Two Terrific Lectures Rounded Out Our First Year!

“Beyond Ancestry and Family Search: Online Records for African-American Research”: September 25, 2010

Michael Hait, author, columnist, and professional genealogist stunned members of the Central Maryland Chapter of AAHGS when he presented information on the vast array of online resources currently available for researching African American ancestry. Michael provided his perspective on the value of each of the websites presented in terms of the quality of the information and its limitations, geographic areas covered, and effort required to search the data provided on the websites.  Information was also provided on how to find transcriptions of records and blogs on African American research.

After the meeting, each chapter member received via email a list of clickable links to state and national websites with information for African American online research. Members were also provided links to articles with additional information of value on online resources.

“Researching Blended Families: Finding Native American Ancestors in African-American Families”: November 20, 2010

Angela Walton-Raji, noted author of Black Indian Genealogy Research, gave a presentation on some of the challenges in researching blended Native and African American families. Angela has been at the forefront of research on relations between the Five Civilized Tribes and African American slaves for the past two decades. She is a researcher for PBS’ African American Lives 2, a lecturer, blogger, and podcaster. Angela provided numerous examples of resources available for researching blended families, including special Indian census records, the Dawes Rolls, and the Guion Miller Roll. However, she emphasized the importance of initially following the basic research steps and techniques before expanding research to other records.

Angela was born on the border of the Choctaw Nation. She stressed the importance of examining the history, geography, and culture of your ancestral home. Angela shared her vivid recollections of her great grandmother speaking Choctaw, serving sassafras tea, and sharing information about her life in the Choctaw Nation.  Angela provided a handout with the questions that should be asked during oral history interviews and explained how helpful oral history was in tracing her own ancestors. She also provided a list of books for reading more about African and Native American history.

Chapter members provided pictures of ancestors whom they are researching who may have been from blended families. The pictures were placed on display with other examples and information on researching blended families.

For those who attended these lectures, please share through the comments box below what you liked most or what information you learned that was most helpful to you. (More photos can be found under the Tab “Chapter Photos”)


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