African Roots Podcast Episode #270 June 6th 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Greetings to you from beautiful Burbank California! I am coming to you from the Mariott Hotel in Burbank California, and I am here for the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree! Let me tell you folks from all over the nation are here and what a treat to spend some time with people of all kinds of talents and skills and genealogy accomplishments! This is one of what I call the Big Three genealogical events of the year and it is a lot of fun being here yet again!



A Special Announcement from NMAACH: Let’s Index the Freedman’s Bureau Records!

A word of advice—if you click the volunteer application on the museum site—you will get a message that they are not taking volunteers. Wrong link as that is for the museum itself. The indexing process is intiated from the Family Search site. Click on the link for indexing and there are some instructional videos to assist you with getting into the project.

This record set is amazing rich in names and data, and indexing is sorely needed, so please consider getting involved in this much needed effort! More information is available HERE.


A Great Story of Collaboration


In southern Maryland in Charles county an article was shared with me about a fascinating collaboration with the African American Charles County Historical Society, a team of archaeologist and land owners are working together on local history. Apparently at a construction site, some burials were found, and the spirit of collaboration and partnership is unfolding. Here is a link to the story.


Upcoming Webinars

Although this is the conference season, this is also webinar season! Some interesting online presentations are coming up on FamilyTreeWebinars are unfolding, and I am excited because I have an upcoming webinar later this month on Native American research.

Webinars provide wonder opportunities to get information and I hope that you will be able to take advantage of them.


Call for Papers–Roots Tech Accepting Proposals

Well June is here, and Roots Tech is now accepting proposals for Roots Tech 2015. Last week was the FGS deadline for their 2015 conference. Well between now and the end of June, Roots Tech is accepting proposals, so get yours in!


A Soldier Remembered

                                                  Headstone of Louis Bass, in St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiancourt France

I had a wonderful week, as I was elated two days ago when a photo of the headstone of my gr. uncle was posted by the American Battle Monument Commission. This was shared on Facebook on the anniversary of his death. I was elated to see the image. I wrote an article about him and his mother on my blog, and how his mother, my great grandmother, never saw the final resting place of her son. I was so moved to see his stone, for at last we can all look upon his gravesite and remember this fallen soldier who was also a member of the family. I am please for his sacrifice is remembered.

If you missed Bernice Bennett’s show on Saturday, then you must tune in for the archived version. Her recent guests were the staff members of MAAGI, with Charles Brown the director of the institute as the primary guest. In addition several who attended the institute last year, called in to share how they found the institute and how their own life was enhanced by the skills that they learned at MAAGI. For information, visit the institute’s website at MAAGI-StL.


Highlights of the Jamboree!

Take some time to see what is going on this weekend in southern California at the SCGS Jamboree. I am looking forward to listening and learning, and also for participating in a panel with Bernice Bennett and Nicka Sewell Smith. And if you can’t attend, do check out the many live streaming sessions online.


Because of the events of the day that are pressing, I shall cut things back this week, but I shall be blogging from the event, so watch my blogs and follow me on FB and Twitter for images. Other events are there to attract your attention, an event also a Jamboree, unfolds in Tennesse, and of course Juneteenth is around the corner. So thank you all for taking out time from your schedule to listen and I hope that I have been able to share some useful information with you.

In the meantime, remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.



African Roots Podcast Episode #269 May 30, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Rest in Peace Maya Angelou

This week we lost an American icon, and I felt that I needed to say a few words. I have seen many accolades about her, and even some unexpected remarks even from the genealogy community of how people were moved and even unmoved by her.
But I have to say that ny life was impacted by her, because she as a poor child from the city who spent much time in a country sleepy town in  Arkansas, let me know that I too, from a small city in Arkansas, that I too, have a voice.

I was blessed to have a loving family, and a childhood life with no trauma,  but I still felt so limited in that small southern town. And I saw other children less fortunate than me, who came out of the country, and I saw their faces and I knew that the Arkansas of the 1950s south was even more limiting for them. From her book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I appreciated that this woman spoke of a childhood, where a little girl suffering from trauma could find her voice and she found strength by using that voice once she found it again.

For me, I was inspired to write, inspired to keep a journal, and inspired to speak.  I heard her recite poetry like no other. She gave me Paul Laurence Dunbar, when I had never heard his voice before, and she shared with me, the beauty that came from this amazing poet. I also came to appreciate so many other writers. A person’s ability to inspire is what makes them special, and I am grateful that I’ve lived while she lived and could hear her well.

And so yes, in spite of the naysayers now that she is gone—I can simply say, “and still like dust, I rise.”

God Speed, Maya Angelou.


Ok there are two more days if you are thinking about submitting a proposal to speak at the FGS conference in Salt Lake City for February 2015.



The Baltimore Agnes Kane Callum Chapter of AAHGS is having a special 25th Anniversary Banquet at St. Francix Xavier Catholic Church Hall on June 21st. There are still tickets available for the event and you may contact Noreen Goodson for more information.



I am getting ready to go to California to attend the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree. That is going to be a full agenda. Thursday is DNA day Friday, there will be workshops, a Genealogy Round-table session. Then on Friday they pull out the big guns—Thomas Macentee, Lisa Louise Cooke, Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, and so many more.

And I have the honor of sharing a panel with Bernice Bennett, Nicka Smith and myself, and we will discuss the Future of African American genealogy. We will address collaboration, DNA, slave and slaveholder collaborations, and so much more. The presenters will be names that you recognize and you will have a wonderful experience.

And for African American research stop in an listen to Bernice Bennett present about the Civil War widow’s pensions from US Colored Troops, and then she will be presenting on Homestead records. Nicka Smith will be there sharing her skills as both a photographer and professional and dynamic speaker.  And if you are thinking about writing, then Anita Paul, the Author’s Midwife will catch you attention. She will talk about taking your work to the printed page. There is so much more to see, so take a look at the dynamic schedule.


Juneteenth is Coming!


In Maryland the 19th annual Juneteenth Seminar will be unfolding with the Prince George’s County Chapter of AAHGS. The event lasts a full day from 8:30 to 4 pm, with workshops for beginners and so much more! And also for the opening Plenary, two descendants of Solomon Northup will be there–that’s right descendants of the author of 12 Years a Slave will get things started.


Bernice Bennett Blog Talk Radio Show

If you did not catch it live, tune to hear Bernice Bennett’s show that featured Joe McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project, coming from Hopsewee Plantation. Mr. McGill was staying over night with a group of students from Marquette University High School, and they were occupying two of the slave cabins that remain at Hopsewee Plantation. It was neat to hear also from one of the teachers as well as the students who were at the site.  Tune in to the link above to hear last night’s broadcast.
Well as you begin this travel season take some time out to ask and to remind yourself why you are so engaged. We have to remind ourselves that we are engaged in a serious task as we document the history of our families and our communities. We are getting energized and ready to travel and make sure you prepare yourself emotionally as well as mentally for the journeys that await you.
Thank you for listening, once again and I hope to see some of you next week  at the Jamboree. Thank you all who shared events and happenings with me. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.