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60 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
S05 E04: Elizabeth Wiseman - My Four Fathers
Elizabeth’s DNA Journey began in 2016. After her mother was diagnosed with cancer, she decided to take a DNA test. She hoped the results would expedite the search for her ancestors. This was a journey she wanted to share with her mom. After sending DNA samples for herself and her parents, she discovered she had a different biological father. Over the next four years, her journey would have her find her birth father, nine siblings, and a living aunt and uncle. Elizabeth’s approach to engaging her new tribe was both a blessing and inspiring. Elizabeth is a Maryland resident. She is a retired Administrator in the industries of Public Accounting and Law. Since retirement, she commits much of her time in public service as a community leader and serves on the Board of Directors for the Park Heights Renaissance CDC in Baltimore Maryland. She enjoys coaching acquaintances of Generation X. She also aids many Baby Boomers on transitioning to Medicare. Her story will be the subject of a forthcoming book.
60 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
S05 E03 Brown Babies The Mischlingskinder Story With Regina Griffin
We were so pleased to welcome Regina Griffin, Jasmine Redden, and Romona Burns to the show to talk about Mischlingskinders (Brown babies) - the children of African American servicemen and German women. "Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story" reveals the tragic lives of biracial, bicultural children who were unwanted, ignored and forgotten by enemy nations. Imagine being born in a place and time where racism and hatred run rampant. Your mother is white and German and your father is a black American serviceman. "Brown Babies" tells the painful and personal story of a forgotten piece of world history through eyes of the people who suffered most: those who lived it. Emmy award-winning TV News Executive Producer Regina Griffin is the director, writer and producer of "Brown Babies". Regina and Romana are Mischlingskinders who talk candidly about their life experiences. Documentary link: https://www.brownbabiesfilm.com/
61 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
S05 E02: Lalita Yeldell - Sylvers (author): Circumcision Of A Wounded Heart
We welcomed Lalita to the show to discuss her new book "Circumcision of a Wounded Heart: An Unjust Journey Due to Systemic Racism, Classism, & Oppression" Lalita Yeldell was in for the ride of her life when a terrible head-on collision ended in tragedy. With two people dead, one injured, and Lalita fighting for her life and unconscious for almost a month; she woke to a complete nightmare. With broken arms, legs, memory lost, a shattered pelvis, and a ruptured liver, it was just the beginning of her world being turned upside down. While the worst was yet to happen, Lalita had no idea of the hell she was about to face. With crooked cops, prosecutorial overzealousness, and an unjust legal and judicial system, Lalita landed in prison for crimes she did not commit. After trying to overcome obstacles of racism, classism, and oppression, she looked to God for answers through prayer, which led her to truth and understanding... helping her to find peace. We talked about the brokenness of the U.S. Judicial System - especially were women and women of color are concerned. And we discussed ways that this systemic injustice can be addressed pro-actively. Book link: https://www.amazon.com/Circumcision-Wounded-Heart-Systemic-Oppression/dp/1736672312
57 minutes | Sep 28, 2021
S05 E01: How Black History Should Be Taught In School
Black History is American History. That's how it ought to be taught. Sadly, too many United States schools fail in this regard. It's the county as a whole that loses out, including young Black Americans who aren't taught the history of their people. Incidents like “Missouri high school students allegedly post petition online calling for the return of slavery” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2021/09/23/missouri-students-share-petition-calling-return-slavery/5822613001) and “Book Ban In Pennsylvania School District Sets Troubling Precedent For Access To Diverse Literature” (https://pen.org/press-release/book-ban-in-pennsylvania-school-district-sets-troubling-precedent-for-access-to-diverse-literature) show how badly this knowledge is needed. These two incidents happened so recently they still have that new baby smell. In this episode, Brian and Donya talk about the varying degrees that Black American history is taught. They also discussed who largely teaches it. And address how none this includes or incorporates the new bogey-phrase Critical Race Theory. This becomes even more problematic when this issue involves majority or exclusively white school systems. Possible solutions and ways forward are discussed.
