Ms. Barnes has been active in genealogical research since 1995. Her research has leaned toward oral history in recent years. As older members of her family have passed on she has realized the importance of making sure their memories and experiences are not lost to future generations.
Mr. Murphy is an educator, historian, noted public speaker and award-winning author of several historical publications, and is currently the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society's National Vice President for History. He has presented throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. Ric has served in elected and appointed positions within federal, state and local governments, and has taught and lectured at the post-secondary level. He has served as Chairman of the Board of several private and community based organizations; on numerous national, local and not-for-profit Boards of Directors; on countless Advisory Boards to community-based organizations and not-for-profits; and has received numerous national awards for his public activism and community work. His family lineage dates to the earliest colonial periods of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and of Jamestown, Virginia. Mr. Murphy’s lineage has been evaluated and accepted by several heredity societies, including the Daughters of the American Revolution; the National Society of the Sons of Colonial New England; the Sons of the American Revolution; the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War; and the Sons and Daughters of the U. S. Middle Passage.
A resident of Northern Virginia, Amy Bertsch specializes in local history, African American history and the history of the American South. She has worked for the City of Alexandria for more than 20 years, including five years with the Office of Historic Alexandria which manages the city’s museums, historic sites, archaeology program, and archives. She is active with the Historic Preservation and Public History program at Northern Virginia Community College where she is an adjunct instructor. Amy has a B.A. in foreign languages from West Virginia University and an M.A. in history from Sam Houston State University.
Who Were "Felix Richards Slaves"? Identifying Enslaved People Photographed Near Alexandria, Virginia
Ms. Bransom is a retired teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She has been researching African Americans in southwestern Pennsylvania since 1984. In 2012 and 2013, she published 15 books on African American deaths found in the Pittsburgh Courier Newspaper. More recently she published two books: African American Deaths in the “Afro-American Notes” of the Pittsburgh Press and “African-American Marriages in the “Afro-American Notes” of the Pittsburgh Press. She also has 10 more books on African American obituaries found in the Brownsville Telegraph and the Canonsburg Notes newspapers ready for publication. Ms. Bransom is the president of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society, Pittsburgh Chapter and has lectured throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.
Slavery and the Underground Railroad in Fayette, Greene, and Washington Counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania
Mr. Bubb is a lecturer for the Human Development and Family Studies Department and affiliated faculty for the Office of University Writing at Auburn University. He is also an American Psychological Association Wilbert McKeachie Teaching Excellence award recipient. Robert is a member of AAGHS and the California Genealogical Society. He currently works with the Center for the Arts and Humanities, Camptown Cemetery Association, Auburn Cemetery Advisory Board, the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission, and Auburn University students to document the forgotten narratives of those interred at historic African American cemeteries.
Ms. Green is a retired research chemist and teacher who is now applying her research skills to uncover her family’s history and genealogy and teach others how to do theirs too. She has a B.A. in chemistry from Hampton University and an M.A. in Secondary Teaching from Wilmington University. She is the author of the state genealogy resource sheets that have appeared in multiple issues of the AAHGS Newsletter. She currently serves as President of the Delaware Chapter of AAHGS and holds memberships in the Northumberland County Historical Society and the Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society.
Mr. Henry is a part-time Information Security Consultant, Professional Genealogist, and Adjunct Faculty Professor. After retirement from Vanguard in 2013, he created a Business & Technology Consulting LLC, and a genealogy based business (Family Pearl). He is a member of both the Family Quest AAHGS chapter, and the African American Genealogy Group.
Dr. Lovelace has 30+ years of experience in genealogical research as well as completing academic work in the area (certificate program in genealogy at Boston University). She has presented throughout North America on health, women’s and ethnic minority genealogy, as well as research methodology.
