Angela Y. Walton-Raji on August 26th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Happy With Fireworks

Well this has been an incredible week for me! I am on “Cloud 9” because of an amazing genealogical breakthrough, which I shall share with you.



But first—I have to say get ready! If you are on the east coast and in or near Washington next weekend–well this is the place to be. One week from today we will be in the middle of IBGS – the International Black Genealogy Summit! Next week more than 30 workshops will unfold at the summit and there will also be an international component when dignitaries from the Ivory Coast – Cote d’Ivoire, will be on hand as well. Plus speakers from multiple backgrounds all focusing on African American genealogy. The speakers will cover everything from basic steps to DNA and so much more. There will be some old familiar names among the speakers as well as some newer names now on the speaker’s circuit! So explore the link and if you can get to Washington next weekend–I hope to see you there!

FGS 2016 Conference

FGS Conference Opens in Springfield

Those in the midwest who could not travel to Washington may want to attend the FGS Annual Conference, that will unfold in Springfield Illinois. Tony Burroughs and Janis Minor Forté will be among the many presenters. I will say that if you have never attended a national event then of course you won’t want to miss that event. This conference attracts hundreds of registrants from an entire region of the country.

LaBrenda Book
New Resource for South Carolina Researchers

Well last night on Bernice Bennett’s show, listeners got to hear LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson speak about her new book on Laurens C0unty South Carolina. The book should become a great finding aid for researchers from the Piedmont area of South Carolina. Her book is called “A Guide to Researching African American Ancestors, in Laurens County South Carolina, and Selected Finding Aids. And don’t forget that Bernice’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9 pm on Blog Talk Radio.



Timed Passes” for Museum Entry Available August 27th

Here is some news hot off the press! If you are interested in visiting NMAAHC–the National Museum of African American History and Culture then take note. For the first few weeks, this new Smithsonian museum–which is scheduled to open on September 24th, “Timed Passes” for entrance into the museum will be available! The purpose of the passes is to reduced long waiting times for entry, and persons will be allowed to enter with a pass at 15 minute intervals. Obtaining passes will begin tomorrow at 9 am EST. You may request these free passes for September and October. Later, in September passes will be available for November and December. I know I am excited and we are all ready to visit this amazing facility that has been a dream for over 100 years.
Happy With Fireworks

Well folks—as I said—this has been an amazing week!!! I have had a major genealogy breakthrough. Thanks to the tenacity of Melvin Collier who always looks for people from multiple branches. Also thanks to “new” cousin Ivy Evan-Virto for daring to share her family data online. It was one of those amazing green-leaf “hints” on Ancestry, that made Melvin Collier take a look. When he saw the magic words– “Elijah Barr” (magic for both of us) he took note! He dropped me a line and said that he had just seen a photo of one of our uncle Elijah’s great grand children I saw in shock!

The story is a complicated one that has unfolded on many levels. Put simply–Melvin’s ancestor Pleasant Barr, married my ancestor Amanda Young. They had one child—Elijah. As he came of age, Elijah married and had two children, but he would die from tuberculosis in 1918. Lula his wife took the two children to Chicago, and raised the family there.  Well we never knew what happened to Elijah’s offspring. They would, of course be cousins to both Melvin and to me.

So finding that one link—to Elijah cracked the door and it has since opened wide. Emails have been flying from The eastern seaboard in the Washington/Baltimore area, all the way to Japan, and with stops in Chicago! This has been an amazing week! Melvin found Elijah’s children—and both of our family lines now have a brand new branch!

Shout Out
A warm shout out the Evans clan! Cousin Ivy, Cousin Keith, Cousins Robin and others. I am so grateful to Cousin Frances, who sweetly told me “Well….Elijah was a Barr…” I am also grateful to Lula Winston Barr, who moved to Chicago, and loved and nurtured her children to be the loving family they are today. And to my Amanda–who lost her husband, son and father in the Civil War, and who dared to love someone again—when she and Pleas found each other and Elijah emerged from their love. I am grateful that thanks to Elijah we now have “new” family!

God Bless you all!! I am happy to embrace all of my new family. My mother who did not have a large family in her childhood must now be smiling as we are meeting and coming together.


I could go on so much more—-but shall wind things down from this point! I am in preparation mode for next week’s summit in Washington DC. I shall be giving two presentations, and I hope to see many of you there. In the meantime–thank you all for sharing your news and announcements, and remember to keep research, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on August 19th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well, it’s mid August and we are in them middle of the last hurrah of summer. Hot days–the dog days are here, and I hope you are keeping cool. We are also looking ahead to new things that await us in the next few weeks.


Hampton Commemorative Commission

Virginia Commemorates 400 Years of the African Presence in America

Tomorrow in Ft. Monroe Virginia an exciting day will unfold! A 4 year program is being launched looking at the history of Virginia from 1619 to 2019. This is a 4 year journey looking at Virginia’s history from the arrival of Africans from Ndongo Angola in 1619. More than $11 million has been set aside to study the untold story of the impact that the arrival in 1619 has had on shaping the nation.

Tomorrow’s events will include the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia State Senator Thomas Norment Jr. and state delegate M. Kirkland Cox. Journalist Roland Martin will be the keynote speaker and an ambassador from Sierra Leone will also be in attendance. One of the goals is to educate the public on this time in history and on the contributions of African Americans, over the years. Thanks Sierra Brown for sharing this information.

PodCast Images Conf

We are all getting ready as we are two weeks away from IBGS in Arlington Virginia, September 1-3. This will be the first of three major events that will occur in the next 6 weeks in the greater Washington DC area. Of course in October we will attend AAHGS in Atlanta. And right between those two conferences will be a major event–the opening of the new Smithsonian Museum—the National Museum of African American History and Culture, on September 24th. I hope to see many of you at some of these events, as this is truly an exciting time.

There is still time to listen to the webinar given by Bernice Bennett last week on Family Tree Webinars.
Bernice Webinar


Special congratulations to Pamela Rigby who has completed a work begun by her mother Mrs. Vivian Rigby. Her mother purchased a photo album at an auction that contained amazing portraits of an African American family. Many of the persons were identified in the photo album, and Mrs. Rigby embarked on a journey to document their lives. The end result now is the book entitled, “Waiting to Be Found. The Lost Treasure of Fannie Keene”. The images shared on the website and the book cover are truly beautiful images, and can be enjoyed now by all.


Family Tree Cites 5 African American sites

Among the Top 101 Websites

FTM Best Websites2016FTM Best Websites

Five African American websites were noted by FTM Magazine as part of the Best 101 Websites for Genealogy.  The five sites were:

Africa Map a site from Harvard University with maps and data on the slave trade.

Digital Library on American Slavery A wonderful site with information about more than 150,000 people during the era of slavery

Lowcountry Africana An amazing repository of records on slaves, and also the 33rd US Colored Infantry and so much more. A must for researchers of SC/GA Lowcountry.

Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau This site is devoted to being a finding aid for researchers. If you need to know if your ancestors lived near the Freedmen’s Bureau, this is the website to provide that information.

Unknown No Longer This website is a project of the Virginia Historical Society. It contains data on those enslaved in the state of Virginia.You can click on maps to see documents such as slave sales and so much more.

Congratulations to all of these sites for providing great information on their websites and for getting on the list!

Well, wrapping things up for another week. I hope that you are still enjoying summer but also squeezing in some research time as well. In the meantime, remember to keep researching, keep documenting and always keep sharing what you find.