Genealogist grasps the family ties

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Life has sent Monica Bailey on all sorts of journeys. Bailey, 48, recalled first hearing about family journeys when she was growing up. “I would spend summers in east Texas with my grandparents,” she said. “He was a pastor and she had a day care incorporated in the church. She was a pianist and musician. They were strong role models in life, what God expects from a godly family.” She recalled family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas, “when mothers, sisters and brothers would come together.” “I’d sit in the background and hear of their old … [Read more...]

Montpelier Slave Descendants Meet

There’s an unusual reunion planned this weekend at the home of James and Dolly Madison.  About forty descendants of slaves will visit from around the nation to help administrators tell the story of enslaved families at Montpelier. Slaves were the first people to live at Montpelier – clearing the land and building a house in 1723.  Over the next eighty years, the population of enslaved people would rise to 120, yet Education Director Christian Cotz says you wouldn’t know they were there. “What we see today when we drive up the driveway is that … [Read more...]

South Louisiana researcher seeks to preserve records of the slavery era

It is impossible for descendants of African-American slaves to research their family history without encountering the harsh reality their ancestors experienced, a local researcher said. For instance, looking through the kinds of records others might consult when doing genealogy work — such as birth and death certificates, newspaper obituaries and the like — may offer little help. That's because during the time the institution was in place, slaves were considered property under the law, said Patricia Whitney, executive director of the Bayou History … [Read more...]

LDS Church Making Strides Preserving African Family Histories

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Genealogy experts are experiencing a race against time in Sub-Saharan Africa; an area that spans 36 countries. There is an urgency to collect oral interviews of African genealogy because family historians are aging and some are dying before those histories can be recorded. Dr. Osei-Agyemang Bonsu, an area manager for the Church’s FamilySearch International, is working hard to preserve family history in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has spent the past five years working with a team of contractors to record the histories and take pictures of the elderly family historians he called … [Read more...]

Native American Tribe Finds Slave Cemetery in Little Rock

A group with Arkansas connections says an unmarked slave cemetery has been discovered in Pulaski County on its newly purchased property. The cemetery has been found on a 160-acre plot of land near the Little Rock Port Authority on Thibault Rd. that was recently bought by the Quapaw Tribe to preserve its history. "It's a very important piece of land to us. It's part of our original reservation," says business chairman John Berrey. Berrey says the site is where the group called home before being forced to move to Oklahoma in the 1800's. Read More: Native American Tribe … [Read more...]

The slaves who sued for freedom

I n New England, suits by enslaved African-Americans date back to Colonial times. The cases were frequently based on a slave’s claim of white or Native American parentage. But as revolutionary ideals took hold in the 1770s and ’80s, many enslaved plaintiffs began to mount more ambitious arguments that all people, black or white, had a “natural right” to freedom. That was the basis of a successful lawsuit involving a black man named Quock Walker, who won his freedom in 1781. The man who considered himself Walker’s owner appealed to the Supreme Judicial … [Read more...]

Slave descendant’s genetic quest leads to African apology

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African-American businessman William Holland's ancestors were subjected to slavery in Virginia — but they were handed over into slavery by Africans. Now a descendant of those tribespeople has issued a formal apology to Holland for his ancestors' role in the 18th-century slave trade. The head chieftain for the Cameroonian town of Bakou, Ngako Ngalatchui, told NBC News that he signed the statement on Saturday. "We are sorry and issue an official apology for our involvement and the involvement of our ancestors in the horrible institution of transatlantic … [Read more...]

Discovery spurs family history

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Elvie Barlow was rummaging through some of his grandmother’s belongings some 20 years ago when he came upon a document that would change his life forever. #African-American family is in its eighth generation of owning southeast Dougherty County farm. #“My grandmother was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s at the time, and she was always going through these papers,” Barlow, an environmental scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency and a graduate of Albany State University, said. “There was one piece of paper in her belongings that spoke to … [Read more...]

Mississippi rebel’s descendants seek family facts

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One hundred and fifty years have passed since the Civil War, but in Mississippi, the descendants of a legendary rebel are still separating the facts of his life from fiction. Newton Knight, a white farmer from central Mississippi’s Jones County, rebelled against the Confederate Army. He spent years evading capture, living in swamps and the Piney Woods. He married a white woman named Serena and later moved in with a former slave named Rachel. She was owned by Knight’s family and carried their surname, and she had helped him during his days dodging the Confederate … [Read more...]

WHS presents African-American genealogy conference: Looking For A Home June 21 & 22

African-American Genealogy Conference: Looking for a Home Experience a two-day adventure into African-American genealogy, featuring internationally known genealogist, author and lecturer, Tony Burroughs. African-American Genealogy Conference: Looking for a Home will be held June 21-22 at the Pyle Center in Madison. View or download a flier describing the African-American genealogical resources available at the Wisconsin Historical Society (PDF 141 KB). The featured speaker, Tony Burroughs, taught at Chicago State University. His book, “Black Roots: A … [Read more...]