Friday, December 2, 2011

Young Niece and Nephews Enjoy Using Flip-Pal Scanner

My young niece and nephews, ages 6, 2, and 10 enjoyed using the Flip-Pal scanner during a recent visit. First I showed the 10 year old how to use scanner and afterwards, he showed the 2 and 6 year olds.

Each One Teach One!

Young Niece and Nephews Enjoy Using Flip-Pal Scanner

It was a spur of the moment descision on my part to let me young niece, age 6 and her brother, age 10 to use my new Flip-Pal scanner. I did not intend for my 2-year-old nephew to get in on the action, but after watching his older cousins use the mache, he wanted to get it on the action. With a little guidance he sucessfully scanned in a family photo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


My webinar, Let Your Voice Be Heard in the Digital Conversation, is now available for free viewing until December 5, 2011.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Disclosure Statement

Quick Start Guide scanned using my Flip-Pal Scanner

I, Drusilla Pair aka “Professor Dru,” and six other fellow bloggers (Sheri Fenley - The Educated Genealogist -; Marian Pierre-Louis - Roots and Rambles -; Caroline Pointer - For Your Family Story -; Heather Wilkinson Rojo - Nutfield Genealogy -; and Julie Cahill Tarr - GenBlog - are affiliates of Flip-Pal and we received evaluation units of the Flip-Pal scanner from Couragent, Inc. for purposes of providing a review.

We received the scanner at no charge to us and are under no obligation to return it, but can keep it for our own personal use.

We appreciate this fantastic early Christmas present from Flip-Pal and our dear friend and fellow blogger, Thomas MacEntee.

I will be using various forms of multimedia technology (voice, text, and video) to tell my Flip-Pal story.

So come join us on this Hippity Hoppity Flip-Pal Simple Gifts Blog Hopping journey with us!

And please don’t forget to leave comments on our blogs and other social media sites.


Drusilla Pair aka “Professor Dru”

Monday, October 31, 2011

Flip-Pal Demo by Dear Myrtle

This following video was originally posted on my blog November 15, 2011.

I had fun watching Dear Myrtle demonstrate how to use her new toy, a flip-pal mobile scanner during the 2010 Atlanta Family History Expos.


October 31, 2011 - I am pleased to have been chosen as one of seven bloggers to participate in the Simple Gifts Blog Hop, which will run November 4th - 25th.

Congratulations also to the six other lucky bloggers:

* Sheri Fenley - The Educated Genealogist -
* Marian Pierre Louis - Roots and Rambles -
* Caroline Pointer - For Your Family Story -
* Heather Wilkinson Rojo - Nutfield Genealogy -
* Nancy Shively - Gathering Stories -
* Julie Cahill Tarr - GenBlog -

Like Dear Myrtle, I look forward to having fun using my new toy and I'm sure that my other Blog Hopper Colleagues also anticipate the fun.

Hope that the UPS man drops by today with my toy like he did at Julie Cahill Tarr's house. Will post more later about my plans for using this fantastic gift.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Legacy Family Tree Offers African American Webinar

Legacy Family Tree will offers it’s first African American focused webinar on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at (2:00 PM Eastern U.S., 1:00 PM Central, 12:00 PM Mountain, 11:00 AM Pacific, 6:00 PM GMT). This free webinar, Best Internet Resources for African American Genealogy, will be facilitated by Afrigeneas member, Ms. Angela Walton Raji. This webinar examines resources that provide guidance for the unique problems facing descendants of slaves and will include information on the usage and resources of the Afrigeneas website. Register now for this FREE webinar at

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Melvin Collier’s "150 Years Later" Book

I am currently reading the book, 150 Years Later, Broken Ties Mended ( by Melvin J. Collier, which is a first person account from the family researcher’s point of view. I love this style of writing where the author takes you on the research journey explaining along the way the who, what, when, where, and how of the research process. Throughout this book, you get into the mind and logic of the researcher.

One of my favorite lines so far from the book is the opening of one of the chapters which reads:

“Going back into the past and uncovering my ancestor’s story had now become an addiction, and I did not desire any form of rehabilitation whatsoever.”

Family historians around the world all understand this addiction which Melvin speaks of, and like him, we DO NOT desire any rehabilitation either.

This book reads like a historical mystery or family historian memoir and chronicles how Melvin discovered the whereabouts of the family and descendants of his great grandfather Bill Reed, who was a slave in Abbeville, SC. Although Bill Reed experienced the tragedy and breakup of his family during slavery, 150 years later his descendants would discover the missing broken links which would mend broken family ties that would turn tears and sorrow into triumphant celebration for his family. This book is a must read for family historian of all ethnic backgrounds and I look forward to reading and blogging about the remainder of the book.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grandma’s “The Help” Stories

My maternal grandmother, Emma Johnson Thornton (1922 - 2011).
Photo taken in Newport News, VA around 1950s.

