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AfriGeneas News

In honor of Black History Month, NEHGS has made the databases Free Negro Heads of Families in the United States in 1830, and People of Color in the Massachusetts State Census, 1855-1865 free and open to the public for the month of February.

Published: Sun, 15 Feb 2009 16:35:08 -0600

Last Build Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2009 16:39:32 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 1999-2006 by AfriGeneas. All rights reserved.

New England Historic Genealogical Society Offers Free Access to African Aerican Databases

Sun, 15 Feb 2009 16:21:20 -0600

The New England Historic Genealogical Society is offering free access to Free Negro Heads of Families in the United States in 1830, and People of Color in the Massachusetts State Census, 1855-1865 databases for the month of February in honor of Black History Month.

Genealogy, can it play a part in this new era of responsibility?

Sat, 14 Feb 2009 03:12:03 -0600

How appropriate today, the 200th anniversary of President Lincoln's birthday, AfriGeneas, the premiere online destination for anyone conducting African American or African Ancestored genealogical research, is launching a new "Call to Action Forum".

Just a few short weeks ago, the newly elected President of the United States, Barack Obama spoke these words to the American people:

“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship. ” - President Barack Obama
Well, it didn't take long for AfriGeneas' to respond! There is now a forum to inform and organize members of the AfriGeneas family, old and new, to individually and collectively transform their communities, their cities, their states and the nation.

Wanda Bennett and Denise Oliver-Velez Named AfriGeneas Volunteers of the Year

Sun, 8 Jun 2008 19:09:47 -0600

Marietta, GA -- June 8, 2008 -- AfriGeneas is pleased to announce that Wanda Bennett and Denise Oliver-Velez have been selected as the 2007 AfriGeneas Volunteers of the Year.

Contributor of the Year Wanda Bennett has quietly and steadily worked behind the scenes to build the AfriGeneas Death Records Database. Since 2002 she has contributed more than 10,000 obituaries from the Indianapolis Star, the Evansville Courier, the Messenger-Inquirer, and other newspapers from Indiana and around the country.

Manager/Editor of the Year Denise Oliver-Velez has deftly managed the Surnames and Family History Forum (formerly the Beginner's Forum) since 2002 and in the process has helped hundreds of researchers just starting out or advancing their work. She has personally posted almost 3000 messages on the Surnames, Genealogy and other boards.

Char McCargo Bah to Host Monthly Chat Series on AfriGeneas

Mon, 8 Oct 2007 01:47:08 -0600

(image) Marietta, GA -- October 8, 2007 -- Starting October 10, 2007, veteran and award-winning genealogist Char McCargo Bah will host a new monthly chat on AfriGeneas ( called "A Chat with Char." The chats will be scheduled the second Wednesday of every month from 9:00-10:00 PM ET.

"A Chat with Char" will cover the pre-civil rights movement and the reconstruction period in American History from the genealogist's point of view. The discussions will consist of two parts: the first part will deal with the urban records and institutions that are available in cities; the second part will discuss records and institutions that are available in the rural areas of the United States during various times. A short paper issued prior to each chat will give an overview of the upcoming chat. A final transcribed lecture will be available after each chat.

The first chat on October 10th chat is entitled "They were in the North in the 1930s." It will draw on Ms. Bah's experiences researching in New York City and Cleveland, Ohio of ancestors that appeared on the 1930 censuses.

According to Ms. Bah, the ultimate aim of "A Chat with Char" will be to familiarize researchers with records and institutions that many genealogists and family historians overlook so that they will be able to bridge the gap between reconstruction and pre-civil war research.

AfriGeneas Named to Family Tree Magazine's List of 101 Best Web Sites for 8th Year in a Row

Thu, 2 Aug 2007 15:14:47 -0600

(image) For the eighth year in a row, Family Tree Magazine has named AfriGeneas to its 101 Best Web Sites list. According to Family Tree Magazine's editors, these sites represent the "pinnacle of online genealogy":

So, for our eighth annual 101 Best Web Sites, we’ve decided to revisit our “classic” compilation and present not the best new sites or the best undiscovered sites or what have you, but the best of the Web—period. The sites listed here represent our picks for the 101 most valuable spots to spend your genealogical time online.