64 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
S04 E39: Book Club - Resistance On A Georgia Plantation 1838-9 (Fanny Kemble, 1863)
In this episode, we talk about Fanny Kemble's book "Journal of a Residence on a Georgian plantation in 1838-1839" which was published after her death in 1863. Brian opened the show with some new research resources discoveries he's made for Alabama and Mississippi records on FamilySearch. And he also shared a tip for identifying enslavers in communities where slaveholders were largely absent (as in absentee enslavers) such as the Gullah corridor from South Carolina to Florida. You won't want to miss these tips! Originally published in 1863 – and out-of-print and unavailable for almost a century- Frances Anne Kemble’s Journal has long been recognized by historians as unique in the literature of American slavery and invaluable for obtaining a clear view of the “peculiar institution” and of life in the antebellum South. Brian spoke about how this book was - and is - invaluable to his Weeping Time slave sale research (1859). And it is important for the work he and others are doing researching the enslaved people held by Capt. John Bull, Col. Thomas Middleton, and Maj. Pierce Butler in SC. Donya and Brian read from examples of the book that illustrate how social issues for Black Americans remain largely unchanged since Fanny Kemble's accounts were written in 1838-9. And they talk about the dangers of those who would like to see books like this in the U.S. removed from public access, or destroyed, to better enable a white-washing of the lived Black experience throughout American history. Fanny Kemble was one of the leading lights of the English stage in the nineteenth century. During a tour of America in the 1830s, she met and married a wealthy Philadelphian, Pierce Butler, part of whose fortune derived from his family’s vast cotton and rice plantation on the Sea Islands of Georgia and formerly, South Carolina. After their marriage, she spent several months living on the plantation. Profoundly shocked by what she saw, she recorded her observations of plantation life in a series of journal entries written as letters to a friend. She never sent the letters. It wasn’t until the Civil War began and Fanny, divorced from Pierce Butler, was living in England where her letters were published in book format. This is a no-holes-barred kind of book. Fanny did not mince her words or sugar-coat the world she witnessed first-hand. This book provides the modern reader with the historical and biographical background to move freely and with ease in Fanny Kemble’s world. Free download url: https://archive.org/details/journalofresiden00kembuoft?
63 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
S04 E38 Researching Enslavers Reframing The Narrative With Adrienne Fikes
Adrienne Fikes joined us to discuss reframing the slavery narrative in a way that enables the descendants of enslaved people, and their enslavers, to gather together in a manner that encourages dialogue and taking early steps towards reconciliation. She also addressed the systemic issues that continue to haunt African Americans’ lived experience in the U.S., as well as white Americans’ beliefs about our respective historical pasts. Chattel slavery in the United States is a history of difficult truths, cruelty, and racial injustice. It’s a subject we covered in 'S04 E01: Getting Your Mind & Spirit Right: Prep for Enslaved Research'. The subject is so charged that the U.S. has never been able to have an informed, honest, and transparent conversation about slavery. Added to this dynamic is a lack of any underlying framework to discuss it – or an agreed-upon language framework to engage in this painful history. In the words of Dale Carnegie: “The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson Don’t give up in the middle.” Adrienne Fikes, M.Ed, PCC, is the Soul Power Coach™, a seventh-generation Virginian, and creator of the Joy, Genealogy, Justice community-building framework. Adrienne is a speaker, author, organizational development consultant, and co-founder of Racial Justice Alexandria. Her 16Greats.com Challenge is to speak your sixteen great-great-grandparent’s names.
62 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
S04 E37: What's New At MyHeritage with Daniel Horowitz
MyHeritage Genealogy Expert, Daniel Horowtiz, joined us to talk about some of the new features and functionality offered by MyHeritage. We talked about: 1. The new picture restoration tool (Awesome!!); 2. MyHeritage's updated family tree (OMG!); 3. New features and improvements to the Theory of Relativity (Brilliant!!); and 4. Exploring DNA matches in more depth through ethnicity results, family surnames, and the U.S. regions where those names and ethnicities had the highest occurrence. (Exceptional!)
