Monday, December 28, 2009

All Smiles - Aunt Della's 100th Birthday Celebration

Aunt Della is all smiles as several party attendees stop by her table to personally wish her a "Happy 100th Birthday.

Happy 100th Birthday Aunt Della

Happy 100th Birthday to my Aunt Della Moore Richardson who turned the big 1-0-0 on Saturday, December 26, 2009. She celebrated her day with a big birthday party and numerous family and friends and some county officials helped her to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Aunt Della was the youngest daughter born on December 26, 1909 in the Liberty area in Greensville County, VA to Robert Moore and Mary Eliza Robinson Moore. She is the youngest sister of my paternal grandmother Hattie Moore Pair and is the last living child of her family.

Until a few years ago, Aunt Della thought she was born in 1910 instead of 1909, but research revealed a birth year of 1909. Read more about this discovery.

Aunt Della is assisted by her oldest grandson in cutting her 100th birthday cake.

What a blessing it was to attend Aunt Della's 100th birthday party.

On December 26, 2009,
Aunt Della was QUEEN FOR A DAY!

More party details and photos to come . . . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

Memory Monday: Passing the Laptop

On Sunday, November 1, 2009, I traveled home from attending the International Black Genealogy Summit in Fort Wayne, IN. This was a bittersweet day which signaled that my good times had come to an end. My travel partner, Selma and I arrived at the airport early to be sure that we didn’t have to rush and arrived at the gate where we would be boarding our airplane with a lot of time to spare and to relax.

“It’s time for the chat…see if you can get online,” Selma told me after we were seated for a few minutes.

This was some time after 11:30 a.m. and Selma was referring to the genealogy chat of Afrigeneas in which we regularly attend on Sunday mornings and other days of the week.

Connection to the airport’s Internet server went smoothly and within a short time I had accessed the chat.

'Selma and I are waiting in the Fort Wayne Airport for to go home,' I typed in the chat window. The group already knee that we were returning from our trip to the International Black Genealogy Summit because this had been a major topic of discussion for several weeks prior to the conference. The few people who were in the chat that morning had not attended this conference. Several of the other regular chatters were also on their way home from the conference and Selma and I were thrilled to have met so many Afrigeneas chatters at the conference.

I typed in a few other things related to the conference and then passed the laptop to Selma. For the remainder of our time waiting to board our flight home, Selma and I took turns participating in the chat and passing the laptop to each other. In the video below, Selma is sitting in the airport on the laptop participating in the Afrigeneas Chat. Notice the big smile on her face. Ahh! the joys of Technology.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Happy News

Publication by Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, (1884-1968)

Photo taken at Gospel Spreading Church, Newport News, VA by Professor Dru
Read more about Elder Michaux

Monday, December 7, 2009

Clowning Around in Junior High Orchestra Class

These are photos from my junior high school orchestra days in 9th grade, 1977-1978. As you can see, my orchestra mates are taking a break to clown around. During these days, a junior high was called an Intermediate school in our school system, and consisted of 8th and 9th grades.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Stringed Quartet

I began playing the Viola in 6th grade and played until my sophomore year in college. My, how I miss those days. I participated in various orchestra activities including several quartets. This is a photo of a quartet comprised of (left to right) Arnaz, who played cello; Mrs. Jeraldine Herbinson, my first string teacher on violin; Me (Drusilla) on Viola; and Cathy, on violin.

Arnaz, Cathy, and I were in high school (between 1978 and 1981) during the time of this quartet. Cathy and I met in 7th grade and after that time attended the same schools; Arnaz attended another school in our city, but we would see him in city wide orchestra activities, or events such as this, when we played as a quartet. Although Mrs. Herbinson was our (Cathy and I) string teacher from elemementary school, we still saw her throughout our school days at orchestra activities and events such as the day we played in this quartet. Mrs. Herbinson was probably Arnaz's string teacher sometime during his school days, but I do not know for sure.

I believe that we played at a local church on the day that this photo was taken.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kreativ Blog Award

I am honored to be one of the recipients of the another “Kreativ Award.” Earlier this year, I also received this award. Many thanks for my current nomination go to my fellow Bloggers: Cheryl of Heritage Happens, Russ of Heritage Happens, Mavis of Heritage Happens, and Felicia of Our Family As A Whole, and Darlene of My Colored Rootsfor selecting me for this award.

