Angela Y. Walton-Raji on April 22nd, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to episode 368 of the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me HERE.

New Currency Changes

Well, this has been an amazing week—lost of ups and downs, and genealogical high points. I did manage to get to the Archives yesterday and comb through some Civil War pension files. This is always a treat, because I was going through files, some over 100 years old since they were last opened! And of course many of us are taking delight at the pending changes in American currency about to come about in a few years. Harriet Tubman lead the headlines most of the past few days, which should come as no surprise. But in addition there are other women whose faces will be on US currency in the future, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and others. It is not only about time, but clearly something that has warmed the hearts of many of us. In addition our Civil Rights leader Martin Luther Kings face will also adorn some bills as well. The announcement was one of those kinds of announcements that one was not only not expecting, but never would have believed that such names would have ever been considered. So–this was a week of many highs.



I had a great time working with a Civil War Widow’s pension that was over 100 years old. I studied one file in particular that was that of a man whose actions in the Civil War saved lives. I plan to blog about him in the future. But beyond that—I feel energized by having the opportunity to comb through amazing records of these men who were true Freedom fighters.  I suggest that those who have a particular community of interest–that they undertake a Civil War projects and embrace it, and document it to tell the stories that have yet to be told! Truly amazing.



Have you Thought of a Lineage Society?

Last night on Bernice Bennett’s show Shelley Murphy and True Lewis were her guests as they spoke about the process of joining a lineage society like the NSDAR – National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. Also joining the group in the chat room was Michael Henderson a member of the SAR, who shared info with chatters as well. The discussion should inspire many to push through a point where many of us stop–that 1870 census. Some assume that if one’s ancestors were enslaved, then there is nothing else to find. Some of us in fact don’t even confirm the need to check to see if ancestors can be found in 1860. I recently conducted some research reflecting this  for a family in Maryland from the Eastern Shore. And in this particular case, it turned out that the family had a relationship with some of the Ross family of Eastern Shore Maryland. If you don’t know–Harriet Tubman’s name was Harriet Araminta Ross, from Dorchester County on the eastern shore of Maryland.  We should take inspiration from the show to push our research to the next level, and embrace so much much more of our history.

The discussion was a good one last night and you can dowload the podcast and hear it. Ms. Bennett’ Show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.


Rest in Peace Prince

Rest in Peace Prince

Well, the low point of the week came yesterday when we lost a musical legend. Prince, the legendary guitar virtuoso, and man who crossed multiple musical genres, passed away at the age of 57. So sad to see a man of talent leave us too soon, and it is also sad to see one in the prime of life leave. But he left behind a legacy and he emerged from simply being himself, polishing and practicing his craft and sharing it with the world.

We should also be so inspired to take our own specialty–whether music, art, writing storytelling–and first commit to doing it, and then to polish, practice and then–take it to the world. Let us all be so inspired to leave our mark and leave our legacy! Rest in peace, Prince.


Well, thanks again for listening. I appreciate hearing from some of you this week. Lots of things to make us all think and be reflected, grateful and to embrace life’s blessings. Thank you for communicating with me, and thank you for also simply being there and tuning into the podcast each week as well. As we move on to month’s end, let’s stay focused and recommit to our tasks. In the meantime, remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on April 15th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! I can always be reached HERE.



Well, it’s literally the middle of the month and also the infamous 15th of April—yes tax day! And we will be watching the evening news to watch the last minute tax payers rush to drop their tax statement in the mail. That is always the news story of the day on the 15th of April it seems, at least in larger cities. But I am excited about seeing mid-April, because that is usually when winter finally gives up and truly it melts into spring. We are now having 60 degree weather daily, and what a warm sweet thing to feel once again. I hope that you are also enjoying spring warmth and sunshine at least where you are.


Tampa Newspaper Cemetery story

I have been following an interesting story to preserve a cemetery in the Tampa area. Lincoln cemetery has fallen into not only neglect, but has totally been forgotten. Well one resident Vanessa Gray has devoted her time to help preserve this burial ground. This kind of story deserves out attention and if you live nearby then it deserves your assistance. Find the story HERE. I enjoy these stories of individuals who put in a true labor of love to honor the deceased. Like the efforts in St. Louis to preserve Greenwood Cemetery, this lady in Gulfport works tirelessly to honor those buried there.


