Angela Y. Walton-Raji on December 11th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast

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

I hope that you are all having a great December, enjoying the holiday season, and are making memories or planning to over the upcoming season!

Headline: Family Tree Maker to Be Discontinued


We have all heard and read the headlines about the announcement from Ancestry about the decision to cease production of Family Tree Maker. This was announced on Wednesday and many people are quite upset about it. There has been much discussion and concern. However, perhaps there is no reason for panic. If you have the program on your personal computer, then it will still be there in January. In other words, if the program is still functional, then it will still be functional. Many of you have older copies of Word, or Windows, or Excel on your computer. There are newer models but unless you”have to have the latest upgrade”, the old one should still work as well. With time you may wish to migrate your data into the many options out there, (Roots Magic, Legacy, Reunion, Family Historian, Personal Historian.) Plus the option to put your data online with both Family Search as well as Ancestry will still remain. There will simply not be a newer model of the version now in use.

But–this is a wake up call, to think about preservation. We all know that 10 years from now there will be another operating system completely, so change is inevitable. We can relax, continue to capture our data, and keep focused on the tasks at hand.


WVU New Website WWI
New Online Site for WWI Black Soldiers

A new site is being developed at West Virginia University that will focus on America’s black soldiers of World War I. The program will be based out of Reed College of Media as the university and will be available for use in early 2017. I have two World War I ancestors and a handful of images and am anxious to see what more will be learned from the site when it is up.



A Partial African American Genealogy Calendar for 2016

Are you making plans for the coming New Year? Here is a partial list of major events going on next year, that you can put on your calendar. More will be added over the next several weeks.

February :
Roots Tech,  February 3-6 2016  Salt Lake City UT
Black History Month Genealogy Conference, February 20, 2016     Washington DC

March:  March 17-19th, 2016
California African American Genealogy 30th Anniversary Conference – Los Angeles CA

June: June 3-5, 2016
Southern California Genealogy Jamboree – Burbank CA

July: July 12-14, 2016
Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) – Ft. Wayne IN

September: September 1-3, 2016
International Black Genealogy Summit – Washington DC

October:   October 13-16, 2016
Afro American Historical & Genealogical Society, Arlington VA

Remembering Freedmen’s Town, Houston TX


An interesting article was shared about a community’s effort to preserve the old Freedmen’s Town area. I realize that there are many efforts to preserve the early Black communities that formed after the war.

We should all take the time to study our own ancestral communities, whether large or small cities, the early settlements, churches, schools, and other places settled by newly freed slaves. Much of our history is contained in those historic districts and we need to work to see that they are studied and preserved.


BerniceShow2Don’t forget to tune into last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show, Research at the National Archives and Beyond. Her guest last night was Phyllis Grimes who spoke about her researching the Todd family from Virginia to Kentucky. Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm eastern time on Blog Talk Radio.

African Mexicans Finally to Be Counted in the Census

Afro Mexicans on Census

At last the descendants of slaves from Africa who have lived in Mexico for many years, are finally going to be counted as an ethnic group in the Mexican census forms. Until recent times, everyone was simply identified as Mestisaje, or mestizos. However, finally those of African descents in places like Costa Chica, or Veracruz, or the state of Guerrero will be identified as a separate ethnic class. It is not know whether they will be referred to as Moreno, Afro Mexicano, Negro, or another term, but the movement that has been going on for many years is finally recognizing the fact that there is an  African American population in Mexico.

From my Mailbox:

I received a query recently from someone who wanted to know how to address the fact that a family was found in the 1870 and 1880s census under a name different from the name they used in the 1900s. Were they a separate family, or a side family?

This is an interesting question, and I suggested several approaches in response and can share some of them with you here.

– Study the community pre and post freedom.

– Examine the  Civil War activity in the community where the family?

– How did “freedom” come to the family? Find the family freedom story.

– Study any and all unique records for the state where your family lived? (i.e. Educable children census, or state census?)

-Examine the 1860 slave schedule, noting all of the slave holders from that area, and studied to see how many slaves lived there, and/or how many may have been refugees, and in addition, the size of the slave holders’ slave families.