“The Help” book and movie is bringing out a multitude of emotions—good, bad, and indifferent. My maternal grandmother openly talked about her experiences as “the help”, but she referred to this employment as “day work.” I am proud that she took the time to share such a rich oral history through her stories about being “the help”. The point of many of Grandma’s “the help” stories was to teach us about life and it’s challenges.

Through Grandma’s “the help” stories, I learned about racism, budgeting, motivations for migration, and about challenges in life. Grandma frequently recalled various racist comments made by some of her employers and having one job working as a live-in maid where she had to sleep on the porch with the family’s dog.

During the early 1940s, my grandmother moved from Ridgeway, NC to Richmond, VA where she lived with a maternal Aunt and worked as a Domestic for white families. Later she moved to Washington, DC around 1942 for better wages before getting married in March 1943 and settling in Newport News, VA. Through these stories, I learned about her motivations for migration.

One of the other stories she repeatedly told my family was about how she earned $3 a week and budgeted this wage: $1 to give her aunt for rent, $1 to get her hair done, and the rest for food which was not enough for the week. This story taught us about budgeting and hard times. “I should have listened to my mama and not jumped out so fast,” Grandma would often remorse about her decision to leave home at age 19 and head for the city to get out her rural hometown. This was the story she would tell to her grandchildren and great grands who were anxious to leave home and get out on their own.

After seeing “The Help” movie on opening night, I left the theater with a smile on my face and pride in my heart for my grandmother and other ancestors who endured the abuses of segregation, Jim Crow, and working as “the help.” I know that quite a few African Americans are upset by this movie and book, however my response is to reflect on my grandmother’s life and her stories about being “the help” as well as to honor her and other known ancestors who worked in this capacity.

Irregardless of how you feel about it, author Kathryn Stockett has told her version of “the help” story through a book and film which has ignited the emotions of Americans of all races around the country. But Stockett’s story is not the one and only story, so I encourage people of all races to share their “the help” stories. There is something liberating about sharing these types of stories and we saw this demonstrated in the book and film as the black maids of Jackson, MS began to share their stories with Skeeter (Emma Stone).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Twitter and The Help Movie

Viewing comments on Twitter about the movie and book, The Help, for the past week has been social media at it’s best. Twitter is a micro or mini blog where movie goers or book readers can share their thoughts in bite-sizes from their computers or various mobile devices.

Having a dedicated column in Tweetdeck (a desktop application for Twitter and other social media applications which allows users to send and received tweets and view profiles) for hashtags #thehelp or #thehelpmovie enables me to see the latest tweets about the movie and book. These tweets contain links to movie reviews as well as the reactions to the book and movie from numerous people around the country.

I noticed references from several tweeters regarding the following:

  • Number of book reading friends in groups they have formed, “I’m reading The Help with ____ others;”
  • Movie dates, “I’m attending The Help with ____ others” These movie dates included girls night out, boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife dates, and a large number of families which include mothers, sisters, aunties, and grandmas. One tweeter posted that they would be attending the movie with their great-grandmother;
  • Reactions and commentaries about movie where some say “they loved it, a must see, book was/was not as good as the movie,” memorable lines from film such as “you is good, you is kind, you is important;”
  • Criticisms of movie or book and expressions of emotions which range from laughing during the funny scenes and crying during sad ones,

So if you want to know the latest and up-to-date news about The Help or any other topics, use Twitter . If you have not tried Twitter before, below is a tutorial to get you started.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Song - The Living Proof

This is a very inspirational song which is part of the soundtrack for the movie, "The Help".

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Movie "The Help"

Watching the trailer for "The Help" movie reminds me that I need to record my grandmother's story about her working life as a Domestic for white families from the early 1940s to sometime during the 1970s. She refers to her working life as “Day’s Work” and I’ve heard others from her generation use this term to refer to Domestic work.

Thanks to Robin Foster of Saving Stories for posting this link on Facebook today. The trailer certainly ignited oral histories I’ve heard over the years and motivated me to revisit these memories from my grandmother. In Grandma's china closet are various items given to her by some of her employers and I recall conversations with her about which items were given by whom. However, I don’t recall who gave what so this time I plan to record these memories.

Therefore my genealogy priories for the week are as follows:

  1. Write down what I remember Grandma saying about her life as a Domestic.

  2. Write down questions to ask her about her life as a Domestic.

  3. Take photos and inventory items in china closet which were given to her by her employers and record her memories of these items.

  4. Begin recording and writing her memories of her life as a Domestic in Richmond, VA, Washington, DC, and Newport News, VA.

Trailer for Movie, "The Help"

Mary J. Blige records New Song For the Help

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Guest Appearance on Blog Talk Radio Show

I am pleased to announce that and I will be a guest on Geneabloggers Blog Talk Radio Show this Friday night, July 15, 2011 att 10:00 EST, along with Nicka Smith of The Atlas Family blog, Jari Honora of Bayou Roots, Elyse Doerflinger of Elyse’s Genealogy Blog.

