Click on the link below to read my latest column in The Indianapolis Recorder. Happy Family History Month!
Ms. Valencia Nelson was a giant in research for African Americans. Her Afrigeneas.com website and list serv have been used by untold people. May she rest in power with the ancestors. Click on the link to learn more about her extraordinary life. She will be missed. Prayers to her friends and family. http://www.afrigeneas.com/forum/index.cgi/md/read/id/88647
Reparations is an important topic and worth serious discussion.
Note to my white self…
Imagine for a moment that someone owed you a great debt.
How would you feel…
… if that person laughed whenever you mentioned that debt?
…if they refused to acknowledge the debt existed, even when shown documentation confirming the debt?
…if they claimed that – if there ever was a debt – that it had already been paid?
…if they argued that – even if there was still an outstanding debt – it was unrealistic to think they would or could pay the debt?
…if they implied you should just forgive the debt and move on?
How would you feel?
Would you be angry toward that person?
Would you resent their wealth, knowing they owed you such a debt?
Would you doubt their oft repeated commitments to justice and equity?
Would you question their habit of extravagant spending on other priorities while pretending to…
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A few weeks ago, I was researching information in the Indianapolis Recorder on the origins of my church. The Indianapolis Recorder is the oldest running black newspaper in the state of Indiana and one of the oldest in the United States. The Indianapolis Recorder is digitized and completely available online. This makes it very easy to search for names or other key words. Using a keyword search for “Thomas Cleveland”, my Great Grandfather, I subsequently found a picture of my Great Aunt Alma when she was 9 years old. I’m always excited when I find information on my family, even when it’s not what I’m looking for. It was so special to find a picture of my Aunt Alma. She was in her 30’s when I can first remember her. So seeing a picture of her when she was a child, was amazing. This is why It’s so important to know the names of all family members, not just direct ancestors.
The article in The Recorder gave me quite a bit of insight into my family in 1935. There were 7 children in the family at this time. My Aunt Alma being the youngest. The article also indicated my Great Grandfather had been unemployed for several years. This article was written during the Great Depression (which spanned from 1929 – 1939). It’s one thing to read about a historic event. It’s another to read about how it affected your family.
Take time to search the newspapers where your family has lived. You might be surprised with what you find. The picture online wasn’t very clear, and I couldn’t manipulate the image. Fortunately, I was able to access the newspaper on microfilm. I was able to adjust the microfilm so that the picture was clear. Looking at the picture I can see her resemblance to other family members. She’s been gone for several decades, but I still think of her often & miss her. Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby Nichelle ~
Did you miss the show “Roots tracing for African Americans” with Nichelle M. Hayes?
Click here to listen to the podcast https://t.e2ma.net/click/1kxrehb/pbywvjc/h9azxxk
February 9, 2019 Roots tracing for African Americans
Even with renewed, widespread interest in family history research – and the explosion of genealogical tools in recent years – challenges remain for those researching African American ancestry. Many of the challenges involve ancestors who were enslaved during the 19th century and earlier.
As Hoosier History Live salutes Black History Month, Nelson’s studio guest will be one of Indiana’s top experts on African American roots-tracing. Indianapolis-based genealogist and librarian Nichelle M. Hayes is a past president of the Indiana African American Genealogy Group. Currently, she is the leader of the Center for Black Literature and Culture of the Indianapolis Public Library. Nelson will be asking Nichelle to share advice and tips for tracing African American family histories. As a genealogist for more than 25 years, Nichelle conducts workshops about African American family history research and blogs about it and related topics.In a recent blog post, Nichelle described her research into the death in 1933 of a great-aunt who lived in the Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis and died of tuberculosis. Information on the death certificate opened doors for Nichelle to learn about her ancestor’s civic life.
“Genealogy is more than just birth and death dates,” Nichelle writes. “It’s fleshing the person out, so to speak.”To people beginning family history research, she recommends: “Start with yourself and work backwards.”In addition to examining U.S. Census data, records related to property ownership, probate and pensions also can be extremely helpful in illuminating the lives of ancestors, Nichelle says.Among the resource books she recommends to African Americans are Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree (Simon & Schuster, 2001) and A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering your African-American Ancestors (Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003).Ancestory.com, another resource popular with genealogists for its extensive database of family tree information, has published Finding Your African American Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide (2001).With Nichelle on hand to respond to questions from listeners embarking on roots-tracing adventures, we will open our phone lines earlier than usual during this show. The call-in number to the WICR-FM studio is 317-788-3314.