Ms. Burney has spent almost 30 years doing genealogy research. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and Founder of The Roots Exchange and Education Society (TREES). She has researched many areas of genealogy but her primary areas of interest are the Civil War and the Antebellum South. As an instructor, she has taught classes on Beginning Genealogy, Slave Research, The Great Migration, Texas and Louisiana Research, Digital Scrapbooking, Oral History, Using Genealogy to Plan your Family Reunion, Census Records, Writing Your Family History, Ancestor Forums and many more. She has taught many classes for multiple organizations and venues including the Elk Grove Adult Community Education Center, Sacramento Public Library, FamilySearch Library, National Genealogical Society Conference and the International Black Genealogy Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah and Washington, D.C. Karen has traced her own family back 7-8 generations to the slavery era and helped many other reconnect to their lost ancestors. Although her genealogical journey still continues, she is happy to have reunited with so many of her ancestors and vows to do everything in her power to pass on the information to future generations and to help others reconnect with their forgotten family heroes. She created and maintains two Blogsites and Facebook pages for Louisiana Lineage Legacies and The Roots Exchange and Education Society (TREES). The goal of both sites is to provide a resource and forum where people can learn, share and network with others tracing their ancestry.
Cherie Bush has been with FamilySearch since 1994. She has been a marketing manager, a reference consultant in the Family History Library and trainer- including creating content and lesson plans. Currently she is a Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer with the assignment of library outreach. She has a degree in business with a minor in marketing. She currently serves as a board member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She has served and currently serves on several library and genealogical committees.
Subscription websites are great and have many offerings, but can be expensive. However, many free websites are available for family history research. These free websites can be a robust and an incredible resource for beginning and advancing genealogical research. An overview of some of these websites will be introduced or act as a reminder of resources available.
Shannon Christmas, a nationally recognized expert in the field of genetic genealogy, specializes in genetic, colonial American, and African-American genealogy in Virginia and the Carolinas. He serves as a 23andMe Ancestry Ambassador, administrator of The Captain Thomas Graves of Jamestown Autosomal DNA Project, and as a co-administrator of The Hemings-Jefferson-Wayles-Eppes Autosomal DNA Project. Shannon uses autosomal DNA to verify and extend pedigrees, assess the veracity of oral history, and reconstruct ancestral genomes. Shannon serves on the faculty of The Midwest African American Genealogical Institute. Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An interactive question and answer period will follow the presentation.will discuss the types of DNA tests that are available to family historians, how these test may be used for genealogical purposes, and new trends in the field. His presentation will be of interest to those new to DNA testing as well as to experienced DNA testers. An interactive question and answer period will follow the presentation.
Michael Coard, a criminal defense attorney with more than 25 years of state and federal trial experience, specializes in murder cases and worked at the Charles W. Bowser Law Center after serving as Legal Counsel for State Senator Hardy Williams.
A graduate of Cheyney University, Coard received his law degree from Ohio State University (OSU). Among his service to the community while at OSU, Coard served as the as president of the Black Law Students Association; as well as led the activism that helped compelled OSU the largest university in America to divest all of its funds from companies doing business with or in apartheid governed South Africa.
Currently an adjunct professor in the African Studies Department at Temple University and volunteer instructor of Criminal Justice in the university’s Pan African Studies Program, Coard is certified by the Court of Common Pleas to represent indigent defendants in death penalty cases; served as local co-counsel for the historic Mumia Abu-Jamal case, whose death sentence was vacated. Moreover, nearly half of his criminal cases in general are pro bono. Coard is a recipient of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award as well as both the NAACP’s and the Barristers Association’s prestigious Cecil B. Moore Award. He is a past recipient of Cheyney University Alumni Association’s Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award.
As a community activist, he is a founding member of Avenging the Ancestors Coalition (ATAC). ATAC is the organization that helped lead the historic and successful battle to force the federal government to agree to commemorate the African descendants enslaved by President George Washington at America’s first “White House,” which was located at the current site of the new Liberty Bell Center. And as a member of the Friends of Bethel Burying Ground, he is working with activists to have that South Philadelphia cemetery-where the remains of more than 8,000 African-Americans from the 1800's are desecrated under a trash dump and city playground- officially memorialized.
He has served as a Pennsylvania board member of the ACLU, the Philadelphia chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and as a member of the Occupy Philadelphia Legal Defense Team and the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
A founding member of Judging The Judges as well as “F(ilm) The Police.” Coard serves as one of the attorneys for Heeding Cheyney’s Call (a coalition of Cheyney University supporters who are using the federal courts in a major civil rights battle to compel the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to end its decades-long racial discrimination against the oldest African-American institution of higher learning in America). Finally, Coard hosts the “Radio Courtroom” show on WURD 96.1-FM and the “TV Courtroom” show on Comcast/Verizon. He also writes columns for the Philadelphia Tribune (the oldest continuous Black newspaper in America) and the Philadelphia Magazine.
