Angela Y. Walton-Raji on September 16th, 2016

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


This Week's Pod Cast



Well, greetings to everyone! Hope you have had a great week! This week has been extremely busy and I hope that you have had a time of it genealogically. A highlight of this week was the Black Pro Gen LIVE episode! We had a panel of 10 and an active viewing audience asking questions and sharing their knowledge as well. The focus was North & South Carolina resources for African American genealogy. Well, the dialogue was fantastic, and the breadth of knowledge shown by so many on the 10-person panel was inspiring! If you missed it click on the link above and watch. The show went on for over an hour, but the dialogue was quite engaging!

Bernice's Show Logo

Well last night you had another opportunity to hear some engaging dialogue on Bernice Bennett’s show, Research at the National Archives, and Beyond, on Blog Talk Radio. Her guest last night was Nicka Smith, and they had a fascinating conversation about the challenges facing African American genealogists. They spoke about records, but beyond that they addressed the issues of addressing descendants of slave holders. DNA  was brought up and there was the issue of emotion of African American genealogy. There is much emotion one faces when one confronts for the first time seeing an ancestor listed alongside animals, tools, furniture—they are on a list not as people, but as objects. Seeing that record for the first time alongside other pieces of “property” is indeed a jolting experience. Tune in and listen to last night’s episode. As you know Bernice’s show airs every Thursday at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.



Ok—everyone is getting ready for next week-end the long awaited National Museum of African American History & Culture is about to open. Preliminary events are going on this weekend at the new Smithsonian site. Open House events, receptions for charter members and also donor are underway as well. Then next weekend—yes–thousands of us will be in Washington DC for the grand opening of this amazing site and the chance to visit this long awaited facility. I plan to be there, and shall be blogging about the experience.

A special treat will be to visit the genealogy center, so I am most excited about going to visit this facility.



Registration is open for the AAHGS Conference, which is coming up next week! We are now less than a month away from the 37th Annual conference of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society in Atlanta! The dates are October 13-16th at the Westin Airport Hotel.


Well—there is a chance for you to register now for Roots Tech, the largest genealogy event in the world! Next year there will be a record number of speakers of color and a special feature will be one of the actors that helped to inspire millions of Americans to pursue their family history. Levar Burton–actor from the original mini-series ROOTS will be among the guest speakers on the main stage at Roots Tech. I hope that you will take advantage of the early bird registration and sign up now. Among many speakers are Bernice Bennett, Sherri Camp, Toni Carrier, Shannon Christmas, Janis Minor Forté, Nicka Sewell Smith, Robin Smith, and yours truly Angela Walton-Raji. We look forward to the experience and the event promises to be an exciting one again in 2017!

A Cemetery Story

Other stories from the genealogy community consist of a story of an African American  cemetery desecrated in Greenwich Connecticut. This was an historic burial ground and it is now someone’s front lawn. Teresa Vega has ancestors buried there, and she share some of her story on the LIVE event this week. You can read more about the cemetery history on her blog.

So glad to hear a story about a St. Louis based researcher, Sarah Cato who has learned more about her Illinois ancestors who were free people. She made contact with Monroe County IL genealogists, and they found more on the Merrimans of that county who were free people! A thumbs up for the spirit of sharing what they found on some of her ancestors.

Well, time to wind down and to prepare for next week’s projects that face me. Thank you all for tuning in, and most importantly know that you are appreciated! In the meantime, please remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keeps sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on September 9th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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



Well a week has come and gone since the International Black Genealogy Summit–and all I can say is—wow! This was quite a successful event with the opportunity to interact with people of talent, vision, and energy! It was great seeing everyone from the west coast, midwest, south, and east coast! What energy!

My two sessions went quite well, and I met some truly amazing people there! I loved the chance to also make some new genealogy friends. A shout out also to a woman whom I met from Central America–Eva  Young, who has an amazing background–Panamanian, Chinese, African. Truly a story there in her family history I am sure! I met a good friend and colleague from South Carolina, a delightful young lady from Arkansas–who it turns out knows my niece quite well! I met several friends from California–and tons of old friends from Illinois!

Hats off to Algurie Wilson and her team for putting together another successful IBGS!

Slave sale

Georgetown & the Sale of Slaves

Well everyone is talking about the story coming out of Washington DC and the campus of Georgetown University. If your ancestors lived in Louisiana since the 1830s, there may be a possibility that you could descend from the 272 enlsaved people sold away from family left behind in Maryland, to plantations in Louisiana. The sale of slaves was to assist the Jesuit priests to expand the university. Though this has been known for years, recent publicity has come to light about the Catholic priests and their involvement in American slavery in recent weeks. As a result, the university has indicated that they are willing to give legacy status to descendants of those who were sold in the 1830s.

