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Despite genealogy's recent dramatic increase in popularity as a hobby, for many people of African descent in the United States, researching one's ancestors can feel out of reach due to the nation's challenging history. For others, the process seems possible, but overwhelming—and knowing where to begin and how to proceed is confusing. Still others are unsure if the stories they might uncover are worth finding—particularly if they expect to encounter painful truths about enslavement, violence, and other forms of racial injustice, whether recent or in the seemingly-distant past.
In this program, members of the African American Genealogy Group, which is celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2019, will share meaningful stories they've discovered through their own family history research and discuss the resources, tools, and techniques they used both to get started and to find the details of these narratives. Specifically, presenters will discuss a useful order for your research steps, beginning tools that cover the most frequently-used record sets for genealogists and family historians, additional types of record sets to use for fully fleshing out your ancestors' histories and social contexts, and some common errors and ways to avoid them. Throughout, they'll emphasize free and low-cost options that put genealogy more in reach for those with more limited budgets. Attendees will leave with a road map for their research project, and hopefully excited for the journey!
The program will be led by Adrienne Whaley, 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. Whaley 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.
This One Book, One Philadelphia event explores themes in the Free Library of Philadelphia's 2019 selection, Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward.