Woodruff brothers learn more about their family history

The journey started about two years ago with a request from another brother's daughter to obtain a death certificate. Every discovery led to a question. It was enough to write a book — something Ron did and just had published. "We started looking deeper," Ron said. "The more we looked, the more we wanted to find out. Before I knew it, I had one notebook, then two, then six ... We found relatives we didn't know we had." Read More … [Read more...]

Genetic tests in regulatory ‘no-man’s land’

Safeguards are not be keeping pace with the pace of genetic testing technology, a Stanford University bioethicist warns. In an interview for the Stanford School of Medicine’s “1:2:1” podcast series, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee says consumers need to be careful before signing up online to find out if they are genetically predisposed to certain diseases or just to discover more about their ancestry. Read More … [Read more...]

Tracing Slave Ancestry Just Got Easier

Host Liane Hansen speaks with George Tyson, president of the Virgin Islands Social History Association, about a comprehensive collection of records from the Caribbean slave trade that went up last week on ancestry.com. The collection comes from the St. Croix African Roots Project, which compiles records to document the population of the island of St. Croix while it was under Danish rule. Read More … [Read more...]

History and faith: Tracing the first black family in America

For 30 years Thelma Williams has spent more time with Anthony and Isabella and their child, William, than she has with many of her living relatives. She sneaks out to libraries to be with them. She searches for them in court records. She smiles at their ghosts as she drives past the old forts and plantations that shaped their lives: Fort Monroe, where they were sold to an English sea captain; Jamestown where William was baptized, Blue Bird Gap Farm where their slave descendants may have lived. Read More … [Read more...]

Nyack professor uncovers history of ex-slave’s success

When she died in 1879, Cynthia Hesdra - a black ex-slave - was worth an estimated $2 million in today's dollars, making her one of the wealthiest people in Rockland at the time. Her story of being among the few black women to accumulate such a fortune in the 1800s has gone largely unrecognized, as her husband, Edward, was in many ways given credit for her achievements. Read More … [Read more...]

Peggy Negro, 22 Years: Who Was She?

Just up the bank from Town Pond in East Hampton’s South End Burying Ground stands a small, brown headstone that reads: Here lies the remains of Peggy Negro Serv. to Capt. Abraham Gardiner Aged 22 years Peggy was almost certainly born into slavery, so it is unusual that she was buried in the South End Cemetery among the Hedges, Mulfords, Gardiners, and East Hampton’s other founding families. Read More … [Read more...]

Ancestry.com Launches One of the Most Comprehensive Collections of Caribbean Slave Records

PROVO, UT--(Marketwire - July 16, 2009) - Ancestry.com, the world's largest online commercial resource for family history, today announced that the company, in collaboration with Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA), is launching a significant online collection of Caribbean slave records detailing nearly 200 years of St. Croix-Virgin Islands history. This unique collection is a product of the St. Croix African Roots Project, initiated in 2002 by VISHA to bring together records that document the population, families and individuals on St. Croix during the period of Danish rule. … [Read more...]

ProQuest Announces ProQuest African American Heritage

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 10, 2009 - ProQuest announces the first digital library resource dedicated to the unique needs of African American genealogical research. Available fall 2009, ProQuest® African American Heritage is a groundbreaking new resource that provides key genealogical and historical records specific to tracing the lives of African Americans. The resource goes further to set itself apart by including a critical set of research and social networking tools that address the common genealogy need for research guidance, personal assistance, and mentoring. Genealogical research for … [Read more...]

Family roots lure many African-Americans back to South

Anita Davenport's curiosity about her family's past began with the photographs that surrounded her. She said she wanted to know the stories behind the images of her parents and uncles. The stories she found -- and shared during several phone conversations from her home in Culver City, California -- parallel the African-American journey during the past century. Read More … [Read more...]

Rare piece of local black history for sale for $68K

The small, stained document is chipped on its edges and weak at its folds, but it represents an important piece of July 4 history concerning an African American man from Georgetown. Dated July 4, 1776, the document is an arrest warrant for Cuffee Dole, a Revolutionary War soldier buried near the center of Union Cemetery in Georgetown. Measuring 6 inches by 8 inches and in good condition, the document is being called the "earliest known manuscript of the modern American era concerning an African American" by the New York auction house that is offering it for $68,500. Read More … [Read more...]