Thursday, June 17, 2010

Computing, Kinship, Library of Congress, Reconstruction & a Banquet

Shamele Jordan shares some of her skills with the Genealogical Computing session.

Thursday's session in the Afr. American track at the Samford Genealogy Institute, began with Shamele, Jordon sharing some tips on how she organizes and shares her data on sites such as Google Maps. This was a great overview of how 21st century tools can reveal the past by putting data online for others. She also shared some excellent databases where information on enslaved people can be found.

The session "Who Cares Who the Neighbors Are" began with an amusing exercise getting participants to share ancestral names, and then to "marry" them to another person.  This was to illustrate how neighbors interacted with each other, and how their lives created strong associations even though a blood line, might not have been there.

The class eagerly participated in the neighborly exercise 
and illustrated how people were associated often with each other in communities.

There is an impressive African American Collection at the Library of Congress. Ahmed Johnson gave a very detailed presentation about the holdings for African American research at the Library of Congress.  He presented some of the best pages on the LOC site, from which one can explore some of the holdings at LOC.
Among some of the unique holdings are the Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations, the A.P. Murray Collection and so much more.

Ahmed Johnson presents information on Library of Congress holdings

For those who have read WPA slave narratives, a fresh new look at using these narratives, was presented by Ari Wilkins of Dallas TX.  She shared her research on the life of a former slave, who was interviewed by the WPA.  Following the life of Fountain Hughes---one of the former slaves whose voice was actually taped, she shared with our class the format that she used to document the life of Mr. Hughes, and how she was able to document a direct descendant, as well.  Her presentation was extremely interesting, and we were also able to assist her in learning the exact burial site of Mr. Hughes, who died in Baltimore.  He is buried at Arbutus Memorial cemetery in Baltimore County.

Ari Wilkins presented a session on researching slaves 
interviewed by the WPA

With one more day to go, the day was topped off by a wonderful banquet.  The guest speaker was Pamela Boyer Sayre, who is also one of the instructors at this week's institute.  Her topic was Lookin' for Kinfolk--Dead or Alive and it was enjoyable.  We could identify with her wonderful story of locating the 3rd gr. grandfather's headstone and her taking us all on the adventure down narrow roads into the countryside to find his burial site.   Since classes will end midday tomorrow the week will come to an end.  It is so hard to believe that this wonderful institute comes to an end, but I have been impressed with the speakers and have been energized to work even harder of those projects on my list.



Scenes from the Samford Institute Banquet  June 12, 2010

This week has been an amazing experience, and I think that I will probably come back to Samford again, and again!  Only a few classes remain and it will be a little sad to see it come to an end---but---I am ready to get back and get busy!

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