This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to this week’s episode of the African Roots Podcast!
Remember you can always reach me at


I hope everyone in the northeast have been able to stay safe, warm and dry. In the mid-Atlantic we have had some wintry mix of snow, sleet, and rain, but thankfully no ice. Those farther north however have had a real challenge with heavy snow–I hope that you are been able to stay safe and warm and will be able to dig out easily.



Wow end of the first month of 2015 and we are about to slip into Black History Month! Remember that this is a milestone year–and if you have not found your own family’s story of freedom, this 150th anniversary of freedom from enslavement is a great time to start. Note that Family Search is still uploading more Freedmen’s Bureau records. Louisiana researchers have great access to now to these amazing records, including the Fields Offices. This is a great way to find out what happened in those critical  years between slavery and the first 1870 census for so many. So follow those footprints who used the Bureau to receive rations, who lived in contrabands, who were patients in hospitals, students in schools. Also note that many whites can find their ancestors in these records as well.

Finding the “Patsys” in Our Family


We are reminded about what life was like from films such as 12 Years a Slave. Questions have been asked by researchers, “what happened to Patsy”? Well we all have our “Patsys” to find. So many have heartache, and many can be found in Freedmen’s Bureau records, and their stories are there. The Bureau records can find many of those first- days- of-freedom stories. Let’s commit to finding our own Patsy–the woman who suffered physical, emotional heartbreak–whose spirits were shattered by a heinous system. Use Mapping The Freedmen’s Bureau, to see what post emancipation institutions to see if your ancestors or their neighbors used the resources of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.
A Thought for Slavery Era Researchers

We often think about simply plowing through records without regard to the stage of history in which records came. Dr. Ira Berlin spoke about the Atlantic Era of Enslavement, when everyone was still experiencing life through their original Atlantic coast culture. Whether they were whites who were immigrants from Europe, or Africans who survived the horrifics of the Atlantic slave ship, they saw themselves when they arrived as the citizen of that east-of-the-Atlantic land of origin.   That was followed by the later deeply established Plantation Era, that solidified the rigidity of America’s story of bondage. The enslaved became removed by generations from their east-of-the-Atlantic origins and suddenly only had America in their memory. They now had to live by the well established plantation culture that had replaced their east-of-the-Atlantic original culture. Perhaps as we learn about the lives of people in the 19th and 18th centuries we have to learn the differences in the kinds of records that these periods produced.
Reflections from the Road Show

Have you been able to watch episodes of the Genealogy Roadshow? It has been interesting to watch. I found it fascinating to see how many people were asking if they were related to historical figures from pirates to Vikings. But this week there was the very sobering story of the family that suddenly left the state of  South Carolina and migrated to Pennsylvania. This story was like so many stories of “sudden migration”. I use that term to describe  the stories of those who had to immediately vacate their land, to be able to continue to live. Usually this came from a lynching, or in some places a story of an entire community being destroyed. Places like Rosewood Florida, Pierce City Missouri, Harrison Arkansas, Catcher Arkansas, Forsythe County Georgia, and more. In these cases, entire communities of people were forced to simply leave. Often such cases were stimulated by lynching or an accusation of  rape or murder–and entire communities were simply erased. It was good that the episode addressed this story that had happened to this family. But we in the African American community know that this story happened in many places, and it should be a part of the narrative.  A critical question arises, “does this kind of story make the researcher weary at times?” Yes, it does and one has to find a balance and yes, take a physical and often a mental break to continue to research. The farther back in time that we go, the more difficult these stories become and the more frequent that heartache was for those who had to endure them.

And as researchers we have to make a transition from being a mere collector of names to that of a storyteller, and to see that as our mission. Family members who often show disinterest, will listen when you when you share the stories. If you tell it, they will listen.


AfriGeneas Banner

Time to Re-Visit the AfriGeneas Community. There is the AfriGeneas Facebook page with more than 126,000 “Likes”. There is also the AfriGeneas Community Group where there is activity where members ask questions, get assistance and share. This is a very dynamic community. And for those who love biographies, and beautiful vintage images of amazing African ancestored people. And of course there is the basic page–the home base, the AfriGeneas website. I think you should revisit this time tested site. Also please remember to connect with others in the many African American genealogy Facebook groups including an active DNA group as well.


DNA Specialist Featured on Research and the National Archives & Beyond
Last night’s guest on Bernice Bennett’s show was David Dowell, who is a DNA specialist. He discussed the various tests, and he also addressed the meaning of terms that can be confusing to newcomers. Some wonderful information was shared on last night’s episode. All of her shows are archived as a podcast and can be downloaded easily. Of course the live show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.

Well time is going quickly and I am in a pre-conference preparation mode these days.  For the next three weekends, I have tons of things to do, miles to cover and workshops to present. Thank you all for tuning in again. I hope to see some of you next week in Laurel MD at hte Family History Center African American Genealogy Conference.

Keep researching, keep documenting, and remember to keep sharing what you find.

One Response to “African Roots Podcast Episode #304 January 30, 2015”

  1. Jocelyn says:

    Family Search does a great job of introducing new fliamy history researchers into genealogy In addition to this they just keep growing and continue to be one of my go to’- site.Regards,Theresa (Tangled trees)

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