AfriGeneas is one of only a dozen sites that appear on this year's list and that also appeared on the original 101 Best list back in 2000. The list is in the September 2007 issue of the magazine which is on newsstands now.

USF Africana Heritage Project and to Collaborate on Groundbreaking Slave Genealogy Research

Sat, 30 Jun 2007 21:51:31 -0600

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, June 26, 2007 Contacts: Toni Carrier USF Africana Heritage Project 813-246-2201 Dallan Quass President, Foundation for On-Line Genealogy (801) 319-1770 Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - The USF Africana Heritage Project and announced today that they will collaborate on groundbreaking historical research sponsored by the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, SC. In the first-ever project of its kind, Magnolia Plantation is funding genealogical research in the plantation journals of the Drayton family of Charleston. The USF Africana Heritage Project will reconstruct the lineages of enslaved communities on Drayton family plantations, and build family files which anyone may access for free on the Internet. WeRelate, the world's largest genealogy wiki, will host the family tree files, provide technical support and share expertise to make the research results easily accessible and user-friendly. "We feel strongly that WeRelate's collaboration in this project will bring talent and expertise to the effort, and will make the work product truly special," said Toni Carrier, Founding Director of the USF Africana Heritage Project. "The folks at WeRelate have poured an enormous amount of time and technical skill into making an innovative, free website where genealogists and scholars may collaborate on research. We look forward to collaborating with them on this historic research." A "wiki" is a new type of website that makes it easy for people to collaborate on research projects. Anyone can edit pages and build upon others' work. A history of changes is kept so that information is not lost and people can see who changed what. "Wiki's like Wikipedia and WeRelate demonstrate the effectiveness of wiki technology in helping people share information. We are excited to participate in this important and historic effort to reconstruct slave family lineages and make them freely available online," said Dallan Quass, President of the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, the sponsor of WeRelate. The USF Africana Heritage Project is an all-volunteer research project sponsored by the Africana Studies department at the University of South Florida. Their research mission is to rediscover records that document the names and lives of slaves, freedpersons and their descendants, and share those records on the free Internet site For more information about Magnolia Plantation's sponsorship of this historic research, please follow the link Magnolia Plantation Foundation to Sponsor Internet Archive of Plantation, Slave Records. For more information about the USF Africana Heritage Project please follow the link USF Africana Heritage Project Press Kit. WeRelate is a free public-service wiki for genealogy sponsored by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, Inc. in partnership with the Allen County Public Library. It is the world's largest genealogy wiki with pages for over 400,000 people and growing. Their goal is to be the number one community website for genealogy. At WeRelate you can connect with other researchers and cooperatively work on web pages for your ancestors. Your research can be documented completely online. You can upload GEDCOM files, upload and annotate scanned documents and photos, include family stories and biographies, and generate maps of your ancestors' life events. WeRelate is currently in beta and is funded by tax-deductible donations. For more information please visit or follow the link WeRelate video tour.[...]

CASTING CALL: Producers Seeking Individuals to Participate in New PBS Broadcast, African American Lives 2

Thu, 19 Apr 2007 18:07:46 -0600

One Selected Person Will Have His or Her Roots Mapped Through DNA Analysis and Genealogical Research in New PBS Series Hosted by Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Individuals Can Apply Online Beginning April 18th at:

In February 2006, the acclaimed PBS series African American Lives brought to the forefront of national consciousness the powerful process of discovering one's family history. A Roots for the 21st century, the series made a deep cultural impact through its riveting use of DNA analysis, genealogical research and family oral tradition to trace the lineages of highly accomplished African Americans down through U.S. history and back to Africa.

One year later, Oprah's Roots further crystallized and propelled America's interest in family tree research through the powerful stories of Oprah Winfrey's ancestors and their accomplishments.

Now, you too are invited to participate in the newest African American Lives project. The producers of African American Lives 2 are seeking an African American to join Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and an all-new group of distinguished African Americans on an extraordinary journey of discovery. The series is tentatively scheduled to air on PBS in February 2008.

