Angela Y. Walton-Raji on October 28th, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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


Wow October is about to end and the major events are winding down for the year. A quick shout out to friends who are attending the Texas State Genealogy Society Conference this weekend! There is an amazing array of speakers and if your are in Texas then Dallas TX is the pace to be!



Danville Virginia Library Offering Genealogy Presentations


Best wishes to Ressie Luck who will be presenting next week in Danville, Virginia at the Public Library Auditorium on African American Ancestry. Some of us know Ressie through social media. She serves as president of her local chapter of AAHGS, and will be sharing methods of her areas of research.


On November 17th Danielle Pritchett will give a presentation of methods of navigating the Slave Schedules. Now this is a most under-used record, and many times we take a look–see that there are no names, and move on. Well Ms. Pritchett will share what she has learned from using both sets of records (1850 & 1860) and how she was able to glean more information about her enslaved ancestors.

In the Maryland area,  you are invited to attend the genealogy presentation at the Banneker Museum on Saturday October 28, at the Banneker Museum and Recreation center. The session will unfold in the house across the lawn at the Banneker Museum site at 10:30 am. I shall be giving a basic genealogical overview, and then will follow a family’s history into the mid 1800s, as a case study.

For more information click on this LINK.

Georgetown 272 – Descendants of Slaves Sold in 1832 Sought

Have you been following the story of the Georgetown 272? This is an ongoing story of the fallout from the story of a number of people who have learned that they are descendants of 272 enslaved men, women and children who were sold by Jesuit priests to save the university and to expand the university from the proceeds from that sale. A genealogist in Washington state first had her story told in the press several months ago, and since that time there has been an interest in learning more about the descendants of those who were sold. I am happy to also learn that there is an interest in also learning about those who were “left behind” the descendants of those whose families were torn away from them and taken to Louisiana for that sale.

Well—I want to draw your attention as genealogists to an active community of genealogists in social media who are researching, and sharing data about the descendants. There is an extremely active group on social media and if your are on Facebook, simply to to Georgetown 272 Descendants, and join the community. If you believe that you are connected and have ancestors from Maryland, and/or Louisiana, then you may want to explore the history and see if you have a connection to the families. Family trees, dna projects and so much more is being discussed. In addition, there is discussion about the university extending “legacy” admission status to those who can prove ties to the 272 who were taken south to Louisiana.

If you have ties to southern Maryland—St. Mary’s County in particular, and have the following surnames, the Georgetown University 272 project may be interested in connecting with you. They are seeking descendants of the 272 slaves sold in the 1830s to Louisiana. Note that many families were split before the slaves were taken south, and some who remain in Maryland, are among those whose relatives were taken and sold. The surnames are:

— They are seeking persons from Maryland and Louisiana, who have one or more of the following last names (the more the better!):
Barnes/(Barney), Blacklock,Blair, Brown, Butler, Campbell, Contee, Coyles, Cremble, Cutchmore (Kercheman), Digges (Diggs, Digs), Dorsey (Dorsy) Eaglin, Ford, Gough, Greenlief (Greenleaf, Green), Hall, Harris, Harrison, Hawkins, Hill, Johnson, Jones, Kelly, Langley, Mahoney, Merick (Merrick), Noland (Nolanty), Plowden, Queen, Riley, Scott, Sweeton/(Sweden), Ware, West, Wilton,Yorkshire

If there is  a connection—join the FB group and someone should be able to assist you.



Did you catch any of the National Archives Virtual Fair this week? The National Archives hosted an online virtual fair for two days with live video streaming coming from several of the branches of the National Archives. The classes allowed questions from viewers, and will still take questions about their collections. I was able to catch several of the video presentations and actually plan to re-watch two of them. I think that this is great way to learn more about the holdings, but in addition, it is also a wonderful way to understand what some of the records actually contain. You can catch archived versions of this year’s presentations HERE.



How many of your are out there planning to write that book on your family history? Some may be interested in writing the story of the ancestral families, others may wish to write the story of the research journey and others may have an interest in simply writing about a community–the place that became the backdrop where the ancestral story played out. Whatever your interest–you may want to think about watching last night’s webinar on writing hosted by the writing coach, Anita Henderson. There is a special online site that she created called, the Genealogist’s Writing Room, where you can get some special assistance in producing that long desired book sitting in the corner of your mind and trying to get on paper. More information can be found HERE. And if you missed last night’s discussion, you may do so HERE.


A final word about writing and getting your story out and on paper. There is much to write about, the more you are able to conduct research. The challenge for many is simply to get started! If you have already begun the research–the question is–what are you now going to do with what you have learned? Also what story is the most unique story to tell? The story of your research journey? The data itself? The revelations in what you have found? There are many approaches to writing—but you must first understand the urgency. You may find yourself talking about writing, yet never picking up the pen. And sometimes, you will find that others will listen to you and then realize that they can also tell the story. But we all know that we are the owner’s of our own narrative, and as a result, we are responsible for telling it ourselves.

