Making the Slave Connection

04/22/2011 10:00
04/22/2011 15:00

LIVINGSTON, Ala.— The University of West Alabama’s Division of Educational Outreach will offer genealogy workshops this spring through its Continuing Education program. The series includes an introduction to genealogical methodology and resources, with emphasis placed on the unique aspects of African-American history and genealogy, and offer guidance in obtaining adequate documentation for presentations and publishing.

Frazine Taylor, retired head of reference for the Alabama Department of Archives and History, will lead the workshops. Taylor serves as adviser to African-American studies for UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt.

“Although the emphasis will be on African-American research, the workshops are designed to benefit all ethnic groups. The records used to research family history are basically the same for any group, they are just interpreted differently to meet the needs of the researcher,” Taylor explained.

Taylor, who serves on the board of directors of the Alabama Historical Association, will present five workshops on Fridays in March and April.

The first in the series, “How to Begin Your Family Research” will be held March 4 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Participants will prepare for beginning family research through home-based research and oral interviews. They will also prepare an ancestor chart, family group sheets, and family history questionnaires. The workshop will also include introductions to genealogy software and to the Federal Census Records.

The series continues on March 18 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. with “Getting the Most Out of the Census: Finding Ancestry Clues in Census Records, 1790-1930” to identify information reported in the Federal, state, and non-population census records. The workshop will offer training in locating census records on microfilm and identifying local resources and repositories, both online and in print.

The third installment, “Griots, Homesteads, and Headstones: The Use of Oral History, Historic Sites, and Cemeteries to Document African-American Family History” is scheduled for April 1 from 10 a.m. until noon, followed by a research session. This workshop will emphasize the importance of portraying ancestors fully in historical, social, and cultural contexts by including details from additional repositories.

“Making the Slave Connection” will be held April 22 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The workshop will teach participants to overcome the challenging aspects of African-American genealogical research including identifying ancestors through slavery. Information will be provided on available written records pertaining to slaves and how those records vary depending on factors including state, county, time period, and individuals involved in transactions.

The series concludes with “Presenting Your Family Research and Genealogy: Publish” on April 29 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Participants will learn to organize and present the results of research and how to tell one’s family story by presenting genealogy at a gathering such as a family reunion.

The author of “Researching African-American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide,” Taylor researched Tom Joyner’s and Linda Johnson Rice’s family roots and ties to Alabama for the PBS series, “African American Lives, Part 2.”

Taylor is a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. She is president of the Elmore County Association of Black Heritage, chair of the Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission, a member of the Black Belt African American Genealogical and Historical Society, and the Society of Alabama Archivists.

The cost for participating in the workshops is $30 per session or $100 for the entire series. All sessions will be held at UWA’s Land Hall in Livingston. Please contact Monica Moore at 205-652-3828 by February 25 to register.