Angela Y. Walton-Raji on March 27th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Well, I hope you are all doing well. Can you believe it that March is almost gone and April quickly approaches. I am between speaking engagements and last week I had a wonderful time at the Enoch Pratt Library last week. I gave four presentations and everyone was wonderful, great questions and a special thanks to the staff at Enoch Pratt Library at the Southeast Anchor Branch.


I am now preparing to travel to my home state of Arkansas where I will be speaking at the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and I shall address how Freedom came to the enslaved population of that state. My goal is to bring the stories of freedom to the community, and as I always say, “it’s all about the stories.”



Yes, its spring and here in Maryland, that means that it is almost time for the Fairfax County genealogy society conference. It unfolds every spring, and that event always brings a learning experience to those in attendance.


This week in social media quite a few people have been sharing stories from old newspapers. I want to thank Renate Sanders for sharing stories about people once enslaved and how their lives were reflected in the press.


Bernice's Logo

Do you have immigrant ancestors? Perhaps ancestors who came to the US from Cuba, Puerto  Rico, or possibly from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados? Well last night’s guest on Bernice Bennett’s program, was an interesting guest who spoke about Ellis Island? Why? Because many people have a misconception, about names. And contrary to what is believed, “your ancestor’s name was not changed at Ellis Island.” Her guest last night was Kenneth Bravo, who spoke about Ellis Island and immigration records. He also explained how some errors exist in the way a name was indexed, but the name was not changed by people at Ellis Island. Tune in and listen. Her show airs every week on Blog Talk Radio. 


MtLebanonQuilt(courtesy of Regina Spencer)

Congratulations to the members of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Baltimore for the beautiful heritage quilt that was completed. Ms. Regina Spencer, who conducts the Adoptions Forum is very active in a genealogy and heritage effort at her church. She oversaw the project, as she has overseen other interesting heritage projects as well.  You may recall about two years ago, she exposed several young children to an appreciation of history and genealogy as well. Her quilt project involved numerous church members and the eldest participant in the quilt project is 97 years old! Good job Regina!


DrusillasPlayArticle(Article from Daily Press about play produced by genealogist Drusilla Pair.)
Daily Press, June 17, 2014  

Are you incorporating your multiple interests and merging them with genealogy? I know a researcher in Virginia Drusilla Pair has taken her love of writing and history and become a playwright. I marvel at how people have combined their talents and made it work. Another researcher in Maryland is great a crafting, and has started to make family heritage scrapbooks for her family and is now taking orders to reproduce them. I am truly impressed with the talents shown by the genealogy community.



I learned about a wonderful website offering dozens of super newspaper links.
There are over 400 links to historically African American newspapers that are all digitized. Some are single issues, but some are multiple issues. This comes from a University of North Texas website. Amazing publications from church papers to long forgotten local newspapers. The Africo-American Presbyterian newspapers was one of them. In addition to this paper, I even saw a publication from my home state of Arkansas.  Only one volume of this paper, but what a treat to see this publication. There are dozens from Raleigh North Carolina, Carolina, Atlanta, and so many more. Don’t forget to look at the ads in the newspapers, even if you don’t find your own people there. You may be surprised to learn that your ancestors knew the person whose ad caught your eye. Take a look at this site–this is a real gem!


Well I have to wind down and get back into a presentation mode once again, as I will be traveling in about 3 weeks to Little Rock. So thank you for listening, know that you are appreciated for taking time to tune in to me once again. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and always keeps sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on March 20th, 2015

This Week's Pod Cast


Hello and welcome back to the African Roots Podcast! You can always reach me HERE.

Greetings from a snowy Maryland, on the first day of spring! Yes, as spring arrives we are greeted by snow. Thankfully this will be a brief one, and we shall have warmer weather tomorrow.


Well now is the time to register for MAAGI, the Midwest African -American Genealogy institute. This year there is a new track—a Writer’s track. Perhaps you have considered telling your story on paper–well this is the chance.  The tracks are:

Fundamental Methods and Strategies for African American Research
Genealogy Writing From Planning to Publication
Pre & Post Emancipation Era Records
Genealogy As a Profession
So check out the website and I hope that you will consider joining us in St. Louis!



Interested in Native American ancestry? Note that tomorrow at the Enoch Pratt library in Baltimore, an all day session for African and Native American genealogy. I will be the speaker, and I am so excited about the events.

If you cannot make to Baltimore, then try to make the presentations by Melvin Collier who will be presenting at the monthly meeting of the Central MD chapter of AAHGS.


Nicka's Projects

Who is Nicka Smith?
Well, you need to check out the workshops being offered by Nicka Smith and she is offering some interesting classes online. April 7, 9th, 14th, and 16th. These classes provide a good opportunity for beginners to expand their skill set. Her focus on technology is sorely needed. We know that many people come in to genealogy after seeing a number of ads from Ancestry. Well, I encourage to look at Nicka’s workshops.


Last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show was quite interesting. She had a primary scholar of the Lowman family. She has done almost all of the research on the program, and one could get a sense of the actual climate of the state of So. Carolina in the 1920s. The story was testament to the legacy of that family as well. Also a relative of the family was included, and it was a show that makes one think. Our legacy does not begin in tragedy nor does it end there. I was impressed to hear that their legacy and self perception was a strong one, that surpassed the lynching story. Not sure that the primary question of the young man was ever answered on the tv program, but it was fascinating to hear the family voice.

Some of the genealogy entertainment programs are interesting to watch. But as stories of tragedy should be told with compassion and respect. There are relatives who were affected by the tragedy. I watched another show where the story of a teenage mother was told. But though this happened 70 or 80 years ago, there are still relatives who remembered that person and who loved that person. They had not seen their beloved grandmother as a tragic teenaged mother looking for love. I wrote a blog post with more of the genealogy of the family that was never shared on air. I needed to write about the story and about her genealogy that was not shared. I have since heard from two of the lady’s grandchildren and one was a niece, all of whom were surprised and shock when their ancestor’s story was presented.

Genealogy for entertainment programs have to tread cautiously when telling a story and to remember that there are family members. The story was depicted in the national press, finding out about their beloved grandma. Had the producers looked for them? Included them in the story? And was the story of the young mother told with compassion? We are all treading new ground, but the genealogy should include more than just the salacious part of the story.  I do think that listening last night to the show, related to the Lowman family story. We should include the voices of those people involved. And they still feel some of the pain, and their voices deserve to be heard, not just the host of the show.

Well,  time to wind things down on this snowy Friday. I hope that spring comes where you are, and I look forward to warmer days with enthusiasm.

In the mean time, keep researching, keep documenting and please keep sharing what you find.