In Their Own Words: Genealogy in the Slave Narratives

In Their Own Words: Genealogy in the Slave Narratives

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by Renate Yarborough Sanders

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In Their Own Words: Genealogy in the Slave Narratives


Uncovering the genealogy of the formerly enslaved can be challenging; but, sometimes, the information is left in first-hand accounts, commonly known as "Slave Narratives.” From books, to projects set up to learn about life during slavery, researchers can find an abundance of genealogical and other information about enslaved families, their owners, and their communities - straight from the mouths of the Ancestors.


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Presenter: Renate Yarborough Sanders

Renate Yarborough Sanders has been engaged in genealogy research for two decades. She is the descendant of formerly enslaved ancestors, as well as enslavers and free people of color. Renate is the author of two blogs: “Into the LIGHT”, which focuses on her own family history; and, “Genea-Related”, which is a platform for presenting a variety of information of genealogical interest. Renate also produces a “(Mostly) African-American Funeral Programs” online database, in which she publishes vital data extracted from funeral programs. Renate is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the North Carolina Genealogical Society, the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society (AAHGS), the Virtual Genealogical Association, and the Tyrrell County (NC) Genealogical and Historical Society. She is a panelist on BlackProGen LIVE and has recently partnered with Taneya Koonce to produce a summer series of webinars called “Let’s Talk North Carolina Genealogy!” She has published articles in genealogical newsletters, as well as in the Franklin County (NC) Heritage Book (Vol. 1) and is engaged in a number of volunteer activities in the genealogical community. Renate is the Newsletter Editor for the Hampton Roads Chapter of AAHGS, a member of the AAHGS National Editorial Board, and a volunteer photographer for Find-A-Grave. She retired in July 2017 from a 32-year career as elementary educator. Renate enjoys presenting genealogy lectures on a variety of topics but specializes in sharing knowledge and techniques for researching ancestors of color – both pre- and post- Emancipation: free people of color, or enslaved. When possible, presentations are fine-tuned to include information specific to the participants and/or location of her audiences.

Renate Yarborough Sanders