Regina Burch Spencer Named Manager of the Adoption Forum

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 05:10:54 -0600

AfriGeneas is pleased to announce that Regina Burch Spencer has been named manager of the Adoption Forum replacing Wilma Hartley.

Regina was raised in Lake and Dyer Counties in western Tennessee. She spent most of her childhood in the rural area of Ridgely, Tennessee. She started her genealogical research about ten years ago. She realized one day that there was so much that she did not know about her family.

Regina has written a series of stories called "Mile Lane Memories" that appeared in the Lake County Banner in Tiptonville, TN. Mile Lane was the road that she lived on in Ridgely, TN. A handful of stories turned into twenty two stories of memories on Mile Lane. Her favorite out of those stories is called "Jessie Mama." This is a story of her step grandmother who was a powerful woman who taught her much about life and living. The stories go as far back as her two year old memory. She plans to compile these stories into a book.

Her research has found many living family members. Her most memorable finding is finding her dad’s sister. This is what pushed her genealogy from being curious to a passion. Finding and reuniting her Aunt Edna with her dad after 58 years is an experience that is beyond words.

Regina stumbled upon AfriGeneas in the early part of her genealogical research. She started out with very little and with the help of AfriGeneas volunteers, she has been able to gain a lot of information. Although she has not taken any instructional educational courses in genealogy, she has learned from all of her "teachers" at AfriGeneas.

When Regina is not doing genealogy research, she is reading, crocheting or busy with her children’s ministry or drama at church. She currently resides in Maryland with her daughter and husband. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Martin. She is a contracting specialist with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Her genealogy motto is "Building families branch by branch."

Volunteers Needed for Virginia Freedmen Extraction and Indexing Project

Thu, 8 Feb 2007 10:32:44 -0600

The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia is recruiting volunteers for the extraction and indexing of records from the Virginia Freedmen's Bureau. This project will enable historians and descendants of emancipated slaves, freed Blacks, and Black Union Soldiers to access data, much of which has never before been available

Virginia Will Lead the Way in Digitizing African-American Historical Information

Thu, 8 Feb 2007 10:30:09 -0600

Governor Timothy M. Kaine announced today that Virginia will be the first state in the nation to participate in an historic project to index and digitize Freedmen’s Bureau records, allowing historians and descendents of emancipated slaves, freed Blacks, and Black Union soldiers to access historical data, much of which was never before available.

Virginia was chosen to take the lead in this important project in recognition of the Jamestown 2007 Commemoration of America’s 400th anniversary, and considering the critical role African-Americans have played in Virginia’s early history.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Virginia, and really, for the world,” said Governor Kaine. “Just like the archeological work being done at Jamestown Island, this project gives us the unique opportunity to see and learn for the first time about the lives of these early Virginians.”

House Passes Bill to Preserve Family Records of Descendants of Slaves

Wed, 24 Jan 2007 05:24:27 -0600

Washington, DC – The House of Representatives has passed legislation by Congressman Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo, San Francisco) to ensure that many of the genealogical records involving the families of former slaves in this country will be preserved, catalogued and digitized for easy access for researchers.

ProQuest Adds Two Important Black Newspapers to ProQuest Historical Newspapers

Wed, 24 Jan 2007 05:22:28 -0600

New York Amsterdam News and Pittsburgh Courier Provide Unique Cultural Perspective of Events that Shaped the 20th Century
SEATTLE, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This summer, ProQuest Information and Learning is introducing the New York Amsterdam News and Pittsburgh Courier to its growing collection of ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Historical Newspapers users can research events that shaped the United States, including the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement, through the voice of two widely circulated Black newspapers. These titles may also be accessed through ProQuest Black Studies Center, allowing cross-searching with other content sets focused on the African-American experience.

What's New @ AfriGeneas: AfriGeneas Adds an Adoption Forum

Mon, 8 Jan 2007 12:37:06 -0600

In keeping with its mission of reconnecting families, AfriGeneas has started a new forum for adoptees, foster children, birth, adoptive and foster parents who are seeking one another.

