This Week's Pod Cast
Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me at: AfricanRootsPodcast@gmail.com
Well it’s time for conferences, road trips, research trips and so much more, now that spring is here.
Tomorrow I am attending the April 5th, the Descendant’s Day Celebration at the African American Civil War Museum. I am looking forward to attending this event tomorrow in Washington DC. This event is always on the 1st Saturday of the month at the African American Civil War Museum.
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NGS Conference Offers African American Workshops
Next month the NGS Conference will be unfolding in Richmond Virginia. And there are a few presentations that could be of interest to African Ancestored researchers. Sessions in the African American track are: “African American Research at the Library of Virginia”; “Freedman’s Bureau Labor Contracts”; “US Colored Troops Pension Applications”; “The “Free Negro Dilemna” in Virginia” and “Records of the Slave Claims Commission”. So if you are in or near Richmond and attending the NGS Conference, you may want to see if these sessions will interest you.
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Genealogy Research Trips Planned
Two genealogy societies have embarked upon research trips one from St. Louis the St. Louis African American Genealogy and History Society, that just completed a research trip to Jackson Mississippi state archives—and the other will unfold later this month when the Baltimore AAHGS chapter will make their annual research trip to Library of Virginia in Richmond. Such trips are a wonderful way for people to network, and share a common interest. Remember a genealogist’s best friend is another genealogist.
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Civil War Sesquicentennial Events
Do you realize that this year 2014 is a milestone Year? For Civil War Enthusiasts and all historians, there is amazing history to explore. We have to remember the United States Colored Troops (USCTs) and their amazing history. Were your ancestors involved in the Civil War? Well several major Civil War battles took place 150 years ago, and some of these incidents may have involved your ancestors. For example these were major battles: Jenkins Ferry, Honey Springs, Ft. Wagner, Ft. Pillow, and many more. How many of you have thought to incorporate those stories into your own family narrative? Now—before you think that you didn’t have soldiers—so nothing to incorporate—think again. You have ancestors who were directly impacted–tell that story! Find the family freedom story!
Every major event in a community has a impact on those close by. Think Katrina, Think 911, think MLK Assasination, (which occurred on this day) whether you were directly impacted or simply were aware of what took place—there was an impact that it made and it is part of the personal narrative and the family narrative. Find it and tell it.
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Speaking of extracting a story, I direct you to the latest blog post by Drusilla Pair who wrote an interesting piece about an article that she found from an old newspaper, Richmond Dispatch. Her blog is called Let Freedom Ring, and she wrote an article about captured soldiers, referred to as simply “captured Negroes”. She saw the article while searching for something entirely different. But she realized there was a story to tell–these men, who were soldiers, who were freedom fighters, had a story. She knew that this list, created in the middle of the war, was significant. Her piece analyzes the document and her blog piece is an interesting read. And those these were not her ancestors, this was a story that needed to be shared and told.
Portion of Article from Richmond Dispatch, August 27, 1864
I have an example—from the blog of Drusilla Pair—Let Freedom Ring. She found a fascinating article about some captured soldiers in the Richmond Dispatch. She became intrigued as the names of the captured men were shared, in fact the entire article was shared. As a result, she presented something that would be of interest to many on a larger scale. These are some of the missing stories and unique stories. Her article is found HERE.
The greater lesson is to share your research story! Your research story is part of your own personal narrative. And your ability to document that journey is also part of it. Have you considered putting aside the search for Grandpa, to tell the story ABOUT the search. The places your journey takes you, the documents you find—sometimes unrelated to Grandpa, but interesting nevertheless—well that story that may have caught your attention—is part of your journey.
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Here is a secret. More genealogists want to hear about your journey than your personal narrative. Don’t get me wrong—the narrative is important—and it is most important to your family. But your fellow researchers—they prefer hearing your own narrative about your journey—the emotion you felt when you made a discovery. Or a document that would not let you go—until you wrote something about it. The question that kept gnawing at you, and how you were able to solve the mystery and find the answer -that is the public story—the one that is captivating the most!
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I had an interesting experience yesterday learning about a story of African Ancestored people who were in the Battle of 1812. And as many of you know—this is the Bicentennial of that battle. Fewer are aware that there were free people of color who were involved, and there were also people enslaved, who were given Freedom from the British Crown if they fought for the British. Now some already know this and are aware of the Book of Negroes where Loyalists of Color were listed by name and some of these men did receive their freedom and ended up in Canada and other parts of the British empire. Well I learned yesterday of some additional stories emanating from that war—-a good sized population of freed slaves ended up in Trinidad, taken there by the British and given freedom. The A gentleman from Trinidad attended an event a few years ago at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore MD, and asked some of the historians about how they can find descendants of families that emigrated. They were seeking ties to American collateral descendants of others who had settled in Trinidad, but who had ties to early 19th century Maryland. The point is–there are many stories to still be found, to be extracted, and to tell.
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Your research story is part of your own personal narrative. And your ability to document that journey is also part of it. Have you considered putting aside the search for Grandpa, to tell the story ABOUT the search. The places your journey takes you, the documents you find—sometimes unrelated to Grandpa, but interesting nevertheless—well that story that may have caught your attention—is part of your journey. A secret. More genealogists want to hear about your journey than your personal narrative. Don’t get me wrong—the narrative is important—and it is imost important to your family. But your fellow researcher—they prefer hearing your own narrative about your journey—the emotion you felt when you made a discovery. Or a document that would not let you go—until you wrote something about it. The question that kept knowing at you, and how you were able to solve the mystery and find the answer THAT is the public story—the one that is captivating the most!
That is our charge!
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Well, thanks again for listening and for taking time from your schedule to tune in to the podcast. Do remember in the meantime to keep researching, keep documenting and to keep sharing what you find!