A native of Georgia, Tiffany Hilson is a family history enthusiast who began her genealogy journey as a teenager as her curiosity about her family led her on a quest to compile a comprehensive family history for her family. As Madam Ancestry, her mission is “Connecting families one ancestor at a time” as she blogs and helps others on their quest to learn their family history . Tiffany is a member of the local and national chapters of AAHGS (Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society) where she currently serves as the Social Media Manager. You can follow and connect with Tiffany by following her on Instagram Facebook and Twitter or subscribing to her blog; you can also check out her website www.madamancestry.com. And don’t forget to also follow and connect with AAHGS on Facebook and Twitter!
Social media is a powerful tool that is used every day. It is a means by which we can instantly connect with people all over the world at the click of a button. We are able to share every aspect of our lives from photos, likes and dislikes, milestones – and even genealogy!
Using genealogy for social media has catapulted our access to certain information and has allowed for some remarkable discoveries. Knowing how to navigate through social media platforms will help broaden your understanding of how to connect your genealogy and learn how to network with others online in the genealogy community. Let's get to work!
Ms. Jerrido is the part-time archivist at Mother Bethel AME Church where she has worked since 2008. Previously she was Archivist and Director of the Urban Archives, in the Temple University Libraries, for 17 years. She has conducted workshops on how to preserve historical materials, lead discussion groups on forming an archives, and participated in panels and workshops on how to conduct oral histories to the PA Genealogical Society and African American Genealogy Group.
Archaeologist Dr. LaRoche is the Principal Investigator for the Hampton Ethnographic and Assessment Project for the National Park Service and the University of Maryland. The project she is leading is responsible for recovering genealogical and biographical resources pertaining to more than 300 people enslaved at the Maryland plantation site. She served as the Project Historian for the Cultural Expressions exhibition for the Smithsonian’s newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She has consulted for numerous museums, historic sites, and archaeological projects including the African American Museum in Boston, the President’s House in Philadelphia, and the African Burial Ground in New York City. On multiple occasions, she has contributed to the study of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad sites for the National Park Service. She has researched and mapped African American historical sites and the Underground Railroad for the past seventeen years and has traveled across the country, from Canada and New England to the Mississippi River and beyond, researching, physically exploring and writing about 18th and 19th century Black landscapes, churches, cemeteries and institutions. Dr. LaRoche is in the Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park. The Society for Historical Archaeology awarded LaRoche the John L. Cotter Award for her exemplary work in bringing a multidisciplinary approach to the study of African American archaeology. Her first book is Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance.
Dr. Whatley Matabane is AAHGS Director of Publications, professor emerita of Howard University, and ordained elder in AME Church. She has been her family’s genealogist-historian for over 30 years and has traced her family roots in slavery into the mid-18th century. As a scholar, she published research on media, race, and culture; and produced documentary films. She also belongs to the National Genealogical Society, Georgia Genealogical Society and the Muscogee County, GA Historical Society.
Dr. McDowell is an associate professor of accounting at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. She is co-founder, charter member, and President of Sons & Daughters of the United States Middle Passage (SDUSMP). Dr. McDowell commitment to the documentation and original research of African American family lines is the embodiment of acknowledging and recognizing the importance of African American genealogical research, documentation and certification – each important pillars in our community in understanding who we are as a people, and to our history. SDUSMP is a member of NJ-AAHGS. Dr. McDowell is a member of the Princeton chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Richard Sears Walling is an independent scholar specializing in Native American and African American history and genealogy. A graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Urban Planning, he has consulted for local and state governments, Native American tribes, organizations and individuals. Mr. Walling’s recent work includes the story of the tragic forced removal of African Americans from the New Jersey/New York region to remote plantations in the Deep South in the early 19th century. His current projects include a documentary about the Van Wickle Slave Ring, and also a film on the famed Harlem Hellfighters.
“Sold down the river” is an expression describing betrayal and exploitation. It is deeply rooted in America’s past, when African Americans were literally sold south into the maw of cruel slavery. In 1818, nearly one hundred local blacks were illegally and forcibly taken from New Jersey through the actions of a local judge and his wealthy relatives. This is the story of that abominable trade.
