Category Archives: African Roots

African Roots Podcast Episode #290 October 24, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well I hope you are enjoying the beautiful autumn weather as October moves into the final week! Hard to believe that fall is going so fast and we are almost into winter! Hope you have had a great week!


Virtual Genealogy Fair is Next Week


October 28 – 30th the annual Virtual Genealogy Fair will take place offered by the National Archives. What a great chance to watch some live video streams that will unfold next week. The Archivist of the United States will give the opening presentation. I caught the live streams last year and I am looking forward to them again this year. The live streams are of good quality and are easy to load and to watch. So I hope you get to catch some of the presentations as well.

* * * * * *

Wishing Bernice Bennett a successful presentation as she addresses the African American History and Genealogy Society of St. Louis, tomorrow. She will be talking about her work, documenting her ancestors in South Carolina. I am sure she will be enjoyed by everyone who hears her.

And–last nights episode of Bernice’s show, Research at the National Archives and Beyond, featured Dr. Rebecca Scott who told the story of the Tinchant family from St. Domingue, now Haiti and the story then became a Louisiana story and later a story ending in Europe. The neat thing is that the story itself was captivating, but also the research process is part of the second story. We all have that second story to tell as well–the process of how the data was captured. That was also shared as Dr. Scott spoke about the family that she was following and their efforts to remain in freedom during trying times.  We should all remember to tell the story of the process–that is often what genealogists want to hear even more. What happened and how did you find it. I hope that you as researchers tell the story of how you found what you found.


This week, we had a neat experience online. Nicka Smith hosted a discussion among  African American genealogists. We are all watching the various televised genealogy programs, and we are all talking among ourselves. Well Nicka decided to provide a platform where we could chat in real time with each other. She created a Google+ video chat about the first five episodes. Good discussion as we talked about the first five episodes of FindingYourRoots. We had good discussion and there will be another planned for early December. When I have the date, I shall let you know.

I mentioned last week that the Maryland State Archives presented a Family History Festival. Well if you missed it,  you can still have a chance to get some data from the speakers. On the website, you can obtain the handouts and the presentation slides from the event. So if you missed it,  you can still download the handouts and save those among your notes as well. I am putting a link for you as well.


A new Facebook group was shared with me about the  “Freedom Colonies” in Texas. I was thrilled to see this group and that they are researching their history, of the land owners and land squatters that formed small settlements in the decades after the Civil War. The population of east Texas saw an increase of more than 30% of African Americans moving west and seeking a new way of life. Harris County, Barrett was one of those areas, and St. John Colony and more communities. Glad to see that they have formed a Facebook Group and they are working about preservation of this little known history. So check out the history of the Freedom Settlements of Texas.


October 30th is Ask An Archivist Day! A group of Archivists from around the country are taking their presence to Twitter. Check out this site They will be there to answer questions about their holdings, under the hashtag group #AskAnArchivist. Follow the chat–and people from various repositories will be there to assist. These are the people who protect the very records that we need. So join the fun, ask questions, and hopefully get some useful answers.

This week I have had a great experience blogging and researching an unusual story about a man said to have been in the Civil War. Sometimes a story grabs your attention, and you feel almost obligated to pursue it. That happened to me and I wrote about it on my blog.

The story is about the efforts to document the story of a native Hawaiian who served with the US Colored Troops. His name was J.R. Kealoha. He is buried in a cemetery in Oahu, and this man died in 1877,  and was buried without a headstone. Efforts to secure an official marker from the Office of Veteran’s affairs. But his service has not yet been confirmed. That is possibly because he may have served under a different name. Apparantly a letter appeared about the soldier in a publication in the late 1890s. The letter penned by Col Samuel Chapman Armstrong, who was born in Hawaii, but served in the Union Army in the Civil War. He mentioned in his letter that he met two native Hawaiians, including Mr. J. R. Kealoha. I have devoted my recent blog post to his story and the quest to find out more about his history, and his service.
For me—this quest to learn about him, reflects the need to sometimes allow the new story to take some our time. On one level it was a distraction, but on another level, this effort to look at his history was worthwhile. I am thrilled that researchers in Hawaii are telling his story and they are revealing a little known fact–that US Colored Troops often welcomed men of color from other countries who fought, bled, and in some cases died, in the fight for freedom.

Another part of the story—tomorrow in Honolulu, there will be a special dedication of the headstone that was donated by a local monument company. So J.R. Kealoha a mystery soldier of the US Colored Troops will be honored.


Well time to wind down, and thanks for sharing your messages, links and announcements with me. In the meantime, please continue to do what you do and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.


African Roots Podcast Episode #289 October 17, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast!


