The fact is: We were there, because our ancestors were there. Period.
But what I was left with, was the need to find those incredible stories of survival and persistence, and also of resistance, exhibited by Africans brought into Five Tribes as slaves.
I realized that if we don’t tell our stories their history might be altered — by fiction.
The AfriGeneas Blog, described as “African American genealogy and history news and views,” is part of the granddaddy of black genealogy sites, Afrigeneas.com. The blog is easy to navigate, and although there aren’t a lot of blog entries, most of them are informative.
Eight contributors from the main Afrigeneas website posted blog entries in December 2010. Postings included an article about how Footnote.com and Lowcountry Africana were collaborating to launch a “free collection of historical records from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History containing estate inventories and bills of sale for Colonial and Charleston South Carolina from 1732 to 1872.” There was also a report from the International Black Genealogy Summit in Indiana from October 2009, with photos.
Black Nashville Genealogy & History, built by Taneya Koonce of Nashville, Tenn. (who identifies herself in her Facebook profile as associate director for research at Vanderbilt University), is an impressive, wide-ranging site. Not only has Koonce researched her own family and posted her family history as links from her site, on Facebook and on Ancestry.com, but she has also added detailed information about black genealogy in Nashville.
The site includes article excerpts from black newspapers in Tennessee; categories such as banks, cemeteries, churches, schools and surnames; and links to other Tennessee-related blogs, including Davidson County and the Nashville Public Library’s local history page. Black Nashville’s archives date back to 2006. If you have Tennessee ancestors, Koonce’s site is worth an exploration.
Blogging Genealogy, subtitled “the Official Blog of the Indiana African American Genealogy Group,” links to the IAAGG website as well as the Indiana Genealogical Society Blog, the African Ancestry Blog and the Genealogy Roots Blog. Its archives date back to 2009.
Blogging Genealogy also keeps the public updated about IAAGG’s activities, such as a visit to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, which is the second-largest genealogy repository in the United States. Several entries by IAAGG member Tami Winfrey Harris include tips on black genealogy research.
Karin D. Berry is a newspaper journalist and freelance writer who has been researching her family history since 1987. Her articles, book reviews and op-ed articles have been published in Essence, Black Enterprise, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Macon Telegraph, the Baltimore Sun, the Evening Sun, Emerge and the Philadelphia Daily News.