As a recepient of this award, I am required to write seven things about myself.

  1. My favorite Microsoft Office software is PowerPoint.
  2. I have a weakness for chocolate and other sweetness.
  3. I learned to play the Viola (like a violin) in 6th grade, and played though my sophomore year in college. I hope to begin playing again one day.
  4. My favorite fruit is banana.
  5. My favorite color if Fushia.
  6. Besides genealogy, I also like to read, travel, and crochet.
  7. I am a Genea-Holic and am proud of it!!!!!!
  8. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.
I have added the "Kreativ Blogger Award" logo to my blog and have also placed links to the person(s) who gave me this award in this posting.

Additionally, as a recipient of this award, I am required to nominate seven other blogs. Below, is a list of my nominations for the “Kreativ Blogger Award.”
  1. Steve’s Genealogy Blog by Stephen Danko

  2. Life From The Roots by Barbara Poole

  3. African Roots Podcast by Angela Walton-Raji

  4. The Blessedness of Believing by Linda Meadows

  5. Genealogy – Photograph – Restoration by George Geder

  6. Genealogy Tip of the Day by Michael John Neill

  7. The Professional Descendnt by The Professional Descendant

Finally, I will leave comments on each of these blogs.

Thanks again to Cheryl, Russ, Mavis, Felicia, and Darlene for your nominations. I am honored to be included in a group of such Great Bloggers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Educating Yourself in Genealogy

Educating yourself in genealogy is essential to your success in “Finding Your Folks.” As you progress on your genealogical journey, you will need to continually develop your research and methodology skills. For the past 15 years, I have continually educated myself and developed my genealogy research and methodology skills by doing the following things.

  • Reading how-to genealogy books, pamphlets, published and unpublished family histories, magazines, and Internet articles or blogs. Many of these resources were found at my local public library.

  • Watching genealogy and historical VHS videos, DVDs, and online videos. I found some genealogy and historical VHS and DVDs at my local public library. I have also discovered genealogy and historical videos on online websites such as YouTube and Roots Television.

  • Attending workshops and conferences, both local and national. Workshops and conferences are not only a good source for information, but are also a place to meet and network with other genealogist who share your common interest.

  • Taking genealogy classes (online and face-to-face). Some colleges and universities offer face-to-face or online genealogy courses. I haven taken online courses through GenClass. There are also other Online and Home Study Courses offered by various organizations.

  • Joining genealogy societies. In my local society, we have monthly speakers whose lectures enhance my knowledge in various historical and genealogical topics. Other societies, whose meetings I am not able to attend because of distance, provide newsletters and journals which further my knowledge in history and genealogy.

Angela Walton-Raji of African Roots Podcast and The Beginning Genealogist website shares her thoughts on “Educating Yourself” in one of her latest videos.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Beginning Genealogist Website and Videos

In response to a myriad of questions that she has received from persons who are just getting started researching their family history, Angela Walton-Raji of African Roots Podcast has created a new website and videos called The Beginning Genealogist.

Videos created for new genealogists can be viewed either from the The Beginning Genealogist website or from the AYWalton YouTube channel.

Thank you, Angela, for taking the time to create this Beginner Genealogist website and videos.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Colored Roots Blog

Today, I’d like to introduce you to the My Colored Roots blog by my blog reader, Darlene. I have noticed Darlene’s comments on my blog for a while and was fortunate to meet her at the International Black Genealogy Summit a few weeks ago. She also attended my “Power of Blogging” workshop at the conference.

I featured Darlene in my blog posting Unleashing Your Inner Afrocentric.

Congratulations to Darlene on entering the blog world and I wish you much success in your future blogging endeavors.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Life From the Roots Blog

Today, I would like to introduce you to the Life From The Roots blog by my online friend, Barbara Poole. Barbara has been a bit shy about introducing her blog, but it is an outstanding and attractive site. I especially like her posting entitled My Scrambled Eggs which talks about research of her SCHRAMBLING OR SCHREMBLING family.

Barbara and I have known each other online for about three years and we met face-to-face in 2007 when I attended a genealogy conference in her area. (For more on this meeting, read posting on The Excitement of Meeting Online Friends.

Congratulations to Barbara on the success of your blog and I look forward to reading more exciting postings.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unleashing the Inner Afrocentric-Wearing African Attire

Many of the conference attendees of the International Black Genealogy Summit "unleashed their inner afrocentric" by dressing in various African styles during the conference activities. Darlene, one of my faithful blog readers, whom I met for the first time at this conference, wore this beautiful African styled ensemble with a bright yellow head wrap on Saturday.

