What do you do when your ancestors are pulling you in different directions?

Grandmothers

Sarah E. Morningstar Porter & Elnora York Trotter

On Friday, I found myself going back and forth between African American research topics and German (and German-American) research presentations attending presentations on African American Apprenticeships, Black Laws in the North, Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contracts, German Church records and Germanic Origins of German-speaking immigrants.  And I, of course, now want to run off in five totally different directions in my research.

 

Some of the speakers were ones I’ve seen before and enjoyed (Thank you, Michael D. Lacopo, James M. Beidler and Judy G. Russell!) and the others were new to me but had fun and knowledgeable voices. Wevonneda Minis presented the James Dent Memorial Lecture: Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contracts—which gave me a better background in the period and new ideas of record sets to look for. Ari Wilkins delivered two fascinating presentations—on Plantation records and Apprenticeships—that were very informative with great case studies.

It was a fun day capped with a dinner gathering of the Michigan researchers and friends.

Happy hunting,

Jess

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I’ll be presenting:

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“Scandalous Ancestors,” at Ionia County Genealogical Society, Saturday September 9th at 1 pm, at the Freight Station Museum in Lake Odessa.

“African American Genealogy Research,” at Lyon Township Public Library, September 14th at 6:30 pm.

 

“Scandalous Ancestors,” at Marshall District Library, September 19th at 7 pm.

“African American Genealogy Research” and “Cluster Genealogy: Are We Related to Everyone on the Block, at the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, October 22nd at 1:30 and 3:30 pm.

Happy hunting!

Jess

PS. I will NOT be wearing heels.

Um… so, well this:

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She says, trying to act cool while in her head she’s doing a Snoopy dance. It’s a great library and staff and I’m honored to speak there.

“Scandalous Ancestors” provides ideas for tracing and teasing out the stories of our black sheep ancestors including a case study featuring an unreliable ancestor with a research story that began in 1860s Detroit and ends in Logan County, Illinois.

“Tracking my Trotters”: Sorting out my father’s family has been a joy… and maddening, but it’s also offered great lessons in research and made our history as a country more real—from the Second Great Migration, to the Jim Crow South to Slavery.

Join us at The Genealogy Center at Allen County Public Library’s Main Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Happy hunting,

Jess

It’s Family History Month and I’m trying to fit in all sorts of fun to celebrate. Including an annual trek to Grand Rapids for Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s Got Ancestors! Seminar (tonight and tomorrow)—this year featuring D. Joshua Taylor (more about that later), a couple of talks, and whole lot of research.  This post is mostly me checking in with you all and highlighting some of the things I am planning and looking forward to.

TreeTalkOct2015I have a couple of presentations I’m prepping for in the Lansing area this month:

  • I’ll be speaking at Tree Talk, CADL South Lansing’s new monthly genealogy discussion group on October 17th at 2 pm, about my experiences with DNA testing for genealogy research. Future topics for the group include: Census Quirks & Hidden Surprises on Nov 21st and Genealogy Toys for Your Holidays on Dec 19th.
  • PitfallsI’ll also be presenting, “Pitfalls, Mistakes, and Strokes of Insight”—in which I expose some of my biggest research mistakes in the hopes that you won’t have to make them too—for the Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society on Wednesday, October 28th at 7 pm, for their monthly meeting at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lansing.

I’m also focusing pretty solidly on my Bradley County, Arkansas families while waiting for the arrival of a new photo book from MacArthur and Princella Davis (Thanks for the heads up, Kelly!!!). I’m also taking the time to go back through the first book Afro American’s of Bradley County Arkansas 1800-1930, simply because I’ve made so much progress on these lines—not so much backwards in time, but unraveling the various connections throughout the community—that I think that more will make sense this time around.  Additionally, I had a lovely conversation with Mr. Davis after I ordered my book, who wanted to figure out how I fit into the family—he is my 3rd cousin once removed by way of Sam Trotter’s brother Matt and Mrs. Davis is the grand-niece of the husband of my 2nd great-aunt Cora Trotter Steppes.

I have a new fun project that I might be able to talk about later, plus at CADL Downtown Lansing we’re plotting and planning for our National Genealogy Day Family History Open House in March! Oh, and yes, I’m also eyeing a list of roadtrips and trying to decide how many are feasible in the next year. There’s so much I want to do!

Happy hunting,

Jess