African Roots Podcast Episode #284 September 12, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


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

Story Corps Booth

This message is for friends in St. Louis: StoryCorps, the ongoing national oral history program has arrived in St. Louis and the mobile booth will be there for the next 30 days or so. They are conducting oral history interviews and I know that they are hoping to have a good number of African Americans involved in the project. As of today they still have a some openings on their schedule. (About 8 open slots are still available right now!) Get your own story told and have it a part of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian’s permanent collections! But if you don’t get on the immediate schedule they expect to have additional openings over the month, as many times people have changes in their schedules. so there is also a waiting list. Get on that list if you can! They have a few slots open for today, so please tell your story! The mobile booth is located at the Missouri History MuseumIf you listen to the local NPR station you will have possibly heard about the project. I just spoke with one of the organizers. Here is more information! Act quickly as the slots are filling fast!


A Georgia Genealogy Society Webinar

I am getting ready for a webinar next week on the 17th of September with the Georgia Genealogy Society. My focus is using databases and search engines to find African American families. I shall focus on how to use the large databases such as the subscription and free sites, and also how to use the African American-specific sites. And included will be some suggestions on how to use search engines to find unique African American data.


Upcoming Events September & October

In the Greater Baltimore Washington area on September 20th there will be a special presentation on African American Newspapers by Tim Pinnick.

Other Fall Genealogy Events:

AAHGS National Conference

Chicago African American Genealogical & Historical Society Annual Conference

Indiana African American Genealogy Group will host Melvin Collier as a speaker also.

As I look toward 2015 things are unfolding. The 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies will hold their annual conference in Salt Lake City in February of 2015. At the same time Roots Tech will be unfolding at the same place at the same time –the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah! I will be attending both conferences, and will be speaking at Roots Tech.

Another event that I might consider attending just to learn, will be the annual institute hosted by the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy that will take place in Texas in March 2015. Note that there are actually two institutes that will unfold during the same week, one for beginners and one for more advanced forensic researchers. Forensic genealogy and DNA are the two areas that I think are the new frontier for genealogical research.


Are you researching the era of slavery? If you are, and if you have been involved in any degree of work pertaining to that era, you might find that last night’s episode of Bernice Bennett’s show will inspire you. Her guest was Konnetta Alexander of Tennessee, who has immersed herself totally in the process of studying the lives of enslaved people, and telling their stories. Some of us remember her presentation at the AAHGS conference of enslaved Matilda telling her story of her life. Her work extends so much more beyond that as well.

Konnetta Alexander

 She spoke about the resources beyond finding the names of enslaved in wills, but she pointed out additional resources that exist for people to document this period in history. This was a very inspiring interview. As you know Bernice Bennett’s show, Research at the National Archives & Beyond, airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.

I strongly suggest listening to this episode, because the dialogue suggested the many possibilities that exist for researchers to take their work in new directions. I also found that the inspiration that emanated from that interview to extend to the greater community. There is possibility for us to consider developing a new curriculum. So many of us are out there with a number of our own initiatives and there are “specialists” in African American genealogy from various places. This is good thing, but there is no standard curriculum. We have a foundation that has already been laid by those who have dared to go in that direction, but perhaps there is a larger need for a standard curriculum to be created, an African American Genealogy Methods Primer is perhaps needed, and I would urge any and all who could undertake such a project to direct such a collaboration, to do so. The time has come.


Call for Presentations

Opportunities for those wishing to present at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree are at hand. The deadline is October 1st, so if you are considering speaking there next year,


Well thank you so much for tuning in for this week’s podcast! I appreciate your time, and I love hearing from all of you, thank you. Have a great week ahead, and remember to keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!



African Roots Podcast Episode #283 September 5th, 2014

This Week's Pod Cast


Contraband Memorial in Alexandria

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

Well the fall season is upon us, and though the weather has not yet changed, events for fall are unfolding, so the next two months are going to be filled with exciting events!

This weekend in Alexandria there will be a series of lectures and events celebrating the heritage of African American. Alexandria will celebrate the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial.  Events actually started on Wednesday the 3rd and will continue through the weekend. Tomorrow there will be a dedication of the new memorial on Washington and Church Street in Alexandria. On Sunday there will be several events scheduled at area churches where descendants from the community will be attending. So if you are in the greater Washington DC area and/or in northern Virginia, you may want to check out these events. I want to thank Char McCargo Bah for sharing this information. As many of you know, Char Bah has been actively researching and working to preserve the African American history of Alexandria for many years.



National Archives Announces Virtual Fair for October!

National Archives Virtual Fair

You have heard me mention the virtual fairs in the past, well the National Archives located in  Washington DC has announced that it will host the third Virtual Genealogy Fair and all of it will be live streamed on the internet. The dates are October 28-30th 2014 online. Everything will be seen live on YouTube as they unfold. The presenters will members of the National Archives staff from around the country, and also from the US Citizen and Naturalization Services.  So tune in on all 3 days. The lectures will interested both beginning and experienced genealogists.


Melvin Collier Announces Lectures 

Photo Courtesy of Melvin Collier

Genealogist and author Melvin Collier has announce his upcoming lectures for October. If you have never heard him speak, then you will be in for a treat. He teaches as he presents and  you will walk away inspired.

He will be speaking at the annual conference of the Chicago African American Genealogical and Historical Society and also at the Indiana African American Genealogy Group’s  annual conference on October 18th. I have had the wonderful experience of having spoken at both of these groups’ annual event, and I know that they should both be great! So if you live in either Chicago, or Indianapolis, I am sure that you will enjoy hearing Melvin Collier.


Author Michael Henderson 

Well if you have wondered sometimes why you spend so much of your time doing research, and what you would like to leave behind, you may want to listen in to Bernice Bennett’s show from last night. Her guest was author Michael Henderson, author of Got Proof! He spoke about the critical need to leave a legacy of your research. You know–we all have relatives who may not share our passion for what we do, and after we leave this world, it is so important to leave a legacy of all of your work. You are doing it for a reason and hopefully one of those reasons is to preserve history! Therefore writing it, sharing it and presenting it for others to access is so important. If you missed last night’s episode of her show, Research at the National Archives and Beyond, then listen to the archived verson. Her show airs every Thursday evening at 9pm on Blog Talk Radio.


African American Father for Vietnamese Woman Sought

I mentioned Brian Hjort a few weeks ago. He is part of an organization providing assistance for persons in Vietnam, hoping to connect with their American fathers. He shared a case with me, and also shared a photo of an African American man with his daughter left behind in Vietman. Interestingly he lives in Denmark and his story is an interesting one in addition to the people he is assisting. His goal is to assist a woman in her 40s in finding her father whose photo appears below. If  you know persons who may be able to assist in this effort you may contact


Indexing Project Continues

Please remember to contribute to the indexing project for the Freedman’s Bureau project! This is a partnership between the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Family Search, to make this critical record set more accessible for researchers and scholars.


Thank you again for listening to this week’s podcast, and thank you for sharing your events as well. In the meantime, keep researching, keep documenting and keep sharing what you find!