Finding a Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity

Overview

Reclaiming a lost heritage is a task requiring a solid road map. African-American genealogy circles are abuzz, excited byFinding a Place Called Home , a new volume that teaches readers how to sort out their racial and cultural identities, as well as how to begin the step-by-step process of searching for one's family roots. Advising readers on ways to sidestep roadblocks that often hinder black genealogists, Woodtor explains how to access and use census reports, slave schedules, courthouse records, the Internet, ...
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Overview

Reclaiming a lost heritage is a task requiring a solid road map. African-American genealogy circles are abuzz, excited byFinding a Place Called Home , a new volume that teaches readers how to sort out their racial and cultural identities, as well as how to begin the step-by-step process of searching for one's family roots. Advising readers on ways to sidestep roadblocks that often hinder black genealogists, Woodtor explains how to access and use census reports, slave schedules, courthouse records, the Internet, and other sources to trace a family tree. She also shares many personal stories of African-Americans who have gone through this experience. And she details the importance of probing the immediate family history with an emphasis on the oldest generation. Once the extended living members are marked on the family tree, the ancestral limbs and trunk must be found through interviews, courthouse documents, grave markers, periodicals, and church records. This book also includes a special section on tracing Caribbean ancestry. For anyone wishing to retrace an African-American family history, Woodtor's fine effort
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Woodtor (DePaul Univ.) has written a detailed and easily accessible guide for readers searching for their African roots. After a general introduction to African American genealogy and the importance of family history, she sets readers on the path of researching their own family history. "If you are of African American ancestry," she writes, "you should know that most of your ancestors had arrived in the United States by the year 1790. Your American ancestry runs deep--in fact, deeper than that of the majority of Americans." Much of the book focuses on finding information from the Reconstruction era, locating military records from the Civil War, and analyzing the schedules of slave owners, old newspaper notices, and county registers to trace ancestors who lived as slaves. Throughout, Woodtor clearly explains what to expect from various sources and gives many intriguing examples from the field. While the reader may need to check other guides for locating information about other eras (e.g., African Americans in World War I), this book is highly recommended for all genealogy and African American history collections.--Linda L. McEwan, Elgin Community Coll., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375405952
  • Publisher: Random House Information Group
  • Publication date: 2/9/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 452
  • Product dimensions: 8.47 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Dee Parmer Woodtor is an instructor at DePaul University's School for New Learning in Afro-American Family History and Genealogy and at Chicago's Newberry Library. She is the author of the children's book Big Meeting. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.
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Read an Excerpt

Ten Most Important Points for Beginning Genealogists

1. Know that the records about your family's past are there, and your task is
to find them.

2. Try filling out your first set of genealogy forms -- a five-generation
chart and a family group sheet. That will tell you how much you know and how
much you have to find out from family members.

3. Call or write all important family members to let them know you plan to do
the family's genealogy and you pray for their cooperation in this important
project

4. This is not a do-it-alone project. Ask a close family member to be your
partner, preferably in the state where ancestors lived.

5. Collect and copy all of your own family's records -- birth marriage, and
death certificates as well as other records.

6. Collect and copy form your parents and grandparents all of their old
records -- old funeral programs, employment records, photos, bible entries,
school or military records.

7. Create an address book of all your relatives who are 50 years old and
over. These are the people you will interview first.

8. If you've done the above things, you have already collected quite a bit of
material. Time to get organized! A small two-drawer filing cabinet in which
you file all your materials is a must.

9. Join a local genealogy society.

10: Try your first set of interviews starting with your parents or
grandparents.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
A Note About the Photographs viii
Introduction ix
Chapter 1 Regaining Our Collective Memory, Reclaiming a Lost Family Tradition 2
Chapter 2 Beginning Your Genealogical Pursuit: Defining Family Traditions 16
Chapter 3 Techniques and Tools 46
Chapter 4 Your Ancestors on Record: The Importance of Documenting the Life Cycle 68
Chapter 5 A Place Called Down Home: In Search of the Ancestral Home 96
Chapter 6 Unraveling the Ties That Bound: 1870 to 1920 122
Chapter 7 Finding Freedom's Generation: Your Ancestors During the Civil War, 1860-1865 146
Chapter 8 Close to Kin, But Still Waiting for Forty Acres and a Mule: Searching for Your Ancestors During Reconstruction 170
Chapter 9 A Long Way to Freedom: The Genealogy of Your Slave Ancestors 204
Chapter 10 The Last Slave and the Last Slave Owner 220
Chapter 11 The Records of Slavery 244
Chapter 12 Reconstructing Families and Kinship in the Slave Community 276
Chapter 13 The Records Freedom Generated 302
Chapter 14 The Last African and the First American 324
Chapter 15 Conclusion: Family Reunions and Regaining a Collective Memory 346
Special Topic 1 Sources for Advanced Research in Slave Genealogy 358
Special Topic 2 African American Institutional Records 374
Special Topic 3 Caribbean Ancestry 390
Special Topic 4 American Indian Ancestry 396
Special Topic 5 World Wars I & II 408
Special Topic 6 What to do with Your Research: Writing Family Memoirs or the Family Story, and 101 Genealogy Research Projects Waiting to Be Done 416
Special Topic 7 A Further Note on County Courthouse Records 430
Personal Recordkeeping with Exercises for Beginners 440
African American and Genealogy Web Sites 455
African American Genealogy Societies in the United States and Canada 458
Bibliography 465
Index 489
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