Learn how you can trace your African American roots at RootsTech 2018.

World-renowned experts in African American genealogy and family history will be on hand at RootsTech 2018 to teach you how to unlock your family’s past and make connections with your heritage. Classes on topics such as getting started, using technology in your research, and overcoming genealogical challenges will be offered during the four-day conference.

Here’s a list of 14 classes focused on African heritage that will be part of RootsTech 2018. If you see a class that interests you, add it to your schedule in the official RootsTech app (available on the App Store and Google Play).

Wednesday, February 28

The Ancestors Await: Finding Your Ancestors through Archival Research

Toni Carrier, Low Country Africana

Libraries, archives, universities, museums, and historical societies hold treasures for your ancestor search! Plantation journals, wills, estate inventories, photographs, and more await you at historical societies, archives, university libraries, and special collections in community libraries. This session focuses on archival resources, what you can learn from them, and how to locate and access these rich resources.

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Room: 254A

Digital Library on American Slavery and More

Diane Richard, Mosaic RPM

Researching and documenting emancipated individuals and their ancestors before the 1870 census can be challenging but not necessarily impossible. Many types of records offer information about those who were enslaved. Increasingly, rich resources can be found online so that you can research in your jammies (if you want). This talk discusses a few resources that you won’t regret looking into as you research your African American ancestry. Some collections and techniques include the following:

Time: 1:30 p.m.

Room: 251A

Learn how to trace African American ancestors from expert genealogists at RootsTech 2018.Timelines Are for You!

Shelley Murphy, Midwest African American Genealogy Institute

This session will provide a brief overview of the value of using timelines to enhance your research. Attendees will see the how a timeline keeps things organized and in chronological order. It’s one document that will show the conflicts or gaps and have citations along with resources. Timelines are like writing the beginnings of a biography about your ancestor. Timelines will tell things that impacted your ancestors and the communities they lived in. Timelines can be fancy or simple with Murphy’s methods and strategies to build the timeline. In addition, attendees will be exposed to building a research plan from their timeline.

Time: 1:30 p.m.

Room: 254A

The Emotional Side of DNA Testing

Bernice Bennett, BB’s Genealogy Research and Educational Services, LLC

This presentation will discuss the emotional reactions associated with discovering new relatives, ancestry composition results, and other unanticipated findings.

Time: 1:30 p.m.

Room: Ballroom I

Turning Ancestors into Art

Tony Burroughs, Center for Black Genealogy

It is very exciting to find an old photo of your ancestors. It is more exciting to add color to those old black and white photos. It is even more exciting to combine photos and documents to turn them into works of art to be hung on walls and given as presents. With a knowledge of Photoshop and a scanner, you can turn your family photos into works of art.

Time: 3:00 p.m.

Room: 255A

Thursday, March 1

Platting Plantations

Tony Burroughs, Center for Black Genealogy

It is difficult enough to identify the name of a slave owner and whether your enslaved ancestors lived on a plantation. But once you’ve identified the plantation, which may no longer exist, how do you tell where it would be today and how to get there? How do you determine if there are any remnants of the plantation and discover the proximity of the churches, neighbors, and other points of interest in the community? This presentation will illustrate how to find land deeds, how to plat the deeds, overlay the plats on current maps, and then walk on the grounds of your enslaved ancestors.

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Room: 251D

Decoding Freedom Papers to Find Family Connections

Michael Henderson

Manumission papers sometimes hold clues to otherwise undocumented, clandestine family connections. Uncovering these hidden family connections can help further your research—whether your ancestor was the enslaved person being granted freedom or the person granting freedom to someone else. These documents offer a research goldmine for genealogists of all backgrounds who pore over 18th- and 19th-century documents. The session will explore a proven methodology to examine manumission documents and show how attendees can apply this approach to documents they uncover.

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Room: 251A

Learn how to unpuzzle your heritage at RootsTech 2018.

