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.

 

African Roots Podcast Episode #278 August 1, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast

 

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

And, welcome to the dog days of August! Hopefully you are all keeping cool this weekend, but let me give a shout out to the Taylor family of Rocky Mounty North Carolina, that is celebrating their 61st consecutive Family Reunion. So a large clan of the Taylors, Dunstans, Arringtons, Bunns, Joiners, McCrays are all gathering in Rocky Mount this weekend for family fun. I attended their 50th annual reunion and was most impressed! So have a great time, Taylor family!

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Well how is the indexing coming for everyone? This is a reminder to please participate in the Family Search indexing project. We need to get the Freedman’s Bureau records indexed. This is part of a partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture,  and Family Search. It is imperative that all of us participate in this critical indexing project.

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Are you watching WDYTYA? If so, then join some of your genealogy friends from the Afrigeneas.com (afrigeneas.com/chat) and watch the program with us! We gather as genea-friends and have a watch party and comment upon the research methods and resources that were used in the various episodes. Join us to discuss the strategies that are used on the programs. We watch together, the research strategies and the record groups that are used. So join us!

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Well the institutes are over—Samford, MAAGI, GRIP, but a few conferences remain for the year—so it is time to look at FGS that is coming up at the end of the month. And many are in Indianapolis this weekend at the Midwestern Roots conference, so a shout out to folks who are there.

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Well this is now August and the end of this month—the FGS Conference has Gone To Texas! There are some wonderful speakers for African American research. Janis Minor Forté will give a presentation on The Digital Library of American Slavery. This under-used website is amazing and she illustrates some amazing features to be found on this site. Danielle Batson will give a presentation on Beginning African American research. At any conference there is someone who is new, so I am glad to see this beginner’s session.  J. Mark Lowe will be discussing those unknown resources for finding Freedman marriages. This is one that you will not want to miss. Many of these marriages are not found at the courthouse, so this will be very useful. So if you live in the Southwest, San Antonio, Del Rio, El Paso, and even New Mexico, I hope that you will be able to make the FGS Conference.

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For some inspiration—I encourage you to listen to fellow genealogists. Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured, The Memory Keepers, who collaborated and wrote the book, “Our Ancestors, Our Stories.” This was good because they spoke about the persons and the places that they went to, in order to find their data. The lesson is that you will not find everything online. This was good to hear how they had to travel and get to the courthouse and interact with other South Carolina based resources to find their own family history data. Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday night at 9PM on Blog Talk Radio.

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A question for you all: What is your inspiration? I find people—other researchers inspire me. But I also pay attention to the stories that capture my attention. Sometimes I end up writing about them, because they have to be told. I wrote a blog post about Cudjoe Lewis the last survivor of the slave ship Clotilda, I found more of his story.  With the story of Spotswood Rice, I went in search of a feisty soldier—I found a dynamic leader of the AME Church. That is our challenge—do you find other stories? Have you thought about telling them? If a story has caught your attention, could that same story be of interest to others who know you? Perhaps if you research it and tell the story as well—the benefit is there for others. You are making a tremendous contribution to the general scholarship that is out there.

Many of us are writers—but now is time to write more of those other stories. The Memory Keepers have given us a good model to follow. Now is time for the unwritten journals to emerge and those other types of platforms to expose an incredibly rich history. The opportunity is there and the charge is for us to become more active in the community, to become more active on social media, and to find more of those stories. I find inspiration from those stories.

 

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Meanwhile have a good week, and enjoy those reunions. Let’s all start writing and capture those moments. Thanks for your time