Angela Y. Walton-Raji on June 24th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well, today I am coming to you from West Texas, where I am here as a guest of the Ector County Library, here in Odessa Texas. The hospitality shown to me, today has been amazing, and I am so excited about tomorrow’s events! I arrived this afternoon, and was met by some delightful people on the library staff, who treated me to a wonderful lunch, and I had a great time with them! I am at the MCM Elegante hotel with a beautiful basket of treats awaiting me, and later I visited the genealogy center of the library.

So, I am here in the middle of the Permian Basin, which is a huge oil field–with oil wells pumping. This is a semi-arid climate–very dry—almost desert.¬†Tomorrow from 9 am to 4 pm, I shall be presenting on the African-Native American genealogical experience.

SeminarTopicsI am especially excited to talk about avoiding pitfalls in our research, which is critical to keep us on topic and on the right path.

Well for the record this is the day after Britain has left the European Union, and that is the headline of the day—so for the record—this is worthy of note.

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Still thinking about an institute? Well we are two weeks away from MAAGI, the Teaching Institute! We are at the Genealogy Center at Allen County Library! There is still room in the Writing Track, the Basic Track, and this year the DNA track is filled! There is also the Pre-and Post Slavery Era track. We have some “lifers” who have been there from the beginning of MAAGI and they will be there again this year!

From Central Maryland, they are announcing the Era of Slavery–analysis of the records created. This will be a hands-on series of workshop. Part 1 will occur on July 9th, and Part 2 will occur on August 13th. This is a hands-on session, and both workshops sound quite good. This is the kind of teaching that we need to see! And this is great to see that they are meeting in the summer. I am glad to see that they are offering sessions–everyone is not away on the same date–so why not? We always get online, and if you are like me—I am researching every single day.


DNA Testing

DNA Image

I am impressed with the in-depth question about DNA there are problems being solved and so many people are helping each other. There is a need to study the language of DNA, and how does one find the common ancestor with your DNA matches. Social media is busy with great discussion and we are going to have a fabulous session at MAAGI as well. The tools on Gedmatch are amazing, and Melvin Collier describe his use of the Lazarus tool to test multiple individuals and isolate a long deceased ancestor’s DNA. Amazing!
Avoiding Pitfalls in Genealogy Research


One of my topics tomorrow is about pitfalls in our research, and and avoiding them.
A few points to remember:
1) Follow the documents and move beyond physical features.
2) Present the story as we find it. We may have a rumor to explain something. Adhere to presentation of what is found.
3) Remember to research to find and not always to prove.

We are entering the heart of summer and am glad to share that this is the season of freedom, and time to celebrate history and celebrate families communities and time for reunions. I am wrapping things up for this week–thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode. I hope to see some of you in July–at MAAGI.

Before wrapping up–congratulations to Family Search, for completing the Indexing initiative! Deadlines for submission for Roots Tech, and ISGS Webinars, and so much more!

So once again–thank you all for listening–celebrate freedom, from Juneteeth, to the 4th of July from family reunions to the Essence festival. Get out and be a part of the festivities! Don’t forget IBGS at the Crystal City ¬†Marriott hotel.

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

This Week's Pod Cast


Welcome back to this week’s episode of the African Roots Podcast. You can always reach me HERE.

Well–summer is settling in and today I embrace summer and its beauty and warmth, but am a bit reflective today. We have things to celebrate, for we are at the end of a full year’s campaign to get the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau indexed completely. This began last year with the kick-off that started in California a year ago, and we are now near the end with 98 % of the records now indexed. Hopefully within the next several days we will get the word that records will be fully searchable and ready for genealogists to fully examine. This is truly something to celebrate. The spirit of Freedom is something that everyone in the human family can appreciate, and we are grateful to our ancestors for what they did and how they were resilient against incredible odds.

Indexing Done

I am busy preparing for tomorrow, for I shall be attending a Juneteenth event in Upper Marlboro Maryland as well. The Prince George’s County AAHGS is collaborating with the Historical Society of the county to host the Juneteenth celebration at the Watkins Nature Center.

PGAAHGS Juneteenth Flyer

The event is free and a wonderful family-friendly event, so bring the children and come and celebrate. There will be genealogy presentations from 10:30 till 4 pm, and I look forward to being one of the presenters.

Juneteenth celebrations are unfolding from coast to coast and from Texas to the Canadian border, so I hope that you will be have a chance to participate in the events in your own local community. Freedom belongs to everyone and let us embrace it.


As joyous as the season of freedom is,¬†today is also a sad day. What a difference a year makes, or better said, what a difference it does not make. This time last year, we mourned the death of 9 people in Charleston who were murdered in their church as they attended a bible study class. Today–a year after Charleston, we now add a new city to our list–Orlando. We mourn with that city as 49 innocent lives were taken by another “crazed” gunman. We thought we learned and grew from Charleston, but then again—we now face another season of tears. There are no words to express the sorrow and pain, and only time will truly heal the immediate pain felt by the families and friends.

Prayers for Charleston and Orlando

There are no words, only prayers that can be offered, and perhaps our only response is to remember and to write about our own response to these trying times. In addition to last year in Charleston, and this year in Orlando, we continue life against a backdrop of hatred and vitriol on the political landscape, and head towards a campaign season that promises to be anger filled and bitter.

There are lessons from Charleston, and Orlando, but in the days that immediately follow they cannot be found. The pain and shock are too close to us.

So some of us can turn to the lessons of the ancestors, who 150 years ago found joy with freedom, but who faced incredible resistance during the years that followed. Their newfound freedom was ignored by many, and by many who had the power to still continue to oppress them. Indeed, they were bittersweet times, and today these are bittersweet times.

Freedom's Arrival

We must talk about them, write about them and leave lessons for those who follow us. Get the thoughts on paper and in those journals and diaries for those who follow. The strength that we show will be needed in the future.

Today is yes, a pensive day for me, and a reflective time. I embrace the spirit of freedom, but still feel for Orlando and still feel for Charleston, against a hostile political climate.

Let’s tell the story of these times, as well, as we move to a better future. Let’s remember in the meantime to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

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