The show, Cool Ideas for Involving Youth in Genealogy, will be hosted by Dear Myrtle. Nicka and I will be sharing about the successful youth genealogy/historical research programs we just completed. Nicka’s program was in California and mine was in Virginia. Jari and Elyse will be sharing about their experiences as young genealogy/family historians.

Hope you will tune in to this great show on Friday night as the four of us share “Cool Ideas for Involving Youth in Genealogy.” BTW, I will be giving a surprise announcement on the show, so you’ll want to be among the first to hear.

See you Friday night!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Closing Program of Youth Historical Research Program

Next week, we will have a closing program for the youth historical project I have been teaching during the past eight weeks. This program taught middle and high school youth how to conduct historical research of their faith-based institution through the researching of historical documents, artifacts, and by conducting oral history interviews.

This has been a fantastic experience and the youth participants from Ivy Baptist Church and Gospel Light United Holy Church in Newport News, VA have made this pilot program a great success.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Genealogy Niche

Do you have a genealogy specialty or niche? “Often the niche finds you. It’s another form of genealogical serendipity” says Paula Stuart-Warren, CG. In her presentation Niche Planning and Marketing, Paula tells us what steps to take to further develop and market our genealogy niche and how to transition from being a generalist of genealogy to a specialist.

Genealogist may have more than one niche and I feel that mine are African American genealogy, Virginia and North Carolina records, Technology, and most recently Youth Genealogy. The tips shared by Paula in this presentation were invaluable.

To all genealogist, tell us about your genealogy niche(s).

Thanks for sharing, Paula.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Going Social With Genealogy

Check out Robin Foster’s new online course, Going Social With Genealogy. In this course, you will “learn how to identify principles and tools which will help you to have more enriching relationships in finding, sharing, connecting and engaging with genealogists and others using social media.”

I learned about a few social media sites which I have not yet tried. Great job, Robin!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Incorporating Music into Youth Genealogy Lessons, Part 2 (Moving Back Further in Time Through Music Traditions)

Handclapping (and even foot tapping) can provide natural instrumental music to a song.

Note: Both performances of this song were videotaped. However since I have not yet obtained parental consent from the parents of these young people to share photos or video with the public, I will not post these videos online. The videos were viewed in class as part of the lesson.

Musical Section #2 - Finding the Right Song
(For Part 1 of this story, click here)

During the third week of the program as I prepared my lesson, I was looking for an older song like “Precious Lord” on the MP3 downloads of I went back and forth between renditions of this song by Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin. Then I decided to listen to other songs on an album by Aretha Franklin which included “Precious Lord.” I heard a variety of songs including the voice of her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin , who was a popular minister and gospel singer during my childhood. The version of “ This Little Light of Mine ” caught my attention because this tune was sung in a style without instrumental music, but only with handclapping and foot tapping. This would be a perfect song to talk to the youth about the period when many churches sung without instrumental music, I thought.

Performance #1
I decided to use this song as an ice breaker at the beginning of the lesson and to line up chairs in two rows where the youth and their mentors would sit like a congregation. Prior to playing the song, I gave the young people a brief lecture and demo of this hand clapping/foot stomping style of music. Then I played the song and asked them to sing along.

The song was slower than we normally sing it today and it took a little getting used to it. As the group sang, I encouraged them to get into character like the old people they heard singing from the recording. I could tell that three young men (ages 13 and 14) were into it the character of the music because they made faces, sounds, and gestures like old people as they sang.

Performance #2
At the end of the session, I decided to have the youth sing the song again for the benefit of one of the group members who came in late. During this singing session, the group had trouble keeping with the pace of the song and on several occasions began singing at a faster pace than the recording. The old people singing in this recording took their time singing this tune which is typically sung at a much faster rate today. Nevertheless, we got though this second performance of the song.

Spontaneity in the Room
But what happened next blew my mind and I knew at that moment that incorporating his song into the lesson was phenomenal. Immediately after we finished singing “This Little Light of Mine” with the recording, one of the young men spontaneously belted out singing “I Don’t Know What You Came to Do.”

The group, without prompting, responded singing, “I Don’t Know What You Came to Do.”

“I Don’t Know What You Came to Do,” sang the young man as he and the group clapped and stomped to the beat of the fast paced song.

The song leader repeated the line followed by the group repeating the same line.

“I Came to Clap My Hands,” the young song leader sang. Rather than responding in song this time, the group clapped twice at the end of this line.

“I Came to Stomp My Feet,” he sang and the group answered back with two stomps.

"I Came to Shout for Joy,” he sang on.

“I Came to Praise the Lord,” the young man sang. By now he had fully embraced his role as song leader and he even raised his hand in praise to God at the end of this line.

