This Week's Pod Cast


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

I hope you are all safe and warm after the amazing weather. Lots of snow in the Tidewater area of VA and of course all of friends in the Atlanta area I do hope that you did not suffer too much after the snow and incredible gridlock that you faced a few days ago. This is amazing winter, so do take care everyone.


Exciting news from READEX! I was not familiar with them before, but apparently more than 3000 works that were published over 100 year span have now been digitized by READEX. This amazing collection consists of the American Antiquarian Society holding of slavery and abolition materials and now more than 3500 works have been digitized for scholars and researchers.  The collection will consist of high resolution color images of books, pamphlets, graphics and ephemera, including southern imprints. The images that they already have are truly amazing and it will be exciting to learn more.

This collection will cover the years from 1820 – 1922. Note also that truly rare items are in this collection. Books and papers covering the establishment of the Republic of Liberia, and topics from slavery to the Jim Crow era, and personal narratives such as the narratives of Equiano, Denmark Vesey, and even DuBois.

For more information, about this new collection, contact a Readex representative by calling 800.762.8182 or by using their easy contact form.

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Destruction of Records Again!

Oh gracious—it has happened again!! This is coming out of St. Louis County in Missouri, where two workers have admitted dumping, destroying or intentionally misfiling at least 1800s records . Some of the records were found dumped in a wooded area in the Spanish Lake area of St. Louis County. In an assessment, 5 other workers showed a disproportionate number of missing documents as well.

This is quite disturbing as it comes after the Franklin County NC incident many of us in the genealogy community are still quite upset over the unbelievable destruction of records that occurred in December in Franklin County NC.  So let’s follow this story as we depend on the people to preserve these records in our repositories so hearing about this is truly unsettling. More information HERE.

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Front Cover of  “Memories of Union High”

Congratulations to Marion Woodfork Simmons, author of Memories of Union High has received an award for her work. You have heard me talk about the work of author Marian Woodfork Simmons before. She wrote the beautiful book called, “Memories of Union High” depicting a 60 year history of Union High School of Caroline County Virginia. The school was created when persons of African Ancestry could only attend one high school in the entire county—and that was Union High School. For decades, people in remote parts of the county would send their children to the town to live with relatives and some to live with strangers, just so their children could get an education. The book that she wrote is truly a legacy to the commitment of the people of the county to insure education for their children. Well the latest news is that this week, On January 26th 2014, Ms. Simmons received the Caroline Historical Society Award for 2013 for her work in researching and preserving Caroline County, VA . The book is something that you should have in your library anyway, especially if you have ties to that county and its history. So congratulations Mariaon for this wonderful accomplishment and not that your award was well deserved. If you wish to send words of congratulations to her, you can do so, at

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At the Civil War Memorial and Museum – Descendant’s Day Presentation

Genealogist and Author Melvin J. Collier will be giving a presentation on how he researched his Civil War ancestor. Edward Bobo of the 59th USCT. This is part of the Descendant’s day program every 1st Saturday of the month, at the Afr. American Civil War Musuem on Vermont Avenue NW, in Washington DC.

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February 1st, in Baltimore MD -A Genealogy Expo!

For those in the Baltimore Maryland area, you have a chance to attend the annual Baltimore Afro Am. Historical & Genealogical Society Expo! This will occur tomorrow at the Enoch Pratt Library Branch on Cold Spring and Loch Raven and is free to the public. This is a chance to ask questions, get answers and also see some wonderful genealogical displays by society members who will discuss their own projects. The event is free and will begin at 12:00 noon.

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February 11th 2014   Okmulgee Oklahoma

A special genealogy presentation will be sponsored by the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band focusing on genealogy research and family history. Featured will be Freedman records, and the 1900 & 1910 U.S. census, Dawes census cards, land records, 1866 treaty,  history books and other vital documents. The presentation will be on Tuesday, February 11, at the College of the Muscogee Nation, 1200 Hwy Loop 56, in Okmulgee, OK at 3:00pm, in room 103.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information call 405-488-4244.

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Some Help for Alabama Researchers.

How many times when researching an African American family or community have you found yourself wanting to know exactly where they may have lived while enslaved? You know perhaps that they came from an agricultural community—but are not quite sure where to look and if there is a list of estates where large numbers of enslaved people may have lived or worked?  Well this week someone share an interesting list from Tennessee Genweb site that actually featured a list of plantations in the state of Alabama interestingly.

I am putting a link to this list for you here. But note—this list gives you an idea where these estates—these plantations were by county, so that might end up being quite useful for you. Of course we know that all persons enslaved did not live on plantations—but many did, and hopefully this Alabama list will be useful for you. It does not contain data with names of enslaved people mind you,  but just knowning where the larger estates were might benefit someone in their research of Alabama ancestors. So take some time and explore the Alabama Plantation List.

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Attention Virginia Researchers From Loudon County:  A Very Useful Database on Slavery Data is available on the site called Slave Issues PapersNow it is not common to find sites where there are slavery documents that cover this span of years.  Over 100 years’ worth of slavery era documents are available with enslaved and slave holder names! This is one of those sites that I wish were more widespread—including all of the multiple states that I research. I took at look at this information and was even surprise to see some deeds of emancipation included.  When the document opens it is quite small so you have to enlarge it, but it is fast and easily to manipulate and search through. I strongly recommend this site—even if you don’t research Loudon County—note that much of Virginia was changing over those years, and you might even find ancestors who ended up in other counties or neighboring states who started out in that area. This is quite useful! I have to say that I am impressed because this data actually rests on a government site!! This is not common—and I am so pleased that the county government saw the value of putting this searchable data on their website.

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I had a great time last night on the Bernice Bennett show and I was her featured guest. The topic was Native American and Africa American ancestry and how to document that unique history. The discussion in the room was lively and the questions asked were thought provoking ones as well. The show can be captured online in the archived podcast-at Thanks to Ms. Bennett for having me as her special guest.

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I hope that the news out of St. Louis may bring about some new energy from the research community to establish some “Friends” groups where ordinary citizens can become partners with the repositories where precious historical documents reside. I urge all of us to give some thoughts as to how we can provide a method of forming groups to address the issue of neglected or forgotten records and give some thought as to how we can all work towards the digitization of records so that all of our histories will be protected for future generations.

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Well, this session has come to a close, and I hope that you stay warm and safe and make it through the next week of predicted snow and ice coming through. I thank you for listening, and please remember, to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

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One Response to “African Roots Podcast Episode #252 January 31, 2014”

  1. Robin Foster says:

    It is so disheartening to hear about more records being destroyed. I think everyone everywhere needs to be aware of what actually is happening to local records and how they are being cared for. I believe it is the responsibility of each researcher. We can begin by checking the resources in the areas where our ancestors lived. I do not think we can neglect this any longer. We are responsible for helping agencies to understand the value of historical records.

    I really enjoyed you and Bernice on the show last night, Angela!

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