Sunday, January 3, 2021

Genealogy Education: The Genealogy Guys Podcast

Genealogy Guys is a podcast by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith.  Episodes include news updates from genealogy companies and organizations, listener email, book reviews, and interviews of genealogy speakers and other professionals.  

My favorite episodes are the interviews of genealogy speakers where each one is asked about their origin story or how they got started in tracing their family history as well as when did they began doing genealogy speaking. 

There are plenty of podcasts and topics to choose from at Podcasts can be downloaded to any computer device or phone or listened to on Apple Podcasts, Tunein, Stitcher, or Google Play for your convenience.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Roots Tech Conference 2021

GREAT NEWS FOR GENEALOGIST IN 2021! Roots Tech, the world’s largest family history conference will be entirely virtual this year. And best of all, it’s FREE! Don’t miss this event and click here to register!

Dates: February 25 - 27, 2021


Some Conference Highlights

Keynote Speakers

  • Lorena Ochoa, former Mexican professional golfer, mother, and entrepreneur
  • Francesco Lotoro, Italian musicologist
  • Sharon Morgan, founder of, writer and genealogist
  • Nick Vujicic, international motivational speaker and New York Times best-selling author

Celebrity Keynote Speakers, classes from speakers around the world, virtual marketplace and more!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Let's Talk North Carolina Genealogy Research Chat!

Let's Talk North Carolina Genealogy Research Chat!

Join Genealogist  Renate Yarborough-Sanders and Taneya Koonce for their second "Research Chat" with Let's Talk North Carolina Genealogy! If you'd like to share a genealogy happy dance moment or if you have a research challenge you would like to get help with, join them on Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern). They will also have a new feature debuted during this chat - the "research quickie!" ALL researchers are welcome! To register, click here!  

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Let's Talk NC Genealogy: Summer Series - Episode 1: Birth Records

Congratulations to Genealogists Renate Yarborough-Saunders and Taneya Koonce who began a summer series, "North Carolina Summer Series," of online webinars and discussions on North Carolina records. The first episode began on Saturday, June 6, 2020 and other webinars will be every other Saturday throughout the summer. The topic of first episode is North Carolina Birth Records with guest, North Carolina Researcher, Diane Acey Richard.  

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Utilizing Online Databases

Links for genealogy databases,

ü Newport News Public Library, Virginiana Collection at Main Street branch, (Access to available to library card holders at all Newport News library locations,
ü Hampton Public Library, Virgininia Collection at Main branch on Victoria Blvd,
ü Norfolk Public Library, Sargeant Memorial Room, downtown Norfolk branch,
ü York County Public Library, Virginiana Collection
ü The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia,
ü LDS Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Morman), 902 Denbigh Blvd., Newport News, VA  23608,  (757) 874-2335.  Can view digitized genealogy records only available for viewing at Family History Centers.

Black History Month Genealogy Conference

I am pleased to announce that I am one of the speakers for the African American Cultural and Genealogy Conference which will be held today, Saturday February 23, 2019, at the Newport News, Virginia Main Street Library. I will conduct a workshop entitled "Utilizing Online Databases" and will also be one of the panelist on the "Breaking Through the Wall" panel discussion.

Genealogy 102: Utilizing Online Databases
Drusilla Pair, Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society
Once you have your ancestors organized, explore and learn to use vital and historical records available online. At the end of this session, participants will have an understanding of how to search census, military, and vital records on various Internet databases such as and  

Breaking through the Wall- Panel discussion w/ Researchers Stephanie Thomas, Selma Stewart, Deborah Cuffy, and Drusilla Pair
If you are stuck or having trouble finding your ancestors who lived before 1870, join this in-depth discussion. Learn techniques from a panel of experienced genealogy researchers about how to break through the difficulties that limit your search for ancestors in the pre-Civil War era. This session is intended for intermediate and advanced researchers.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sacred Sunday: When the Church Rocks

Editor's Note: Blog originally posted Sunday, October 24, 2010; revised Sunday, January 6, 2019.

This video of Queen Esther White Young singing the song “If Jesus Goes With Me, I Can Go Anywhere” at the Tabernacle Echoes Grand Reunion Concert stirs up so many images and stories of the rich tradition of African American gospel music and choirs.

