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[AL] Huntsville Class on AfriAm heritage

Class to focus on African American heritage
By Holly Green
Staff Reporter

In celebration of Black History Month, the Huntsville Public Library is hosting Learning to Locate Your Roots: Addressing the Challenges in Tracing African American Heritage, giving residents an opportunity to research their genealogy.

The class, taking place Wednesday from 1:30-3:30 p.m., is open to the public at no charge.

According to Denise Tilson, library adult programs, the class will be presented by professional genealogist Johnnie Jo Dickenson.

“Johnnie Jo Dickenson will be leading the class, offering information on general genealogy through handouts, a list of Web sites to search with and answering questions," Tilson said. "But she will also branch out into the problems that many African Americans face when doing research."

Tilson said that Dickenson will introduce several databases available on the library's computers, such as Heritage Quest or, to give residents a place to start.

“According to, names were not taken for black Americans in the 1850 census through 1870," Tilson said. "Records that usually note a person's age, race, sex and birthplace are not there. Also, the 1890 census burned up and no back up copy is available.

"During that time, there was a slave census but a person would have been recorded under his or her slave owner's name and then listed as '1 black male, age 35.'

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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