Angela Y. Walton-Raji on January 8th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well we are now a full week into the New Year, and a full week 2016 has already gone by. But this is now time to get back into our normal pattern and back to our many ongoing projects.

AAHGS New Officers
A special congratulations to the new board of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society. The new officers have been announced.  The election was held in December and the new executive committee has been shared with the public. Congratulations to all, and best wishes for much success as they move forward and serve their term in office.


Calls for Papers

Two calls for papers are currently underway. The AAHGS Call for papers is now out, and the deadline is January 24th to submit. They are looking for speakers for the upcoming conference in Atlanta in October 2016. Send proposals to

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The International Black Genealogy Summit is also looking for speakers for the September 2016 conference to unfold in the greater Washington DC area. Events will be held at the Crystal Marriott Hotel in northern Virginia. Proposals should be submitted to: The deadline for submission is February 1, 2016.



Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured Erwin Polk who spoke about his research and the efforts to find his ancestor who served as a Buffalo Soldier. The discussion provided an overview to the history of the regiments that became known as the Buffalo Soldiers, and it focused on those who served on the western frontier. The 24th and 25th Infantries and the 9th and 10th Cavalry units were the primary Buffalo Soldier regiments. The story of the Buffalo soldiers are not researched nearly enough, and hearing more about these men may have inspired others to see if they too have ancestors who served during those post Civil Wr years on the western frontier.  Ms. Bennet’s show Research at the National Archives and Beyond, airs every Thursday evening at 9pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.


FYRSource of Image

This week was the re-entry of the PBS program, Finding Your Roots. I am always glad to see that the various televised programs encourage others to engage in the process of documenting their own family history. Seeing the number of people who are new and who come into the genealogy community. Much discussion has arisen in social media about the program, and two themes seem to have arisen this week. 1)The Same-name-as-slaveholder search, and 2) Use of Slaves Schedules.

  1. The issue of Same Surname as Slaveholder is an interesting one. I know that several  years ago, Dr. Agnes Callum conducted a small survey and noted that with the men of the 7th US Colored Infantry from the Civil War, most in fact did not take the slave holder’s surname when they enlisted. I later heard another presentation by another researcher that had noted the same thing. My own experiences from Indian Territory also reflect that many Indian tribal Freedmen also had surnames unique from their slave holders. But perhaps there needs to be a large scale review by scholars to study this phenomenon.
  2. Responsible Use of Slave Schedules. This one issue is cut and dry. The slave schedules of 1850 and 1860 generally did not reflect the names of the enslaved population. There are some exceptions when an enumerator did not follow instructions, such as the 1850 slave schedule of Cass County Texas. However, 99% of these records do not bear the names of enslaved people. Therefore it is clear that to point to an entry on a document with no name, and then to tell a client or guest “that is your ancestor”, or that is “most likely” your ancestor, is not responsible.  We as researchers, teachers, and students of history, must present the story with accuracy, clarity and honesty. Many people watch what we do, what we present and what we declare. Generalizations can be expected on television, as it is meant to entertain. However, there is the clear concern as expressed in social media this week, that we must not express that which we cannot prove and we must not present data that is not evident.Our tasks as educators, teachers, lecturers and professionals, should reflect the standards that we embrace as sound. Hopefully the team of researchers and producers hired by PBS who check for “quality control”, will also keep that concept in mind as programs go through the final editing process, not just to keep erroneous statements from airing, but also to keep erroneous statements from being made to unknowing and trusting guests. In the meantime, genealogy, which is our passion still continues on television, and we watch in eager anticipation of future episodes, because this is our passion. We applaud the efforts to bring more into the community that we hold dear, and at the same time, we must continually embrace truth, and clarity in what we do.


Well I am winding things down for this first week in January. Thank you all for listening, I realize the demands on your time, and without you I would have no podcast. In the meantime have a successful week as you return to your own projects, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and to keep sharing what you find.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on January 1st, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome 2016

Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast, and the 1st podcast for 2016. You can always reach me HERE. 

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful New Years day celebration with family and friends and will have a great day today, enjoying the New Year’s dinner whether seafood, black-eyed peas, gumbo, or other wonderful dishes!

Lots of things to look forward to this year and I can share some of my thoughts and goals with you.

Calendar of Events

Roots Tech – For another year I look forward to attending this mega-event in Salt Lake City. This year promises to be even more exciting and there are several black speakers on the program: Janis Minor Forté, Bernice Bennett, Shelley Murphy, Sherri Camp and your truly, Angela Walton-Raji. Of course there are a myriad of Black History Month celebrations that will take place around the country and here in MD there are two events sponsored by genealogy groups that I plan to attend. In the spring, the California AAGS will be having a national event. And of course summertime, brings other events from NGS to MAAGI. This institute will be especially exciting because a new track on DNA has been developed. And later in the summer all eyes will turn to IBGS, the International Black Genealogy Summit, and in the fall the annual AAHGS conference will move to Atlanta Georgia. So this promises to be a busy year.

I have made a personal goal to become a more focused reader this year. I have been a life long reader, but have generally read books of all kinds on all topics. But I do want to focus more certain kinds of books. I also hope to become more active in the online “Booktube” community, and also to bring book reviews to the podcast regularly. In addition I hope to add more “memoir” as a genre to my TBR (to be read) list. For me, memoir is the kind of story where one’s life journey, or life story is shared. As genealogists we are story tellers, so that is going on my own list of things to read.

My goal is also to write more this year. This will involve working on my blogs more frequently, and continuing to work on the two manuscripts that I have in process. One is the NANOWRIMO project that I completed with over 50,000 words. This now has to be polished and turned into a well developed story. Secondly is the book (a memoir of sorts) of my effort to document my Choctaw Freedmen ancestors. I have a well developed calendar that needs to be followed and adhered to, in order to reach the completion of that manuscript. After that, I will then be ready to present to a publisher. That project is a different kind of writing, and hopefully I will stay on track to see publication, or have a publication date at hand by year’s end.


Beyond these goals I hope to also bring some unique guests from time to time on the podcast and to also interact with more of you this year as well. I look forward to watching other things unfold, such as following Bernice Bennett’s show.

She will kick of the year next week with Erwin Polk’s research documenting his Buffalo Soldier ancestor. I am familiar with his work and look forward to hearing his interview. Bernice’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.


So, those are my goals that shall keep me busy this year. I also begin this year, with thanks for having you as listeners, and for taking time to tune in. I wish you all a year of good health, good friends and great research. Thank you for being there, because without an audience, there would be no show.

So in the meantime, enjoy your day, and as we get on with this New Year, remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and to keep sharing what you find.