In Their Own Words: Genealogy in the Slave Narratives

Renate Yarborough Sanders
Apr 2, 2021
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2m 30s
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Speaker's Introduction
2m 11s
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3m 26s
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Where are They Found?
3m 43s
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What Kind of Info?
10m 37s
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5m 26s
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6m 32s
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Freedom Stories
6m 51s
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Lest We Forget
4m 37s
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Announcements / prizes
7m 56s
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Questions / answers
13m 02s

About this webinar

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.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Renate Yarborough Sanders is the descendant of formerly enslaved ancestors, enslavers, and free people of color. She authors two blogs: “Into the LIGHT” and “Genea-Related;” and produces a “(Mostly) African-American Funeral Programs” online databa
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    A wonderful presentation – very emotional. I have three little books of the WPA Slave Narratives, edited by Belinda Hurmence, that I purchased at Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, in 2006. I’m going to read them again, with a different perception. Thank you, Legacy Family Tree, for presenting this webinar, and thank you, Renate Yarborough Sanders, for the wonderful presentation.

    Always enjoy Renate’s webinars. Today’s was especially moving and appreciated the breakdown of finding genealogy information in the narrative format….wonderful presentation

    Amazing–and so extraordinarily important. Thank you, Legacy, for this elucidating and moving webinar!

    Brilliantly moving presentation relating to Slavery and to the lives of the enslaved. Have left a number of reference relating to slave narratives in the chat for everyone.

    Captivating and very emotional.

    cousin renate always presents a high quality well organized presentation…looking forward to future shows!

    Don’t do slave research but this was very informative and emotional. Hope she does more webinars.

    Emotional for sure!

    Emotional. Thank you for putting this webinar together. Such an important topic to learn about and from.



    Excellent and very personal presentation- I also am one who got shivers up my spine as some of Renate’s examples made me start thinking about some things in a different way. She may have inadvertently given me a hint to track down the location of one branch of my family. I got some work to do. Thank you!

    Excellent presentation and information!

    Excellent presentation, very informative and educational. I am appreciative to you Ms Sanders!

    Excellent presentation, which also brought tears to my eyes. A C Bilbrew County Library in Los Angeles has volumes of Slave Narratives. My mothers’ 1st cousin has an ancestor in one of those volumes. Mr. English from Missouri is buried in San Diego, California. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from this presentation. Thank you to Legacy.

    Excellent presentation. Informative and very moving.

    Excellent presentation. Very moving.

    Excellent presentation…very emotional subjuect … well presented … truly a learning experience

    Excellent webinar.

    Excellent! Excellent!!

    Excellent! I enjoyed the use of mixed media which made the narratives come to life.

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    Excellent! To hear the voices of the formerly enslaved is powerful. I am working on my own tree of enslaved and slave owning ancestors and it is emotionally challenging but both are interconnected. Thank you for this wonderful session and please continue to expand the African diaspora series to include the Caribbean.

    Excellent, moving presentation!

    Excellent, the detail and the steps were awesome

    Excellent. She needs to come back

    extremely informative and emotion!!

    Fabulous presentation. So glad Geoff is back and healthy!! Thank you.

    FABULOUS, and I joined late. I will be listening again!

    Good resources and wonderful examples of details found in the narratives.

    Great information

    Great information, another avenue to look for my ancestors.

    great job

    Great job Renate

    Great overview of a very rich resource for research on formerly enslaved and their enslavers!

    great presentation, a wealth of information!

    her kind voice totally lended to her knowledge and relatability, thank you

    I almost didn’t watch this webinar but I am so glad that I did. It was emotional but I felt I learnt a lot from the personal stories.

    This was a very well-presented webinar on slavery. Now I feel there is a great possibility of me finding out more about my ancestors. I also appreciate Renate sharing her emotional response to the topic. I now feel prepared to find out about my ancestors and not being leary of the feelings associated with that research. Thank you, Renate!! You did a WONDERFUL job of giving me hope in finding my enslaved ancestors!!

    I have several friends I can better help now! Thank you Renate Yarborough-Sanders!

    I love listening to Renate spoke. My cousin and I where both online and we where chatting back and forth about the different things we can research…Great presentation

    I really enjoy listening to the narratives, it was so interesting.

    I really enjoyed the presentation and will start looking for/at the sources mentioned. Thank you all.

    I really enjoyed this webinar. This encourages me to research the slave narratives.

    I think because I am an archaeologist who had to take anthropology classes I know about resources (like the ones used today) most people don’t know about or think to use but should. Not only am I happy to see more videos on other cultures, but I am thrilled to see researchers using non-traditional sources for genealogical research. More, please!

    I will check to see if there were any interviews in the areas of my relatives.

    I wish I could give this a 10 or 15! I know the information presented was only the tip of the iceberg but it gave the viewers the chance to know what is out there. I’ve looked at some slave narratives from the WPA. I give Renate my heartfelt thanks for presenting this and for opening more doors and keeping those knowledge doors open to our real past the the toll on our ancestors. Thank you Renate, and Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

    Incredibly moving. Thank you!

    Inspiring! Thank you!

    It was emotional for me too. Thanks for directions to resources I can use to search for potential narratives from my ancestors.

    It was soooooo moving! Thanks for sharing the narratives. Can’t wait for the new part in Kalvin’s story.

    It was very heart wrenching presentation just listening to the voices of our former enslaved men and women and what they experienced. This is something we must never forget. Renate Y Sanders gave very informative presentation and I learned a lot.

