Angela Y. Walton-Raji on December 30th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast!!

Well I hope your Christmas was a wonderful one, and I also hope that you are getting ready for the coming New Year. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve–and Sunday–well 2017 will be here!

As I reflect on the past year and look towards the new year approaching–I realized that there has been a dramatic change in the genealogy community. Having started in the late 1970s interviewing my grandmother and occasionally trying to construct family trees, my interest in family history grew. I became a part of the genealogy community in the early 1990s, and now 25 years later–things have changed in a major way. We have opportunities to get information without leaving home, we have the chance to also share information in the same way, and there are tools that did not exist even 10 years ago that we now use. Yes, things have changed!

We have had the books that have stimulated us from Roots, to Somerset Homecoming, where the authors shared with us their own genealogical journey, for years our only additional resource was the occasional conference. Now we have greater options, and can learn something throughout the year, and many times from the comfort of our own home. Technology has allowed for that, and because of it, the genealogy community now has more options than ever! A mere 10 years ago we did not have what we now have, and I am going to close the year out, by looking at some of these changes.



Years ago we did not have the opportunity to tune in and get genealogical information on a regular basis or on a weekly basis. But now there are a number of podcasts out there and I am thrilled to be a part of that community. This podcast did not exist 10 years ago, and is still going strong. There are many of them, and there are two options for genealogy podcasts in the African American. My colleague Bernice Bennett’s show which airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio has become a staple in the genealogy community. Her shows once they are aired, are available as a podcast immediately.  And now, with this podcast—I have moved to a bi-weekly schedule, so the African Roots Podcast continues now going into it’s 7th year. As the year progresses, we will have some guests over the next few months and hope to bring new topics to you in the community. These podcasts are part of the new arena for genealogists.



Thanks to a few genealogy societies and to a new platform, we can both get and give information with a new method of delivery–webinars. Legacy Family Tree Webinars offers genealogy presentations for listeners and viewers worldwide. And societies like SCGS and ISGS, and GGS. Information is being delivered and received differently. We need to take advantage and enjoy them.

You can watch events as they happen. Conferences and live chats are there for genealogists to follow. We have BlackProGen offers bi-weekly chats. We have two new features—Ask Mariah—a brick wall feature to solve your questions. And there are the Ancestry Makers, who will work to share your genealogy with you. The event is hosted by Nicka Smith, and has a wide variety of genealogists from all over the country. Among the members of Black Pro Gen are True Lewis, Shelley Murphy, James Morgan II, Bernice Bennett, Linda Buggs-Simms, Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, Renate Yarborough Sanders, Felicia Addision, Toni Carrier, Teresa Vega, Tasia Coc, Willie Russell IV, Linda Buggs Simms, Alex Trapps-Chabal, Taneya Koonce


Of course this event has changed the flavor of events in the genealogy community. Thousands of us will be gathering in Salt Lake City in February to attend the largeest genealogy event on earth, and we are anxious to participate once again at this exciting gathering. Several of us from the MAAGI faculty as well as the BLACK PRO GEN team will also be there, and we are thrilled that we will be able to Live-Stream from there in February. I am looking forward to seeing many of you there, as well.


MAAGI – Midwest African American Genealogy Institute–is now entering its 5th year! Participants will have a chance to choose from 4 tracks, and take 12 classes over 3 intense days of research. We have two special guests–Hari Jones, author, curator, lecturer and teacher will join us this year. And also  Beverly Jenkins the award winning novelist of historical fiction will be joining us for MAAGI this year.


There are literally hundreds of genealogy communities on social media platforms. Facebook is the active platform, and Twitter is a great tool to find others who share your interest. Follow the #genealogy and #BlackProGen hastag groups and find new friends and make new communities.

There is a brand new world in genealogy! Podcasts, Webinar, Live Streaming events, Roots Tech and MAAGI–these are the events to look forward to. As things have changed our world has expanded and opportunities to grow and learn have also increased! Let’s look towards the future with enthusiasm and commit to become a part of it all.

Thanks for listening. Your continued presence inspires me, and encourages me. I wish you all a Happy New Year, and look forward to seeing you all at various events in the coming New Year! In the meantime, remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!

Happy New Year!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on December 17th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to episode #401 of the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me at


Melvin Collier–Congratulations on Historic Trip to West Africa!


Congratulations to Melvin Collier who has been sharing amazing images on his trip home to Ghana. This is truly a trip home to meet family–for the first time. If you are on Facebook then take a look at the amazing images that he has shared on the family that he has met—DNA relations—and he has truly taken a trip “home.” Well done, Melvin Collier, well done!


MAAGI Tiny Logo
Registration for MAAGI is now open!

Two Free Genealogy Workshops in February



The AFRO-AMERICAN OGICAL SOCIETY (AAHGS) will conduct a 2017 Black History Month Genealogy Conference  on Saturday, February 4, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Although there is NO COST,  REGISTRATION is PREFERRED.   The Conference will be at SAINT AUGUSTINE’S UNIVERSITY,  Prezell R. Robinson Library, 1315 Oakwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27610.

The purpose of the Conference is to introduce individuals  to Genealogy Research and how to trace their Family History.  There will be 9 Workshops (Church and Cemetery Records, Preparing Your Visual Family History Display, Basics of Genealogy Research (For Beginners), My DNA/23andMe, Publishing Family Histories, Family Tree Maker and other Genealogy Software, Freedmen & Friends in Shades of Brown, How to Protect Your Documents & Family Heritage, and Searching Register of Deeds & the  “Slave Deeds Project”) at the Conference.

Genealogical Materials and Displays will be part of the Conference.

The Conference is sponsored by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. (Charlotte AAGIG Chapter, Charlotte, NC; Piedmont-Triad Chapter, Greensboro, NC; and the Triangle Chapter, Raleigh, NC).

For additional information, please call or Email:

  • Wanda Cox-Bailey – (919) 856-5724 (Raleigh/Durham)
  • Lamar E. DeLoatch – (336) 547-0178 (Greensboro)
  • Chris Kite – Email:

Bernice's Show Logo

I mentioned the theme of the Maryland event–From the Archives to the Classroom, well did you catch Bernice Bennett’s show last night? If not tune in an listen to the podcast. Her guest was Dana Saxon who has made the transition–as she has crossed the bridge and moved into the educational sector by partnering with school districts to teach teachers and young people the genealogical process. Listen to the show you will be inspired. As you know Ms. Bennet’s show airs every week on Thursday evenings at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.


Need Help With Civil War Research?  Contact me at


Congratulations to the people working to preserve the Jane Gates House in western Maryland. Well, the Jane Gates House is located in that part of the state. This is home of a woman born enslaved who managed to support her family and in 1871, purchased her own property and raised her family there. She became the matriarch of the Gates family—yes–the family of Henry Louis Gates. The goal is to preserve her home, but to also turn the structure into a center of African American History and Preservation. They have receive a $100,000 grant to preserve the home. This is inspiring to encourage us all to look at those facilities in our own communities to preserve old structures and to tell the story.


Smithsonian Museum Changing Ticket Distribution Policies.

Tickets will be available in a more accessible way for visitors. Same day tickets will be available with a few more options to visit the museum. Here is a link with more information for you.


Time to wind down, I know you are busy, but I appreciate your taking time for tuning into the podcast. Make some new memories, tell the stories, and in the meantime, remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and sharing what you find.