To get started–just start a small blog. Make it private if you wish–but start writing–get some of the story out there. After a few days or weeks–share it with someone. Join a community of others who write and blog. With time,  you will realize that your blog has its own life and its own dimension in your life and writing will become a natural outlet for you. That is the beginning. Trust me–there are readers who are waiting for you.

MAAGI Writing Track Brings Historical Fiction Author

Well next week registration will open for MAAGI- the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute. If you are a beginner, or interested in DNA, the Pre/Post Slavery period, or in writing, then take a look at MAAGI 2017. July 11-13th 2017 at the Genealogy Center in Ft. Wayne Indiana, MAAGI will offer you 12 classes in each track from which you will be immersed for 3 intense days of learning, and growing.


And for the first time, the writer’s track will be featuring Beverly Jenkins the award winning historical fiction writer. The author who brought us Indigo, and so much more! On November 1st save your seat for MAAGI – The Teaching Institute!


Time to wind things down for this week. Thank you all for your time, and thank you for sharing some of your events and thoughts with me this week. We are all busy and there are many options for you. Your spending a few moments with me is truly appreciated. Don’t forget to turn your clocks back this weekend! In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting, and keep sharing what you find!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji on October 21st, 2016

This Week's Pod Cast


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

It’s good to be back home again, and last week I was broadcasting from Atlanta. I was there for a AfriGeneas staff meeting, and also for the 37th Annual AAHGS Conference. It was great seeing friends from New  York, California, Utah, Arkansas, Illinois and points beyond But coming home is always great!

Now that the conference is over, just wanted to give a shout out to colleagues from Black Pro Gen LIVE, a group of genealogists both African and Latino who get together and talk and share ideas and thoughts with each other. Last week’s discussion was particularly poignant discussion opportunity, inclusion, diversity and so much more. Join the group at Black Pro Gen LIVE.


Early Black Marriage Index of Kentucky Now Available

Coming out of Kentucky last weekend, was the news that some early African American marriages of Fayettte County Kentucky are now available online. Information coming out of the University of Kentucky says: “Over the summer of 2016, the Special Collections Research Center at University of Kentucky Libraries and the Fayette County Clerk’s Office developed a pilot project that will provide online access to the Colored Marriage Indexes dated 1866-1882 and 1958-1968. The purpose of the project is to provide researchers with greater online access to early primary documents pertaining to African Americans in Kentucky. “



Slaves at Mt. Vernon Featured in New Exhibit
Those once enslaved by the first President George Washington, are now featured in a new exhibit coming from Mt. Vernon. The exhibit is called “Lives Bound Together: Slavery At Mt. Vernon”
The intention is to humanize those left unmentioned, ignored and dehumanized for centuries. This exhibit brings to life their stories and their lives, as they were toiling on the estate of George and Martha Washington. This exhibit will highlight their lives, their work and put the names of those enslaved by General Washington, back on the estate where they worked. It took several  years for this project to unfold, and 19 of the 300 plus people will be featured in this new exhibition.


Portsmouth Virginia’s Black History Highlighted in New Exhibit


I was happy to hear about a new exhibit coming out of Portsmouth Virginia that will highlight the Black Business history of that city. We are talking about the businesses that thrived in the city of Portsmouth. There was a street called Effingham, and that was where the black businesses thrived. The exhibit will last through November, and will reopen in 2017 and will then last until 2018.


Yale Divinity School Honors First Black Student who Attended in 1830’s


An interesting story is coming out of New Haven Connecticut at Yale School of Divinity. The school will now honor James Pennington who was the first person of color to attend Yale. Of course it was not a good experience, but he still took what morsels of teaching that they tossed to him. He was not allowed to sit among other students, he was not allowed to speak in class and he was not allowed to borrow books from the library. But her persevered and then went on to become a pastor, a leading abolitionist and educator. They are now going to name one of the larger classrooms for him, and honor his presence. He is no longer going to reside in the shadows of the university’s past, and he will be honored. They finally honored a man whom they dishonored while there.


Have you heard the story of the Black Russian? Does the name Fyodor Fyodorovich Tomas ring a bell? Or does the name Frederick Bruce Thomas ring a bell with you? Well—last night on Bernice Bennett’s show we got to hear the story of such a man– Frederick Bruce Thomas of Coahoma Mississippi who became a wealthy man, who moved to Russia, and who had an amazing life! The story unfolded through her guest Vladimir Alexondrov who is the author of the book about Thomas. It is an amazing story and one that captured everyone’s attention who heard the show. There are most likely other stories that are similar out there–our task is simply to find them and to tell them. Her show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.


Looking ahead—

-Smithsonian will open the Genealogy Center at the Smithsonian NMAAHC.

-Family Search is uploading even more Freedmen’s Bureau documents.

-If you live in Maryland you are invited to attend a lecture at the Benjamin Bannekar Museum next Saturday, October 29th at the Museum and Park site in Oella Maryland, a part of Catonsville. Time is from 10:00 to 2:00 pm across the lawn at the historic house on the grounds

I want to thank you all for sharing your data and events with me. Thank you for your time and thank you for just being you. I appreciate you all. In the meantime, please remember to keep researching, keep documenting and always–keep sharing what you find.