    It was very informative and well presented. I could not stop crying I have never heard the slave narratives. Thank you and Renata for making these available. We must never forget…

    IT WAS WONDERFUL!!! I am so glad I listened to it. How wonderful these Slave Narratives exist…but how sad and sobering. I cried as their painful stories were brought to life. Thank you for sharing. The closing screen and piano music was beautiful.

    Liked pre-recording followed by live Q&A. Probably minimized technical glitches.

    love the photos and recordings

    Loved this presentation!!

    Now I will have to look at the Mississippi Slave Narriatives.

  3. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    Oh my goodness!!! This was an EXCELLENT presentation!!! Even though the subject matter was painful and difficult to hear and see, it was presented with such beauty, dignity, and respect for the formerly enslaved. I never thought of using the slave narratives for genealogy research. What an overlooked resource!!! Thank you both for hosting this webinar.

    One of the best I’ve heard.

    OUTSTANDING!!! I was not familiar with this topic and my GGF was a slave. I will now look into this for more detail about his life. Thank you.

    Powerful content

    Quite compelling!!! Re-ignited my desire to look more closely at the slave narratives for Jefferson County Arkansas.

    Renate always brings us back to the people. Not just names and numbers. I will be looking for Finding Calvin. Thank You

    Renate always does an excellent job.

    Renate did a Great job handling a very delicate topic! Very professionally done, Renate!

    Renate gave a great great webinar! I found out where to go to help me get so much more ! Thanks so much.

    Renate is always so informative and wonderful to listen to. Having attended her Calvin webinar (and viewing it a couple of times after that) I can’t wait to register for Calvin FINALLY FOUND!

    She is an excellent presenter and hope to hear more! Thank you!

    So emotional! I loved all the resources Renate mentioned, in addition to the Slave narratives and how she parsed out useful genealogical data from the stories. The chat was heartwarming too. You guys do an excellent job. Thanks for including African American research in your lineup.

    So informative and heartbreaking. Beautifully done

    so moving

    So moving!

    So touched! Thank you, for all of your preparations!

    Thank you for a wonderful presentation! These stories can never be forgotten and should be heard today, more than ever.

    Thank you for providing a quality and informative webinar.

    Thank you for this enlightening and emotional journey.

    Thank you so much for this webinar. It was both moving and helpful.

    Thank you, Renate, for a really moving and informative presentation.


    The presenter’s pleasant voice enhanced the information that she shared.

    The quotes from the slave narratives were powerful!

    The webinar provided me with a lot of new information – I am now going to start looking for slave narratives in my home town area.

    The webinar was excellent. I am new a genealogy.

    There were moments in the webinar that were certainly emotional. Reading and hearing those slave narratives…it tugs at my heart strings that these people went through something so horrible.

    Overall, this was a great webinar!

  4. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    This information needs to get out right now as this world goes through some of the same things.

    This is one of the best webinars ever. It provided balance to what’s often said about the enslaved experiences and hearing it in their own words removes all mystery and second-guessing. Thank you for this and the entire series!

    This presentation was amazing! The speaker was absolutely great. I loved her tone and her rate of speaking. The slides were very useful as were the explanations of how to use the narratives when researching. Before viewing this presentation, I had put off reading many of the slave narratives because of the trauma it produced for me. After hearing the presentation I now feel empowered to add the slave narratives to my collection of growing resources I use, that tell the enriched history of my family.

    This was a great webinar. Very emotional. I loved the readings and recordings. It made it come alive.

    This was a wonderful webinar from a great presenter. Thank you!

    This was an excellent presentation, and I look forward to others from the presenter

    This was an exceptional presentation. I am looking forward to utilizing some of the research tools presented in the presentation.

    This was my first time actually seeing/hearing some of the slave narratives. It was very moving!

    This was so moving. Thank you.

    This was so very difficult to hear, but, I’m now very motivated to help my African-American friends who are not genealogists to find their ancestors. I will look at their suffering with humility, compassion and tenderness.

    This webinar has been very inspiring! I am hopeful that I will be successful in using the Slave Narratives in getting past my Brick Walls!

    Very emotional stories that needed to be heard.

    Very emotional. It’s hard to think that only 4 generations before me, my ancestors were Enslaved Persons. Great presentation!

    very enlightening

    very Good


    Very helpful and lots of good info. Keep it going.

    Very informative

    Very informative and interesting

    Very informative and moving.

    Very informative and useful in my research on race relations, etc. Thank you!

    Very informative and useful information.

    Very informative information.

    Very informative. Thank you.

    Very insightful, well organized and easy to follow. Great presentation.

    Very interesting and informative.

    Very interesting, informative and helpful for my family research.

    Very interesting. Presented with enthusiasm and obvious energy towards the subject.

    Very moving and inspiring webinar! It urges me into further research of my enslaved ancestors to honor them. Renate did a wonderful job with this information. I am so glad to have been able to attend.

    very moving presentation with the recorded voices of the ex enslaved.

    Very moving presentation. Thank you. The hour just flew by!

    very moving

    Very moving!

    Very personal. Touching. Overwhelmingly heartbreaking and incomprehensible that his happened and is STILL happening in the world today. Separating families, abuse and actually feeling it is OK to do so is ……I cannot understand it!
    Thank you for a unique and remarkable presentation!

    very well presented

    Visuals were excellent.

    Well done in organization and moving in presentation. Hope to find some connects to my family research through the sources mentioned.

    Well done, very informative.

    What an amazing and emotional webinar. There was no way those in attendance could have kept a dry eye. To see/hear in their own words what their lives consisted of was so powerful. Thanks and hope we have more like this.

    Wonderful presentation, so moving and informative. I have made a note to self to check out Finding Calvin.

    WOW, it’s presentations like this that help remind us why we spend so much time and effort working on family history. What a blessing!


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