Join us for a FREE virtual program on June 20th at 2:30 p.m. ET!
Researching African Americans can be challenging, but having a famous surname may make the task easier. This presentation focuses on a case study of the Shakespeare family of Tallahassee, Florida. The eldest family member, who knew very little about her ancestors and relatives, commissioned me to research her maternal branch. She had no relatives to interview, no family documents, and she only knew her mother, Gracie Jane SHAKESPEARE Brown; her grandfather, Samuel Shakespeare; and his sister, Gracie Shakespeare. She also knew that they owned property in Tallahassee and that her family was originally from South Carolina. Using standard genealogical research practices, I reconstructed her family. With the limited information, the ancestor chart and family group sheets were filled out. The research goal was broadly defined to tracing her family as far back as possible, which was segmented into smaller goals. I worked from the known to the unknown, used collateral relatives and the ancestors’ FAN club (friends, associates, and neighbors), and searched keystone record collections, censuses, and vital records, to build out the family tree. It highlights the fact that African American genealogy is both challenging and rewarding--whether you know a great deal or very little about your family. It can even be exhilarating, especially if you have very little information on your family, to begin with. Here are some tips to use in researching your African American family.
Dr. Juanita Gaston is a professional genealogist and teacher specializing in African American research. Inspired by Alex Haley’s Roots, she began researching her family in the 1970s. After working as a college professor of geography for over thirty years, she retired from Florida A&M University and started providing genealogical services to others. She is a member of APG, NGS, AAHGS, and several state and local societies. Juanita describes herself as a lifelong learner. She has a B.S. from Alabama State University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University.
AGE GROUP: | Middle School | High School | Adults |
EVENT TYPE: | Family History & Genealogy |
TAGS: | Genealogy |
|Mon, May 29||Closed|
|(All locations are closed. Holiday.)|
|Tue, May 30||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Wed, May 31||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Thu, Jun 01||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Fri, Jun 02||9:00AM to 6:00PM|
|Sat, Jun 03||9:00AM to 6:00PM|
|Sun, Jun 04||12:00PM to 5:00PM|