The Gradual Abolition Act of 1804 was intended as a pragmatic method of ending slavery in New Jersey. Changing conditions in the United States however, led to illegal exploitation of the law intended to protect New Jersey’s black residents. With convergence of several factors, including the end of the transatlantic slave trade, the opening of new lands in Louisiana and Mississippi and the development of the cotton-gin, demand for slave labor in the Deep South exploded. All across the Border States and into the Northeast, kidnappers and slave dealers sought new souls to be sold south.
Mr. McLaughlin is retired from 42 years as a spacecraft designer for General Electric and then Lockheed Martin Space Systems, McLaughlin served in the U.S. Army, Second Infantry Division. A genealogist, local historian, an advocate for veterans, he researched the military and pension records of United States Colored Troops buried at Philadelphia National Cemetery and pioneered the development of the storyboard dedicated at the cemetery.
Joyce Mosley has over thirty years of employee benefit management experience with two global chemical organizations, an international consulting firm and an international retailer. She specialized in employee benefit design and administration, compensation, compliance and was the director of the corporate HR Shared Services.
The job of family historian was passed down to Joyce over ten years ago. Her family is one of the founding families of Cheltenham Township just outside Philadelphia. They are also among the first families of Philadelphia. Morrey/Montier/Bustill families are also among the founding families of several African American churches in Philadelphia and the surrounding neighborhoods including the historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, founded in 1792 as the first black Episcopal Church in the USA. She can trace her family history to 1600 and the first mayor of Philadelphia, Humphrey Morrey, and to Samuel Bustill, deputy registrar of the Province of West New Jersey and mentioned in the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
Her family history is the history of African Americans beginning before the Revolutionary War in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Inclusive of
Cyrus Bustill (1732 – 1806) manumitted in 1769 and served George Washington's troops as a baker.
David Bustill Bowser (January 16, 1820, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – June 30, 1900, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was an African-American ornamental artist and portraitist.
Joseph Cassey Bustill was born in Philadelphia in 1822. He worked as a school teacher.
Charles Hicks Bustill (1816–1890), was also a teacher and became prominent in the Underground Railroad.
Gertrude Bustill Mossell, (1855-1948) after graduating from Robert Vaux Grammar School, she taught school for several years in Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.
Paul LeRoy Robeson, (1898 – 1976) was an American bass baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism.
"Familytreegirl" of MI residing in central VA researching African-American & European lines. Member of AAHGS, Coodinator and Instructor at MAAGI & Membership Chair of the DAR Jack Jouett Chapter in Charlottesville. She holds memberships with NGS, APG & historical societies & genealogy groups. Murphy presents at local & national conferences presenting problem-solving methodology lectures using her "So What" principles. Shelley's blog is familytreegirl.com & tagline is “Know your roots, they are long and strong.”
Ms. Nelson is a Historical Investigator, Writer, and Public Speaker. She launched a company called History Quest to focus on her one true passion: the investigative work of unknown histories. She is an award-winning journalist authoring investigative feature articles and more than 600 columns entitled "Buried Truth" and "Zann's Place." In addition to the array of pursuits mentioned above, her background includes a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University; 12 years as director of the Culpeper Museum, 12 years as a full-time volunteer with the National Park Service and 6 years as president of the Civil War preservation group, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield. Zann’s current pursuit: Historic Investigator: James Madison and the Louisiana 16: Discovering their identities and Connecting the Living Descendants; Historic Investigator: discovered the identities of several dozen former slaves in a North Carolina county; Historic Investigator: developed by Virginia county, lists of hundreds of people of color predominantly former slaves who enlisted in the United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War ….and Director: established and implemented the African American Descendants’ Project for James Madison’s Montpelier Foundation.
Dr. Ione Dugger Vargus is Professor Emerita of Temple University where she broke new ground as the first African-American ever to hold the title of academic dean in Temple’s history. In addition to her roles as Acting Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Presidential Fellow, Dr. Vargus served as the Dean of the School of Social Administration for 13 years. It was a combination of her graduate studies and experience as a social worker in Chicago and Boston that inspired her lifelong commitment to strengthening families and promoting reunions as a way to enhance identity, self esteem and family values. Guided by that calling, Dr. Vargus founded the Family Reunion Institute at Temple University in 1990. Since then, she has become a nationally acclaimed authority on reunions and their role in sustaining spiritual and cultural vitality in our families and communities. Dr. Vargus has been interviewed or quoted by nearly 400 national and local publications and has appeared on a variety of radio, television and online shows. For 17 years she, and a skillful team of volunteers, produced a national conference on family reunions, drawing hundreds of attendees from all over the country. It is no wonder that she is widely and affectionately known as “The Mother of Family Reunions”.