AfriGeneas Adoption Forum

Melvin J. Collier Receives the AfriGeneas Volunteer of the Year Award

Mon, 8 Jan 2007 12:35:32 -0600

AfriGeneas is pleased to announce that Melvin J. Collier has been selected as the first AfriGeneas Volunteer of the Year.

"AfriGeneas is fortunate to have so many talented individuals working together to make AfriGeneas the premier African American genealogy website so the choice wasn't easy," said AfriGeneas founder Valencia King Nelson. "But after much discussion," she added, "one person emerged as the exemplar of dedication, hard work, consistency and creativity during 2006."

Melvin built the AfriGeneas Family Reunions community from the ground up and has continued to make the AfriGeneas Family Reunion Primer the number one African American Family Reunion site. During 2006, he made the Precious Photos Collection a reality. After only six months, the archive is already a huge success and now contains over 350 photos. Melvin has also served as an enthusiastic ambassador and spokesperson for AfriGeneas. He has risen to the occasion when referred by the AfriGeneas staff and on his own has sought and created opportunities to promote AfriGeneas in addition to his own endeavors.

AfriGeneas is honored to have Melvin as part of our team.

What's New @ AfriGeneas : New DNA Article by Donald Ogbewii Scott Added to the AfriGeneas Library

Mon, 8 Jan 2007 12:30:47 -0600

"Family DNA", Don Scott's story about the results of his own DNA tests has been added to the AfriGeneas Library.

New Posts on the AfriGeneas Message Boards

Mon, 1 Jan 2007 03:29:23 -0600

Slave Honored as 'African American Patriot' at Capitol

Tue, 19 Dec 2006 04:54:44 -0600

By Sue Anne Pressley Montes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 16, 2006

For years, he was known only as the faithful servant. Through the long campaigns of the Revolutionary War, he toiled alongside his famous master. In a painting that has hung in the U.S. Capitol since 1899, he is the figure by the fire, roasting sweet potatoes.

Now Oscar Marion is anonymous no longer. He has had his name restored.

In a ceremony yesterday at the Capitol, Marion was recognized as the "African American Patriot" he always was. A proclamation signed by President Bush expressed the thanks of a "grateful nation" and recognized Oscar Marion's "devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States."

The occasion was a triumph for his distant cousin, genealogist Tina C. Jones, who researched his identity and pressed officials to honor him.

"He is not just some obscure figure in the background," said Jones, president of the American Historical Interpretation Foundation Inc. in Rockville. "This person had a name. He had a life and a separate contribution."

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Slave Descendants’ Fraud Claims Against Major Banks, Insurers

Tue, 19 Dec 2006 04:51:44 -0600

For Immediate Release:

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Slave Descendants' Fraud Claims Against Major Banks, Insurers

Nation's most conservative appeals court affirms fraud claims against Bank of America, Aetna and other financial giants

Companies that lie about their slave trading history "Guilty of Fraud", says Chicago appeals court

A federal appeals court today upheld fraud claims against major US banks, insurers and transportation companies who concealed their slave trading histories from consumers. A press conference to announce the victory will be held on December 14, 2006, at the United States Court House at 500 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, one of the nation's most conservative appeals courts, said today that fraud claims brought by a New Jersey woman, Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, against Bank of America, Aetna and New York Life and others for concealing corporate slave trading histories should go forward.

"A historic victory," said Farmer-Paellmann, the lead plaintiff and the Executive Director of the Restitution Study Group, pioneers of the corporate restitution movement.

"This is the first major victory for slavery reparations and will bring a new era in making banks, insurers and transportation companies accountable for their trade in human life," continued Farmer-Paellmann.

Companies that misrepresent their slave trading history to consumers are "guilty of fraud", said Judge Richard Posner in a 17-page opinion released yesterday.

Posner compared misrepresentation of a bank's slave history to a manufacturer who lies about using child labor.

Other claims that sought recovery of past profits made from slave trading were dismissed because of the lack of federal jurisdiction, but such claims are still permitted to go forward in the state courts.