I’m not sure why the song ended abruptly, but it appears that one of the young people sung something offbeat from the way the song was supposed to go. Whatever it was, it got the attention of his mother who was one of the mentors sitting on the back row and she stood up laughing and hit her son lightly on the back in a playful manner. The group all responded with laughter.

We were way past the end of class by this time, so it was good that they did stop the song.

The atmosphere in the room was electrical as we packed up to leave and by this time everyone was hyped up. One of the young ladies began chanting or cheering C-H-R-I-S-T or something like that. The youth from her church responded with the spelling of other religious words and I assume that this is something that the youth in their church do. I was busy packing so I didn’t ask them about it.

The Benediction
As the youth who remained in the room proceeded to leave, the same young lady who had previously started the chant/cheer stopped and raised her right hand, bowed her head, and said as if she were conducting the closing of a church service, “May the Lord watch between me and thee.” We all knew the directio she was going with this statement and I joined in with her and the others.

“While we’re absent, one from another, Amen!” we all recited in unison in this familiar benediction. This act was like icing on the cake.

The kids exited the room and I followed shortly thereafter with a huge smile on my face and overflowing joy in my heart at a lesson well done.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Incorporating Music into Youth Genealogy Lessons, Part 1

I’m still having a ball teaching young people how to conduct historical research. On two occasions, I decided to incorporate music into my lesson. For more about this youth project, click here.

Musical Selection #1
During the second week of class, I decided to incorporate music on the opening slide of my PowerPoint. I used the song, “Come this Far by Faith”, because this was a popular tune sung by African American choirs during my youth in the 1970s and 1980s. I call this the ‘march in song’ because it was the tune that numerous African American choirs across the country sung as they marched during the processional at the beginning of church services back in my day. The ladies in the video below are marching into the church similarly to how we did it. However, our choirs wore robes and not elaborate hats like they are wearing. (I’m assuming that the occasion of this video was some type of special service like Women’s Day.)

“Do your choirs still march?” I asked the youth as the song “Come this Far by Faith” played.

“No.” they all responded.

“Have you ever seen choirs march in?” I asked. These youth, who were born during the 1990s, all said they had witnessed the choir march, and a few even mimicked the march in class the following week.

Incorporating music into presentations and teaching is always an attention getter and it certainly made a difference in setting the tone for the lecture that week. Since styles and musical taste typically change from one generation to the next, incorporating it into genealogy and history lessons is perfect for teaching about traditions and practices of various time periods.

Next Posting, Part 2 of Incorporating Music into Youth Genealogy Lessons (Moving Back Further in Time Through Music Traditions)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Thrill of Teaching Historical Research and Genealogy to Youth

I would like to thank all those who gave me tips about teaching genealogy to young people. I talked to numerous people I know, both genealogists, educators and/or parents, and also asked for tips on Facebook, Twitter, and Afrigeneas, and my Find Your Folks blog.

I am excited to announce that after months of planning, I have finally begun conducting youth genealogy classes and workshops. Entering into this realm has not been as quick as I anticipated, but we all know that “good things come to those who wait.”

Opportunity #1
Eight Week Program in Partnership With a Local City Agency. I have partnered with a local city agency and am working with two persons from this organization in a program in which the three of us designed called Back in the Day - Faith-Based Institution Historical Research Program. Both of these individuals have history degrees, but their full-time positions are working with youth or managing youth related programs rather than something in the field of history.

We decided to focus on collecting and documenting church history in our city because we believed that religious institutions were a great place to start in teaching young people how to do historical and family research. The community in which we are teaching and researching is predominately African American and since historically major movements such as the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s have been ushered in through religious institutions, we felt that it was fitting to begin our youth research project through these institutions. We began planning the program in late September and sent out invitations to older churches in our community in October to participate in this program.

Response was slow, but two churches eventually committed to participate in our pilot program along with six young people from their congregations who are ages 13-16. Each church has an adult mentor from their congregation who also attends the sessions with their youth. We started the program two weeks ago with an interest meeting and began the first week of the eight week program on last week. Both the adult mentors and the young people seem to be getting a lot out the program and I am energized by their enthusiasm each night I teach. My two partners in this endeavor will also be teaching the youth during designated weeks in this eight week program so that will be a relief for me during those weeks, and I Iook forward to just just sitting, observing, and enjoying these sessions.

At the end of the eight weeks, the youth are expected to 1) write a report summarizing their research findings; and 2) prepare some type of creative project/activity such as a skit, poster board display, PowerPoint presentation, etc. which will be showcased in a program for their families, friends, church members, and others.

Opportunity #2
My Family History: Link to the Past, Bridge to the Future. This will be a three hour workshop which I am scheduled to conduct at a local historical and cultural center in May. The goal of this workshop is to introduce young people to methods to get started in tracing their family history in hopes that they may begin the discovery process to find a link to their past and a bridge to their future.