Darlene is beautifully dressed in brown/tan/yellow earthtone colors with a dark brown short sleeve shirt and a earthtone colored wrap skirt. The bright yellow head wrap brings out the colors in her blouse and skirt.

Here is a back view of Darlene's head wrap. I sat about two rows behind her in the "Genealogy File and Time Management" workshop conducted by Shelley Murphy.


"I like your head wrap,"

I said to Darlene after the workshop ended.

"I got the idea from your blog,"
she told me.

As a blogger, that made me feel good to know that my blog posting had positively influenced someone. I recognized the style of Darlene's head wrap from a video I had viewed on YouTube , however, I did not post that particular video on my blog. I did, however, post three videos on "How to Tie an African Head Wrap". It was these videos that gave Darlene the idea of wearing a head wrap and African attire to the conference.

"After reading your blog, I searched for more videos and found the
TheTonyaTkoShow ," Darlene also told me.

She wore the head wrap style demonstrated by Tonya in the video below.

3 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Afrocentric: Parts2: Head Wrap

For other Afrocentric videos by TheTonyaTkoShow , visit the links below.

  • 3 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Afrocentric: Part1. Dress

  • 3 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Afrocentric: Part3. Ethnic Jewelry
  • Friday, November 6, 2009

    It's a Small World!

    On this past Sunday, I struck up a conversation with a woman inside the Hilton Hotel in Ft. Wayne before leaving for the airport. We had just attended the International Black Genealogy Summit and were all waiting for the shuttle when I discovered that she was from my father's hometown in Emporia, VA located in Greensville County. The lady lives in another state now. I don't remember how the conversation began--I think she may have asked where I was from and what places I research.

    While we were on the shuttle, we talked more about the Emporia connection. During the conversation, I pulled out my cell phone and called a cousin (Carolyn) who is a lifelong resident of Emporia. My cousin asked me questions about the lady's family and I couldn't remember all of the details because I had put my notebook in my briefcase. So I handed the lady (Ethel) my cell phone. Cousin Carolyn and Ethel did not know each other, but both of them knew a lot of the same people from Emporia. Everyone on the shuttle had attended the conference and we all laughed as we listened to Ethel talking to my cousin Carolyn as if they had known each other for years.

    Ethel's ancestors and my ancestors attended the same churches (Shiloh Baptist and Antioch Baptist.) One of her family members was also the community barber.

    I'm looking forward to discovering more about the relationship between these two families.

    Thank God for cell phone technology. Instead of waiting until I got home to call my cousin, I was able to use this technology to call her while Ethel was on the shuttle with me. Nothing replaces seeing her smiling face and hearing her excited voice as she talked to my cousin like they had know each other for years.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Power of Blogging Presentation

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Allen County Public Library Room

    Fort Wayne, Indiana

    PRESENTATION SUMMARY: Workshop will demonstrate the basics of blogging, ranging from the technical aspects of blog creation, publishing and upkeep, to ways to steer traffic to a blog.

    Here, I showed my blog awards section of the Find Your Folks blog.

    Here, I demonstrated adding a photo to a blog entry.

    They all seemed attentive and interested. I was pleased with the turnout for this workshop. Only two attendees had blogs; the rest were interested in learning what blogging was all about.

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    One Last Morsel of Research

    I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to take one more look before leaving town.

    Conference attendees of the International Black Genealogy Summit took advantage of the extended Sunday hours (8 a.m - 5 p.m.) of the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Room. I squeezed in a few moments to gather one last morsel of research at the library prior to leaving for the airport. My research focus was on Allen Pair (abt. 1843-aft. 1915), who was a slave in Greensville County, Virginia. By 1880, he moved to Leavenworth, Kansas. (I will discuss my research findings later).

    I was not alone in taking advantage of the Sunday hours of the library before leaving the city of Fort Wayne. The ladies in these photos (Cristal, Janis, and Angela) also took advantage of the extended hours and we had lots of fun taking photos with our cell phone cameras and exchanging genealogy busines cards. As you can see from the piles of books on the table and cart, there were quite a few resources at the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Room.

    Thanks to the staff of the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Room for all of your hospitality and assistance.

