great grandmother was eligible although she did not travel. The database however is searchable by name. But it is not clear on the database who is of African Ancestry. Well I have been working with some of the Immigration records and have found them to be useful as I have been able to put together several rosters of the African American women who traveled. I was able to do this by using the Immigration ship manifests, that listed the names. The army was still segregated, and the mothers were traveling in separate groups as well. I hope to compile a unique database with the information about these women by month’s end.

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How are you all documenting your family history? I am talking about those family history displays. Have you had many of them at the reunions? How do you explain the family history without boring the family with the history. We love what we do, but many in the family don’t always care or have the same enthusiasm that we have. So how do you display your history to the family? Well you may want to think about heritage scrapbooks. I have a friend who has made wonderful heritage books and is now getting requests from others in the family for family books as well. In addition she has taken some of her crafting tools and turned them into family souvenirs for the family and given them away as door prizes at the reunions. The lesson for me is to combine your interests, your passions, and find a way to share them with the family.

I have also found that using another social media platform as a great way to display one’s genealogical interest. I am talking about my own place that I have created on Pinterest! This is an arena that I never thought of creating. But I have now found out that I can create my own world and display my many sub-interests and makes some visual cues for myself. I am finding it to be surprisingly enjoyable. I have several board reflecting my many interests in history. I have one for example for US Colored Troops, with photos, one of historical drawings from historical newspapers. I also have another one in quilts an quilters and another on vintage photos of nurses. The point is that when something catches your attention and creating a board has been a neat way for me to share that interest. I hope to also have information of women who became doctors. I see the need for stories, for biographies and that need to be told. So I took that interest and am just sharing those stories. The bottom line is to share your interest and I am finding this to be a delightful interest.

An update to an old research story—I heard from a query that I posted 14 years ago on Rootsweb. I heard from a descendant of a slave holder from NW Arkansas. I posted something about the slave holder’s family. I got a reply surprisingly today! I have info to share with her, and she shared her own ancestor’s record with me. One never knows how or when one will receive a reply from someone. This was posted in the year 2000. Of course how does one contact the slave holder’s descendant without becoming threatening? I usually just ask for general information about the family itself. My goal is to find out whether there are any old papers that the family may have. There is the fear that people will demand keys to the family estate. For me, this was a 14 year old query—and thanks to the merger with Ancestry, I got a reply. The lesson is that you should put the query out there. I suggest putting it out there in as broad a way as possible.

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Remember the Indexing Project!

Well I hope you are still indexing the Freedman’s Bureau records. Please continue to participate in that on-going process.

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Thanks for taking out time with your busy schedule to tune into this week’s podcast! Enjoy the continuing summer weather, and please remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.