Now it’s SHOWTIME after all these months of waiting. I’m glad that I thought to buy school supplies such as paper, pencils, pens, pencil boxes and other supplies during the back-to-school sale last year. All of these things are coming in handy now.

I'm looking forward to many more opportunities to share my genealogy and historical research knowledge with young people. I hope that other genealogists and family researchers who have not done so already, will also find opportunities to share their knowledge with the young people of their communities.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Alternative Ancestral Family Tree Styles

As I began looking for books and resources on teaching genealogy to young people, I hoped to find some tips on addressing family trees of nontraditional families. In our age of divorces, single parenting, and in some cases parents of the same gender, this is a valid concern for today’s teachers of youth genealogy. One book I discovered which is devoted to youth genealogy is Climbing Your Family Tree by Ira Wolfman. This book has a companion website which includes various downloadable forms. Click here for book site.

The companion website for this book includes a traditional style family tree which can be used by youth who know the names of ancestors on both sides of their families. But what about the youth who only knows the name of one parent (usually the mother)?*

Using a traditional family tree may likely stir up negative emotions in young people with an unknown or absentee parent, or even a nontraditional family which is headed by by same-sex parents. It is wise for youth genealogy teachers to be sensitive to the needs of today’s youth and let them design their family tree as they see fit, even if it does not fit the traditional two-parent structure.

Pyramid Style Family Tree

Two nontraditional or alternative ancestral tree styles are available for downloading on the companion website of the Climbing Your Family Tree book. The Pyramid style tree or the Fan or Rainbow style tree allow young people to either just focus on one side of the family or draw lines to divide the levels for both parental sides or more. The more could include step and/or adoptive parents.

Fan or Rainbow Style Family Tree

Although the focus of this book and the family trees on the companion website are designed for young people, these trees could very well be used by adults. Those of us who use genealogy software have numerous styles to choose from to display our family trees and it was good to find some alternative tree style ideas on paper that can be used to teach genealogy.

*Note-There are many adults who may be in this same situation of not knowing the name of their father. I have met several of them during my genealogy presentations.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Genealogy Comic Book - Hunting For Your Heritage

This comic book, Hunting for Your Heritage, is a fantastic full-color book which introduces youth to genealogy. It is also a great book for adults who want an easy and simplified explanation on how to begin researching their family history. The storyline of the book is about four young people who inquire about to search their family histories. Through this story of their journey, readers of any age can learn how to get started and proceed in tracing their family history. Thanks to genealogist Shelly Murphy for introducing me to this book.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Youth Genealogy Workshop

I am pleased to announce that I will be conducting a Youth Genealogy Workshop entitled "Link to the Past, Bridge to the Future" on May 21, 2011 at the Newsome House, 2803 Oak Avenue in Newport News, VA at 11:00 a.m. For more information on the Newsome House, visit their website at

Young people often search for relevancy in school subjects such as social studies or history. Many often fail to recognize that their families and ancestors are part of history. Genealogy offers young people a unique way of studying history and linking to the past. Further genealogy provides a bridge to the future for young people as they discover their ancestors, their lives and times.

The goal of this three-hour workshop is to introduce young people to methods to get started in tracing their family history in hopes that they may begin the discovery process to find a link to their past and a bridge to their future.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy 119th Birthday Rebecca Lanier

Imagine being 119 years old. Happy Birthday to Rebecca Lanier of Ohio.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy 3rd Blogoversary to Me!

Happy 3rd Blogversary to me. My how time flies and I can't believe it has been three years since I began this genealogy blog, Find Your Folks. My third anniversary was actually yesterday, but I got so busy that I forgot to post. Last year, I did not remember my blog anniversary until several weeks later.

Well, here to three years of bliss and fun. May I have many many more years of blogging.

BTW, thanks to all of my readers and to the numerous people I've met online during these three years of blogging.

Professor Dru

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Interview on Blog Talk Radio Show

On Sunday night, I was a guest on the Blog Talk Radio Show, Nurturing Our Roots. Thanks to the wonderful hosts Antoinette Harrell and Robin Foster. Also thanks to all of you who listened in and participated in the chat. If you missed the broadcast, click here to listen.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Maternal Ancestry

Graphic was designed using the SmartGraphics feature of PowerPoint 2007.

During this Women's History month, I celebrate my maternal ancestors, known and unknown. My direct maternal line has been traced back to my slave ancestor Ella Scott Jeffress who was born in Virginia around 1842.

Maternal DNA
My three sisters and I inherited the DNA from our mother and her maternal ancestors. This DNA inherited from our direct maternal line falls in the X haplogroup and matches the DNA of present day Africans in two countries: the Beafadu people of Guinea-Bissau and the Temne people of Sierra Leone.

Dorothy, our mother
Emma, our grandmother
Bell, our great-grandmother
Luvenia, our great-great-grandmother
Ella (Elinor), our great-greaat-great-grandmother

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Guest on Blog Talk Radio Show

On Sunday, March 6, at 7 PM CST (8 PM EST), I will be a guest on the Blog Talk Radio Show, Nuturing Our Roots.

For those of you who plan to listen, you may need to use an Internet browser such as Google Chrome,to hear the show. Internet Explorer does not work for me on this site for the live broadcast, but it does work for the archived broadcast. I know that others have had the same problem.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sacred Sunday: Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux

A member of the Church of God at Williamsburg, VA , Howard W., commented on my blog posting, Sacred Sunday: Elder Lighfoot Solomon Michaux on February 7, 2011. This article was posted on August 9, 2009.

God Bless You,

It is great to see others appreciate the Founder of one of America's greatest Churches.

There is much more to this man and his doings which we are getting out there to others every week.

Here is our Web Site: which you will find much more about the Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux.

Thanks for posting this information
Since my discovery of the grave sites of Elder Michaux and his wife Mary during the summer of 2009, I have begun researching their lives and ministry. In August and September of 2009, I also visited the two churches they founded in Newport News and Hampton, VA. This was around the time of the 90th anniversary of this church organization.

For more information on Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, visit the following websites:

  • Sidewalk Preacher Went to National Radio
  • Elder Michaux
  • Michaux Posting on Find Your Folks Blog
  • Saturday, February 19, 2011

    The History Press

    For all of you genealogists and family historians who are looking for a book publisher, check out The History Press. The publisher focuses on local and community stories in a variety of categories and series.

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Tweeting During Lecture


    Nadasue of Into the Light and I attended a lecture by Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander on African Americans in Civil War Virginia. We had a great time tweeting during the lecture. Click here to read our tweets. The lights were turned off during most of the presentation so that we could see the PowerPoint, so excuse the typos. Thanks to all who were reading and responding to our tweets.

    Professor Dru

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Nuturing Our Roots Guest - Angela Walton Raji

    Angela Walton Raji of African Roots Podcast will be a guest on Nurturing Our Roots Blog Talk Radio Show on Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 7 PM CST. Hope you will join in!

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Robin Foster's Interview on Blog Talk Radio

    On Sunday night, I had the pleasure of listening to Robin Foster being interviewed by Antoinette Harrell on the Blog Talk Radio show called Nurturing Our Roots. In this hour long interview, Robin shares techniques and unique resources which have helped her to find success in documenting her ancestors. Click here to listen to interview.

    For more information on Robin Foster, visit her blogs at:

  • About Our Freedom

  • Saving Our Stories
  • Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Thomas MacEntee's Blog Talk Radio Show

    Congratulations to Thomas MacEntee on the premier of his new blog talk radio show last night. I wish I had felt like staying up after the Vanessa Williams episode of Who Do You Think You Are . Nevertheless thanks to the archive of this show, I was able to listen to the whole show when I woke up around 1:30 a.m. this morning. Thomas, you're a natural radio talk show host and hats off to you for initiating this new program and format for genealogists to interact on the Internet.

    Listen to internet radio with GeneaBloggers on Blog Talk Radio

    Vanessa William's Paternal Ancestry

    If you watched the first show of Season Two of Who Do You Think You Are , I'm sure you'd agree that the season started with a bang as we watched actress Vanessa Williams' search for her paternal ancestors. I have much to say about show and will do that in separate blog postings. Thanks to the power of the Internet, the show is now available to be viewed online.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Gearing Up for Season Two of WDYTYA

    I hope that genealogists everywhere are gearing up for tonight's start of Season Two of the Who Do You Think You Are television series which airs on NBC this at 8 p.m. I am especially excited about seeing what actress and former Miss America, Vanessa Williams, learns about her great great grandfather’s Civil War career during her visit to the National Archives in Washington, DC. How amazing it is that she found a photo of her ancestor in his pension file. I look forward to visiting the National Archives soon to read through the pension file of my newly adopted USCT soldier, Madison Lewis. I'm also looking forward to the online discussions and analysis of this first episode.

    Below is a clip of Vanessa's discovery of the pension file of her ancestor. I look forward to having a similar type of experience soon.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Morgan Freeman's Comments on Black History Month

    Today, February 1st, begins the Black History Month celebrations for 2011. When I was in school the 1970s, Black History month was only a week. Unfortunately, I don't remember what I learned during this week long celebrations. Later, it became a month long celebration. But there are some people, including African Americans like actor Morgan Freeman, who feel that there is not a need for Black History Month. I feel the special celebrations and recognitions in February of African American achievement are great and should continue, but as a blogger and genealogist, I celebrate Black History everyday.

    What do you think of Morgan Freeman's comments about Black History Month?

