Archives for June 2009

South county resident explores the many branches of her family tree

Elinor Thompson decided about 10 years ago to begin researching her family history. That isn't uncommon. By some accounts, genealogy is the fastest growing hobby, surpassing stamp collecting, quilting and even gardening. But for Elinor Thompson, who is African American, researching her family's history posed some difficult challenges. Read More … [Read more...]

An Index to African-American History becoming a reality in Saratoga County (NY)

During my visit with Jane Meader Nye, volunteer in the Saratoga County Historian’s Office, I was able to see her current project--an Index to African-American History. “It all started with the abolitionists, many of whom have not been identified before”, she said. Read More … [Read more...]

Native and African Americans chronicle history together for first time in Louisiana

In Natchitoches, Louisiana history was made today. The Native American and African American communities were separate communities in the South by design of white oppression. Now, for the first time, they are sharing their histories. Read More … [Read more...]

Black families used south Bibb County cemetery beyond slavery era, DOT finds

It’s perhaps a little ironic that history is coming alive at a graveyard. In south Bibb County near the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, archaeologists have been working since April on behalf of the Georgia Department of Transportation to uncover a cemetery of unmarked graves. Originally, it was thought that the cemetery served as the final resting place only for the slaves who worked on the McArthur family plantation. But Hugh Matternes, a mortuary archaeologist for New South Associates, pointed to recent evidence found at the grave sites — including bits of pottery and a metal coffin handle … [Read more...]

Juneteenth celebrations make a comeback

D.J. Williams and Ralph Cormier each remember Juneteenth celebrations of their childhood. They have both seen the holiday, which celebrates the June 19, 1865, date that slaves were freed in Galveston, go mostly dormant and then make a comeback. Both Williams and Cormier are happy to see the events back in the spotlight. Read More … [Read more...]

Researcher delves into county slave records

“How do you learn about a slave — someone whose imprint on life was so restricted that even their name was excluded from most official registers, such as census records and tax rolls?” It’s a problem for nearly everybody who researches African American genealogy, and Mark Gretchen set out in the county courthouse to document as fully as possible the names of those who lived here and worked as slaves prior to emancipation, and tell bits of their stories as he learned them. Read More … [Read more...]

The ‘master’s name’ question — and a call to action

I do believe that there is genealogical value in the surname of the freedman, just as there is genealogical value in the surname of any other man, of any race or nationality. However, I believe that the value of the surname in identifying the last slaveowner is extremely limited, because my experience has shown that very few slaves used the surname of their last slaveowner. Read More … [Read more...]

Cemetery serves as silent sentinel of black history

Grand qualities have elevated Mount Hope to the National Register of Historic Places, a rare honor for a graveyard. Just off Fayetteville Street south of downtown, it contains a cross-section of Raleigh's black history: Former slaves, barbers, shoemakers, professors and Raleigh's first black mayor rest under Mount Hope's rolling hills. Read More … [Read more...]

Africatown to Become Heritage Community?

A push to make one of Mobile’s, and some would say the nation’s, most historically important communities a registered heritage community could be growing legs among the members of Mobile’s City Council. The Plateau or Africatown community, which lies just three miles north of downtown, is the only area in the country where African-American’s can trace their full heritage, District 2 councilman William Carroll said at the council’s regularly held weekly meeting May 26. Read More … [Read more...]