This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well May has arrived and that means a new month of workshops and genealogical events.
Tomorrow May 4th in the Washington DC area, in Kensington MD, there will be an all day workshop. This is the 7th Annual conference of the Family History Center serving the Metropolitan Washington DC area. KEYNOTE SPEAKER: DearMYRTLE, Genealogy Teacher, Author, Blogger, and Webinar Host. Her topic: Digging into our Roots Using 21st Century Tools. I have known her for many years and know that she will be an exciting speaker!
The class descriptions are online and I urge you to consider going if you live in or near Washington DC.

One of the African American speakers is Nathania Branch Miles of Prince George’s County, who will be talking about Portuguese African ancestors. Another speaker is Bernice Bennett will be there to discuss the Civil War Widows pension applications and all that went into it.

Wednesday May 8th Atlanta GA
The Lovett School’s presents their lecture series on the Civil War, in conjunction with the Atlanta History Center’s newest exhibition “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: How the Word is Passed Down,”. The school is hosting an evening lecture with noted historian David Blight speaking on Emancipation at 150: How Does the Civil War Have a Hold on Our Historical Imagination? Blight is professor of American History at Yale University and director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.
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Also in Atlanta, on May 18th, Our Heritage: Atlanta’s Family History Conference will be held from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. May 18 at the Atlanta History Center. The event is free, and is being presented in conjunction with Tree and the Atlanta Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Staff will be on hand to help attendees get started, if they are beginners.

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Bernice Bennett’s Show, last night was so fascinating. She began with the question, Why would whites in a small Southern town put a black woman’s obituary in their family scrapbook? Why would one of the cousin’s treasure it so long? Who is Emiline Watts? What is the connection with the Watts family? Well to find out more—if you missed last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show—go and listen to the archived version and hear a fascinating story! Her guest was Beatryce Nivens who is new to genealogy, but who has had a fascinating story of her journey to find the connection between two families one black, one white. The fact is that the two families are actully one larger family. It was a truly wonderful show!

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In a simliar manner and on the same theme, author and blogger Melvin J. Collier has a fascinating blog piece. He discusses the frustration that we often have, but I cam away from that post with a more profound insight about how stories can get lost. The identity of people can get lost with time. In Beatryce’s case, with time the knowledge faded of the past. With Melvin’s blog, they knew there was a family tie to the Kennedy line, but did not really know or understand how the story fit, but a recent conversation with an elder relative, she was able to find out more details. For me–the question arises. How did the story get lost and why? The same question is posed to Beatryce and her family. How did Emeline get lost? Good question an thing to think about. Melvin’s blog is Roots Revealed. Remember to catch Bernice’s show on Blog Talk Radio every Thursday evening at 9:00 pm.

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By the way for the teachers out there—here is a chance for an interesting Teacher’s workshop: TEACHER’S WORKSHOP at the Afr. American Civil War Museum. That’s right,The African American Civil War Museum is now accepting applications for its 2013 summer workshop. This five-day workshop, July 14 -19, 2013 will provide educators with tools and resources to effectively integrate the United States Colored Troops into their Civil War curriculum. The workshop is open to K-12 educators including teachers, librarians and media specialists, instructional technology specialists and administrators in public, charter, private or religiously affiliated schools, as well as homeschooling parents.
Civil War to Civil Rights: The Crossroads to Freedom Summer Teacher Workshop
Application Deadline: May 17, 2013 Click HERE for more information.

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I found the post about the teachers workshop really food for thought—for this museum is reaching out to carry their theme forward into the classroom, which is of course quite important. Teachers are critical allies in exposing the next generation to historical fact and can be critical allies for exposing young scholars to local history.

But beyond the classroom—who else would we consider to be genealogical allies? I ask this question because there is a critical need for others to consider professionalizing what they do—what we do as researchers! Some of us already blog—and I love to urge (ok push) people into the world of blogging. But there are others whom I hope we will embrace as genealogical professionals or professional allies as well.

Librarians—that is a given. But there are also archivists, cemetery preservationists,
community historians, and also craftsmen and women—quilters—many of whom are carrying on a family tradition and skill and teaching it to the next generation. There are other practitioners—herbablists, culinary specialists. Note this—I have been an admirer in recent years of the works of culinary historian Michael Twitty who has studies ancestral folkways and cooking methods and traditions of the ancestors. Check him out!

My point is—whatever you do—-see it for what it is—a practice, a profession with an historical legacy—and part of the circle of genealogical professionals. This is something that I feel that we need to open our minds to this as an arena to promote our passions to the community of traditional genealogists!

I mention some of this because much of it is not understood to be a dimension of what we do.

By the way—if you know individuals who work within these realms I urge you to consider looking into attending MAAGI and looking at the special track for professional genealogists

Winding down for this week, thank you for listening and taking time out of your busy day to tune in. I always appreciate you and I love hearing from you all!

In the meantime, please, keep researching, keep documenting and always, keep sharing what you find!

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