Best Internet Resources for African American Genealogy

Best Internet Resources for African American Genealogy


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by Angela Walton-Raji

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Best Internet Resources for African American Genealogy


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Internet sites are often sought when beginners start exploring family history. The challenge is where to turn to when researching African American ancestry. This webinar examines resources that provide guidance for the unique problems facing descendants of slaves. The webinar begins with a full introduction to Afrigeneas, the oldest continually operating African American genealogy website. From daily online chats and over 20 message boards, the visitor to this site finds a community of volunteers to provide assistance with their beginning research problems. Afrigeneas provides unique resources such as the slave database and a searchable archived message database that retrieves African American genealogical queries back to 1997. Popular subscription sites like Ancestry and Footnote are among useful sources for primary source documents such as emancipation records, service records of US Colored Troops and more. But free sites provide good resources like Cyndi's List and USGenweb which provide sound links to other African American sites and one extremely useful resource is found on the ever popular FamilySearch. AfriGeneas has also joined the genealogy blogging community. Blogs are continually surfacing reflecting personal research journeys, while weekly columns and podcasts provide advice for research challenges. In addition one can also find basic instructional videos for African American research as well. There are many options to be found online, and the African Ancestored researcher will have an abundance of resources to offer a hand in providing tips, suggestions, and instruction.


 
 

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Presenter: Angela Walton-Raji

Angela Walton-Raji is known nationally for her genealogical and historical research and work with Oklahoma Native-American records.  Her book, “Black Indian Genealogy Research” was the first book of its kind focusing on the unique record set reflecting Freedmen found within the Dawes Records.  She also includes several chapters and documents in her book, focusing on the records that reflect Blended Families---African and Native American families in many households.

 

Her latest books, “Freedmen of the Frontier” volumes 1 and 2 were released in 2019 and 2020 respectively. The books present family profiles of Freedmen from the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole Nations.

 

Her work has also involved her researching families for several media outlets for televised broadcasts. She has spoken at RootsTech, the Genealogy Jamboree, in California, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Afro-American Historical Genealogical Society, “Behind the Big House” programs in Arkansas, and other events in numerous states from California to Virginia.

 

Among other genealogical focus areas are black Civil War soldiers west of the Mississippi, African American benevolent societies, and the early days of freedom.

 

In the 1990s, she was a founding member of AfriGeneas.com, and for ten years, Ms. Walton-Raji hosted “The African Roots Podcast”. She has produced a number of instructional videos on YouTube, and has served as an expert consultant on video documentaries, as well.

 

A researcher with national reputation, Ms. Walton-Raji’s talents have been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, for over a decade.  In the 1990s she was a featured speaker at a number of Smithsonian events, and she was the only genealogist in the nation, to present regular genealogy lectures at the National Museum of the American Indian, in both the Washington DC and New York facilities.  She was awarded the honor of presenting a special series of genealogy lectures to coincide with the Smithsonian Exhibition IndiVisible that officially launched in November 2009, that traveled for several years throughout the nation.

 

Her specialization in research secured an invitation to present her research at a special hearing at the Cherokee nation Supreme Court on behalf of a Cherokee Freedman citizenship case. She was invited as an expert witness in the case of Riggs vs. Ummerteskeee in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. This was a case where Cherokee Freedman descendant was filing a case against the nation for preventing citizenship to descendants of their former slaves.

 

In addition to the above, Ms. Walton-Raji’s comfort with language and skills in writing, make her well known and well respected in the genealogy community. And in 2017 she taught a four-week online class offered through Family Tree Magazine on Native American genealogy.

 

Another specialty is her experience documenting United States Colored Troops---Black Union soldiers of the western theatre of the Civil War. She has shared info on women in the Civil War, at Roots Tech, the largest genealogical event in the world, and she is a frequent presenter at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank California.

 

Ms. Walton-Raji is a founding member of  MAAGI, the Midwest African-American Genealogy Institute, MAAGI is a genealogy teaching institute, (maagiinstitute.org) which is hosting its 8th consecutive event at the world famous Genealogy Center in Ft. Wayne Indiana in 2020. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from St. Louis University and a Master of Education from Antioch University. Ms. Walton-Raji resides in Maryland, where she continues to teach, research, and write.

Angela Walton-Raji
 
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