Farmer-Paellmann's lawyers, Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran, celebrated the ruling noting that the legal environment has now moved against the banks and in favor of slave descendants.

"For the first time in US history, those who traded in slaves will face judgment in an American court," said Afran.

"Punitive damages for such corporate fraud nationwide could easily run into billions," Mayer said.

Contacts: Deadria Farmer-Paellmann 917-365-3007,; Bruce Afran 609-924-2075 (office), 609-933-7695 (cell),; Carl Mayer 609-462-7979 (cell),


Melvin Collier's Family Reunion Site Receives Black Web Award

Tue, 19 Dec 2006 04:46:28 -0600

Melvin Collier's Reed & Puryear Family Reunion site has won the Black Web Award for Best Family Reunion Site for 2007.

The Black Web Awards annually celebrate and recognize African, African American and Caribbean excellence online. This year, over 118,000 votes helped determine the winners in each category. Announcement of the winners can be found on the awards website,

Herb Beckford Named Coordinator of the AfriGeneas Arizona State Resources Site

Sun, 5 Nov 2006 02:03:57 -0600

Herb Beckford has been named the Coordinator of AfriGeneas' Arizona State Resources site. Herb who just turned 82 in June will be ably assisted by members of the Black Family Genealogy & History Society in Phoenix, AZ. He currently serves as their Treasurer.

National Archives Honors Archivist and Historian Walter B. Hill Jr.

Sun, 5 Nov 2006 01:32:06 -0600

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein has honored Walter B. Hill Jr., a longtime archivist and historian at the National Archives and a leading authority on the documentation of African Americans in Federal records, for his efforts to make such records accessible and to promote their use by historians, journalists, students and others.

Barbara Dodson Walker Named a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association

Sun, 5 Nov 2006 01:30:27 -0600

Barbara Dodson Walker, President Emerita of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society has been named a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association. Carol Smith, UGA President made the announcement at the AAHGS sharing banquet during their annual conference in Salt Lake City Oct 27th.

IN MEMORIAM: Sylvia Polk-Burriss, Nov 27, 1953 - Oct 26, 2006

Sun, 5 Nov 2006 01:26:53 -0600

The AfriGeneas Family mourns the loss of our friend and colleague, Sylvia Polk-Burriss. Among her many accomplishments and contributions to the genealogical community, Sylvia was the long-time editor of the AAHGS Journal, the journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. She will be missed.

Bennie J. McRae, Jr. Receives Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust Award

Fri, 6 Oct 2006 06:02:27 -0600

Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust Award Presented to Bennie J. McRae, Jr. by Hon. Corinne Brown, Member of Congress, 3rd District, Florida, September 8, 2006 at the Double Tree Hotel, Washington, DC

Bennie J. McRae, Jr. is a Military History Researcher, Lecturer and Website Manager for Lest We Forget, Making of the United States of America, and African American Military History. He is a native of Louisville, Alabama and served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War from August 1951 to July 1955. He retired in 1989 after 36 years of national service with the United States Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For the past twenty years, Bennie McRae has focused on researching the African American Military Experience and has been a frequent lecturer at various historical institutions on the subject of the Black Military Experience.

Eyes on the Prize to Air on PBS Beginning Monday Night, October 2, 2006, after 13 Year Absence

Mon, 2 Oct 2006 05:43:35 -0600

Eyes on the Prize is an award-winning 14-hour television series produced by Blackside and narrated by Julian Bond. Through contemporary interviews and historical footage, the series covers all of the major events of the civil rights movement from 1954-1985.

Series topics range from the Montgomery bus boycott in 1954 to the Voting Rights Act in 1965; from community power in schools to "Black Power" in the streets; from early acts of individual courage through to the flowering of a mass movement and its eventual split into factions.

When Eyes on the Prize premiered in 1987, The Los Angeles Times called it "an exhaustive documentary that shouldn't be missed." The series went on to win six Emmys and numerous other awards, including an Academy Award nomination, the George Foster Peabody Award, and the top duPont-Columbia award for excellence in broadcast journalism.