61 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
S04 E36 How Old Fake News Can Lead Your Genealogy Astray
We have often spoken about how important newspapers have been in researching our families. Occasionally, however, an old newspaper article can have varying degrees of incorrect information - or complete falsehoods! In this episode, we walk you through some examples. Brian opens the show with a humdinger of a fabricated story that has sucked genealogists in for years trying to work the clues provided in an article riddled with inaccuracies and falsehoods. Donya walks you through how changing dates in an article about an ancestral family member threw her research off. Both speak about how even an obituary can lead you on a merry chase. Working research clues and creating a flexible research strategy are two key themes that run through this episode.
128 minutes | Jun 27, 2021
S04 GA Special: The Policing of African Americans with Ret. P. C. Ralph GodbeePt 2
We welcomed Ret. Police Chief Ralph Godbee, Jr back to the show to discuss the policing of black communities in the United States. Our wide-ranging discussion touched on how the multi-generational trauma of non-white communities in the U.S. (with an emphasis on African Americans) should be part of police training as well as equality and diversity training in human resources departments. We dug deeper on the historical aspects of policing African Americans from slave patrols to modern police departments; as well as how poor white Americans have been angry at the wrong people (non-whites) for their generations of struggles. And we covered how this issue touches on so many aspects of the lived experience of African Americans in the United States. Part 1 is available via https://youtu.be/R2akgLb5rWE
63 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
S04 E35 African Slave Records With Katrina Keefer
In this episode, we welcomed author and Adjunct Professor (Trent University, Canada) Katrina Keefer to the show to talk about slavery records in Africa. We spent the hour talking about: - Katrina's sense of calling to this research work; - Slavery-related documents that still survive in Africa: the kinds of information they contain, digitization and preservation, and their importance in documenting the history and in telling the truth about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade; and - Tribal markings and the depth of the information encoded within those markings. This show actually made Donya speechless at times (seriously!). It made Brian and Donya both tear up. We had a few epiphanies live on air. It's one of *those* shows. Katrina Keefer is the Director of the African Studies Research Group at Trent University in Canada. She is a cultural historian who specializes in identity and trans-Atlantic slavery. Keefer leads a number of major international digital humanities projects which analyze body marks to better discern African origins and trajectories. Links to Resources Mentioned by Katrina: Liberated African Department [1808-1894] (1808-1894): https://tinyurl.com/LAD1808 British Archives Endangered Archives Programme: https://eap.bl.uk/
60 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
S04 E34 Cousin Definitions Explained
Cousins are people who share a common ancestor that is at least 2 generations away from them – like a grandparent or great-grandparent. You and your siblings are not cousins because your parents are only 1 generation away from you. Simple enough, right? But what does it mean to have a second or third or fourth cousin? Join us as we talk inter-family relationship definitions to help clear away some of the confusion about what degree of kinship you share with others. You can download the cousin explainer chart Donya used in the show via: https://tinyurl.com/cousinexplainer
60 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
S04 E33 How Did Formerly Enslaved Families Choose Their Surnames?
How newly freed enslaved families chose their surnames is one of the most popular questions we see on genealogy research groups on Facebook. It’s such a common question we decided we needed to do a show on the topic. The ways our freed ancestors came to choose a family identity through a surname are as numerous as our individual family histories. From biological birthright to a relationship with an enslaving family to acts of rebellion to seemingly randomly-chosen names – there is a story of how our ancestors’ sense of identity in the form of a family name they chose to use.