Adrienne G. Whaley is a genealogy enthusiast and history lover who currently serves as President of the African American Genealogy Group (Philadelphia) and coordinator of their volunteer project with Philadelphia’s historic Eden Cemetery. Adrienne earned her Bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and her Master’s in Education. She is the Manager of School Programs and Partnerships at the Museum of the American Revolution, and formerly served as Curator of Education and Public Programming at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Her roots include a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Alabama coal miners, Ohio steelworkers, and lots of Georgia farmers.
Allison Dorsey, Ph.D., Professor of History at Swarthmore College previously served on the faculty of Hamilton College and Oberlin College. Dr. Dorsey also served as a Research Fellow at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University. In 2006, she completed an NEH Summer Seminar on the Black Freedom Struggle at Harvard University. In addition to numerous invited lectures and presentations, Dr. Dorsey has also taught the history of Reconstruction era black freedmen in two NEH Landmarks in American History Workshops sponsored by the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah and an NEH Summer Seminar organized by University of South Carolina Beaufort. Her academic interests include African American, African American women, civil rights, and food history.
Dr. Dorsey is the author of "The great cry of our people is land! Black Settlement and Community Development on Ossabaw Island, Georgia, 1865-1900," published in The Atlantic World and African American Life and Culture in the Georgia Lowcountry (University of Georgia Press, 2010); "Black History is American History: Teaching African American History in the 21st Century," Journal of American History (2007); To Build Our Lives Together: Community Formation in Black Atlanta, 1875-1906 (University of Georgia Press, 2004); and "'white girls' and 'STRONG BLACK WOMEN': Reflections of a Decade of Teaching at PWIs," published in Feminist Pedagogies for the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2002).
Dr. Dorsey was Founding Director of the Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program (S3P) from 2014 to 2017. Dr. Dorsey has returned to research on black freedmen along the Georgia seacoast.
Dr. Dorsey received her M.A. and her Ph.D. in American History from the University of California, Irvine. She and her husband of more than 37 years, Brian Ward, make their home in Swarthmore.
Dr. Samuel T. Livingston is Associate Professor and Director of the African American Studies Program at Morehouse College. He is a native of the North Santee community of Georgetown SC, an area rich in Gullah culture and history. He earned his doctorate in 1998 at Temple University in African American Studies focusing on Africana resistance movements. His research focuses on African Diasporic resistance movements and their uses of African cultural traditions. His research has examined the influence of the Nation of Islam on Hip Hop culture, as well as, inter alia, African sources of African American liberation ideologies and philosophies from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
THIS PRESENTATION RECASTS AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY TOWARDS A LONGER AFRICAN DIASPORA-ORIENTED HISTORICAL CONTEXT BY ARGUING THAT Contrary to Anglo-centric scholarship of many noted historians, including e.g., Ira Berlin, African American history does not begin in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. Ninety-three years Before those 20 twenty some odd Negroes were traded for food at Point Comfort, 100 Africans plotted a slave rebellion to initiate a tradition of resistance that culminated with the participation of nearly 200,000 Black soldiers defeating slavery in 1865.
Lawrence Livingston, Ph.D.
After training at Harvard, Williams pursued a successful legal career that included time in the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York. She then returned to graduate school at Yale to work on African American history and to foster her love of teaching. Since receiving her Ph.D. in 2002, she has established herself as one of the top scholars specializing in the study of slavery and African American history in the 18th and 19th century American South. Her book Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom won the Lillian Smith Book Award 2006 of the Southern Regional Council; American Educational Research Association New Scholar’s Book Award 2005-2006; George A. and Jeanne S. DeLong Book Prize for 2005, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing; Honor Book 2006, Black Caucus of the American Library Association; and, Honorable Mention 2006, History of Education Society Book Prize. Williams was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2007, after only three years in rank.
Her 2012 book, Help Me Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, is an innovative history of the individual, familial, and communal pain that resulted from forced separations of black families, charting their grief and sense of loss, as well as their resilience and hope. She was promoted to full professor after that book. Her most recent book, American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction, will be published by Oxford University Press this fall. She also received a prestigious Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship for her current project on Jamaican immigration to the United States.
