Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 25th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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


I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family, and friends yesterday and I hope that you are busy enjoying everything this weekend, and are not too busy with Black Friday shopping! This is just the beginning of the holiday season, and I hope that you are enjoying that time with your loved ones. I hope that some of you were able to talk and get some stories recorded. (If you have a cell phone, you have a voice recorder.) I think that sometimes voice recordings are the best. I find that an audio recording is more intimate that a video, because you can pick up so much with audio–the voice inflections and tones. Years later those voices will be precious to hear! I encourage you all to make audio tapes and meaningful memories this holiday season!

I recently helped a beginner and I asked what their elders had to say. Several said that they never thought to ask them when they were here. What a sad opportunity that was missed. I hope you also got young people to not bring their cell phones to the table during the meal. Sometimes it is great to turn off the phones and savor not just the food, but to savor the moment with the family, and not just the meal.

I hope that you did enjoy the holiday itself for its meaning and not yet jumping into the commercial aspects of things. There is more to it than spending money.

Cemetery Preservation Projects Continuecharlotte-observer-cemetery-story

(Source: Charlotte Observer, November 19, 2016
Accessed HERE.

Genealogy activities, and preservation efforts are still going on. I was happy to read some uplifting stories this week  about preservation of African American cemeteries. An historic cemetery in Charlotte North Carolina from the 1870, 1873 to be exact. It is called the Biddleville  Cemetery, and is one of three properties being considered for being declared  historic. With that designation there is a chance that the burial ground itself will be preserved. This is significant, as it was established after the Civil War. There are also veterans from the World Wars, the Spanish American War, and older citizens from the  African American community of Charlotte. This cemetery also has some African American funerary art, which also makes it notable. This puts the burial ground in the conscious mind of the area. A recent article from the Charlotte Observer describes the story in detail. (See link above.)


(Image courtesy of Ft. Smith Times Record, August 28, 2016)

Speaking of cemeteries, a shout out is going to friends in Western Arkansas, in Ft. Smith Arkansas. I am referring to Washington Cemetery in Ft. Smith. Well, they had a recent fund raiser, an event at the Ft. Smith Historical Society with a concert. Bobbi Woodard-Jones is spreading the word, putting it on Facebook, and Live-streaming information. She is to be commended for her efforts.


(Image courtesy of Winchester Star Nov 8, 2016)
Berryville Virginin has an old AME Cemetery that was established in 1872 that no longer stands, but remnants of the Cemetery still exist. Many of the graves were destroyed and became part of a parking lot. Two people in the area, Dorothy Davis, and a new owner Georgia Ann Giordano are working together to heal the land, and to preserve the memory of the burial ground. People are looking and working with others who know it is a cemetery

Great news for New York City Researchers.


The New York City Marriage License Index is now available  for researchers. This is now available on Lots of people with roots in the southeastern part of the US. There are over 3 million licenses that one can use to study. 1950-1995 are the years included in this database. A few patches of missing years are included. So if you have New York ties during those years,  you may break open some family memories.


Social Media is still quite busy online, and last week many of us watched Thom Reed of Family Search share his DNA Reveal information. It was quite moving to watch, so take a look.

Reminder to see if your favorite DNA companies are offering holiday specials. Perhaps this is the time to get an extra DNA kit for another relative that has not yet been tested. Some are offering some sales during this holiday season.

Also if you don’t fully understand DNA tests, take a look at DNA tests where Nicka Smith gives 5 tips to understanding DNA results.

By the way, I have another week to go at it, but this time next week I hope to take my own family history into a workable manuscript. I have been telling the freedom story, of my ancestors facing freedom for the first time. I will be finishing the story, so I am

And next week will be my 400th episode of the African Roots Podcast! There will be a special anniversary show, and I am excited to share that with you! You are all very special to me, and I thank you for being there, and I hope next week to have the podcast back on i-Tunes.

In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 18th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the 398th episode of the African Roots Podcast! You can reach me at

I hope you are all doing well. Been busy and still adjustment to things happening in the political arena, but life goes on, and genealogy goes on as well.  And things are going on in the news, and I am going to share some interesting news items with you today. I find it important to put our family data in the right historical context. And I always talk about telling the story–well that is what I am trying to do with my current writing project.



Telling the Family Story for NANOWRIMO

The past two weeks have kept me busy as I have made the effort to tell the story of Amanda Young, and how she survived slavery, how freedom came to her and her family, and how she coped to change during the years that followed. I have been required to incorporate the stories of the people who surrounded my great great grandmother Amanda, and to tell it in a meaningful way. As genealogists, our story goes beyond the name of the ancestor. It extends to the people who knew them, as well. Our task is to widen the ancestral circle and I have been working hard to incorporate collateral ancestors as well as family associates into that narrative as well.



North Carolina World War I Service Cards Available
Great news for North Carolina researchers! The service cards from WWI veterans from North Carolina are now available on Family Search. These are files–we are referring to service cards. They can be searched by Name, Birthplace, Life event. Take a look at these records–there is so much that is revealed on those small cards.


negro-league-parkArticle from

Rare Photo of Negro League Park Found at Missouri State Archives

This week it was shared that a long lost photo of a Negro Leagues Ball park. The St. Louis Stars played on the corner of Compton and Market Streets in downtown St. Louis. This is a landmark, long gone from St. Louis and this photo was stumbled upon accidentally. There is a lesson in that we need to think about the value of capturing photos of the places where we have lived. That should remind us to all consider the places where we grew up and the places that we live now. These places are quickly forgotten, so let’s take inspiration of the image from this old Negro-Leagues ball park. Take some time to photograph all of the churches, the schools the homes of the old community leaders. There is rich history that needs to be told!


Charlotte and the Twelve, A Steele Secrets Story,

Congratulations to Andi Cumbo Floyd who has written a new book as a sequel to Steel Secrets. This is a story who ends up exploring the story of a teacher and 12 students who were killed in a racially-related incident. Ms. Cumbo-Floyd is a friend to the genealogy community and the African American community, especially. Her first work “The Slaves Have Names” reflected her efforts to document the lives of the slaves who once lived on the estate where she lived! It is important to act upon those things, places, and names that we find and to tell the story. We can learn from what she is doing by telling the stories that reflect the places known to us. Her latest book can be obtain from Amazon.


Story of the 1st Black Daily Newspaper
Discussed by Author of Upcoming Book on Louis Charles Rabonez

Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show was amazing. Mark Charle Rabonez discovered some amazing papers after his own father died 11 years ago. He learned that he is a descendant of Creoles of Louisiana. Beyond that–he learned that his ancestor established America’s first black daily newspaper. The New Orleans Tribuns was created by his ancestors, and this was never mentioned in his family oral history. In fact, the history of the family from Louisiana was unknown–with the ties to the Creole community. But once these papers were found, he has embarked on an amazing journey to tell the story of his ancestor, and the story of the New Orleans Tribune. If you missed last night’s show, you can catch it on a podcast right on the site.


A Milestone Episode Approaches

By the way, this is the 398th consecutive podcast. In two weeks I will tape my 400th episode! I have done this every Friday for the past 7 years, so this is a major milestone. I may have a few changes in the format of the show and look forward to continue to share things with you. But you, the audience are so important to me, and I appreciate you for being there. Thank you for sharing your stories and for just being there.
Thanksgiving–a Time to Make Memories

Well—next week is a holiday–Thanksgiving! Time to talk to the elders, to tape their voices—and also to tape the voices of the children! Get some research done, and make some wonderful memories. We are all grateful for life and the challenges that life brings us. I hope that your Thanksgiving is one of joy and warm memories!

In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!