This Week's Pod Cast

Hello and welcome back! Today is Friday May 14, 2010
My name is Angela Walton-Raji
You can always reach me at

Lots of interesting events coming up for you.

Tomorrow May 15, 2010 at the National Museum of the American Indian there will be a workshop on African –Native American genealogy. I (yours truly) will be speaking there at 1-3 pm in the resource center at the museum. This workshop is free of charge, and no registration is required.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm. In Washington DC, the Martin Luther King Jr.Memorial Library is sponsoring a Genealogy Database Workshop.
The program will provide an introduction to Heritage Quest,
a genealogical database and the Historic Washington Post & Baltimore Afro-American databases. Additional details can be obtained by calling 202-727-1213 or at the library’s website.

Next weekend May 20-21 genealogists in Little Rock Arkansas will be treated to a 2-day genealogical event at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. On Friday participants can listen to Tony Burroughs nationally known speaker, and on Saturday Lisa Arnold from will speak about the large number of resources at Ancestry. This is a great chance to learn how to use the African American filter, and about the databases that are of interest to African American researchers. Best thing about it all—-it is free.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 10:00 am. The Library of Congress will sponsor an orientation class entitled “Resources for Genealogical Research at The Library of Congress.” You must bring a picture I.D. to obtain the card. The card must be obtained prior to the class and can be obtained in room LM 140 of the Madison Building. It is suggested that you arrive at theMadison Building at 9:30 am. to obtain the card and have time to walk to the class in the Jefferson Building. Advance registration is required. Call202-707-5537, register in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room, or go to .

Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 10:30 am.
The Baltimore’s Afro-American Historical & Genealogical
Society / Agnes Kane Callum Chapter will sponsor a picnic at the Benjriamin Banneker Historical Park, 300 Oella Ave. in Baltimore County, Maryland. Additional details can be found at

Samford Institute for HistoResearch (IGHR) in Birmingham, AL provide an educational forum for the discovery, critical evaluation, and use of genealogical sources and methodology through a week of intensive study led by nationally prominent genealogical educators. This will be an entire week of genealogy from 9 – 5 and I will be attending this year for the very first time. The classes are filled, but you might want to look at the tracks to put it on your schedule for next year.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 8:30 am. The AAHGS – Prince George’s Maryland Chapter (PGCM) will sponsor the “Juneteenth
Program.” Additional details can be found at their website:
Keynote speaker is Caroll Gibbs, Author and historian.
When? Saturday, June 19, 2010; 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Watkins Nature Center
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Hopefully the spirit of Juneteenth and Freedom celebrations will begin to spread as we have no real national event to celebrate the abolishment of slavery.

I was inspired by a wonderful database coming out of Charlottesville Virginia: The African American Families Database
comes out of Central Virginia. This is an amazing collaboration among genealogists, historians, anthropologists, researchers, and the local community and they are really analyzing the local area to pull out some unique history. They are known as the Central Virginia History Researchers (CVHR). CVHR is developing an on-line database for connecting African-American families to their antebellum roots and tracing patterns of community formation in the post-bellum period. Well I have looked at it and I am impressed.

Two areas of Focus Hydraulic Plantation and Bleak House Plantation. Hydraulic was a house, a plantation, and a millworks about five miles north of Charlottesville, at the junction of Ivy Creek and the South Fork of the Rivanna River (Fig. 1). From 1829 to 1860 Hydraulic was owned by Nathaniel Burnley (1786-1860), who was a saddler and tavernkeeper at Stony Point for some years before purchasing the Hydraulic Mills.

One unique feature is the neighborhood map. This page actually features information using plat maps about the families that lived near the old estate and shows the inter-connectedness of families geographically.

Now Bleak House is just as interesting. In 1860 the Bleak House plantation had 41 slaves and 9 slave dwellings. The inventory of Rogers’s estate (1864) includes 36 slaves. An estate sale in late 1863 did not include any slaves. But why? The Civil War had begun and there is a strong possibility that many of the enslaved men joined the Union Army when given the chance.

What has emeged from this has become in my opinion a model for other researchers and communities to emulate. This project is an excellent study in African American research, and looking at families towards the end of the slavery era.

The question now arises—-How much are you studying your own community? The project out of Central Virginia is a lesson on the value of researching the local history to record the data that is still there.

I have become aware of the projects coming out of South Carolina and the Drayton Hall and Magnolia plantations, and have learned about how they are reconstructing those communities there. I have had the honor of doing some look ups on a few of those records of men who served in the civil war, and to share the pension files of some of the soldiers.
Likewise I have been able to collaborate with a colleague who has documented the entire African American community of Crawford and Sebastian counties, in western Arkansas. Through the acquisition of civil war records, pension and service records, marriage records, census records and some newspaper databases, she has acquired an immense database on the community and a rich history has come forth. I have learned to appreciate the fact that from one small file, the witnesses who provided depositions, or signatures, were those involved with the family or an ancestors in some way. By following up on these records, relationships have been learned and a rich cultural history of a community that was supportive to its members. Some of the old newspapers have provided wonderful glimpses into an era long past and a warm network of friendships and networking has been discovered by immersing myself into the community history.

We know that genealogy is not practiced in a vacuum, and the lives so often never written about, need to be explored as we document our family history. By doing so—we then learn more about how our parents and grandparents coped in the isolation and insulation that resulted from the Jim Crow era. This is a road I encourage others out there to consider traveling—the history is a rich one, and the joys of unlocking the stories are rewarding in an of themselves.

Well, thank you for listening and tuning in this week, and keep focused on what you do.

Keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

3 Responses to “African Roots Podcast #59 May 14, 2010”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Angela Y.Walton-Raji, Angela Y.Walton-Raji. Angela Y.Walton-Raji said: Spring events, a Central VA database and community area studies. Episode 59 African Roots Podcast: […]

  2. Renate says:

    Angela, the info on Charlottesville was of interest to me, since I lived there for seven years, and still have family and friends there. As a matter of fact, my daughter’s grandparents live on Hydraulic Rd., and I used to live just off of it, but I never knew that it was named for a former plantation! I plan to learn more about that. 🙂

    Thanks, as always, for your informative podcast!


  3. Emily says:

    Angela, the info on Charlottesville was of interest to me, since I lived there for seven years, and still have family and friends there. As a matter of fact, my daughter’s grandparents live on Hydraulic Rd., and I used to live just off of it, but I never knew that it was named for a former plantation! I plan to learn more about that. 🙂

    Thanks, as always, for your informative podcast!


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