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Looking Good! Profiling Our Banquet Outfits

    Everyone attending the banquet of the International Black Genealogy Summit looked so beautiful, whether sporting African attire or other beautifully styled outfits. Here, these three ladies and I pose to profile our gorgeous banquet outfits.

    Angela in African Attire

    Angela Walton-Raji of African Roots Podcast sported her African attire at the banquet of the International Black Genealogy Summit. Isn't she lovely!

    African Queen

    After weeks of planning my African attire to wear to the banquet of the International Black Genealogy Summit, the day finally arrived for me to wear the outfit and all of the accessories I choose.

    “I want to look like royalty,” I told family and friends.

    I ordered the caftan from Dupsies, an African attire vendor I discovered through YouTube. The outfit was ordered on a Wednesday and arrived two days later. The outfit came with a matching head wrap, but after my niece hooked me up with a gorgeous hairdo, I decided not to wrap my head. Read more about my hairdo.

    Posing to show off my jewelry.

    Posing with online friends, Sharon and Jennifer

    The smile says it all!

    Modeling my outfit at work with matching head wrap.

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Happy, Am I

    I woke up this morning, my body aching with the stress of this week’s work (job, getting packed and travelling, and with the today’s “Power of Blogging” workshop at the International Black Genealogy Summit. “Happy, Am I,” I thought as I lay in bed procrastinating about rising up to tackle the morning’s numerous tasks.

    “Happy, Am I” was a song made famous by the Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux (1884-1968) beginning in the 1920s. He is remembered by my maternal grandmother and others as the “Happy, Am I,” preacher. This peppy, hand- clapping and feet-tapping, theme song opened up his radio broadcast and television show and was especially inspirational to listeners during The Great Depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

    Read more about how I discovered Elder Michaux

    After getting out of bed, I watched the video below and clapped and moved to the beat in order to wake up my tired body.

    All morning, I have meditated on the “Happy, Am I” and the memory of Elder Michaux. I also began making a list of some things that I am Happy about today.

    “Happy, Am I”

  • For overcoming obstacles that occurred earlier in the week which threatened to prevent my attendance at this conference and conducting the Blogging workshop.

  • For the opportunity to share my knowledge of blogging with attendees of the conference.

  • For being in the company, for a few days, of enthusiastic and “OVERLY HAPPY” genealogists.

  • And most of all, that by 2:00 p.m. today, I can exhale when my presentation is over and enjoy the remainder of the conference.
  • Good Food, Good Fellowship

    Conference attendees of the International Black Genealogy Summit enjoyed an evening reception with good food and lots of fellowship. It was quite exciting for me to meet several Afrigeneaschatters, whom I’ve gotten too know online for about two years. Chatter and chewing filled the reception room last night and a GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL!

    A Special “Do” for a Special Occasion

    Every once in a while I get a special hairdo for a special occasion. It might be a permed style, texturized, a fashionable wig, or braid style. It was a last minute decision, but I decided on a braided hairdo and asked my oldest niece to do it before I left for the International Black Genealogy Summit on Thursday morning.

    I'm all smiles as I sported my new hairdo at work on Wednesday and my makeup which was done by a coworker.

    She does not work as a hair stylist/braider by profession, but definitely has the natural gift to do such a job. She has never even attended school or training to do hair, but does it for our female family members and some of her close friends.

    After a little over two hours under her creative fingers, my niece transformed my hair into this beautiful style which I love and for which I have received numerous complements since this Wednesday.

    Actor and Comedian Chris Rock has already revealed many black hair secrets in his recent film, Bad Hair. However, I won’t reveal the details of how my niece transformed my hair. Neither will I post a “Before” picture which will both scare you and amuse you. (Ha, Ha).


    “My niece braided my hair,” I told a friend during a phone conversation on Wednesday night. I had not yet revealed to her the details about the hair style.

    “Is it your natural hair?” my friend asked. We have known each other about ten years so she knows my hair history.

    “It’s on my head,” I told her, “and I’ll leave it at that.”

    We both chuckled and then I described the details of the hair style.

    Here I am on Thursday morning at the Atlanta airport seriously tuning up my presentation.

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Burning the Midnight Oil

    Conference attendees of the International Black Genealogy Summit are taking advantage of the extended hours (until midnight) of the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Room. Although I would love to do the same, my evening will be better spent getting ready for my presentation that I will conduct tomorrow on “The Power of Blogging.” I did visit the library this evening to check out the room where I will be presenting. While there, I took several photos as seen below.