Many questions arise—-what exactly does that mean in terms of college admissions?
What if some of the applicants do not meet the basic requirements for the competitive academic arena at the university?
What is there are those who have proven ties are known, but they have no children, who are college bound, since their children are already adult and educated?
Beyond admission to Georgetown–what about those who have documented and also DNA ties to Louisiana descendants–but they are from Maryland—from the ones left behind when the families were split?

All of these add to a very complex undertaking to unfold.

But from a basic genealogical perspective—how do you know if you are connected?
Here are some of the guidelines to see if you have such a tie:
-If you are African American with roots in Iberville, Ascension, or Terrebone Parishes in Louisiana
-If you and/or your ancestors were Roman Catholic
-If you have a family story that your ancestors came from Maryland, or “up north”
-If you have any of the family surnames in  your family history:

o Barnes (Barney)
o Blacklock
o Blair
o Brown
o Butler
o Campbell
o Contee
o Coyles
o Cremble
o Cutchmore (Kercheman)
o Digges (Diggs, Digs)
o Dorsey (Dorsy)
o Eaglin
o Ford
o Gough
o Greenlief (Greenleaf, Green)
o Hall
o Harris
o Harrison
o Hawkins
o Hill
o Jones
o Kelly
o Langley
o Mahoney
o Merick (Merrick)
o Noland (Nolanty)
o Plowden
o Queen
o Riley
o Scott
o Sweeton (Sweden)
o Ware
o West
o Wilton
o Yorkshire

If you think you and your family are related to the 272 Georgetown slaves, please contact the Georgetown Memory Project! Their website is located at And you can also email them directly at There is also a private closed Facebook Group. Here you can connect to other descendants and relatives.



Last week, Bernice Bennett was featured as a guest on the Genealogy Guys Podcast! She discussed a number of topics including her work as an archivist–a citizen archivist at the National Archives in Washington DC, her ongoing blog radio show and so much more. If you missed it, tune in to hear the podcast HERE.


Bernice's Show Logo

Speaking of Bernice Bennett, last night her blog radio show featured Christopher Everett who produced the documentary, Wilmington on Fire. The documentary discusses the tragedy of yet another attack upon black citizens, this time in Wilmington North Carolina, in 1898. She discusses both the tragedy itself, and also the impact that the attack had upon the African American community for decades. Christopher Everett was quite interesting to listen to as he described not only the content of the documentary, but also the value of making the first in depth documentary about the story of this event. If you missed it, then tune in to catch the episode as a podcast. Bernice Bennett’s show, “Research at the National Archives and Beyond” airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.


New Features for Black Pro Gen LIVE

Do you have a genealogy brick wall? Is there something that you can’t figure out from your many records—or are you looking for a suggestion on where to go next? Then if this description fits you, then you may get some help if you ASK MARIAH. This is a new feature that will be a part of Black Pro Gen LIVE—a Google hangout of professional genealogists with an interest in African American genealogy. Throughout the year, this group of researchers gather online to discuss projects, a common topic and offer suggestions and strategies to each other. A new feature will be a “brick wall” feature where researchers with a special challenge can post their question and “ask” Mariah–which is a composite of the talents and researchers who are a part of Black Pro Gen live.

Beyond that—are you a beginner, or have not yet begun to conduct your research? Would you like to have a team of researchers take the time to research your family history for you? (yes–just like they do on television.) Well—-contact the Ancestry Makers, who will be willing to take your family history and research it and reveal it to you on an upcoming Black Pro Gen Live segment.


Are you ready for the opening of the Smithsonian’s NMAAHC? Well all eyes will be on Washington DC later this month and it is getting exciting!! The opening date is September 24th and people are scrambling to get tickets! I have my own tickets for the following week—opening day was fully booked! But we are all excited! So much to do and to see. VIPs will be there, we know, but some historic events will unfold. The Freedom Bell from Williamsburg will tow at the dedication ceremony! This bell comes from an African American church that is 240 years old, which is one of the oldest black congregations in the nation!



Slave Dwelling Conference

Don’t forget the Slave Dwelling Conference. The 3rd Annual Slave Dwelling Conference will take place September 19-21 in Columbia South Carolina. An impressive number of speakers of color will be there, as well.  The conference will occur at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC. The theme of the Conference is: “USING EXTANT SLAVE DWELLINGS TO CHANGE THE NARRATIVE.” Here is a link to the presenters and the registration site.
AAHGS Conference Next Month

There is still opportunity to register for the 37th annual conference for AAHGS, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.  This year’s conference will unwind in Atlanta Georgia at the Westin Hotel Airport October 13-16th 2016. If you have not registered yet,  you may do so HERE. I look forward to being there and to seeing old friends. More to come about the conference, as October approaches.
Well, thank you all for taking time from your busy lives to tune in, and thank to you so many for sharing your events and meetings with me. Your presence is the reason I am here, and I am grateful for the opportunity to speak and meet so many of you.

In the meantime, remember to keep researching, keep documenting and always–keep sharing what you find!