If applicable, fill out the information below and click on Complete Registration at the bottom of the page to register for this event.
Genealogy Event! Introduction to African American Genealogy

Event Type: Adults
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 2/9/2019
Start Time: 9:30 AM
End Time: 1:30 PM
 A free series of lectures focusing on African American Genealogy will occur at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 9, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

This event is free of charge and is open to the public. There is no registration.

The fair will feature display tables staffed by various genealogical organizations, including the Genealogical Research Society of New Orleans, the Jefferson Genealogy Society and the West Bank Genealogy Society. Also present will be lineage organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Colonial Dames, and United States Daughters of 1812.

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Introduction to African American Genealogy - Gaynell Brady

Gaynell Brady says there are many obstacles to overcome for African-Americans searching for their ancestors and she will discuss how to overcome them. According to Brady, the vast majority of African Americans are descendants of the 400,000 black Africans brought to North America to serve as slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since slaves had no legal rights, they are often not found in many of the traditional record sources available for that period. Another obstacle to documenting African American ancestry is that slave marriages were not legally recognized prior to emancipation, and therefore, were not recorded in official records. Tracing enslaved ancestors requires identifying the slave-owning family and tracking documents connected with that family.

Gaynell Brady is a local museum professional who performs contractual education and outreach work for the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville. She has also served as an Education Program Consultant and Curator at the Louisiana State Museum for five years. Brady also is the owner and operator of Mammy’s, an educational resource that encourages children of all ages to research their family histories and use them as inspirational tools to combat obstacles.

11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.
DNA Testing - Ja’el Gordon

The field of African-American genealogy is wrought with challenges. Beyond the emotional difficulty of the subject matter – dealing with records which describe the captivity and subjugation of human beings – African-American genealogical research is also difficult because of a scarcity of records. Add to this the widespread record destruction in the Southern United States in general, and tracing African ancestors can be a formidable task. This is where DNA testing comes in.

Ja’el Gordon earned a B.A. degree in history from Southern University in Baton Rouge, and upon graduation in 2012 went to work on campus as Coordinator of Student Organizations and Campus Involvement. She earned her master's degree in museum studies in 2015. Her work toward the degree included staging exhibits of narratives of former slaves from interviews conducted by the Federal Writers Project in the 1930s. She is currently working on a doctoral degree in higher education at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
The Challenge of African American Records - Antoinette Harrell

Searching for African American families involves two distinct research approaches. These approaches correspond to the distinct change in the legal status of African Americans in the United States before and after the Civil War. Genealogical techniques used to track slave families before the war are quite different than those used for white or free African Americans. However, research conducted on African Americans after the war usually involves the same types of records as those used for whites. In this presentation, Antoinette Harrell will discuss birth and death records, marriage certificates, church records, newspapers, and other records. She will talk about Louisiana African American Census Records, Louisiana church records and court resources.

Antoinette Harrell, PhD, is a renowned genealogist and historian. She is the producer and host of Nurturing Our Roots Genealogy Television Talk Show and author of several books. Her work has been featured in many media publications on the subjects of peonage and involuntary servitude research. VICE documentary has produced a documentary film on her peonage research. She is committed to preserving the oral histories and images of African-American people, cultural, schools, churches, businesses, civic organizations of prominent and influential African-American families and leaders of the Louisiana Florida Parishes.

For more information regarding this presentation, contact Chris Smith, Manager of Adult Programming for the library, at 504-889-8143 or wcsmith@jefferson.lib.la.us.

Library: East Bank Regional Library    Map
Location: Jefferson & Napoleon Rooms
Contact: Chris Smith
Contact Number: 504-889-8143
Presenter: Chris Smith