I hope you have had a great week and those of you who attended those annual conferences, last week, I hope that you have recovered from all of the exciting presentations that you attended and made it home safely. Now that the conferences are over, only a few more weeks remain before we wind down and move into the holiday mode. This is a great down time when we can make plans for the new  year. Time to get those calendars out and planners and look ahead to 2015 and things that lie ahead.

Keep in mind that next year is a critical milestone year—150 years of freedom, and so many things to commemorate. So this is time to determine how you will celebrate it. And the holidays, including Thanksgiving which is a great time to be with family and loved ones, such  a beautiful holiday. And the season of giving during the holiday season.

Also as we nestle down for the winter this is a great time to plan really nice family time!


As we move towards the end of the year—what a great time to participate in the Indexing project for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This is in partnership with Family Search that is working hard to digitize the Freedman’s Bureau records. Since we are winding down in terms of travel–what a great time to participate in this indexing effort! Your participation in this effort is so important. New states are being added by Family Search and placed online. The sooner they are online and the sooner they are indexed, the greater chance of learning more about those critical years between 1865 and 1870, that first census year in which former slaves were finally enumerated by name.


I hope you caught last night’s rebroadcast of Bernice Bennett’s show, Research at the National Archives & Beyond. I was honored to be the featured guest. I spoke about the records pertaining to Native American Research.

I spoke about on that program the various ways to look at the possibility of researching Native American ancestry.

Dawes Rolls, Guion Miller Rolls, Federal Census records and examples of the data captured and so much more. It was a re-broadcast that you can capture on was able to discuss also some of the pitfalls in genealogical research, especially with Native American research—and hopefully was able to provide some suggestions to prevent researchers from derailing themselves from the task at hand. And as you know Ms Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm Eastern time on Blog Talk Radio.


Join the Chatters as we watch Finding Your Roots, in the Afrigeneas Chat Center.

The many television genealogy programs are all underway. Have you been also following the CNN series of genealogy of anchor people. It has been interesting to see that in some of their segments some additional data presented more details about the ancestry of journalist Anderson Cooper. Some of us meet online and watch the program together and chat on the AfriGeneas Chat center.
Be a Part of the Genealogy Roadshow Taping

Here is an opportunity to be extra in the filming of the Genealogy Roadshow. They are looking for extras to put in the crowd scenes and are paying $75 were assignment for people to be there. The dates are October 25 and 26th in Philadelphia. They are looking for people between 35-55 of all ethnicities. The task is simply to stand at tables that have displays and to appear interested in the goings on.The African American Genealogy Jamboree Jubilee Roadshow. Could be fun and to see how the various programs are actually made.  If you are interested, go to the link


This was shared with me, last Friday: 

The African American Genealogy Jamboree Jubilee Roadshow.

 Well, that’s a mouthful to say. This is apparently a two part lecture series. So it is not a conference, but an event presenting lectures of various topics. It is sponsored by the Joseph Simeon Flipper Library of Allen University in Columbia SC. Some of their topics are interesting and would be of interest to African American genealogists. But other topics are not genealogical at all, but they are also part of the lecture series. But for your information here is a link for you.  It is described as a two part series because there are the lectures and special exhibits as well. The event will occur in February of 2015 and will be free to the public. This is also a chance to obtain some continuing education credit from Allen University with some of the lectures. More can be found HERE.  


National Museum of African American History & Culture Sponsors Preservation Event

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will co-host a daylong program to help DC-area residents identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance tucked away in the attics, closets and basements of their homes. This is a great time to pull out those old family artifacts, and have a professional to evaluate them and to provide good suggestions on what to do keep them intact. This is presented in collaboration with the DC Historical Society, the event will feature presentations, hands-on activities and preservation tips.

The program will take place on Saturday, November 8th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, November 9th, 2014 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Historical Society of Washington, DC., located at 801 K St. NW, Washington, DC. Free and open to the public, the event is the part of this critical museum’s signature program “Save Our African American Treasures: A National Collections Initiative of Discovery and Preservation.” Become a participant and take advantage of this chance to have professionals give some critical advice to you. More information: 


A Descendant’s Parade and a New Reenactors Group Being Formed

I mentioned earlier that 2015 is a critical milestone year. Well here are two events for May 2015. Both of them pertain to the rich history of the United States Colored Troops. One is the Grand Review parade for descendants of the US Colored Troops to honor their ancestors. This promises to be an exciting event in the National’s Capital on May 17th, 2015.

Secondly, another event is actually forming and recruiting reenactors to commemorate the Battle of Palmetto Hill. They are hoping to recruit 60 people to participate in a group honoring the 67th US Colored Infantry. The Battle of Palmetto Hill took place after the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Courthouse. This would be a great experience and a wonderful way to keep some history alive through Living History.


Well, thank you for listening to this week’s podcast, and know that I appreciate your time and your messages. In the mean time, have a great week and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.