Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 6th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


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

We are almost into the holiday season. Halloween is over, and we are almost into Thanksgiving.

Emancipation Image Harpers

Well, we are fully into this downside of a milestone year, and I hope that you are honoring the ancestors, still this later into the year. Note that of course were still celebrated the 150 years of freedom of our ancestors, many of whom gained that freedom when the Civil War ended in 1865. In addition, that was also the same year that slavery was officially abolished with the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed. That was the official act that abolished slavery. How many of you are also aware that we are celebrating a special 50th anniversary as well. Yes, it was 50 years ago that the Civil Rights acts was passed as well. We should honor our ancestors and remember all of these dates. I was quite young when the law was passed. The decades have quickly passed, but we should not become complacent and forget this significant time.

I hope that you have been honoring your ancestors by blogging, writing, sharing your local history. Have you found your family’s freedom story? How did freedom come to them? The act of emancipation changed the trajectory of your family’s life. We should tell this story and tell it frequently. And how did the Civil Rights act affect your own family life, and pathway. As we move to the end of this year, let us appreciate what has transpired and also what happened 150 years ago, and also 50 years ago.



I have been busy this week with #NANOWRIMO. That stands for National  Novel Writing Month. Well, I am taking one of my ancestral stories, and putting the story down in a narrative historical novel format. This an website and an initiative to pull out the words that are inside, and to commit to about 1670 words a day for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, one should have 50,000 words. That is the length of a small novel. I am using documents that I have from a Civil War pension file, and am telling the story. I have placed myself on the soil with them and imagined what must have transpired when my gr. gr. grandfather told my Amanda that he was leaving to join the soldiers. I guess I have head many of these words in my head for so long. Since Sunday November 1, I have been writing and have been enjoying this process.  At the end have 6 days. I have written over 15,000 words. I am surprised. I have a commitment at least to tell the story and go through the exercise. I urge you too, to consider to write the family story. Try to comprehend, put it in a family history. I am having a lot of fun with #NANOWRIMO2015, and I have run into a handful of other genealogists who are also “doing Nanowrimo as well. So wish me luck with this endeavor.


Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured Regina Mason, author of a new edition of the Life of William Grimes, The Runaway Slaves.  This was the first of all of the slave narratives to be published. What I like is that she spent 15 years authenticating the data in his history. She is  her family historian, and she has co-edited this book. She has received a few awards for her work, and now she is working on her own journey to authenticate this journey. She went to verify the information that was there. What a wonderful lesson, she took many years to veryify data, and that effort is one of two stories. One story is the story being researched, and the other story is the journey itself. I appreciate what writers do, and have major respect for the process and we all need to be thinking about this. Tune in and listen to Regina Mason, on Bernice’s show from last night. The show is available afterwards as a podcast immediately after the broadcast



The Smithsonian, National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in 2016 and is now offering internships and fellowships. This is a great opportunity for young scholars. We need more archivists, and repositories. For more information click HERE.


Next week in Veterans’ Day and people in Kansas City are looking for relatives of Waymon Minor, in Apanoosa County Iowa. He is of interest because he was the last person to die in World War I, 3  hours before Armistice was signed. He is buried at St. Mihiel Cemetery in Thaincourt, north of Paris. There is an effort to locate relatives and to honor him.

Also a newspaper site for African American newspapers is now available. Please take a look here!


Thank you all for sharing stories with me. Your time is appreciated and  your sharing stories and projects is also appreciated. You have choices and I am aware of that, and I an honored by your sharing your time.

Don’f forget to join the BLACK PRO GEN Google hangout on Tuesday November 19th at 9pm est.

Well, winding down after another week. Thank you for listening and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on October 30th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


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

I hope that you are having a beautiful autumn season. Here in the mid-Atlantic area we are having a beautiful fall day, after a soggy and foggy week! But as October leaves us, I hope that you have been able to enjoy some of the beautiful colors brought by the season. We are at peak color right now and it is truly breathtaking!

NARA Image Blue

National Archives Branches Ending Saturday Hours

It has been a busy week and I can share with you some news from the National Archives! If you are from one of the many cities where there are branches of the Archives, then some sad news about the hours. Saturday hours are being terminated at the following branches: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Ft. Worth, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, Riverside, San Francisco and Seattle. The main facility in Washington DC is not affected, but it was announced earlier this week about the changes in hours.  I know this will be a disappointment to many. I used to frequent the Archives on Saturdays for many years, so this cut-back in hours is not a joy to share. So researchers will have to limit their days.


