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

This Week's Pod Cast


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


Well everyone—this has been an exciting time for me! Today the International Black Genealogy Summit began at the Gateway Crystal City Marriott in Arlington VA. What a day! The day began with the Ambassador from Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) welcoming everyone to the Summit.  He was warm, enthusiastic and his words of welcome were inspiring to everyone there! He was followed by Hari Jones, who many of us associate with the African American Civil War Museum. He is now a professor at Penn State, Harrisburg. Still exciting and still full of information.

The sessions began, and the day unfolded. What a surprise to see such a great crowd, and I understand that an extra 100 people showed up today! The Summit experience is one that brings together many people whose experiences cover a wide breadth, and the energy generated is one that is electric!

I was excited to present twice today, and the rooms were packed and the interest seemed to be quite high in the topics as well. What an honor and an honor to find such a strong interest.
IBGS Presenting
(photo C0urtesy of Shelley Murphy)

For me this has been also a filled weekend, for I am in the middle of a traditional Nigerian family wedding weekend. I began with a traditional engagement event from Thursday evening and tomorrow I will be attending the church wedding that follows such an engagement ceremony, so I will miss the second day of the Summit—but today’s schedule was truly a fulfilling one.

Slave sale
Georgetown to Extend Offers of Admission to Descendants of Slaves Once Owned

Much talk has unfolded about the decision by officials of Georgetown to address the university’s past and to make amends even if for the descendants of those whose lives were affected.  Well there is much activity in the university community from admissions, to the historical scholars in the academic departments. Scholars are anxious to pursue this from many perspectives. This may generate an interest in history and genealogical research on additional levels for some time.

AYW and Eva Young
I was glad to meet some amazing people here at the Summit, from Panama to Northwest Arkansas and places beyond. I can only say that if you have not experienced this kind of event—make plans to do so. This is how our community grows, and how it is enhanced!

In the meantime, I am closing out this segment a bit early as an intense weekend continues! Of course my wish that you continue to research, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on August 26th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Happy With Fireworks

Well this has been an incredible week for me! I am on “Cloud 9” because of an amazing genealogical breakthrough, which I shall share with you.



But first—I have to say get ready! If you are on the east coast and in or near Washington next weekend–well this is the place to be. One week from today we will be in the middle of IBGS – the International Black Genealogy Summit! Next week more than 30 workshops will unfold at the summit and there will also be an international component when dignitaries from the Ivory Coast – Cote d’Ivoire, will be on hand as well. Plus speakers from multiple backgrounds all focusing on African American genealogy. The speakers will cover everything from basic steps to DNA and so much more. There will be some old familiar names among the speakers as well as some newer names now on the speaker’s circuit! So explore the link and if you can get to Washington next weekend–I hope to see you there!

FGS 2016 Conference

FGS Conference Opens in Springfield

Those in the midwest who could not travel to Washington may want to attend the FGS Annual Conference, that will unfold in Springfield Illinois. Tony Burroughs and Janis Minor Forté will be among the many presenters. I will say that if you have never attended a national event then of course you won’t want to miss that event. This conference attracts hundreds of registrants from an entire region of the country.

LaBrenda Book
New Resource for South Carolina Researchers

Well last night on Bernice Bennett’s show, listeners got to hear LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson speak about her new book on Laurens C0unty South Carolina. The book should become a great finding aid for researchers from the Piedmont area of South Carolina. Her book is called “A Guide to Researching African American Ancestors, in Laurens County South Carolina, and Selected Finding Aids. And don’t forget that Bernice’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9 pm on Blog Talk Radio.



Timed Passes” for Museum Entry Available August 27th

Here is some news hot off the press! If you are interested in visiting NMAAHC–the National Museum of African American History and Culture then take note. For the first few weeks, this new Smithsonian museum–which is scheduled to open on September 24th, “Timed Passes” for entrance into the museum will be available! The purpose of the passes is to reduced long waiting times for entry, and persons will be allowed to enter with a pass at 15 minute intervals. Obtaining passes will begin tomorrow at 9 am EST. You may request these free passes for September and October. Later, in September passes will be available for November and December. I know I am excited and we are all ready to visit this amazing facility that has been a dream for over 100 years.
Happy With Fireworks

Well folks—as I said—this has been an amazing week!!! I have had a major genealogy breakthrough. Thanks to the tenacity of Melvin Collier who always looks for people from multiple branches. Also thanks to “new” cousin Ivy Evan-Virto for daring to share her family data online. It was one of those amazing green-leaf “hints” on Ancestry, that made Melvin Collier take a look. When he saw the magic words– “Elijah Barr” (magic for both of us) he took note! He dropped me a line and said that he had just seen a photo of one of our uncle Elijah’s great grand children I saw in shock!

The story is a complicated one that has unfolded on many levels. Put simply–Melvin’s ancestor Pleasant Barr, married my ancestor Amanda Young. They had one child—Elijah. As he came of age, Elijah married and had two children, but he would die from tuberculosis in 1918. Lula his wife took the two children to Chicago, and raised the family there.  Well we never knew what happened to Elijah’s offspring. They would, of course be cousins to both Melvin and to me.

So finding that one link—to Elijah cracked the door and it has since opened wide. Emails have been flying from The eastern seaboard in the Washington/Baltimore area, all the way to Japan, and with stops in Chicago! This has been an amazing week! Melvin found Elijah’s children—and both of our family lines now have a brand new branch!

Shout Out
A warm shout out the Evans clan! Cousin Ivy, Cousin Keith, Cousins Robin and others. I am so grateful to Cousin Frances, who sweetly told me “Well….Elijah was a Barr…” I am also grateful to Lula Winston Barr, who moved to Chicago, and loved and nurtured her children to be the loving family they are today. And to my Amanda–who lost her husband, son and father in the Civil War, and who dared to love someone again—when she and Pleas found each other and Elijah emerged from their love. I am grateful that thanks to Elijah we now have “new” family!

God Bless you all!! I am happy to embrace all of my new family. My mother who did not have a large family in her childhood must now be smiling as we are meeting and coming together.


I could go on so much more—-but shall wind things down from this point! I am in preparation mode for next week’s summit in Washington DC. I shall be giving two presentations, and I hope to see many of you there. In the meantime–thank you all for sharing your news and announcements, and remember to keep research, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find.