Category Archives: African Roots

African Roots Podcast Episode #297 December 12, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! I can be reached at


Ok December is rolling right along and we are almost half way through the month! I know many of you are quite busy and it is really amazing for me to realize that the year is almost over! I know some of you are shopping, or traveling or receiving guests. I have also been busy, and have had fun on social media and able to assist people with their family histories. The genealogy events are now over with exception of online events. So this is great time to plan and set some goals for the coming up sesquicentennial year, 2015, marking 150 years of freedom!


Time to Back Up Your Data!


This is good time to review what we have and to store our data, scan it, preserve it in a different way. In other words time to back things up. Is it time to get some new toys—recorders, scanners, or software to make sure you are keeping up with things that can be done. Also time to renew those memberships and subscriptions, as there are also Christmas and New Year specials in the many genealogy sites that we use. And speaking of software—that reminds me of Roots Tech. Consider coming to Salt Lake City in Salt Lake City. Go to and see what will transpire. This will be the largest genealogical gathering in history and this promises to be exciting.  And for those in the Mid-Atlantic area, the five AAHGS chapters will be hosting an all day genealogy event. This is sponsored by five chapters of AAHGS.



This is a good time to write. I think this is a good time to commit to a writing or documenting. This might be a good time to commit yourself to a writing or documenting project. It does not have to be a blog, but I encourage  you to write and tell you own stories. Don’t you wish you ancestors left diaries and letters? Well I encourage  you to keep journals. For me, I have started bringing back to life my journaling. I pulled out an old planner and discovered a wonderful world of writers and journal keepers. What a great way to leave clues and information for the next generation. Find those artifacts with your ancestors words. I recall how I felt when I found my own ancestors works from Oklahoma. To see their sworn testimony and to find out more about where and how they lived—what a revelation. The same thing I went through the joy when I found my ancestor’s civil war pension file! The family data was so rich!

 Well, all of those paper files are so valuable. It is time to convert the paper files to electronic images as well. I am amazed at how documents slip away from us. Acts of nature occur that destroy homes and family artifacts along with them. But make copies of all of the paper—the photos, the papers, the old certificates. We preserve what we have, but we also must learn to prevent. By that I mean prevent loss. Should a natural disaster occur, hopefully you can recreate what was lost as a result of a disaster. So we prevent by preserving, but we preserve in many ways. But we also preserve by prevention of total loss. By scanning, saving, putting data on external devices and it rests away from the home. So use the holidays to preserve as well as make new memories.



Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show was interesting and you should go and listen. Maurice Barboza is working to honor to Patriots of color—those who were patriots from the American Revolution. Crispus was not the only man of color who was a patriot. There are over 5000 men of color who were American Society for the Daughters of the  American Revolution. His aunt, opened the door when she sued for the right of African Americans to join the NSDAR. The participation of the men of color in the Revolution is well documented, yet not well known. Think of it—5000 men must have hundreds of thousands of descendants. So tune in and listen to the broadcast if you missed it. The show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio. So tune in and listen to last night’s show. This will be only the second monument honoring American Revolutionary patriots. You can hear her show every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.



Well looking to next year 2015…that is a milestone year. Beyond the resolutions—what are you doing to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Freedom!!! Slavery was abolished in 1865, the U.S. Constitution were passed in 1865! It was over!!! After more than 300 years!! So what are you doing as a genealogist, historian, story teller to celebrate and honor those who survived?

 Here are 10 things that you can do to celebrate freedom and honor this landmark year!

1) Find the Family Freedom Story

2) Expand your knowledge of the family ancestral community.

3) Tell the family’s Civil War story.

4) Adopt one Civil War soldier. Find and tell his story! You might have one in the family, if not find one in the community and tell  his story.

5) Tell the history of a regiment that settled or served in your ancestral community or was organized in that vicinity.

6) Find one soldier and if you can determine if he got a pension, commit yourself to giving that soldier back to his community. Tell it and give it to the historical personnel and record keepers.

7) Identify the places of significance of the Civil War era in your ancestral home. Examples: a) Identify those places, and visit them and work to see that they are marked by the state. b) Find critical places that served former slave such as Freedmen’s Bureau offices or Freedman’s Saving’s Banks. c) Find the location of the contraband camps or historical post war Black settlements in your area.