ISGS Webinar Calendar Unfolded

The Illinois State Genealogical Society has recently posted their 2016, Webinar schedule. This is a very busy and productive genealogical societies, and their webinar calendar is now up for next year. Also hats off to them as last week they had a successful annual conference which was also a collaboration with the Afro-American Genealogical & Historical Society of Chicago. Their conference was a big success and they continue to impress the genealogy community.


FairfaxRegister of Slaves

Register of Slaves From Fairfax County Virginia

Fairfax County Virginia has worked to produce an amazing register of slaves that came from the county. An effort was made to extract the names of every slave mentioned in will books, deed books and any other resources from the county. The result is a register of slaves which is a part of the initiative called “Found in the Archives.” The collection is now known as the Fairfax County Slave Index. This is something that should be a model for many of us to imitate. We often see lists of names of people enslaved where our ancestors lived. But if we don’t find our own families, we move on. But perhaps part of that story can actually be found right there, even in the page that doesn’t have our families. After all our ancestors did not live in a vacuum. And the act of extracting the names of those who come from the same community is still a valid one, as it is reflective of the larger community. We are often lost in micro-history because we only seek our own line. This sometimes leads us to missing the greater story that belongs to all of us. I salute the initiative of Fairfax County to record the names. The macro-history is part of our own micro-history, and hopefully this register will assist more Virginia researchers. Now to get more communities to do the same thing!


 American Antiquarian Society Offers Newspapers from Caribbean Countries

Caribbean Countries Map

Time for us to think more globally. How many of us are paying attention to the other communities and even countries for where we have ties? With DNA, many are finding matches from other counties, including African and the Americas. Countries like Jamaica, Haiti, as well as countries in Africa are showing up as connections to people who are pursuing DNA testing. 

Well, perhaps we need to look more closely at the histories in those countries as well trying to make the African connection. An announcement was shared recently. from the American Antiquarian Society that newspapers from Caribbean are now available. This is the largest online site where one can access a collection of newspapers from Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, and many more countries. As we strive to find our African Ancestors, many of us have ties to these countries as well, and as we expand our research inquiries, we may be helped when we look at other parts of the Americas as well.


Wacky Wednesday
Whacky Wednesday With Dear Myrtle

How many of you are familiar with DearMyrtle? If you are not, then you should be. This is a person who gives tirelessly to the genealogy community. I have known her for many years, and still to this day, she continues to inspire and to inspire! Well, I had an amazing experience this week! I was a guest on her weekly Google Hanout, and I truly loved the experience. She and Russ (aka Cousin Russ) were wonderful to talk to and I had the chance to talk about my favorite topic–US Colored Troops. I also got to talk quite a bit about Native American history and research.  The Wednesday program is called Whacky Wednesday and it is an information chat with genealogy friends on a number of topics. Myrtle  aka Pat Richley-Erickson is a person to know a person to follow and a person to call a friend. I want to personally thank her for her contribution to the genealogy community. She is one of those leaders from way back in the early days of the internet, and I had a great time as a guest on her weekly Google Hangout. Check out Pat’s work and her contributions to the genealogy community!


Tales from the Genome – A Genealogy Conversation about DNA With Black Pro Gen

Speaking of DNA, did  you miss this week’s Google Hangout with members of Black Pro Gen? Earlier this week on Tuesday we had a great discussion about DNA and the impact that DNA has had on our genealogical process. It was entitled Tales from the Genome, In addition we discussed areas of responsibility that we have as researchers, in how we share our data, with family. Good discussion. In case you missed it, here is a link for you.



Families Separated by Slavery Revealed in Lost Friends Letters

If  you missed last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show then you need to tune in to it. Her guest was Dionne Ford, and her focus was her journey to find her own family. In the course of that discussion she shared information about the effort that former slaves had in re-connecting their families lost by slavery separation. There is a new database and it is an amazing resource that people need to start using! Lost Friends database consists of a searchable database to reveal many letters that were published in the Southwestern Christian Advocate, part of the Methodist Episcopal church.  These letters are heart-breaking and they truly reveal the pain in the lives of slaves and the aftermath of the heartbreak that families went through trying to connect with loved ones. This was an excellent show and you are urged to tune in if you missed last night’s show. Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.

Well, wrapping up for this week. Thanks for listening and taking time from your very busy schedules to tune in, as you are appreciated. Do have a safe weekend and drive extra carefully as the children will be out Trick or Treating for Halloween! Have a wonderful week of research, and of course remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!