61 minutes | May 31, 2021
S04 E32: A History of African American Cowboys with Larry Callies
There are many stories and historical accounts about American Cowboys. African American cowboys rarely merit a mention in this much-storied and fabled history of the United States. One out of every 4 cowboys was black. Yet, these men never made it into canonized American popular culture. Ranchers returning from the Civil War discovered their herds were either lost or nearly wild. They attempted to round up their cattle and rebuild their herds with slave labor (Texas didn’t liberate its enslaved people until years after the Emancipation Proclamation). However, in the end, ranchers were left without the free workers they were previously so dependent upon. Desperate for help rounding up maverick cattle, ranchers were compelled to hire newly freed, skilled, African-Americans as paid cowhands. This episode covers their story, history, and contributions with a fourth-generation black cowboy, Larry Callies. Larry Callies is the Founder/CEO of The Black Cowboy Museum in Rosenberg, Texas. Larry was raised in El Campo, TX. He competed in calf-roping and team roping in local rodeo circuits and had a promising country-western singing career. While researching the history of the “black cowboy,” Larry Callies discovered two of his ancestors--Major James Kerr and Captain Isaac Newton, both Texans who had children by slaves they owned from which Larry is descended. Larry opened his museum to ensure the story of the United States’ Black cowboys would never be forgotten. The Black Cowboy Museum (Rosenberg, Texas): http://www.blackcowboymuseum.org
61 minutes | May 24, 2021
S04 E31: What Do Publishers Look for in a Family History Book with Karen F. Nance and LaQuita Parks
If you’re planning on writing a family history book – or have one underway – at some point you will ask yourself a simple question: is this book something a publisher will want to publish? Or ask yourself: “What kind of family history book will grab a publisher’s attention?” We welcomed two guests who answered those questions…and more! Author, attorney, public speaker, private investigator, Karen F. Nance, will share her experiences as a successful published author of family history books. https://paprovipublishing.com LaQuita Parks – communications coach and the Owner-Publisher of Pa-Pro-Vi Publishing Company – will speak about her experience from a publisher’s perspective. https://karennance.com/book
63 minutes | May 17, 2021
S04 E30: Policing African Americans: From Slave Patrols to Police Depts (Ret. P.C. Ralph Godbee, Jr)
From the first Africans of Virginia to Emancipation in 1865, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement to today - Donya and Brian can trace the generation of inherited trauma their ancestors and their ancestral families have endured during the entirety of their existence in the United States. Slave catchers, slave patrols, and what we think of as modern policing have contributed to that inherited and experienced trauma. Ret. P.C. Ralph Godbee, Jr joined the show to talk about the history of policing black and brown bodies in the U.S. from the time of the slave patrols to the modern police of today. Ralph draws upon his 25 years of active service in the Detroit Police Department, as well as his numerous connections with police associations, to discuss how black and brown bodies are policed, the trauma that influences black and brown communities in the U.S. when it comes to police interactions - and we closed the show with thoughts about how the current situation can be improved. We couldn't cover everything that we would have liked to in the hour - so there will be a Part 2 on Saturday, 26 June 2021 at 4pm on https://www.facebook.com/genealogyadventuresusa/videos. Part of the second conversation will center on how diversity training needs to be re-imagined. This means moving away from a failed attempt at creating "colorblindness" to an understanding and appreciation of the cultural differences inherent in the numerous populations and cultures within the U.S. And how a reimagined approach to diversity training would serve modern police departments as well.
60 minutes | May 10, 2021
S04 E29 African-Descended People's Heritage Travel with Rachel Decoste
Destination DNA: How a Black Woman Chose Her Travel Itinerary With the advent of affordable DNA tests, people of African descent in the Americas can pinpoint their African origins and make a pilgrimage to reconcile with the painful past. Canadian black history enthusiast Rachel Decoste has published an audiobook detailing her epic odyssey to Africa. Like most descendants of enslaved Africans, Ms. Decoste could not pinpoint her origins until technology evolved. Guided by a DNA test, she visited 5 countries in as many months – each country held a piece of her ancestry. In her own voice, Ms. Decoste recounts her journey with vivid imagery and humor. Her pan-African trek is peppered with unexpected twists and delightful discoveries. "Year of Return: a Black Woman’s African Homecoming" audiobook is released online, just in time for Black History Month. Rachel Decoste is an educator and immigration policy expert. She was a member of both presidential campaign teams of Barack Obama. Ms. Decoste attended The George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration in Washington, DC before being appointed National Director of the Congressional App Challenge, a tech education initiative created by the United States Congress. Ms. Decoste was named to the Top 100 Accomplished Black Canadian women in 2018. Rachel Decoste was a Huffington Post contributor for over 5 years. The subject of her op-eds touched on diversity, immigration, and Black history. Rachel's audiobook "Year of the Return" is available to buy via: https://www.wokeapparel.shop/collections/audiobooks Rachel is offering Genealogy Adventures' viewers/listeners a discount for her book. Type in the code AFRICA (case sensitive) when ordering the book via the link above.