    The Day Has Finally Arrived!

    The big day has finally arrived and the International Black Genealogy Summit has begun. I arrived to town about 1:30 p.m. Many preconference activities began earlier today including an Author's book signing which was held in the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Room as seen below.

    Genealogist and Author, Tony Burroughs

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Five Mo’ Days and Counting!

    In five mo’ days, the International Black Genealogy Summit will begin and I’M SO EXITED THAT I JUST CAN’T HIDE IT! I have been planning to attend this conference since late 2008 and now it will occur in just a few days. I’ve been doing the countdown for a few days and either calling friends or saying to coworkers, ___ mo’ days. Most of them say “_____ more days?”

    “No,” I correct them. “I said ___ mo’ days.”

    These conversations always end in laughter.

    I am looking forward to so many things at this conference such as:
    1. Presenting a workshop on “The Power of Blogging.”
    2. Meeting many genealogists from around the world.
    3. Meeting online genealogist face-to-face.
    4. Browsing the vendor tables and discovering new genealogy books and other wares.
    5. Attending numerous workshops and learning new techniques to further my research.
    6. Breaking bread with other genealogists at the Luncheon and Banquet. Conversations over food is always a good thing!
    7. Researching at the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Room.
    Research Plans
    At the Allen County Public Library, I plan to research (1) Goodwyn Hunt and (2) Allen Pair, both who lived in Greensville County, VA. I do not know if I am kin to either of these men, however, I discovered both of them through research of my Greensville county family and I have found their lives and migrations interesting. I discovered the places where they migrated through either a census book index (Goodwyn Hunt) or online census index search (Allen Pair)

    Goodwyn Hunt
    Goodwyn Hunt was a free person of color born about 1797 in Virginia. He and several other Greensville County free persons of color, migrated to the Carthage area of Rush County, Indiana during the 1830s.

    Allen Pair
    Allen Pair was born around 1843. He was listed on the slave inventory in the estate of Howell Pair of Greenville County, VA In 1864. Allen Pair married Rebecca Jones on November 24, 1866 in Greensville County, VA. By 1880, he had moved to Leavenworth, Kansas.

    Tweaking Presentation and Planning Wardrobe
    I have spent the last few weeks tweaking my presentation and planning my conference wardrobe.

    Earlier this month I did a dry run of the presentation for my local genealogy society. I’m glad that I did this because it helped me to see areas for improvement in the presentation.

    African attire is encouraged to wear to the banquet and I have gone all out for this one. About a week ago, I ordered an African outfit online and it arrived in the mail two days later. Since its arrival, I have spent a lot of time buying accessories. I’ve consulted with my coworkers and some close friends on selecting just the right accessories and they are just as excited as me. I’m excited about my African Attire debut at the banquet next Friday night. I’ll share photos with my blog audience on next Saturday.

    Five mo’ day and counting!

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    40 Best Genealogy Blogs

    I am honored to be nominated for the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs sponsored by the Family Tree Magazine. A list of the winners will appear in the May 2010 issue of the magazine.

    Please cast your vote for my blog (Find Your Folks listed in Category #10 PERSONAL/FAMILY) as well as other wonderful genealogy blogs from the 10 categories. In each category, choose the number of blogs specified in the question (you'll get an error if you choose too many).

    Thanks for your Vote!

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Bus Excursion - Annual Baptismal Services

    Poster advertising bus trip of annual baptismal service of the Gospel Spreading Church. This church organization was founded by Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux in 1919. This poster was part of artifacts commemorating the 90th anniversary of The Gospel Spreading Church.

    Photo taken by Professor Dru, September 13, 2009
    Gospel Spreading Church, Newport News, VA

    See photo and read about Baptisms by Elder Michaux in Potomoc River.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    How to Tie An African Head Wrap

    I am busy preparing to attend the International Black Genealogy Summit later this month where I will be presenting a workshop entitled “The Power of Blogging.” Besides fine tuning my presentation, I am working on plans for the trip such as choosing the workshops I want to attend and my wardrobe for the conference. I noticed on the program that wearing African attire is recommended for two events (a banquet and a luncheon). It will be fun to participate in the wearing of ethnic garb so I have been researching the Internet to get ideas for possible African outfits which might either be a caftan, skirt set, or pants set along with an African scarf or head wrap.