Uncle Willie Johnson (1917-2000)
Uncle Willie's Stories. Although the speed of this song is not extremely fast, but rather a slow-medium speed, it  reminds me of stories I heard from my Uncle Willie Johnson (1917-2000), a brother of my maternal grandmother Emma Johnson Thornton (1922-2011). In describing the church services of his youth during the 1920s and 1930s in Warren County, North Carolina, Uncle Willie enthusiastically recalled the days of his family’s church when there was no piano or musical instruments. “As we walked through the woods towards the church, you could hear the church rocking and the Saints of God singing and clapping and praising God!” he recalled. “Then we would walk or run a little faster to get to church.” These were also the days when rural churches typically had wood floors, so I’m sure Uncle Willie also heard foot tapping along with the singing and hand clapping.

The Choir Rock. One thing I noticed in this video which stirs up memories is the choir rocking from side to side in unison to the beat of the music. Sometimes a Choir Director gestures to the choir which direction to begin moving. At other times, some choir members may just begin moving to the music on their own. This takes me back to my days singing in the church and college gospel choirs during the 1970s and 1980s.

The Choir’s Attire. I knew this had to be a special occasion concert just by looking at the attire of the choir members with the ladies all dressed beautifully in various styles of  black dresses accessorized with a red flower, white beaded necklace and earrings, and the men dressed in black suits with white shirts and red ties. The red flowers and red ties are the accessories which make these various styles of dresses and suits look uniform.

The Soloist. Sister Queen works this song and I love it when she comes down into the church aisle. You can hear and feel the electricity in the audience as she walks down the aisle bellowing this great tune. As the music gets faster and the hand clapping gets louder, members of the congregation feel compelled to stand, which is a tradition in the black church when the music gets good. Oh, the church is ROCKING now! This is the point where my mind drifts back to Uncle Willie’s recollections of the church rocking during his youth as I sit in front of my computer singing, clapping and swaying from side to side in my chair enjoying this music and letting my mind travel down memory lane.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Happy 10th Blogiversary to Me!

I can't believe that ten years ago today, I created my "Find Your Folks" blog. In my first post, I defined the purpose of this blog. [click here to read first posting]. I don't blog as often as I used to, however this ten year milestone is a good time for me to re-evaluate my genealogy blog and to set new blogging goals.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Color Genealogy Filing System

Editor's Note:  This posting was originally posted on my blog on Sunday, February 15, 2009. Links to this blog posting were updated March 10, 2014, January 23, 2018, and February 2, 2018.

Genealogy is a hobby full of papers, electronic files, and heirlooms. The more documents we find on our family, the more the paper piles up. As a result, the excitement of finding information on our ancestors is overshadowed by the weight of piles of papers.

Since beginning this hobby in 1994, I have tried various filing methods such as notebooks and an ancestral number filing system. However, none of these methods have worked effectively for me. Many new genealogist use a notebook to organize their paper documents. I used a notebook also when I began this hobby in 1994. However, after accumulating many documents, a notebook did not work for me. A few years ago, I discovered the Family Roots Organizer Video in my local public library. Later, I purchased my own copy of the video which I watch periodically.

The foundation of this filing system for genealogy papers is based on a color-coding system for the pedigree line. This method recommends using one of four colors for each of your four grandparents.

  • BLUE: Paternal Grandfather
  • GREEN: Paternal Grandmother
  • RED: Maternal Grandfather
  • YELLOW: Maternal Grandmother

  • I modified this filing system to suit my needs. I’m not sure why I didn’t use the exact colors for each grandparent that were suggested, however, the four-color method still works no matter what colors are used for each grandparent. I also choose to use color file folders for both ancestors and collateral family and green hanging folders for all families. I use highlighters on the hanging file folder tabs for each surname. I choose the following colors for each of my grandparents.

  • Minor: Maternal Grandfather (green)
  • Emma: Maternal Grandmother (red)
  • Mack: Paternal Grandfather (blue)
  • Hattie: Paternal Grandmother (yellow)

  • Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue colored file folders are included in the spring colors of an assorted box of folders. Orange is also included in the spring colors and I adopted this color for my growing collection of DNA related files. The fall colors of an assorted box of file folders includes Grey, Maroon, Royal, Teal, and Purple. From this box, I have chosen Purple folder for my files related to white families in my research who are either slave owners, suspected slave owners, or some other relations to my family such as employer, landlord, or neighbor. I use the remaining colors for personal files such as bills and other financial related files.

    Since using this color system for my ancestral files, I can now immediately indentify from a distance the category or grandparent to which each file belongs. By the way, this color filing system can also be used with notebooks, instead of file folders. Some genealogists use white notebooks and place a specific color cover and strip in spine for easy identification.

    For more information, visit the websites below: