This Week's Pod Cast
Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast!
You can reach me at AfricanRootsPodcast@gmail.com
Only 5 more days till Christmas and I hope you are ready for the holiday. I know many of you have a full house with sons and daughters home for the Christmas season, and when you have a chance–talk to everyone. Talk to the elders, and also talk to the children. Capture their voices when they are young. Pull out those tape and video recorders and capture those precious moments.
This is a great time to assess where you are in terms of reaching your genealogical goals. Take time to stop and assess your accomplishments, and where you are with your research.
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So what is happening with everyone as the year winds down?
I hope that you will take note that on Monday Bernice Bennett will have a special Monday broadcast of her Blog Talk Radio program and her guest will be Sarah Cato, retired attorney and current researcher, who will be talking about her project to honor soldiers of the 56th US Colored Infantry. You have heard me talk about the project in the past and in fact Ms. Cato has been a guest here on the podcast as well. This special show will air on Monday, since next Thursday will be Christmas Day. So tune in at 3pm on Blog Talk Radio for the broadcast.
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Speaking of Blog Radio last night’s episode featured Michael Williams, author of Native Womb. Motivational speaker and genealogist Michael Williams will share his epic 17-year adoption search and how he was able to unravel the mystery to his past. As he describes it, he spoke about the Kinship Village. In addition to his research success he also spoke about his experiences with DNA. So tune in and you can download the show from ITunes, and also from Blog Talk Radio page for Bernice Bennett.
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Have you reached an impasse in your research? Perhaps the next clue might be right there on the soil where you ancestors are from. Go back and look closely and look around your known ancestor. Look at the neighborhood, the entire enumeration district or perhaps the entire country. Those friends, neighbors and acquiantainces are all important and our ancestors’ lives were intertwined.
Also I urge you to not assume that African Americans did not generate record between 1870 and 1900. I think that there were many of records generated by people of color. There are marriage records, court house records, homestead records, records of the Southern Claims, co-habitation records, school census records, and more. If they resided for many years, they had to go to the court and those transactions created records. In addition there are other specialized records that contain data on African American families.
So beyond census and vital records there is a lot–Freedman’s Bureau, Freedman Savings, Homestead applications, Educable children’s census, and the military–lots and lots of record. And I have not even mentioned the Oklahoma or Indian Territory records. And their names are on labor contracts, school records, land records. Look at the neighbors and telling their stories. Your ancestors can sometimes jump off the pages especially from state census records, chancery as well as probate records, Southern claims commission records and much more. And the military left lots of records, such as tho pension files. And they cover the years from the 1860s through the early 20th century records.
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Do you research local history? Well the work of Joseph McGill who has initiated the Slave Dwelling project. I read an interesting article about him and the issue of slaver in a midwestern state. The statement was made that sometimes history that becomes forgotten or erased, is due to a lack of physical remnants, the people who lived there, are sometimes eliminated from the story. Today visits to plantation mansions often includes stories of only the enslaver and the families who lived on the big house. When those slave dwellings are gone–is it possible that the stories disappear as well? That made it clear to me, that the effort to preserve these humble dwellings in the effort to preserve the story of those people–those men, those women, those children, whose fate was sealed in those homes. We must remember them, and tell the story so it won’t be forgotten.
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Well as time is running out, do make an effort to make this holiday a special one, and in the meantime, I hope you get some time to follow up with what you have begun with your genealogy research. So keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find. Have a Merry Christmas!