    Part of my Internet research included searching for videos which demonstrated ways to tie an African head wrap or gele. This video is sponsored by Dupsies, a vendor of African styled clothing, jewelry, and other products.

    Below are three videos demonstrating three different ways to tie an African head wrap. My preference is style #2, but I’ll try all three to determine which one looks best on me.

    How to tie your African Head Wrap, Part 1

    How to Tie an African Head Wrap, Part 2

    How to Tie an African Head Wrap, Part 3

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Michelle Obama's Maternal Slavery Roots

    The New York Times traced first lady Michelle Obama's five generation path from slavery to the White House. Harry Smith of CBS interviewed Megan Smoleyak, the genealogist who researched Mrs. Obama’s maternal ancestry.

    Kudos to Megan Smoleyak for her patience and diligence in uncovering this invaluable information.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    Power of Blogging Workshop

    I will be presenting a workshop entitled "The Power of Blogging" at the meeting of the Hampton Roads Afro American and Historical Genealogy Society.

    DATE: Thursday, October 8, 2009

    TIME: 7:00 P.M.

    PLACE: Hampton, VA Public Library, 4207 Victoria Blvd., Hampton, VA 23669, (757) 727-1154

    WORKSHOP SUMMARY: Workshop will demonstrate the basics of blogging, ranging from the technical aspects of blog creation, publishing and upkeep, to ways to steer traffic to a blog.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    I'm a YouTuber Now!

    I am pleased to announce the creation of the Professor Dru YouTube Channel. I am a YouTube fan and use it on a daily basis to watch videos for education and entertainment. It is a thrill for me to be able to embed the code of my own video into a blog.
    I look forward to utilizing this technology site as a forum to showcase my video creations.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    Memory Monday: Queens For A Day

    My high school friend Bryn and I are "Queens for a Day" as we celebrated our 42nd birthdays in 2005 with a tea party at her house with a few other high school friends. We are both September 1963 babies.

    We spent the afternoon sipping hot tea and ice tea, eating fruits, veggies, mini quiche, pigs in the blanket weiners, and various cookies and desserts.

    What a spread we had at our Big Girl Tea Party. Everything was delicious and a good time was had by ALL.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Happy 46th Birthday to Me!

    It seems like just yesterday that I celebrated my 40th birthday. But that was six years ago in 2003 and I gave myself a 40th birthday party. My how, time flies (smile). So, today I turned 46. Wow!

    I have not done anything yet to celebrate. Much of my day on Saturday was spent at a festival where I also did a presentation. This morning, I attended a work related ceremony. The rest of this birthday will probably be spent resting and the celebrations will come later. One upcoming celebration will be with my high school friend Bryn, who will celebrate her birthday on September 30th. We have been celebrating our birthdays together since we turned 40.

    This morning, when I got up, I said "Happy Birthday" to myself. Then I began thinking about my favorite version of the "Happy Birthday Song," which is the one by Stevie Wonder. His version of "Happy Birthday to You," was written during the 1980s in dedication to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since that time, Stevie Wonder's hand-clapping, foot-tapping version of the song has been sang at countless African-American birthday celebrations. And so to the rhythm of Stevie Wonder's song, today I sing "Happy Birthday to Me."

    You can hear the song in the video below which contains a few personal photos as well as photos of various cakes, balloons, and birthday party items. Although I probably won't do much to celebrate today, I have purchased cake and ice cream to eat with dinner.

    I also wish other September 27th birthday babies a Happy Day--my cousin Janet and friend Angelique, and the many others born on this date.

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Hampton, the Birthplace of Black America?

    I am looking forward to attending the celebration of the 390th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to America on tomorrow, September 26, 2009.

    History books indicate that the first Africans arrived to America at Jamestown. However, Hampton History Enthusiast, Calvin Pearson says that Hampton is the birthplace of black America. (Read more on this story)

    Stay tuned…I will report more about this historical celebration next week.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    From Slavery to Freedom Festival - Speaking Engagement

    I will be speaking at the “From Slavery To Freedom Festival” on the topic of Genealogy. This event celebrates the 390th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in America. I will be the first speaker on the program. This program was previously scheduled for Saturday, August 15th at Gosnold Park, but was cancelled due to rain.

