Reasonably Exhaustive Research of African American Families That Came Out of Slavery

Reasonably Exhaustive Research of African American Families That Came Out of Slavery


by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, CG, CGL

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Reasonably Exhaustive Research of African American Families That Came Out of Slavery


The first component of the Genealogical Proof Standard is the conduct of reasonably exhaustive research. This lecture will highlight the sources and strategies available to meet this requirement in the case of African American ancestors who were enslaved.


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Presenter: LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, CG, CGL

Board-certified since 2015, LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson was elected as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) in 2016 and currently serves as the BCG Treasurer and the co-chair of the Intellectual Property Committee. She enjoyed a 35-year career as a tax lawyer before her 2013 retirement as a partner from the big four accounting firm of Ernst & Young. She is most proud of her service on the staff of the bipartisan, bicameral, Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress where she helped to craft the historical Tax Reform Act of 1986. LaBrenda is now a full-time genealogist focused on teaching and writing. Her research centers on African American families that survived American slavery, primarily in the Carolinas. LaBrenda has published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, among other publications, and in 2016 she published a guide for researching African Americans in her home county in South Carolina, a book that was hailed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s long-running genealogy column as an important model for all counties of South Carolina and other states. LaBrenda earned a BA from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and both a Law degree and a Master of Laws degree from New York University. She is a graduate of the Boston University Online Genealogical Program (OL5), and currently works as a facilitator on the faculty. In addition, LaBrenda is the Registrar General for the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage, a national lineage society that honors ancestors who were enslaved in the United States before 1870. She completed ProGen 13 and is currently serving as the mentor of ProGen 37. LaBrenda was the SLIG 2019 Course Coordinator for ''1619-2019: Four Hundred Years of African American Genealogy.''

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, CG, CGL