Genealogist grasps the family ties

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

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...]

Slave descendant’s genetic quest leads to African apology

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

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

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...]

My granddad, the Bengali peddler: An African-American writer finds her roots

In 1896, almost a century before Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala caused a stir by daring to show a romance between a black man and an Indian woman in the American South, a Muslim Bengali peddler from Hooghly married a black Catholic woman from New Orleans and settled down in that city. There’s no record of how they met or what the neighbours made of them. Shaik Mohammad Musa died in 1919, a few months before his son was born. His widow Tinnie raised their three children as black and Catholic. Their Indian heritage was lost in history. Read More: My granddad, the Bengali peddler: An … [Read more...]

Fordham to Launch Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans

They lie underground, often with no marks to identify them. They’re often interred in out-of-the-way places, hidden from the public. In some cases, their neighbors are the ones they were forced to call “master.” They are deceased American slaves. And Sandra Arnold wants to find them. Arnold, a history student in Fordham’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS), is spearheading the launch of the Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans. Housed in and overseen by the Department of African and African American Studies, where Arnold is also a senior secretary, … [Read more...]