Published as part of the August 8, 2012 edition. Last updated August 7, 2012.
African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne presents genealogy program on Aug. 11
By Roberta Ridley
Reflecting thoughts of Alabama brings to mind the song “Old Susanna” composed and written by Steven Foster in 1847 it was used by songwriters and other folk songs to present demeaning caricatures of black people. Yet many of us think of the song in joyful reflection of childhood games and songs. But if you actually knew all the lyrics you would find a somewhat heart wrenching and historical story. An once enslaved (or run-away enslaved) man embarks upon travel to find the object of his affection, who is an enslaved woman whom was relocated to Louisiana. He is determined to make it to Louisiana against all odds to join the love of his life. Many references to his struggle in this search are included in the lyrics and few compliments to image of either the man or the woman. The one thing we get for sure is that this man is determined to find his lover.
When we think about the possibilities this could be anybody’s ancestor. How and when did this man arrive in Alabama? Where did he come from? Where did he live in Alabama? Was he free or enslaved? And…who was the woman that he sought? Did he find her? Did he marry her? Did they have children? Could this be the story of your ancestor? Genealogy research is more than a family story. It is a cultural history within a culture.
Alabama and the Black Belt area were home to the majority population of African Americans for over one hundred and fifty years. The African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne proudly presents Mrs. Frazine Taylor author, lecturer, educator of African American history and Genealogical Research Consultant. Ms. Taylor has been the head of the Alabama State Library Department of Archives and has researched and presented extensively on African American Research for the southern area of the country.
Mrs. Taylor will provide extensive insight for research methods within the records and collections of Alabama history and African American Collections.
The American interstate slave trade created tremendous devastation upon African American families and their ability to maintain family connections. Enslaved African Americans were an investment and records were kept. Because transportation methods required documentation and due to the sale and purchase of enslaved persons there are possibilities of tracking and reconnecting those families. A few news articles have offered insight of the migration experiences of local African Americans but not enough has been shared. Who were the families they left behind and why? Some families seem to have just disappeared.
Ms. Taylor will guide us through Alabama History, Alabama Department of Archive, Alabama Resources on Ancestry.Com, Alabama Military Records, Future Alabama Records on Ancestry and Et.Certa (which will be amazing). Please join the African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne in this educational and insightful presentation at the Allen County Public Library Theater on Saturday August 11, 2012. Tickets are $25.00 per person and $20.00 per person for society members. Add your family name to the research tree for a cost of $5.00 per leaf. Contact the society at 260-247-0789 and email@example.com or 260-410-0825 and firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information and tickets.
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