Angela Y. Walton-Raji on December 2nd, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast



Welcome to the 400th consecutive episode of the African Roots Podcast!

This is a milestone episode and I am amazed that it has been 7 year journey! Yes, for the past 7 years I have been coming to you every Friday! That means that children now in the second grade were mere babies when I started this podcast! Wow! What an amazing journey this has been. I am excited to continue with the podcast, and to announce a few changes for the future!

A few changes:
1) After 7 years, a change is a good and healthy thing to have. After having recorded so many episodes, I am adjusting the podcast schedule. and plan to record these podcasts every two weeks, thereby bringing a change from the weekly schedule. So the next podcast will be occurring December 16th!

2) And—in addition—a few feature—African Roots TV is coming back! That’s right! My YouTube channel is coming back, as I am going to start making more videos reflecting various topics and work on a number of special topics and events to cover for the channel, so stay tuned for that!

I am always thrilled and surprised, when I meet people who tell me that they never miss a podcast, which always humbles me to know that you are there and out there listening.

My goal today for this 400th episode, is to give you an overview of the African American genealogy community.
We often research our families on our own, and researching alone, but there is a larger community of people who are doing the same thing. But many of us do not know each other. So it is a good idea to know what is really out there for the African Ancestored community.

Societies You can meet them in a number of places. If you are new to genealogy, there are societies, national groups and independent groups. AAHGS is the oldest genealogy groups for African Americans that comes out of Washington DC, with many chapters across the country. There are several independent groups and one group that plans an event every 2-3 years which is the International Black Genealogy Summit, out of the west coast.

Social Media. Now–there are thousands of people on social media involved in genealogy activity. The two largest groups that come to mind are AfriGeneas and Our Black Ancestry. Both are on Facebook and their number are in the thousands. These are free places online where you can ask questions, find answers, and also find a community of volunteers to answer questions.

There is a need to also point you to the AfriGeneas family. Besides Afrigeneas genealogy community is a question and answer section. The other side is the Afrigeneas Group–a website that you hit the LIKE button to explore rare photos, brief bios, black history data that is truly amazing. You want to look on Facebook for both of those AfriGeneas entitites. And don’t forget the base website–


Now if you are now aware–there is activity on Blog Talk Radio with Blog Radio’s Bernice Bennet Show–you need to know who Bernice Bennett is, who hosts her own show, Research at the National Archives and Beyond. She has done this for 5 years, and every Thursday evening at 9pm.



I mentioned the Summit—well we are 3 years out for the International Black Genealogy Summit, that is going to Africa in 2019! The African Disapora is large and extensive, so I salute the people at the Summit, as they are taking our genealogy experience to the motherland! And next year AAHGS is planning a cruise to the Bahamas out of Charleston.



Black Pro Gen LIVE—you need to know that is now well into the blogosphere. This is a group of genealogists of color with an amazing group of people. A group o genealogists of color who get together on a regular basis. Well we have a plan now up for 2017. And look at the schedule:

2017 BlackProGen Google+ Hangouts Full Schedule

  • Wed Jan 11, 2017  – Finding Your Roots Season 4 Debrief
  • Wed Jan 25, 2017  – Finding Your Roots Season 4 Debrief
  • Wed Feb 1, 2017  – Loud, Resounding Voices: The Slave Narratives
  • Thu Feb 9, 2017 – BlackProGen LIVE! 2017 RootsTech
  • Wed Feb 15, 2017 – The Ten Percent: Free People of Color
  • Wed Feb 22, 2017 – Case Studies in DNA: Practical Tips and Tricks
  • Tue Mar 7, 2017 – Social Media for People of Color Genealogy Research
  • Tue Mar 21, 2017 – People of Color in the West: Arizona, California, Nevada
  • Tue Apr 4, 2017 – Rebellion and Resistance: People of Color and the U.S. Military
  • Tue Apr 18, 2017 – People of Color in the Northeast: New York and New Jersey
    Tue May 9, 2017 – Getting Started with Asian/Pacific Islander Research
  • Tue May 23, 2017 – People of Color in the West: Colorado, Oregon, and Washington
  • Fri Jun 9, 2017 – BlackProGen LIVE! 2017 SCGS Genealogy Jamboree
  • Tue Jun 20, 2017 – Get to MY Folks: Easy Ways to Find People of Color in Online Records
  • Tue Jun 27, 2017 – Rites of Life: Religious, Fraternal, and Benevolent Societies
  • Wed Jul 5, 2017 – People of Color in the Northeast: Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire
  • Wed Jul 12, 2017 – BlackProGen LIVE! 2017 MAAGI
  • Tue Jul 25, 2017 – People of Color in the Midwest: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio
  • Tue Aug 8, 2017 – “Well You Know…” Privacy in Genealogy and DNA
  • Tue Aug 22, 2017 – People of Color in the Midwest: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri
  • Tue Sep 12, 2017 – Getting Started with Latin Research
  • Tue Sep 26, 2017 – Leaving Your Footprint Online
  • Tue Oct 10, 2017 – Getting the Most at Family Events
  • Tue Oct 24, 2017  – The Unexpected: Dealing With New, Unsettling Info in DNA Research
  • Tue Nov 14, 2017 – Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes
  • Tue Nov 28, 2017 – Pad and My Pen: Writing Your Family History

This is just a section of things to come.

Unique Pieces of Our History – Some Links for You
 The Colored Hockey League of the Maritime Provinces

New Bedford and the Cape Verdean Population

A Special Hoosier Story : Lyles Station Indiana, A Black Community
The Lyles Station Story


I hope to see some of you at the Smithsonian at the reception celebrating the completion of the Freedmen’s Bureau Indexing Project. This should be a great event. Some blog updates are coming up next week as well.

In the meantime, thank you all for listening and tuning in for the 400th consecutive podcast, the feedback that I get from you is what keeps me going. Thank you all, and in the meantime, please remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.

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!