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    My New Blog

    I am pleased to announce my new blog entitled "Let Freedom Ring!" As mentioned in a previous blog posting, I have developed an interest in reseaching the Civil War Era. After much contemplation, I decided to create a new blog to explore this interest.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    The Origins of My Civil War Research Interest

    I never imagined in my all of my 16 years of doing genealogy research that I would ever become seriously interested in researching military, soldiers, and matters related to war. But since late 2009, I've been hooked on studying the Civil War. Now I’m even researching a regiment of the United States Colored Troops who organized in 1863 in Camp Hamilton in Hampton, VA in the present day area where Hampton University is now located.

    James A. Fields
    It all began after I became interested in researching the life of James A. Fields, a former slave who escaped from slavery during the Civil War from Hanover County, VA and became a guide for the Union Army during the war. After the war, Fields was part of the first graduating class of Hampton Normal and Agricultural School (now Hampton University) in 1871. He taught in the counties of Elizabeth City and James City for numerous years. Later, he became the first black judicial officer in Warwick County (now Newport News). In 1881, Fields graduated from the School of Law of Howard University in Washington, D.C. Beginning in the year 1897, Mr. Fields used his property at 617-27th Street as his law office and primary residence until his death in 1903.

    Gregory Cherry
    A few months before his death in August 2007, Gregory Cherry, owner of the historic James A. Fields House in Newport News, VA spoke to my genealogy society about the this historic house and his work in acquiring and restoring the house. I knew right then that I needed to get involved with the Fields House and even mentioned this to Greg after his presentation. I had good intentions when I met him, but did not initiate anything at that time. I did not give any serious thought to getting involved with the Fields House until I learned that Greg Cherry had passed away on August 8, 2007.

    Saundra Cherry
    As fate would have it, I would meet Greg's wife, Saundra, the following year and she would become a constant part of my life. During our conversations, she would mention the Fields House and the work she was continuing that had been started by her late husband. One of the projects she talked about was about creating a family tree of the descendants of the Fields Family. Eventually, I offered to type up the tree in a genealogy program. Saundra had drawn a family tree on a large roll of paper that is the length and size of a roll of gift wrapping paper.

    Typing the Fields Family Tree
    On a Friday evening after work in October 2009, I decided to begin typing the Fields Family Tree. This was the commitment to get involved with the Fields House that I had promised Greg Cherry more than two years earlier. I thought that it would take me longer to complete this task, but I actually finished the project that night. As I studied the names on this family tree, in particularly James A. Fields, his siblings, and parents, I longed to know more about this family. A few brief Internet searches gave me some initial info on Mr. Fields and his historic house.

    The Fields House Blog
    A second way of honoring the commitment I had made to get involved with the Fields House was by creating a James A. Fields House blog in November 2009.

    My Research Journey
    Thus began my interest in researching the Civil War era and the Fields family. It has been quite a journey and research of this family has taken me into so many different documents and resources in which I never had a reason to use in researching my own family. My research journey and findings will be discussed in future blog postings.

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Genealogy Education

    Hope that all of you out there have either begun various forms of genealogy educaton or are making plans to do so throughout the year.

    Angela Walton-Raji did a great job in this video in her discussion about various genealogy educational opportunities.

    For me, I plan to update my knowledge first by reading or rereading some of the numerous genealogy books in my personal library. Secondly, I'm looking at some of the online course opportunities which Angela mentioned in her video. Thirdly, I plan to attend some local and regional genealogy conferences. And finally, I plan to attend at least one national genealogy related conference later this year.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Free Microsoft Office Software Training

    One way to update your skills in using Microsoft Office software packages is by investing time to take the Free Microsoft Office Software Training tutorials. An updating of software skills will help genealogists to more effectively process the numerous genealogy data we all have accumulated. These tutorials include various skill levels ranginb from beginning to advanced. Tutorials include reading, demos, self-paced training with audio instructions, and quick reference sheets. Tutorials are available in versions 2003, 2007, and 2010 for Microsoft Office.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Free Online Technology Courses

    Hewlett-Packard offers free technology online courses. I first discovered these courses several years ago through an online genealogy friend. At that time, the courses were insructor-led for about four weeks or so and there was even a course on genealogy.

    Today, Hewlett-Packard offers the following types of free online courses or short training:

    • On-demand courses (4 self-paced lessons)
    • How-to videos (most 5 minutes or less)
    • Quick lessons (approximately 20 minutes)

    Courses or short training sessions are offered in six catagories:

    1. Digital Photography
    2. Home Office
    3. Microsoft Office and Adobe
    4. PC security and maintenance
    5. Business basics
    6. IT professionals

    The format of the online courses or short training sessions includes readings, short quizzes, step-by-step instructions, and/or demos. There's plenty to choose from and I hope that you will find lots of online courses and short training sessions to update your technology skills.