My name is Judy Russell. I’m a genealogist with a law degree, and my purpose at The Legal Genealogist is, in part, to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history.
I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years before my retirement in 2014, I was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. I’m a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on my mother’s side (from Virginia to Texas and just about everywhere in between!) and entirely in Germany on my father’s side.
I’ve spent the last decade learning my trade as a genealogist, and hold credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM from the Board for Certification of Genealogists® where I currently serve as a member of the Board of Trustees.
I’m a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and, among others, the state genealogical societies of New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas and Illinois. I’ve attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research (predecessor to today’s Genealogical Institute on Federal Records) at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and completed Elizabeth Shown Mills’ course in Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis and Thomas W. Jones’ course in Writing and Publishing for Genealogists at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR).
I’m privileged now to serve on the faculty at IGHR, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI), and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed). I’ve written for the following publications including the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the National Genealogical Society Magazine and BCG’s Onboard newsletter, among others.
Ms. Russell’s topic at Friday’s Dinner“Slavery & Black Laws of the North States” Slavery’s force was felt far north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and the Black Laws of northern states created valuable records for tracing African-American families. Learn how understanding this law and its records can be uniquely rewarding for descendants of the enslaved and enslavers alike, and of those who were their neighbors and friends.
Robyn Smith has been researching her family and others for 20 years. An engineer by day, Robyn applies those research and problem-solving skills to the field of genealogy. She specializes in Maryland research, African-American and slave research and court records. Robyn promotes the documentation of communities and emphasizes the use of proper genealogical standards. Robyn taught an Advanced African-American Genealogy part-time at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD from 2008-2015. She also lectures and writes about family history research. She is the author of numerous genealogy articles and a popular genealogy blog called Reclaiming Kin (www.reclaimingkin.com). In 2015, Ms. Smith published the book version of her blog, “The Best of Reclaiming Kin.”
Court records can be intimidating with their legal language. It can be difficult to understand what the records mean. In this lecture, Ms. Smith provides a brief description of the various kinds of courts and the records they create. For those researching slaves and slaveholders, court records can be rich terrain since families often fought over their “property.” The audience will learn through examples and case studies what kinds of information can be discovered about their ancestors and their communities in county –level court records.
Tony Burroughs, FUGA, is an internationally known genealogist who taught genealogy at Chicago State University for fifteen years. He researched Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson’s family history and consulted on Oprah Winfrey's genealogy, Smokey Robinson's genealogy, and Reverend Al Sharpton's genealogy. He has consulted for several television programs including: Who Do You Think You Are?; African American Lives; The Real Family of Jesus and The History Detectives. Burroughs also consulted with the Chicago Public Schools, New York Public Schools, Chicago City Colleges and Ancestry.com.
Burroughs appeared as a guest expert on Who do You Think You Are?, African American Lives, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, PBS, BBC and Channel 4 London. He has also been interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning, CBS News, ABC World News Tonight, BET Nightly News, National Public Radio (NPR) and many local broadcasts.
Burroughs’ book, Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree (Simon & Schuster) was number one on Essence Magazine's Best Seller List. He also authored chapters in: The Encyclopedia of African American History (Oxford University Press), The Source, revised edition (Ancestry), African American Genealogical Sourcebook (Gale Research) and The Experts Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do (Random House).
Burroughs has received many honors including: the Distinguished Service Award from the National Genealogical Society, the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stearn Humanitarian Award from the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Lowell Volkel Medal from the Illinois Genealogical Society. He is a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association and has received The Arthur and Lila Weinberg Fellowship at Newberry Library to study Slave Schedules and the Timuel D. Black Fellowship in African American Studies from the Black Metropolis Research Consortium to research the Underground Railroad in Chicago.
Burroughs has researched his family back eight generations to 18th century ancestors in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
Ancestors Lives Matter: If Black Lives Matter then Ancestors' Lives Matter. If it weren’t for our ancestors we wouldn’t be here. One way of honoring our ancestors is to trace their lives and tell their stories for we stand on our ancestors' shoulders. When searching for our ancestors we learn about their lives, we learn about their contributions and we learn about the past. Once you start researching you may find some of your ancestors were activists in struggles during their days.