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

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to this week’s podcast! You can reach me at

I hope that you are enjoying spring, but we are still having changing weather and are even expecting a bit of snow this weekend. But spring is slowly settling in.

FHC May 2016 Conference
Spring events are now underway. I am looking forward to upcoming events–in May, the Family History Center in Kensington Maryland, in May. Hope to see some of your there.


Yesterday I had a good day at the Historical Society of Baltimore County, in the monthly genealogy classes there. Yesterday, Noreen Goodson did her thing with her outstanding Introduction to Genealogy class.

Noreen Teaching Class

She did a fabulous job—this was a great workshop. If you have not seen it before–then you really need to catch her session. Those of you in the greater Washington-Baltimore area, make note of her name. She was in her element  yesterday and really outline some wonderful beginning steps for those just getting started!

Next week–I am excited to mention that I shall be teaching a class in Oella Maryland, the historical neighborhood of the African American patriot, Benjamin Banneker. Well, the Banneker Park and Museum will host a series of classes, and I am honored to be teaching a class there this coming Tuesday beginning at 10:00 am. I am honored to teach a class there, and look forward to it.

This week I have had a chance to explore my local area. Have you had a chance to explore the local area where you live? Many of us don’t live in the communities of our childhood. Well I have been learning so much more about the African American community of western Baltimore County of late. I have been inspired to look and embrace the local history where I now live.


Melvin's Webinar

Today—2:00 pm—don’t forget to listen to Melvin Collier’s webinar., Confirming Enslaved Ancestors, Through DNA. You really want to catch this. I have seen him in action, and he will be inspiring. I like the fact that he creates a theory and then sets out to prove it. In this case he had some DNA matches, and was able to solve the mystery of a family separated by slavery and selling of slaves—an amazing story!  So tune in today!


MAAGI Tiny LogoMAAGI Offers DNA Track

Speaking of DNA—are all of those words a bit confusing? Centimorgans, triangulation, SNPS, autosomal tests, mitochondrial DNA. Well it can be confusing. To make sense of it all—you may want to look closely at the DNA track to get a handle of it all. This year at MAAGI, there will be a full DNA track, and even a chance to explore the emotional side of DNA. The new track on DNA will explore DNA in full–Shannon Christmas, Bernice Bennett, Nicka Smith, will break it all down for you. The emotional side is quite intense. Some are surprised when they see the result. And imagine the emotion for adoptees, finding blood relative for the first time. There is also emotion for others who are suprised to find an ethnic makeup that they did not expect. Some are expecting to find something else that they did not know was there. Sometimes family stories are confirmed, and others find out that a story is not what it was expected. Take a look at MAAGI which unfolds at the Genealogy Center at Allen County Library, July 12-14th 2016 in Ft. Wayne Indiana.


James and Jari

Were your ancestors involved in a fraternal organization? Were they masons, or members of the Eastern Star? Or how about the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, or United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten? And Odd Fellows in the family?  Have you seen an unusual headstone for ancestors? Well–they may have been, and last night on Bernice Bennett’s show, she featured two guests–Jari Honora, and James Morgan III. Both of them are more than knowledgeable about numerous groups in which our grandparents, and their parents were often involved. These groups are membership organizations that became the essence of their life apart from work and the daily routine. You can learn so much about the community where they lived. Both Jari and James laid it out for listeners. Studying Benevolent organizations can be so useful to your genealogical research. Last night’s show was so informative, so if you missed it, tune in and listen to the podcast. Bernice’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.

Question of the Week: Do you Know Any Family Stories?
I hope that many of you are doing more than collecting names. We have dozens of stories. Capture them, seek that information. Your friends and even relatives do not want to hear your list of names. They don’t really want to see your family history chart. They want stories. Were they enslaved? Then how did they become free? How did freedom come? Did they leave enslaved? Did they emancipate themselves? Find that story and tell it.


Winding it down again for this week and I want to thank you for tuning in. You have choices on how to spend your time and I am grateful that you are there. Thank you so much for sharing your announcements, event, interviews and am always happy to pass them on to others. You are appreciated.

Please remember to continue to keep researching, keep documenting and to keep sharing what you find!

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

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me at AFRICANROOTSPODCAST@GMAIL.COM

Welcome to April, and welcome to what is officially now springtime! We are having windy weather here in the mid-Atlantic, but glad that rough winter weather is now only a memory.