– Were there any people who were free people of color in 1860 in the same community? Who were they and did they interact with your enslaved family

-What have the cemeteries revealed?

Hopefully some of these suggestions will also assist you as you work to solve problems in 19th century research.

Well, I am winding down for another week. Thank you for your notices, emails and announcements. Have a wonderful week and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on December 4th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


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

I hope you have had a good week of research, and that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, last week. I know that many of your are probably getting involved with early Christmas Season activities. I hope that you are also putting some energy into remembering the spirit of the season as well. The holiday is beyond the issue of gifts, but also of remembering our fellow men and women, and it is a season of joy as well.

By the way I did complete the month of November and the NANOWRIMO experience. I wrote about this process in an article on my blog and about the historical novel that I did end up writing. Completing the 50.000 word limit, they say makes me a NANOWRIMO winner. But beyond that, the hard part lies ahead. Writing and re-writing, and then editing will have to be done. Hopefully I will have it in shape over the next several months, but I know that such things take time.

Nano 2015 Winner Certificate

I must say though that this was an amazing experience, and I am still writing, of course and will be working to polish it for weeks, but at least I got some of the story out of my system. What surprised me was that I stuck with it for the full month. In fact, I ended up finishing before the 30 days was up. I never realized how much of the story I have already told over the eyars,  and how much I really knew. I will be working on it now for the next several months and then I shall then decide what to do to make it readable. So I am happy to share that experience with you.



Ohio Genealogy Society 2016 Conference

Are you planning  next year’s events? This past week I  understand that the Ohio Genealogical Society conference has been shared, and there are quite a few noted African American speakers. Here is the link to the 2016 annual conference. They have quite a few notable speakers and it looks quite promising. I know that many of you are planning next year’s calendar, and the Ohio event is one of the early spring events of the year. I have to certainly give credit to some of the midwestern based genealogy societies. Their events are well planned and well worth attending as well.



Virginia Memory Collections

Some great news was shared this week about the Library of Virginia. There is now an online collection of Free Negro Registers to now be found on their site.  The best way to access them is to go to the LVA site, click on Virginia Memory, then digital collections (first column on left), choose collections by topic, then click on Digitool, then African American Narratives.


All Issues of The Green Book Are Online


Speaking of digital collections, take note that the Green Book, which was a black motorists guide during the years of segregation. Note that all issues are now online and can be viewed from the New York Public Library. This is great news for the curious researcher. But I encourage you to now just look at it—use it! Study your own communities and states. Use Google maps to see what if the old tourist homes are still around, or if the old businesses are still there. There is much opportunity to explore your community of several decades ago, and to get a good glimpse of America from this amazing publication! So be pleased that this is online, but now put it to use in a different way!


Black Newspapers Online

Black Newspapers Online

Some time ago, I mentioned the online site for African American Newspapers. Well I think you may want to explore the library guide to online Black newspapers on the Marist College website. This site provides links to some incredible newspapers, and it links to various websites that host these papers. Some are quite obscure publications and seeing these publications in print is a real treat.



Volume of Virginia Book by Arthur Bunyan Caldwell

Next week I shall speak to you about a remarkable man and a remarkable set of publications. The author is Author Bunyan Caldwell. For a preview, go to the Internet Archives and put in his name and look at the publications that come up. You will find several volumes of books that focus on people of note from the Carolinas, Georgia, West Virginia, and Washington DC. Contained in these books are amazing biographies and some wonderful genealogical data as well. Here is a link to one of his books. His series of books is known as “History of the Negro in America and His Institutions. I shall go into more depth about these works next week.


DNA and African American Genealogy Part 2

Bernice's Logo

Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show featured Shannon Christmas in a fascinating discussion on DNA. Several weeks ago, Mr. Christmas was featured on her show, and he was back for a second part in the ongoing discussion on DNA. His focus was actually “Connecting With Your DNA Relatives”.  As you know, Ms. Bennett’s show airs every Thursday evening at 9:00 pm on Blog Talk Radio.
Well time to wind down. Thank you so much for sharing your information this week. I know that especially during this time of the year, that people are busy and are involved with holiday events, so the fact that you have tuned in again, warms my heart and I appreciate your time. Have a wonderful week, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!