African American Genealogy Series

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African American Genealogy Part XII: Home is Where the Heart is

Posted November 18, 2011 by SharonGeni | 2 Comments
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When I was a child, many of my friends were recent arrivals from the South whose families came north during “The Great Migration.” Those of us who were born in Chicago sometimes laughed at their funny accents and country ways. There were also many children who disappeared every summer. When school let out for vacation, their parents sent them south to experience country life with their grandparents.

I was not one of those children. Although I have undeniable roots in Alabama and Mississippi, I was not born there nor did I have grandparents in those locations to spend my summers with. I didn’t visit the South until I was a married woman with a child of my own. I have been making pilgrimages back at almost every opportunity since.

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African American Genealogy Part XI: So Much More

Posted November 11, 2011 by SharonGeni | One Comment
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 Even though I have done my best to cover the basics of family research, there is still so much more.

The point to remember is that every human being has left a paper trail of some sort. Your job is to find it and put the puzzle pieces family relationship together. Depending on how deep you want to go, there is no end to where you can look and what you might find.

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African American Genealogy Part X: The Modern Marvel of DNA

Posted November 4, 2011 by SharonGeni | One Comment
ftdna

This blog series provides information on how to conduct family research — with a special focus on the challenges that apply for African Americans. Our goal is to help you appreciate history, learn how to research your family and be inspired to join a community – Geni.com – that seeks to unite the entire world into one big family. Join us for an adventure that is sure to last a lifetime! Want to be notified… Read the full story

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African American Genealogy Part IX: Wills, Deeds, and Insurance Policies

Posted October 28, 2011 by SharonGeni | No Comment
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Once you find likely prospects for the family who enslaved your ancestors, you will need to dig deeper to see if there are any documents that might list their names. The easiest documents to find will be wills and deed books, which are kept in both county courthouses and state archives. Most of these documents are on microfilm. They have not yet been digitized. I am sure they will be — eventually.

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African American Genealogy Part VIII: Census Records

Posted October 21, 2011 by SharonGeni | No Comment
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This blog series provides information on how to conduct family research — with a special focus on the challenges that apply for African Americans. Our goal is to help you appreciate history, learn how to research your family and be inspired to join a community – Geni.com – that seeks to unite the entire world into one big family. Join us for an adventure that is sure to last a lifetime! Want to be notified… Read the full story

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African American Genealogy Part VII: Birth, Marriage, and Death Records

Posted October 14, 2011 by SharonGeni | One Comment
birth

This blog series provides information on how to conduct family research — with a special focus on the challenges that apply for African Americans. Our goal is to help you appreciate history, learn how to research your family and be inspired to join a community – Geni.com – that seeks to unite the entire world into one big family. Join us for an adventure that is sure to last a lifetime! Want to be notified… Read the full story

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African American Genealogy Part VI: Family Memories

Posted October 7, 2011 by SharonGeni | 4 Comments
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Family stories are incredibly powerful because they put flesh on the bones of our long dead ancestors, telling us a great deal about who these people were; how they survived and what they felt. And this is where every family historian starts — recording the stories of everyone in your family who has memories to share. You will find factual stories repeated from generation to generation as well as “tall tales” embellished with personal details. Even when stories are not factually correct, almost every one of them has a basis in truth. It will be up to you as the researcher to ferret out the fact from fiction.

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African American Genealogy Part V: How did we get here?

Posted September 30, 2011 by SharonGeni | 4 Comments
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America is a land of immigrants. That is indisputably true, even though most of us have integrated into this society to a point where we no longer think of ourselves as “foreign” or “other.” I believe that natural human curiosity leads us to ask questions about who we are, where we came from and what life might have been like before we existed. That is where the genealogical quest comes in. With the exception of indigenous Americans — all of us have origins outside the continental boundaries of the place we were born and have always known as “home”.

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African American Genealogy Part IV: How far back can you go?

Posted September 23, 2011 by SharonGeni | No Comment
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Most of us know only the people who were/are living during our lifetimes. But how far back can we go?

For most African Americans, it is absolutely possible to trace families back to 1870. That was the year of the first Federal census that recorded African Americans as people (rather than property), with surnames and families. Unless your ancestors were “in motion,” or not responsive to the census (for whatever reasons), their names will be on this census. Beyond this, recent developments in historic research have made it possible for many people to go all the way back to the arrival of their ancestors into America from Africa and/or the Caribbean.

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African American Genealogy Part III: You as the Center of the Universe

Posted September 16, 2011 by SharonGeni | 2 Comments
sharon

If you are interested in genealogy, know that effective research entails commitment. It is a long term journey with many twists and turns. If you are to succeed, you will need a road map. And that road map begins with you.

The very first thing you must do is write down what  you know about yourself. When and where were you born? What would you like for future generations to remember about you? It is useful to make copies of important documents to keep in your file. Your birth certificate, marriage certificate, school documents, social security card. These are all things future researchers would want if you were gone and they were looking for you. Make it easy for them. And don’t forget to include photographs: You as a baby, graduating from school, your wedding day…

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African American Genealogy Part II: What is Genealogy?

Posted September 9, 2011 by SharonGeni | 3 Comments
Family Tree

This blog series provides information on how to conduct family research — with a special focus on the challenges that apply for African Americans. Our goal is to help you appreciate history, learn how to research your family and be inspired to join a community – Geni.com – that seeks to unite the entire world into one big family. Join us for an adventure that is sure to last a lifetime!

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African American Genealogy Part I: The Adventure Begins

Posted September 2, 2011 by SharonGeni | 8 Comments
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This blog series provides information on how to conduct family research — with a special focus on the challenges that apply for African Americans. Our goal is to help you appreciate history, learn how to research your family and be inspired to join a community – Geni.com – that seeks to unite the entire world into one big family. Join us for an adventure that is sure to last a lifetime!