African Roots Podcast Episode #292 November 7, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! I can be reached at

Well the first full week of November is almost over and we are rush full steam ahead toward’s the year’s end. Most conferences are over and people are making plans for family time as holidays approach.

10 Year Celebration of MPAAGHS

A special congratulations to the folks in Virginia who are part of the Middle Peninsula AAHGS. They are celebrating 10 years and are having a special workshop tomorrow in Dunnsville Virginia at Angel Visit Baptist Church. This is an afternoon workshop for beginners and experienced researchers, and should be a lot of fun. Hopefully there will be time for some discussion with people to assist those new to genealogy, with methods of getting started. Also the workshop is a celebration of their 10 years, so a hearty congratulations to them.


Smithsonian to Assist With Preservation of Family Artifacts

This event will be hosted by the Historical Society of Washington, DC will host the event from 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday and 12—5 pm on Sunday at The Historical Society. The event is free and open to the public. But this a great chance to bring your favorite old family artifacts, such as dolls, flags, old military uniforms, bibles, historic pictures,  to meet with a professional who will tell you the best way to care for your object. The purpose is not to put monetary value on your items–the purpose is preservation. So if you have the time, this is a great time to learn how to preserve memorabilia.


Ancestry’s New Collection Contains Much Data for African Americans with Oklahoma Ties.

Ancestry has partenered with the Oklahoma Historical Society to assist people with family history. Now, more than 3.2 million American Indian historical records and images to its website. But we must remember that there are thousands of Freedmen families included in these records. I have been playing with these records and one can see the color images of the Dawes Cards, but there is also the 1893 Cherokee Freedmen Payment Roll, The Dunn Roll form the Creek Nation, marriage records, wills and so many little used records Such a treasure trove of data included. And—even if you have relatives who were not part of the Five Civilized Tribe, they may still be found in this data set. There is an Intruder Census, so this is of interest to everyone with ties to Oklahoma and Indian Territory.

Sample of Intruder Census from Canadian District of the Cherokee Nation, 1893


Slave Data for Ittawamba County Mississippi

Mississippi researchers from Ittawamba county have a good resource available to them. Ittawamba County Slave Data 1837-1860 is a small book with extensive information about slaves from that county. It was compiled and edited by Bob Franks, and it is completely online. It is a collection of transcripts including wills and deeds during those years. Click HERE for more information about this collection.


Free Access to Ancestry Through Veteran’s Day!

Now through Veteran’s Day–there is free access to Ancestry.

This is a great opportunity to explore the databases on Ancestry, and look closely at military records and even some global collections. So if you don’t have access to Ancestry and only use it through your library, this is good chance to get online and see what is there. Look at those Draft Registration Cards, The Mother’s Pilgrimage Database, of Gold Star Mothers, World War I and World War II, and look at some of the new collections. We are all creatures of habit and tend to look at the same thing again and again. But this is a great chance to explore some of their newer databases.


Item from my personal collection

I mentioned artifacts in our collections, perhaps we can look at our collections and share them with others. By sharing, I mean take a photo, share it with the family. Or if you are a writer, or blogger like me, this is a great time to share the artifact by writing a story about it, and tell the story of how you came to have it, and what it really is about. Artifacts provide a great opportunity to tell this piece of the family story. I have an old ashtray that I purchased at a memorabilia show. Well, I  have had it for years and am not connected to the person reflected on it. It was a commemorative ashtray for an old black church in Pennsylvania. Well, I learned later that the man whose photo was on the item, was a leader in the National Baptist Convention. Well, I have never done anything with it, and I realize that it is time that I research this man, a Rev. Parks, and tell a piece of his story, and the history of his church.

I have another collection of old books that reflect African American children in Drumright Oklahoma. I have written an article about them on one of my blogs, and perhaps its time I follow up and find the children or grandchildren of those featured in the book.

Sometimes the artifacts that we have lying around provide opportunities for us to research and tell a story. So many forgotten stories are buried in our own collections, so pull them out, look at them and tell those stories. These can be family photos, old books, souveniers etc. Let’s revisit our treasures lying around.


Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show Research At the National Archives & Beyond, featured Dr. Allison Hobbs who discussed her research and her book, A Chosen Exile. A History of Racial Passing in America. This was an excellent show and the discussion of the concept of race, of choice, of gain, or perceieved gain and also of loss was discussed. Many of us know of families where someone did walk away from family, community and their past to obtain that perceive gain. If you missed the show you can hear the archived version online. Her show airs every Thursday at 9pm EST.


Well thank you for listening to me again, and taking time from your busy schedule to tune in to the podcast. Have a great week and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.


African Roots Podcast Episode # 291 October 31, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well, today is Halloween and if you are going to be out this evening driving be extra careful as children are out walking around after dark. Remember to take photos if you are with children or grandchildren as they go about their way ringing doorbells and collecting their treats. But most importantly keep them safe.

And November is right here at our doorstep! The holiday season is close by. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are quickly approaching, and most events are now occurring on the local level.



Maryland Celebrates Emancipation!

Here in Maryland, many museums and historic sites are celebrating Emancipation, as it will be 150 years since freedom came to so many. And next year-2015, is a milestone years for many states, as the end of the war brought freedom to so many. Well, tomorrow historic Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood Maryland there will be a ceremony to place a marker remembering those that perished during the Middle Passage at 10:00 am.  The public is invited to attend this ceremony to remember their own ancestors on Saturday and to honor those  ancestors that perished and those that endured to seek their freedom.


Cecil County Genealogy Symposium

Whether you’re just getting started or are a seasoned researcher, the 3rd Annual Cecil County Genealogy Symposium at the Elkton Central Library on Saturday, November 8th might attract your attention. Several groups are working together to participate in this county symposium. Among some of the groups are, the Upper Shore Genealogical Society of MarylandMaryland State ArchivesMaryland Department at the Enoch Pratt Free LibraryHistorical Society of Cecil County and so many more. The point is–take a look at the local groups-as so much history could be there waiting for you to discover. We must remember the story is a larger one where we study the region where the ancestral family lived, not just their names.


Last night on Bernice Bennett’s show, the featured guest discussed the process of preserving the history of a community in a unique way. Ms. Bennett’s guest last night was Margo Williams. Many of us know Margo, through AAHGS, and her writings and the many classes that she has taught. She spoke about her efforts to have an area in a community designated as a cultural heritage site. This is different from the process of having a building or landmark put on the National Register of Historic places. But is is equally has demanding in terms of documentation and history. This is something that perhaps many of us need to consider doing. Some of the old schools, churches and businesses are gone, but the area is still there. Listen to last night’s show as you may get some wonderful ideas to explore in your own ancestral community. The show airs every Thursday evening on Blog Talk Radio.


The Magic Door Should Not Be Televised by Nicka Smith

I urge you to look at Nicka Smith’s blog. She wrote a good piece about the fact that ordinary people can create their own Book of Life, and can research their own story with full documentation.  One does not have to be a celebrity to have their history told. Well she points out that we all have access. And so many are in the public domain. It is just a matter of knowing where to go to find them. And of course it is important to know how to do it properly. The need to know how to properly use a record, avoid guessing and assumptions. As she pointed out there is no magic wand, just as there is no magic door. One does not have to be a noted professor who hires a genealogist in Utah to pull out stories. You also have access and can do this research, and do it properly.  And has one already been done on the family? Well perhaps it is time for Volume II.


Well thanks for listening again this week and do be careful if you are out this evening as many children will be out after dark in costumes knocking on doors for their treats. 

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