African American Genealogy Challenges: What You Need to Know!

African American Genealogy Challenges: What You Need to Know!

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by Shelley Viola Murphy

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African American Genealogy Challenges: What You Need to Know!


Researchers all experience brick walls and they are expected and challenging. The goal is to learn how to combat the challenges. This presentation will walk through the challenges when researching African American ancestry. New methods and strategies will be shared such as how to analyze documents along with tips on organizing your research.


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Presenter: Shelley Viola Murphy

For some, the words “So What?” seem like a curt reply to a simple question. For Shelley Murphy, however, they are the driving force behind her genealogy research and her high-energy presentations. Known affectionately as “familytreegirl”. 
More than thirty years later, Shelley has become a genealogy force to be reckoned with. She is a co-founder and faculty for the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI), past president of the AAHGS Chapter of Central Virginia, former vice president of the Central Virginia Genealogical Association (CVGA), and a proud daughter of the Jack Jouett and Walter Hines Page Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is active in her home state of Virginia serving on the Boards of the Library of Virginia, Albemarle-Charlottesville and Fluvanna Historical Societies. Dr. Murphy recently hired by the President’s Commission on Slavery at the University of Virginia to conduct research to locate descendants of enslaved and free laborers who helped build Thomas Jefferson’s University.
Conducts professional genealogical services and worked for local government and nonprofits. In her presentations she imparts to audiences the importance of “asking questions” at each discovery. She is known for her fresh approach to getting started in genealogy research, for her keen methods and strategies for analyzing documents, and for her common-sense approach to building timelines and research plans. 

 Shelley holds memberships in the National Genealogical Society (NGS), Association of Professional Genealogists (APG-NCAC), and various historical societies and genealogy groups throughout the United States. She holds a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and works as an adjunct professor. She prides herself on being a problem solver and a teamplayer.

Shelley Viola Murphy