Join Me Today on Midday!Midday

First of all I want to invite you all to join me today at 12:00 on WYPR Midday

In advance of Saturday’s program at the Reginald Lewis Museum with Dr. Heather Williams author of the book Help Me To Find My People, WYPR Midday, will feature Dr. Williams on their show. I have been invited to join the host in the studio so that basic genealogical questions can also be discussed. To call in during the show, 410-662-8780 locally, or call toll-free at 1-866-661-9309.

You can listen to the show live from their website: Midday


PG Library System

Well, I am also busy preparing for a presentation tomorrow in Hyattsville Maryland. I shall be giving a presentation about essential online resources for African American genealogy at the public library in Hyattsville tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 pm. I hope to see friends from Prince George’s County Maryland communities there, and can’t wait to also see what can be shared among all of us!

Tomorrow is also a busy day with a major event going on in Baltimore at the Reginald Lewis Museum. Join the Agnes K. Callum chapter of AAHGS as they host two speakers–Dr. Heather Williams and Prof. Dale Green as they discuss the lives of 19th century African Americans both enslaved and free. The event will occur at 1:00 pm. Click HERE to register.


MS Cemetery StoryImage and story from: WLOX TV, Gulfport, Mississippi

There is a heartwarming story coming out of Gulfport Mississippi. The story is one of a family seeking the burial site of an ancestor. A woman remembers when her grandmother died many decades ago, but over the years the exact burial site has been forgotten. The family has been searching for the burial site for many years. The community heard about her search, and brought in a team of volunteers and search dogs, and sure enough they found not only the cemetery, but the exact headstone they were searching for–that of the grandmother! The story is a wonderful one of collaboration and dedication and how a family mystery of where ancestor was buried, is finally solved.

Historic Greenwood Cemetery Used as Training Site for K-9


A disturbing cemetery story comes from St. Louis today where apparently a local K9 training unit in St. Louis County has been using the African American Historic Greenwood Cemetery as a training ground for K9 unit. Mrs. Ella Daniels a distinguished elder in St. Louis County, has been directing the cleanup and restoration of this historic burial ground for several years, and has had much support in St. Louis County to assist with the restoration and preservation of this historic site. Among notable burials there is Harriet Scott, wife of Dred Scott of the landmark Freedom case of the 1850s.

It was shared today that while in the midst of attending the cemetery several people with vans, came in, drove over the burial area of Babyland, where infants are buried, claiming that they had permission. They took out the dogs and proceeded to “train” the animals. They then left when finished, with no apology, nor kind words. The story is explained in more detail.

This story is heartbreaking for clearly this is a cemetery, demanding respect, and members of the cemetery board were present who could verify that no permission was given to anyone to train animals on the site. This will be a story to follow and many in the genealogy community as well as the historic preservation community will be following to see if the training of animals at an African American cemetery will be allowed to continue. More information on the Greenwood Cemetery Facebook Group


New Social Media Group Focuses on Black Benevolent Societies and Fraternal Groups

FB Group
Thanks to the effort of James Morgan III of Maryland, there is a new group on Facebook that should interest many people. The group is the African American Fraternal & Benevolent Society History. The intent is to present the history of various organizations from the 1700’s to the present and to educate the public about the history of these groups. I have a presentation that I give occasionally on the impact that such groups had on the social lives of our ancestors and how we can learn about their lives through their membership in these groups. James Morgan III, lives in Maryland and serves as the Worshipful Master of Corinthian Lodge #18 in Washington, D.C. and as the Associate Grand Historian of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. He is presenting some rich history and some amazing images of African Americans as they participated in their various organizations over the past 150 years!  He, and Jari Honora of Louisiana will be on Bernice Bennett’s show to discuss how one can add more to the family history by exploring the ancestral ties to many of these groups in the near future.

Speaking of Bernice Bennett’s show, last night Char McCargo Bah was a featured guest. She discussed various methods of finding enslaved ancestors. She pointed out that researchers need to investigate records intensely and often the answers to some of the pressing questions are right there on records already at hand. From slave schedules, to probate records, to Freedmen’s Bureau, she presented some excellent strategies on how to locate ancestors before 1870. Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.

Question of the week: How well connected are you to the online research community?

Beyond the research platforms, are you connected with members of the various African American Genealogy Groups?  There are websites, blogs, and social media groups. A majority are on Facebook, but even within that platform there are smaller groups, group chats and places to post questions and get answers. And there is an active community on Twitter including a growing international African-descended genealogy community, particularly in the Americas!

There are dozens of groups, some focused on a population, others focused on a state or county. Come and join the online community and break through those brick walls.

Well, thanks for joining me again. I appreciate hearing from you, and I appreciate that you take time from your schedule to tune in.

In the mean time, remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!