African Roots Podcast Episode #231 September 6, 2013

This Week's Pod Cast


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

This has been a busy week with webinars from the NARA Virtual Fair and news coming out of Salt Lake City! That’s right–from Salt Lake City–a huge collaborative venture has been announced! Ancestry and Family Search have announced their joint effort to put a billion records in a digitized format and make them available! Now this will take about 5 years or so, and will involve pulling out international collections as well as bringing out old records from the vaults. That means bringing them out of the mountain! What an effort! This is hard to imagine, but what great news for researchers–the future looks bright!

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I hope you had a chance to catch the live webinars online this week when the National Archives offered to the world a series of free lectures as part of the Virtual Genealogy Fair online. Several of the lectures were of interest to African Ancestored research. Don’t worry if you missed them, they are all archived online at There was a session on the Freedman Savings, the US Colored Troops and also Native American Ancestry. So if you missed them, click this link to hear the lectures and this link for the schedule.

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The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc.-Prince George’s County Chapter (AAHGS-PGCM) will hold its bi-monthly meeting on Saturday, September 21, 2013, from 1:30- 3:30 p.m, at the Seabrook Recreation Building, 9443 Worrell Ave, Lanham-Seabrook, MD 20706. Topic of Discussion: “The Use of Smartphones in Genealogical Research”.

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Melvin Colliar, the author and achivist will speak at the Central MD Chapter of AAHGS, and he will discuss Slave Ancestral Research and how to break through that brick wall in one’s research. He will be speaking in Columbia at the Owen Brown on Cradelrock Rd, and his presentation begins at 1:00 pm. This will be on, Sept. 28 at 1:00 The public (or non-members) are also invited to attend. Slave ancestral research is not an exact science. It is often difficult to conduct but not impossible. With research examples, he will present some tips and techniques to finding and documenting enslaved ancestors and identifying the name of the slave-owner — going beyond the 1870 census. Melvin is a good presenter and I am sure that you will all find his lecture to be a good one.

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By the way, you know sometimes we are not always searching for the past, but sometimes we search for the living–for living descendants of a deceased person. Well, you might want to take a look at the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. They have announced an institute coming up in March of 2014 at the Wyndham Hotel in Dallas. There are two levels, a basic course and an advanced level of research. This sounds truly interesting, and it might be something that many of you may have as a new area of interest. The first 3 days will be the basic course and the last 3 days the advanced level of the program will unfold.

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I hope you got to hear Research at the National Archives and Beyond, which is Bernice Bennett’s show. Last night’s show was inteersting, where Bishop CD Miller discussed her background coming from St. John’s in the Virgin Islands and how her mother’s culture was seldom acknowledged by anyone. Many issues and aspects of one growing up with a multi-ethnic background were discussed. Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.

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By the way, the E-zine, The Black Genealogist, Food For the Soul for the African American researcher is back online.

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I have mentioned that I want to do more writing in the coming year. Well a great blogging prompt, or writer’s prompt was share with me this week. And you know we all want to tell the story—but we must also remember to tell our own story as well. The neat site shared with me was, “The Story of Me, Written by You”. This is an effort to get you (as well as me) to start writing our own personal story. Now I have been keeping a journal for many years, though admittedly have not written in the journal for ages. However, I like the fact that this might be a vehicle through which I will become more reflective of the many experiences in my own life and truly make me write about them and tell my own stories. You might also want to explore this writer’s site and tell your own story.

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Well, I know you have heard the story–yes the story of the woman bringing “humor” to a story of those enslaved. Not slave jokes, but poking fun to a degree to insensitive questions asked of living re-enactors. I am talking about the Ask A Slave series. I am still not there—and don’t quite feel it, but I do understand the need to point out insensitivity and obtuse levels of misunderstanding about what our enslaved ancestors had to endure. There will be an interview with the host of Ask a Slave Azie Mira Dungey today on NPR, Here and Now.

Well, folks, thank you again for tuning in, I always appreciate hearing from you and taking time out of your own schedule to listen. Please stay committed to the task to tell the story, and in the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.

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