Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 11th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well—what an amazing week we have had folks. Surprising outcomes from the election, and a number of days required to adjust to some frightening aftermath. But we move ahead, fight discrimination and bigotry, and commit ourselves to working for things much better to come.



Today is Veteran’s Day! They are individuals who have served the nation, and some have lost their lives for the country. We cannot forget what they did. I honor my own ancestors who were freedom fighters in the Civil War.

I honor my World War I ancestors who served in France, my grandfather Sam Walton, of the 809th Pioneer Infantry, and John Louis Bass, who serve in the 309th Quartermaster Labor Batallion.

I honor my father Sam L. Walton, who served in World War II, in France, and North Africa.

I honor my brother Sam Walton Jr. who served in Vietnam.

Let us remember them, and call their names!


Bernice Bennett Celebrates FIVE Years on Blog Talk Radio

In appreciation of tasks ahead, it is worthwhile to acknowledge to those who have made accomplishments already.

A warm congratulations to Bernice Bennett who has just celebrated her 5th year Anniversary of her show on Blog Talk Radio, Research at the National Archives and Beyond. She has had over 200 guests and has had over 300,000 listeners over the years! What a amazing record! Well last night’s show was a celebration, with callers from all over the nation congratulating her on 5 years. Bernice’s show has filled an incredible void for many of us, and she has become a true shining star in the genealogy community. Again Congratulations, Bernice Bennett!

Events are winding down for the year, and also for the holidays. There are some new events coming up next year, and at the moment I am busy and engaged with NANOWRIMO. National Novel Writing Month has taken up a lot of my time especially this week. I started with a family story that I was able to extract from Civil War pension files. With these files you can read where an ancestor was born and where they lived. These are the actual words of the ancestors, because these were people who were sworn under oath.

My project for NANOWRIMO is to tel the story of Amanda Young, and her life after losing her husband, son, and father. She later remarried and 50 years later found her sister still living. She ended up marrying the ancestor of Melvin Collier after the Civil War. Melvin in fact found the descendants of their child. Thanks to that little green leaf on Ancestry, he found the missing ancestor!

So, I am immersing myself into that story–and telling part of that story is what has given me much comfort and solace this week, and I have been humbled by telling their story. Telling that story has helped me find a sense of peace. So I should not be afraid of the man elected who ran a campaign of fear and hate. But I come from resilient people and I shall be empowered by the strength and ability of the family to survive.

I hope that others will start to tell their story as well. I am turning this into a story and telling what has happened. We often find our own relatives are not excited when we find things about the family. But when we tell the stories—they are remembered. So I continue to write.


Time for Quiet Reflection


Well in this post-election week, we can now see opportunity. This is an opportunity for us to pause for self-reflection and see setbacks as opportunities to grow and go in new directions. We have new opportunities to create and plant new seeds.

Perhaps it is time to revisit what we do–have a do-over . We have seen rejection and exclusion from the pattern of exclusion from genealogical societies. We created and institute MAAGI, that was created out of the same issues that we have recently address. Back in 2012 several people were rejected for national conferences, after submitting up to 7 proposals were denied. We changed our goal. Perhaps that goal was not critical. That national society clearly did not want us as presenters and they proved it year after year.

The rejection was blatant, but it was a chance to build something new. Which is what we did–we created an institute–the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute. After 5 years, MAAGI is now a staple. This was a response to multiple rejections. We became energized and have never looked back! It has been so positive and remarkably different. So take the post election blues and turn it into something that cannot be undone.


We have opportunities to write–whether NANOWRIMO, or another writer’s support group. We need to take that step and new platforms that are out there. We have writing coaches to motivate many of us.
So—let’s back up, self reflect, and start to write. We are limited by our own imagination!
Thank you for sharing your feelings, and thoughts with me, and your words of encouragement. Many of us are grieving, and your support has uplifted me. Thank you for being there. In the meantime, thank you,  have a great week and remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on November 4th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well now that November is here, time to truly enjoy as we settle into the midst of autumn with all of its colors, cool temperatures and beauty. Genealogy conferences have been winding down, and we are all looking towards the holidays.


DC History Conference Unfolds

A warm shout out to those in Washington DC who are attending the 43rd  Annual DC History Conference. I was unaware of the event, but I am now aware and plan to put it on my calendar in the future! I learned about it on Twitter, and I am putting a link to their schedule so that you can see it HERE.

Emancipation Records of District of Columbia

dc-emancipation-records(Selection of Records from Fold3 on Emancipation Records)

By they way, I wanted to mention that for those who are interested in history of the District of Columbia, there is a set of records on Fold3, that reflect the Emancipation of slaves in the city. Next week closer to the Veteran’s Day weekend, some of these records may open up for free and provide access to those emancipation records from the nation’s capital, so stay tuned for that.

14,000 Records of Oklahoma African Americans

Speaking of Fold3, I want to mention an under-used and under studied community from Oklahoma, whose records are also part of the Fold3 collections. I am referring to the records of the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes. (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Nations.) I am working on a piece about Freedmen records and hope that besides genealogists, that sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and historians will all pursue this understudied community more. There are amazing records over on Fold3 to begin that process.
amyjohnsoncrowLast night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s Show featured well known genealogist Amy Johnson Crow. She discussed a number of things from her areas of focus to how she began her research more than 20 years ago. It was a discussion that was lots of fun to listen to. Amy features 31 days to Better Genealogy on her blog and it might be something to explore  yourself, by subscribing to it.


Milestone Celebrations Within the Our Community

The Bernice Bennett Show will be celebrating next week with a special 5 year Anniversary broadcast! Hard to believe that 5 years have already come! That is amazing and she has become a real staple in the genealogy community! Let’s celebrate with her!

African Roots Podcast to Celebrate the 400th Broadcast in November
In three weeks I will be celebrating the 400th consecutive broadcast of the African Roots Podcast! Yes—it has been that long! I may change my format that day, and will also sponsor a few giveaways, so stay tuned!

MAAGI is turning 5
In 2017 The Midwest African American Genealogy Institute will be hosting the 5th year of this remarkable institute and the event promises to be even stronger and larger than ever before. Registration for MAAGI is now open, and you may want to secure your spot now, as it fills quickly

Social Media Enhancing the Online Genealogy Experience

There are now over 400 groups on Facebook for genealogists. And then there is Twitter! There are thousands of people around the globe tweeting away for genealogy. And there is a large community for African ancestored researchers as well. I especially love the concept of Twitter chats–and one effective one is #GenChat. That hashtag group allows researchers to join in conversation about a particular topic, and as a result, a fast past, fun-filled time is full of dialogue, tips and help for genealogists. A new group will be announced in the next few weeks for the Black Pro Gen group. This is a group of researchers of color, who meet and share their interests on Twitter. There will be a hashtag group when that Twitter chat begins. (#BProGenChat) Join us and stay tuned for the announcements.

The Lowdown on Black Pro Gen
Also do you follow some of the bloggers and writers from Black Pro Gen? If so-you may want to get the Lowdown to follow them. This is a method of following the blogs and posts when members of the Black Pro Gen panel share their latest blog posts. The Lowdown feed burner will send you notifications via email about the latest content posted by the Black Pro Gen community.

Well winding things down again for this week. Thank you so much for being there and for those wonderful tweets and posts on social media. And thank you also for your time.
In the meantime, remember to keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!