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!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on September 2nd, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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


Well everyone—this has been an exciting time for me! Today the International Black Genealogy Summit began at the Gateway Crystal City Marriott in Arlington VA. What a day! The day began with the Ambassador from Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) welcoming everyone to the Summit.  He was warm, enthusiastic and his words of welcome were inspiring to everyone there! He was followed by Hari Jones, who many of us associate with the African American Civil War Museum. He is now a professor at Penn State, Harrisburg. Still exciting and still full of information.

The sessions began, and the day unfolded. What a surprise to see such a great crowd, and I understand that an extra 100 people showed up today! The Summit experience is one that brings together many people whose experiences cover a wide breadth, and the energy generated is one that is electric!

I was excited to present twice today, and the rooms were packed and the interest seemed to be quite high in the topics as well. What an honor and an honor to find such a strong interest.
IBGS Presenting
(photo C0urtesy of Shelley Murphy)

For me this has been also a filled weekend, for I am in the middle of a traditional Nigerian family wedding weekend. I began with a traditional engagement event from Thursday evening and tomorrow I will be attending the church wedding that follows such an engagement ceremony, so I will miss the second day of the Summit—but today’s schedule was truly a fulfilling one.

Slave sale
Georgetown to Extend Offers of Admission to Descendants of Slaves Once Owned

Much talk has unfolded about the decision by officials of Georgetown to address the university’s past and to make amends even if for the descendants of those whose lives were affected.  Well there is much activity in the university community from admissions, to the historical scholars in the academic departments. Scholars are anxious to pursue this from many perspectives. This may generate an interest in history and genealogical research on additional levels for some time.

AYW and Eva Young
I was glad to meet some amazing people here at the Summit, from Panama to Northwest Arkansas and places beyond. I can only say that if you have not experienced this kind of event—make plans to do so. This is how our community grows, and how it is enhanced!

In the meantime, I am closing out this segment a bit early as an intense weekend continues! Of course my wish that you continue to research, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!