I recently took a break from indexing Freedmen’s Bureau records with fellow volunteer members of the African American Genealogy Group and Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society for an interview by Ronda Racha Penrice for the Urban News Service. The article, entitled “Finding Kunta: Black Entrepreneurs Connect the Dots After Roots” highlights Gina Paige, Co-founder & CEO of the DNA testing company African Ancestry, and Genealogy Roadshow Host Kenyatta Berry. This is truly an honor to be included with these high profile visionaries, both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
The re-boot of the Roots story is overdue, since the younger generations may not have have been exposed to this powerful story that launched Genealogy and Family Research into the limelight back in the 70s. It is true that author Alex Haley’s story wasn’t 100% factual, but few can argue the impact it has had on the desire to learn more about one’s ancestors, and the national consciousness about the tragedy and legacy of slavery in America.
I am honored to be participating in the 2016 Historical Society of Pennyslvania Researching Family in Pennsylvania Workshop! My presentation, entitled “Researching African Americans in Pennsylvania will be delivered on Thursday, August 4, 2016 from 10:30-12pm. For more information, visit https://hsp.org/calendar/researching-family-in-pennsylvania.
I am pleased to announce that I am partnering with GirlfriendConnect to deliver a presentation at Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown on June 14. And I’m excited to be on the same workshop program with Gina Paige, President and Co-founder of AfricanAncestry, the largest African American DNA testing company in the country! My brief presentation will cover “What is Genealogy and Why it is Important; Basic Family Research Techniques and Tools; African American Genealogy Challenges and Unique Research Techniques”. Gina will then present “Using DNA to Demystify Roots and Replenish Identities”. DNA kits will be available for purchase and testing can be done on site. (Spoiler alert: you will have an opportunity to receive your results in Bermuda by attending GirlfriendConnect’s Conference in October! See the GirlfriendConnect website home page for Conference details). After the June 14 workshop, Gina and I will be available for follow up questions and a personal meet and greet at the reception.
For workshop registration, visit http://www.girlfriendconnect.com/ai1ec_event/pieces-of-me-identifying-and-connecting-the-pieces-of-who-you-are/.
Family Pearl just completed delivering a six week “Introduction to Genealogy” class to students who were participants in the MS Evening Program at the Inglis House in Philadelphia. Inglis House enables people with disabilities to achieve their goals and live their lives to the fullest. The MS Evening Program is designed specifically for people with MS who are living in the community. The two hour, once a week lessons began in September and ended yesterday, and covered everything from census records to historical newspapers to sources of information, from Ancestry.Com and FamilySearch.Org to Family Tree Maker software and scanners for organizing research electronically, and from African American research challenges to Ellis Island research. The class evolved to a “Genealogy Roadshow” of sorts, as a family tree was created for each of the 5 students, and ancestral charts were printed and distributed at the conclusion of the class. Students, caregivers and Inglis House staff expressed strong interest in family research and gratitude that theirs had been documented formally.
A great source of information for historical family research is old newspapers. There are a number of sources of this information for your reference. One such source is Chronicling America database available through the Library of Congress. “Search America’s historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.” Simply point your browser to http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ and key in your ancestor’s name in the search box!