Shout Out

A shout out to Andrew–a listener who is working tirelessly to follow the history of his ancestors prior to 1870. He is studying and analyzing the community in 1870. There are some critical tips to follow in identifying the slave holder.
1) Study the neighbors
2) Determine who had real estate and personal property of value
3) Look at the 1860 slave schedule–are the same land owners of 1870 there as well?

If one finds a pre-1865 document, then one may be able to reach conclusions about possible slave holder. But then look at earlier records, tax record, court records–probate and chancery court and more.

There are methods of identifying the last slave holder and with a sound strategy one can begin to walk the maze of pre-freedom research.


MAAGI Tiny Logo

Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute
Registration Is Fully Underway

Have you taken a DNA test, but now want to know more of the stories that are part of your African American family history? Or, are you a professional genealogist researching for an African America client? Are you familiar with Black resources in one part of the county, but not in the other?  Well–if any of these situations apply to you and your research, then you may want to attend MAAGI

MAAGI is the Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute. For 3 days in July, you will have a chance select 1 of 4 different tracks devoted to African American genealogy. For the novice MAAGI can teach you new skills. For the experienced researcher, MAAGI will expose you to different resources that you may not be using

MAAGI will be located this year at the world family Genealogy Center at in Ft. Wayne Indiana, July 12-14, 2016 at the Allen County Public Library.

MAAGI will bring together nationally known speakers to a small group of participants to spend 3 intense days of  learning, analysis, and presentation. July 12 -14, 2016 can change what you know, and influence how you approach your knowledge of your own family history.

MAAGI can enhance how you present family history data to your clients, and for many MAAGI will illustrate various methods of writing the family story.

Whether you need a foundation course, a writing course, or want to explore time before nad after slavery, or want help with finding out what the DNA report really means.

MAAGI will teach you how and where to go next, now that you have begun to look at your past. Join the small and intimate group at MAAGI—the Teaching Institute!



For Immediate Release
Press Release from AAHGS

National African American Genealogy Conference Set Oct. 13-16, 2016 in Atlanta

For beginning, intermediate and advanced family tree searchers

ATLANTA, GA — Black genealogists and other family tree searchers from across the nation will meet here October 13-16, 2016 for the 37th Afro-American
Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) National Conference.

The theme, “The Ancestors on my Mind – Discovering our Ancestors, Our History, and Ourselves — TOGETHER,” will focus on the conventional and unique techniques
for researching family trees of persons of African American ancestry.

Open to the public, the conference will be hosted by the AAHGS Metro Atlanta Chapter at the Westin Atlanta Airport hotel, 4736 Best Road, Atlanta, GA. Hotel
reservations can be made at special rate via a link at or

Beginning, intermediate and advanced genealogists will attend more than 30 sessions (to be announced) on topics such as resources, research methods, social media, family
history writing and publishing, repositories and DNA.

AAHGS is a national non-profit membership organization committed to the preservation of the history, genealogy and culture of African-ancestored
populations of the local, national and international communities. The AAHGS Metro Atlanta Chapter, founded in 2000, meets monthly at various locations in
the Atlanta area.

Follow conference updates on Facebook (, Twitter ( (#aahgs2016), and the websites. Send queries to


Finding Samuel Lowe Featured on Blog Radio program

Why Skip the Freedom Story?

How are you trying to tell the family story?
They were there in 1870 and were free at last.
Well—-how were they free?

Do you think that your ancestors waited passively for freedom? There are countless stories that are missing? Were they freedom fighters–soldiers with the Union Army? Were they contrabands who freed themslves? Were they runaways? Why not search for how their status changed. Sometimes the story is told in military records–pension files, or Southern Claims Commission. Look at the Freedom Bureau records–and find out how freedom came. Let’s all make a commitment to telling that story.

Well—time has quickly passed. Thanks for sharing the records that you have located. I appreciate you all for being there. I hope in the meantime that you continue to work on your amazing projects. Please continue to keep researching, keep documenting, and always keep sharing what you find.