    Date: Saturday, September 26, 2009

    Time: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Place: Mill Point Park, 100 Eaton Street, Hampton, VA 23669

    Event is sponsored by the City of Hampton

    Directions: I-64 exit 267 - Downtown Hampton. Right at the stoplight onto Settlers Landing Road. Follow Settlers Landing over bridge to Eaton Street. Turn right onto Eaton Street the park will be on the right.
    I-64 West exit 267 - County Street. Left at stoplight onto Settlers Landing Road. Follow Settlers Landing over bridge to Eaton Street. Turn right onto Eaton Street the park will be on the right.

    For more information about Mill Point Point, vist the website of
    City of Hampton Parks and Recreation

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Creating a Digital Video – Tony Burroughs

    Tony Burroughs, author, professor and genealogy expert is interviewed by Matthew Poe. Tony shares an overview of creating digital video, getting started and directs the viewer to some wonderful resources.

    For more information on Tony Burroughs, visit his website .

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    The Power of Communication Technology

    Today, during my lunch break, I sat in my office listening to a radio interview of my friend and fellow Blogger, Linda Mose Meadows, of The Blessedness of Believing blog. I was smiling from ear to ear as if it were my interview. I was so proud of my friend.

    The interview was conducted by WUFO 1080 AM, a radio station in Buffalo, NY where Linda was born and raised. Linda and I both live in Virginia and she was able to do the interview via telephone and I was able to hear the interview by accessing the radio station’s website. I learned about this technology earlier this year when one of my genealogy friends, who lives in California, invited a group of other genealogist to listen to his radio interview. I was amazed that I was sitting in my home in Virginia listening to a radio interview from California.

    When Linda first told me about her interview, I told her that the technology should be available to listen to her hometown’s radio station anywhere via the Internet. I check the Internet, and yes, her home station had this technology on their site. Just a few years ago, who would have imagined being able to listen to a radio station from another state. Thank God for technology!

    The radio interview focused on Linda’ book, The Blessedness of Believing: A Devotional Journey of Life’s Lessons and God’s Promises, and she was thrilled for the opportunity to connect with her hometown via radio. I was excited for her also.

    As I listened to the interview in my office, I also taped it using my digital voice recorder. There were a few glitches with the computer slowing up, but the interview still came through loud and clear. The digital recording was converted through Windows Movie Maker so that it could be heard on the web.


    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    Sacred Sunday: The Cross Choir

    The Gospel Spreading Church, a church organization founded in 1919 by Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, (1884-1968) has a tradition of the Cross Choir, where white-robed choir sit in a cross formation. This is a beautiful site to view.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Thomas MacEntee on Family History Blogging

    Lisa Louise Cooke of The Genealogy Gems Podcast at Genealogy Gems TV interviews geneablogger Thomas MacEntee of the Geneabloggers blog about how to blog, his many blogs, and genealogy. The interview was filmed at the Southern California Genenealogy Jamboree.

    Monday, September 7, 2009

    Memory Monday: Table Decor at Carroll Family Reunion

    This week's Memory Monday posting is in the form of a video. Last week, I learned how to convert a PowerPoint file into a video which can be played in the RealPlayer media player, posted on a website or blog, or on YouTube.

    I have written several postings about the 2009 Carroll Family Reunion. This week's posting focuses on the table decor at this reunion. Below are links to previous postings about this family reunion.

  • Finger Lickin’ Good Food at Family Reunion

  • Carroll Family Reunion

  • The Spiritual Legacy of Bessie Bullock Carroll (1901-1991)

  • This video was made using Microsoft PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker. For more information on how to make a video using these software packages, visit this webpage on my PowerPointer's Blog: Converting PowerPoint to Video. For MAC users, the video mentions websites with instructions for PowerPoint and Movie Making on a MAC. In Movie Maker, you can add video, still photos, music, and narration (voice using a computer microphone). In today's video, I converted my PowerPoint slides to still photos (.jpeg format), and added narration.
    I still have a lot to learn abou video making and am excited about using this technology to enhance my blog and to be able to upload PowerPoint files onto the Internet. I encourage other bloggers to try this technology.

    Friday, September 4, 2009

    Cooling Board Posting (Revisited)

    I have a sitemeter added to my blogs which enables me to not only see the number of visitors to my blog, but also how they access the site, whether through a Google search, or by a direct link. I can also see what specific postings they are reading. One of the popular postings is the one on the Cooling Board which I posted on April 26, 2008.