    BTW, I'm upgrading my software skills and am enrolled in the Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint 2010 courses.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Martin Luther King, III Comments on His Family's Historic DNA Reveal

    I know that everyone who has had DNA testing done in order to learn more about their family origins shares in the joy with the descendants of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Listen to comments from Dr. King's son Martin, III, about his reactions to his family's DNA revelations.

    Thank You Dr. King For Changing My Family History

    Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

    Today, the nation celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King (1929-1968), a man most remembered for his work in fighting for equal rights of African Americans, who were called Negro or colored during his lifetime.

    Just one generation ago, during the early years of the lives of my parents, my family lived in a segregated society and had to endure things such as sitting in the back of the bus on public transportation, drinking from public water fountains marked for “colored only,” or going through the back door in a restaurant and not being able to sit inside to eat their meal. Schools for my parents and grandparent's generations were segregated and had out of date books and materials and second class school facilities.

    But thanks to the work of people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless other unsung heroes, these things are no longer part of my family history. Today, on the 81st birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I reflect on his sacrifices and thank him for his leadership in the fight for Civil Rights so that my generation and others that follow are able to have a life of freedom and equality, thereby changing the course of our family histories.

    Learn more about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by visiting the website of The King Center. Also read other tributes to Dr. King from other genealogy bloggers, Remembering Dr. King.

    Originally posted January 18, 2010

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Everyday Life During the Civil War

    This year marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War. Numerous celebrations are being planned around the nation to commemorate the 150th year anniversary of this four-year war. I hope that bloggers and genealogists with ancestors who lived during the Civil War are using this anniversary as a time to learn more about that time period as well as to commemorate their ancestors.

    One helpful book that can be used to learn more about Civil War era customs and daily life is entitled “Everyday Life During the Civil War, A Guide for Writers, Students, and Historians” by Michael J. Varhola, ISBN #1582973377. I’ve had this book in my personal library for several years. This book includes information on the following topics during the Civil War.

    • Wages
    • Currency
    • Clothing
    • Dry Goods
    • Life in City, Town, and Country
    • Food and Diet
    • Fun, Games, and Entertainment
    • Slang and Idioms
    • Technology
    • Arms, Equipment and Uniforms
    • Civil War Time Line
    • The Branches of the Armed Services During Civil War
    • The View From the Homefront – Northern, Southern, Slavery, etc.

    You can also take a peek inside this book on a website such as

    Note: I learned yesterday that a new edition of this book will be available next month. Click here to preview.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Cemetery Transcription Using GPS Camera

    Bernie Gracy gives tips in part one of this video on doing cemetery transcriptions using a GPS camera. I look forward to warmer weather at which time I can get back to cemetery transcription projects and research.

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    My Favorite Blog Postings for 2010

    Happy New Year to Everyone! As I begin another new year of genealogy and blogging, I reflect on the past year. Although I did not blog as often in 2010 (76 postings) as I did in 2009 (104 postings) and 2009 (168 postings), the year was still a blogging and genealogy success. Below are my top six favorite blog posting topics for 2010.

    1. TV Appearances. My most exciting experience in 2010 was appearing as a guest in August on a local television show called Another View. Four blog postings which ranged from announcing my TV appearance, to posting a photo taken on the set, to the YouTube video of the broadcast.
    2. 2010 Atlanta Family History Expos. My most exciting genealogy conference experience was attending the 2010 Atlanta Family History Expos in November where I not only conducted a workshop, but also met numerous bloggers and genealogist whom I've met online during the past three years. It was a thrill to see each of them face-to-face. Twenty-three postings were written on the conference which were written before, during, and after the conference.
    3. Location Based Genealogy. In the summer of 2010, I discovered Mr. Bernie Gracy on Youttube and learned of his message on "location based genealogy." It was also a thrill to meet Mr. Gracy at the Atlanta Expos in November as well as to attend three of his workshops. Four postings were devoted to "location based genealogy" in 2010 and it will definitely be a topic that I will be writing more about in the future.
    4. My Who Do You Think You Are Episode Series. After viewing episodes of the television series, Who Do You Think You Are?, I decided to write my own "episode" where I analyzed research findings on my Uncle Andrew Bullock (1895-1972). I did not think that I knew much about Uncle Andrew, but after 12 blog postings in this series, I made tremendous discoveries.
    5. Happy 101st Birthday Aunt Della. Blog postings on my Aunt Della, who turned 101 this year are always a delight. I was excited to announce on my blog on December 26 that she turned 101 years old.
    6. Discrepancies in Memories and Oral History. My last favorite blog posting of the year is a video of three elderly pioneers of gospel music who are discussing the origins of the first gospel music convention. I still laugh at two ladies in this video everytime I watch it whose recollections of the origins of this convention differ. This video is a comical depiction of the countless discrepancies in oral history memories that genealogists often encounter.