Eyes on the Prize was created and executive produced by Henry Hampton (1940-1998), one of the most influential documentary filmmakers in the 20th century. His work chronicled America's great political and social movements and set new standards for broadcast quality. Blackside, the independent film and television company he founded in 1968, completed 60 major films and media projects that amplified the voices of the poor and disenfranchised. His enduring legacy continues to influence the field in the 21st century.

Support Passage of HR 5216 -- the Preservation of Records of Servitude, Emancipation, and Post-Civil War Reconstruction Act of 2006

Wed, 27 Sep 2006 14:09:14 -0600

AfriGeneas needs you to act quickly to guarantee passage of HR 5216 -- the Preservation of Records of Servitude, Emancipation, and Post-Civil War Reconstruction Act of 2006 by calling the leaders of the House of Representatives.

The bill requires the Archivist of the United States to: (1) establish, as part of the National Archives, an electronically searchable database of historic records of servitude, emancipation, and post-Civil War reconstruction, including the Southern Claims Commission Records, Freedmen's Bureau Records, Records of the Freedmen's Bank, Slave Impressments Records, Slave Payroll Records, Slave Manifest, and others, contained within the agencies and departments of the Federal Government to assist African Americans and others in conducting genealogical and historical research; and (2) Requires the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to provide grants to states, colleges and universities, and genealogical associations to preserve records and establish databases of local records of such information.

Please call the following Congressional Leaders and ask that: (1) they lend their personal support to this very important legislation and, (2) (1) they approve bringing this bill to the House floor under suspension so that members can vote passage:

Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
(202) 225-2976

Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
(202) 225-6205

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
(202) 225-4965

Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC), Chair
Congressional Black Caucus
(202) 225-1510.

Sample talking points:

Thank you for taking my call. My name is [your name] and I am calling to ask [the Congressional Leader's name] to support HR 5216 to preserve civil war and reconstruction records at the National Archives. These records are extremely important to genealogists, historians, and others interested in understanding this very critical period in American history. As an American, I have a personal interest in these records because much of the information about my ancestors are in them. Please use your leadership and bring this very important bill to the floor for a vote.

Please act now! Time is of the essence!

The AfriGeneas Staff

Exoduster Chat Series Transcript Available for Viewing

Sun, 27 Aug 2006 15:53:44 -0600

The transcript of Part I of the Exoduster Chat Series hosted by AfriGeneas and presented by The Center for African American Genealogical Research, Inc. (CAAGRI) is now online. Paula D. Royster, CAAGRI Founder and CEO, was the featured speaker.

Additional sessions on this topic are scheduled on September 6, September 20, and October 4, 2006 featuring genealogists Char Mc Cargo-Bah and Electra Kimble-Price and Nat Fitz, Founder of the Votaw Colony Museum, Inc.

Books by AfriGeneas Members Showcased

Sun, 27 Aug 2006 15:52:24 -0600

AfriGeneas recently added a list of books and publications written or edited by its members about genealogy, history and other subjects. A compilation of published articles by members and a performing and visual arts showcase are under construction.

Contact if you have a work to submit.

AfriGeneas to Host Kansas Exodus Migration Chat Series

Tue, 22 Aug 2006 11:27:05 -0600

Marietta, GA -- August 21, 2006 -- AfriGeneas and The Center for African American Genealogical Research, Inc. (CAAGRI) today announced a series of four chat sessions led by CAAGRI about the largest African American Diaspora movement in U.S. history. The first session is scheduled for Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 9:00 PM (EDT) in the AfriGeneas Meeting Center in the Exoduster Chatroom. Paula D. Royster, CAAGRI Founder and CEO, will be the featured speaker. Additional sessions are scheduled on September 6, September 20, and October 4, 2006 featuring genealogists Char Mc Cargo-Bah and Electra Kimble-Price and Nat Fitz, Founder of the Votaw Colony Museum, Inc.