60 minutes | May 3, 2021
S04 E28 African Americans Of The California Gold Rush with Susan D. Anderson
In this episode, Susan Anderson shares her knowledge about how The Gold Rush Era marked the real beginning of African American migration into California: around 200 to 300 slaves came to work the gold fields, followed by free African Americans. We learn something about their stories as well as their history. Susan also dropped genealogical knowledge about the 1850 census, where best to find records for African Americans in the west during the 1850s, and more. If you missed this show yesterday you are going to want to watch it today! Susan D. Anderson is History Curator and Program Manager at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and a member of the editorial board of California History journal. She has published and lectured widely with an emphasis on California’s hidden African American past. Susan’s book, Nostalgia for a Trumpet: Poems of Memory and History was published by Northwestern University Press. Her forthcoming book, African Americans and the California Dream, is under contract with Heyday Books
57 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
S04 E27 6888th Edna Cummings And Janice Martin
This episode marks the last in our 3-part series about the remarkable women who served in the all-black U.S. Army Battalion the 6888th in Europe during WWII. The women tackled a years-long pile-up of mail and parcels destined for the war front – eliminating a 7+ million backlog of post in 3 months. Col. Edna W. Cummings (retired) joined the show to talk about being instrumental as a driving force behind the formal recognition of the 6888th’s accomplishments and service via the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. Bill S.633 (H.R. 1012), submitted to the U.S. Senate in Feb 2021 by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and is currently with the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee. Janice Martin (RN, retired), daughter of Indiana Hunt Martin of the 6888th, joined the show to talk about her mother’s service. And, being Women’s History Month, we talked about the forgotten history of black American women’s service in the U.S. military. If you would like your Congressperson to support this bill, and honor the service of the 688th Battalion, you can contact your member of congress and ask them to co-sponsor House Bill H.R. 1012. Organizations can send letters of support to Rep. Chris Goldson (WI): Chris.Goldson@mail.house.gov
63 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
S04 E26: Major Charity Adams Earley and The Women's the 6888th Battalion
The Genealogy Adventures team has come across a group of women with a history that is so riveting…we realized would take three shows just to give you a taste of the remarkable things they have done in history. It’s a history too few people know about. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, nicknamed the "Six Triple Eight", was an all-black battalion of the Women's Army Corps (WAC). The 6888th had 855 black women, both enlisted and officers, and was led by Major Charity Adams Earley. It was the only all-black, all-female battalion overseas during World War II. The group motto was "No mail, low morale". The battalion was commanded by Major Charity Edna Adams Early, who became the highest-ranking African-American woman in the military at the end of World War II. As you can see honoring these women in one show is just impossible - so we’re presenting the history of this battalion of women as a 3-part series. In this episode, we welcome the son and daughter of Maj. Charity Edna Adams Earley to the show. Stanley and Judith Earley will join us and talk to us about their mum and her stories of leading the six triple eight!
61 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
S04 E25: The Women’s Army Corp 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion – Part 1
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, nicknamed the "Six Triple Eight", was an all-black battalion of the Women's Army Corps (WAC). The 6888th had 855 black women, both enlisted and officers, and was led by Major Charity Adams Earley. It was the only all-black, all-female battalion overseas during World War II. The group motto was "No mail, low morale". The battalion was commanded by Major Charity Edna Adams Early, who became the highest-ranking African-American woman in the military at the end of World War II. The battalion was organized into five companies, Headquarters, Company A, Company B, Company C, and Company D. Most of the 6888th worked as postal clerks, but others were cooks, mechanics and held other support positions, so that the 6888th was a self-sufficient unit. To honor the service of these heroic black women, we welcomed Carmaletta Williams back to the show to talk about the herculean feat of achievement these women accomplished. The women worked 24 hours (3X8 hours shift) daily. They sorted 65,000 letters/parcels per 8-hour shift. This equals 17,550,000 million pieces of mail and parcels every day. The unit broke all records for redirecting mail. These women sorted mail not just for Army personnel but for all services and civilians in the European Theater of Operations.
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