Tooling Technology to Unpuzzle Birthing History

Janis Forte, Midwest African American Genealogy Institute

Puzzled and confused? Can’t unscramble Great-grandma’s birthing history? Baffled by the 1900 census question on “Mother of how many children” and “Number of these children living”? Are you unable to affirm oral history accounts of childbirths? This lecture is for you. Learn internet websites and research strategies to uncover the precise birthing history of your 19th-century ancestor. Genealogy involves identifying kin regardless of life length. This lecture includes researching those who were stillborn, those who died in childhood, and those who died without futures. To ensure accuracy, in addition to traditional birth registries, we must scour other records for birthing information. This lecture demonstrates electronic databases and specialty files that may reveal long forgotten births and childhood deaths. In case study format, this lecture provides a how-to approach to complete the family structure by uncovering these previously unknown kin who have been lost to history.

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Room: 254A

A Gift of Life: Who’s Writing Your Story?

Deborah Abbott

How do you want to be remembered? As genealogists we always seem to skip over ourselves—so who’s telling your story? Who knows better than you the joy, pain, and laughter of your life? Remember that our lives, as well as the lives of our ancestors, are made up of more than census records and family group sheets. Only you can tell the real stories of love, loss, forgiveness, and change. Don’t leave the task of finding the answers of your life’s history to someone else—take the time to write your life story. Learn the importance of reliving your past and reflecting on who you are today. Explore ways to remember the past that no record would provide and writing in six-word memoirs. Using typical genealogical resources, learn the ease of writing your history and bringing your personal story to life.

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Room: Ballroom A

Friday, March 2

Tracing Slavery with DNA and Genealogy

Nicka Smith

The history of slavery in America has made our DNA a complex cultural stew. In this session, learn how to combine traditional genealogy and DNA research to confirm or deny slave, slaveholder, and ancestral ties to one of history’s most peculiar institutions.

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Room: 251A

Loose Women: Record Search for the Female Felon

Janis Forte, Midwest African American Genealogy Institute

Is there a black sheep in your family? Gangsters and crooks in your ancestral closet? These “persons of ill fame” usually produce more documents than do the law-abiding citizens of a community. Generally, these dark-shadowed individuals are males and referred to as “black sheep.” But occasionally, these shady characters are of the “weaker sex” known as “black ewes.” Like their black sheep male counterparts, these black ewes were the charlatans, crooks, gangsters, and criminals of their eras. Loose women all! With a focus on research strategies and techniques, this lecture is about tracking the infamous and elusive females in your ancestry who resided on the “other side of the law”—even if you didn’t know about them. This lecture demonstrates research methodologies and skill-building techniques along with a variety of online databases of criminal record file systems, historical county jails, and state prison systems.

Time: 3:00 p.m.

Room: Ballroom E

How to utilize availalb resource to find your African American ancestors.How to Get More from Your DNA with GEDMatch.com

Shannon Christmas

Learn how and why you should mine your autosomal DNA results for genealogical gems using the most popular third-party tool for genetic genealogy.

Time: 3:00 p.m.

Room: Ballroom F

Saturday, March 3

Transcribing the Freedmen’s Bureau

Douglas Remley; Kamilah Stinnett

This session will give an overview of the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project. This crowdsourcing initiative aims to transcribe all of the nearly two million images of records relating to the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Once transcribed, the records will become keyword searchable through a new database that will allow researchers to search the Freedmen’s Bureau records in a way that has never before been possible and will become an invaluable resource for anyone interested in learning more about their family history or the Reconstruction Era. The session will detail the origins of the project, the partnership between FamilySearch and the Smithsonian, how to participate in the project, tips on transcribing 150-year-old documents, and the critical role technology plays in making African American genealogy accessible.

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Room: 251A

Organizing and Documenting Plantation Slaves

Ari Wilkins, Dallas Public Library

Keeping track of numerous of slaves with oftentimes only first names or nicknames can be an overwhelming task. This lecture will offer suggestions on using spreadsheets to organize and analyze information about African Americans before and after the Civil War.

Time: 1:30 p.m.

Room: 251D

 

Source: New on FamilySearch