8) Write an article for your state historical society or state genealogical society, or national society publication. Let them know what you have learned about that critical pre and post Civil War era.

9) Identify some critical landmarks. Large battle sites have already have been identified. But has the African American participation and story been told in that place? Work to have it marked by the state. Work to have it declared as a significant historical place.

10) Create a blog or a social media group to celebrate the Freedom of the ancestral community.

These are a few suggestions that you can do over the next year to honor your ancestors who walked in to freedom 150 years ago. I hope these ideas help and that you will share it. Don’t hoard your data and keep it secret. Once you share it, we will all be thrilled that you did!

Well time has quickly passed and I thank you for listening. Know that you are all appreciated! I love hearing from you! Have a wonderful week and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and always keep sharing what you find!


African Roots Podcast Episode #296 December 5, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and I suspect that many of you are busy preparing yourself for  the upcoming holiday season. But I hope that with all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season that you will also slow down and just enjoy the time with friends and family.



National Archives hosts Brown Bag Gathering for Thursday December 11th, from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM in Lecture Room B at the National Archives in College Park, MD. If you are interested in getting an introduction to the processing and use of the case files, then you might want to bring your lunch to this gathering at the National Archives in College Park. This will be a casual meeting to listen and learn. Next week’s event will be coordinated by staffers M’Lisa Whitney, and Christina Jones. I hope that other informal gatherings will be planned in the future by other genealogists, no matter where you are.


Milestone Year Approaches – 150 Year Later


As this critical year approaches, with 150 years of freedom. But of course we all know that the events of the past week have put the nation through a lot and this week has been difficult for some of us. The events of the past week have presented us with three cases that have caught the attention of the nation. Young men were legally killed by officers in the line of duty, and in none of the three, was there an indictment, or call for further investigation. Two of the cases will always be in dispute as to what happened, but one of the cases was filmed, and yet, the decision was made not to pursue the deaths further.

How do we address this? And how do we share this with the next generation and explain our own thoughts? The sentiments that we have heard expressed even by our leaders some whom are extremely hostile yet powerful politicians in Congress have little sympathy and little concern. I hope that you are all writing and recording how you are coping with these times of open hostility to people of color and to people who are without power. This is our charge to write and to share how and what we are doing. Part of the record is how we are responding. We are living through history, and even last night, even in Arizona, another similar incident has occurred.

These are sobering times, and as we listen to our politicians judge others—we, as researchers, as record keepers, and a people with feelings and thoughts–I hope you are writing what you are thinking, because generations will want to know what you did, what you thought and how you responded. As we live through this history—-let us record these trying times and let us teach the next generation not to turn away and not turn a blind eye. 100 years ago we saw many of our communities destroyed such as Catcher Arkansas, Harrison Arkansas, Pierce City Missouri, Rosewood Florida–and so many more.  And now those who ran people from their home, and who took over those communities are simply shrugging and looking away. Let’s record what we see, what we feel and not forget to tell this very sad story on the eve of the sesquicentennial of our freedom.



Some Interesting Writing Initiatives

I have been looking at a few writing initiatives in recent weeks, and though I did not participate, I did examine the NANO writing project. NANO is part of the National Novel Writing Month initiative. I took an interest, because I do see that putting the family narrative into an historical fiction format might give some flavor to the story and take many people beyond the family chart structure of pursuing family history. We are doing more than constructing trees.

And there is the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors that sponsors a writing competition each year. You may want to tell some of your family narratives and this might be a great way to put that story out there in a special way.



Last night’s guest on Bernice Bennett’s show was Dr. Maurice Gleason who is a doctor from the UK. He has an interest in UK History, and the role of Irish people in the Atlantic Slave Trade. He provided some unique information on a number of databases, as well as some unique historical points about places such as the tiny island of Montserrat, and their celebration of holidays such as St. Patrick’s and other Irish celebrations. It was a fascinating discussion, indeed. As you know Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9:00pm on Blog Talk Radio.


Well, thank you for listening, for sharing information with me. Also, please have a great week of researching (and Christmas shopping), and don ‘t forget to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!