Nina Young-Bennett Named Manager of the World Research Forum and the Ancestral Cooking Forum

Sun, 20 Aug 2006 19:07:46 -0600

Since she was a knee-high child, Nina Young-Bennett has been fascinated with the family stories shared by the elders in her family. From the age of 17, she has been painstakingly identifying the family photos she inherited, and organizing and documenting the myriad facts of her family tree. Thirty years later, and with most of those elders now only with her in spirit, she has become the de facto family historian for both sides of her family, as well as her husband’s. Though self-taught, she has incorporated all she’s ever learned about genealogy into her research methodology. Nina is so determined to uncover all that she can about her family’s origins in Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio, that she compares herself to a cross between a pit bull and a bloodhound, and wouldn't be surprised if one or both appeared on her family tree!

"For me, this is not a hobby, but rather a lifelong pursuit that I have dedicated and devoted myself to. One of my biggest challenges now is not in uncovering details," says Nina. "It’s actually in identifying and inspiring members of our family’s younger generation to pick up this mantle." Her day-to-day research encompasses ample time being a mouse potato at the computer; exchanging letters, phonecalls, and emails with extended family; and going over extant records. However, she is most exhilarated when the opportunity presents itself to travel to one or more of the ancestral home states. "The feeling is indescribable when you visit the community where an ancestor lived, kneel and touch the earth of their grave, or hold one of their possessions," she said. Among her most cherished possessions are her paternal great-grandmother’s wedding band (given to her by her paternal grandmother), her grandmother’s school bell (during her career as a school teacher in a one room schoolhouse), and the earrings her grandfather made for her grandmother out of cufflinks. "These artifacts are not just things left behind, but further flesh out the family story, and often reveal the love, dedication, and sacrifice of a family," she said.

Born in Indiana, and raised in New York, Nina spent 22 years in Ohio. She has been an executive secretary, a radio show host, a voiceover artist, a freelance actress and petite model, and a slot ambassador. Now a homemaker, she and her husband, Wadell, have resided in Las Vegas, NV since 1999. Nina has an adult son, Evan, and she and Wadell are loving kinship caregivers for her five-year old nephew.

You can visit Nina's genealogy site at: ANCESPIRATION: Inspired by the Ancestors .

New Records Added to Obituaries and Surnames Databases

Sun, 20 Aug 2006 04:02:00 -0600

400 African American obituaries and funeral records were added 8/1-8/19 bringing the total to 12,757 death records. 121 surnames were added during the same period bringing the total number of African American surnames to 47,147. The Death Records Database and Surnames Database are updated daily by AfriGeneas staff and visitors to the site. Registration is required to add death records and edit user information. Launches Ancestral Cooking Forum

Fri, 18 Aug 2006 10:24:24 -0600

Marietta, GA -- August 15, 2006 -- announced today its latest forum centered on the diverse cultural cuisines of Africans in the Americas. The AfriGeneas Ancestral Cooking Forum will provide historians and genealogists with possible clues linking African regional cultures with African American regional culinary traditions. Nina Young-Bennett has been named as its Forum Manager.

David E. Paterson in the AfriGeneas Spotlight

Fri, 18 Aug 2006 10:24:02 -0600

The August 2006 AfriGeneas Spotlight shines brightly on David Paterson. David E. Paterson was born in Scotland, UK, grew up in Seattle, WA, and earned a BA in History from University of Oregon before joining the U.S. Navy in 1975. Although an avid reader as a child, David confessed that he became so busy with his seagoing career that he did not read a complete book for fifteen years. His passion for history reawakened in 1988 while he explored the antebellum records in the basement of the Upson County courthouse. Now David's idea of fun and relaxation is reading a book or spending 12-hour days researching at the National Archives.

Bijan C. Bayne Named Manager of the Schools, Organizations, Churches and Institutions Forum

Fri, 18 Aug 2006 10:24:00 -0600

AfriGeneas is pleased to announce the appointment of Bijan C. Bayne as manager of the Schools, Organizations, Churches and Institutions (SOCI) Forum. Bijan C. Bayne is a Washington-based freelance writer, and author of Sky Kings: Black Pioneers of Professional Basketball, which was named to the Suggested Reading List of the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004.