This Week's Pod Cast



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


Blizzard 2016 1
Early view from my deck as snow begins.

Well we are truly now in the heart of winter and about to experience the blizzard of blizzards in the next few days. I have been busy in preparation mode, and have run all of the errands—plenty of bread, milk and other essentials in the house. That’s right most of the south central region, south east, and mid-Atlantic states are getting hit with the same storm. As a result, this is one of those storms of all storms that shall be unfolding! I know that many of you listening are also in the path of the storm, so I pray that you will all be safe, warm, and dry, and will not have to venture out into the frigid air. We are also expecting high winds over the next two days so I hope that you will all be safe as the storm moves in and hope that it moves out quickly.



Black Pro Gen Hangouts Start Next Week!

Everyone is invited to participate in the BlackProGen Google Hangouts next week! They will start on WEDNESDAY January 27th! (not Monday) and for info and the link to participate in the live chat click HERE. Black Pro Gen is an informal group of professional African American Genealogists who get together to share thoughts, strategies, projects and fellowship with one another. We started last year and we are beginning a new season of discussions, brick wall sessions, and exchanging ideas with each other.

The topic for the next two hangouts will be discussions about the PBS series Finding Your Roots. This is a two part topic and participants will share their opinions, thoughts, and reactions to the findings and records used.


Bernice's Logo

When Wills Don’t Go As Planned

Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured David Paterson, who shared with listeners some of the data that can be gleaned when a family challenged a will in the 19th century. The challenge to the will had dramatic and direct impact on the lives of the enslaved people who were often the prize when a will was contested. He shared last night the plethora of data that can be obtained from such files, and how researchers should study some of these contested wills. The information that he presented was outstanding, and one that stood out was the story of Macharine Bunkley who had an unusual relationship with her enslaved population, whom she educated and later freed, in her will.


Ealy Family Book

The Ealy Family Book Emerges!

Congratulations to Melvin Collier who has recently authored yet another book. This time his focus was the Ealy family to which Melvin has some amazing documentation on how various branches connect! The family today consists of the descendants of “Big Bob” who was taken south from his home in Nash County North Carolina, and his 12 children whom he had with wife Jane. The result is a very large clan with many branches today. Melvin has incorporated stories and memories from elders about their lives in the Lena and Tuscola communities. In addition he has incorporated information on three additional children of Bob Ealy have been found, and of course the quest to find more children and descendants still continues.  Melvin is an accomplished author and the book is sure to please many readers even beyond the Ealy family itself. Melvin is noted as a storyteller, and also as an accomplished writer.



Digital Public Library of America

I want to encourage you all to take a look if you have not yet done so, at the Digital Public Library of America. So much is there, I can only describe it as a place where you can survey the holdings of many libraries from one place–your own computer. This site is a collaboration between libraries and repositories around the country that are sharing links to their digitized holdings and the sites are truly amazing. The site is free, the images load quickly and the search experience is only limited to your own imagination! DPLA  (if link does not work simply type


For Cemetery Enthusiasts:
Architecture Writer is Looking for Cemetery Preservationists


A writer for Landscape Architecture Magazine is interested in individuals who have worked in the restoration or preservation of neglected African American cemeteries for a special article in their publication. The writer is also interested in learning of neglected cemeteries that were successfully restored, and if anyone used the help of landscape architects. If you are working in this area please feel free to contact Zach Mortice. He can be reached at 773-654-3611, or via Twitter @zachmortice. His website is htt://


Thank you all for tuning in this week. As we are all being blanket by more than a foot of snow, please stay safe, warm and dry, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and please keep sharing what you find.



2 Responses to “African Roots Podcast Episode #355 January 22, 2016”

  1. Jane Hardin says:

    I hope this is the correct place to ask this, but I have a question MS Black Indians. I discovered my husband’s great-grandfather was from the Black River Indian Reservation in southern MS. I tried looking through a list of the people living there. The family’s last name was SMITH, which happens to be the last name of the majority of the Choctaw Indians there. Is there an easier way to looking the families on the reservation than looking through an alphabetical list of Smiths? I do not know the parents’ names in this family, but the children’s I believe I have. I would be thankful for any hints you could give me. I know you wrote a book about it, but I have not been able to read a book since my husband died.
    Thank you so much.

  2. I have sent you an email response. Check your inbox.

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