    Although there have been many visitors to this blog posting, I received two important comments. One is from a blog reader (Cookie) who has a cooling board as one of her family heirlooms. Imagine receiving such an heirloom! Another blogger (thelwaiting) heard about the cooling board through her family’s oral history.

    Cookie said...
    I was fortunate enough to inherit a "cooling board" that was used in Gulrock grandmother had been given it and when she died i received it (April 28, 2009)...ours is not as legs, no wheels, no case..just a plank of Carolina pine that was placed between two ladder back chairs...the first time to allow the body to leak out the fluids upon death....then it was cleaned up and the person was dressed and placed back on the board for the showing before burial. I know for sure that it is from the 1900's or earlier and it has 9 marks on we know at least nine member of the community used that is dated 1919 as my grandmothers youngest sister Delores Mason who died in infancy, they say of lockjaw, was buried on grandma and I were one of a kind we thought the history of the board was fascinating....
    June 29, 2009 2:48 AM

    the1waiting said...
    What a magnificent piece! Even though I hate attending funerals, I felt it was important to see this film. I am a genealogist who hear my African American elders speak of many things such as the "cooling board". Seeing this film is a highlight in my life. Thank you for the experience. I love it.
    August 28, 2008 12:33 PM

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Interview of Genealogy Blogger Randy Seaver

    Hear the voice behind the blog! Lisa Louise Cooke of the Genealogy Gems Podcast interviews genealogy blogger Randy Seaver of the Genea-Musing blog about blogging, family history, conferences and research. This video was filmed at the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree 2009.

    I love the “Geneaholic” t-shirt, Randy. I’m a “Geneaholic” too.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Tour of Allen County Public Library Genealogy Room

    I am preparing for a trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana to attend the Black Genealogy Summit in late October. While there, I plan to do some research in the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Room. These two videos give an excellent tour of the facilities.

    Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library, Part I

    Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library, Part II

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Little Lamb Grave Site

    Here's another interesting gravesite in Pleasant Shade Cemetery. I took the photo from a distance, but assume that this is the gravesite of a child. Perhaps during another visit, I will take a closer look at the grave site.

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Memory Monday: A Demonstration of Love

    During my high school years, our principal allowed us to have a Bible Study during lunch. It was available for any student who wanted to gather together during their lunch break to study the Bible. This was not formally advertised since technically, this was against the law during the 1980s. Students found out about this Bible study by word of mouth and I found out about it through my orchestra friend John. The teachers for the Bible study both taught English at our school.

    I was the only black person who consistently participated in the group and I lived across town from the rest of them. My family did not have a car, but members of the Bible study, who either had their own cars or access to the cars of their parents, would give me a ride to our numerous gatherings outside of school. We had many gatherings at each other’s homes where we would have fun and fellowship. Because of the love shown to me from members of this group, I was able to participate in many of these gatherings. They didn’t have to take the time to drive across town (about a half hour or more), and give me a ride to the gatherings, but they did and I am eternally grateful to them for their demonstration of care and love.

    On the occasion of this photo, a few members of the group came to my house for fellowship. (left to right) Chris (on guitar), Debbie (standing), Laura (sitting), and Brenda (holding music stand).

    Today, I get together for monthly fun, food, and fellowship with three of the members of this Bible Study. BTW, I have my own car now, so I no longer have to depend on them for transportation. (Smile)

    Sunday, August 30, 2009

    Genealogy Blogging

    Lisa Louise Cooke host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast explains the types of genealogy blogs and demonstrates in a two-part podcast how to create your own genealogy blog using

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Using Newspapers in Genealogy Research

    Earlier this month, I visited my local library to search for several newspaper obituaries. The obituaries I needed were on microfilm and locating the correct film and page numbers was easy because they were listed in an online index.

    During my visit, I also learned that I could access articles from my local newspaper (1997 to present) from my home computer by using my library card number to access the newspaper database through the library’s website. I was aware of this technology through college library websites, but had never tried using it. Access to online newspapers have enabled me to research the obituaries of family members who died after 1997 as well as other articles on various subjects related to my genealogy research.

    With online newspapers, I like being able to search for whatever keywords and then downloading or emailing the text from article.

    Newspapers can be an invaluable tool in advancing your genealogy research. For more information on the benefits of using newspapers in genealogy research, view this video.