Monday, April 26, 2004
Char McCargo Bah Presents Roots In Fairfax, VA
Val Van Meter writes in the 23 April 2004 issue of The Winchester Star about AfriGenean Char Bah
She's found a Buffalo Soldier and a bootlegger and she's still searching for more.
Char McCargo Bah, genealogical researcher, lecturer and writer, will offer insights on "Tracing a Virginia African-American Family," from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Josephine School Community Museum in Berryville.
Barbara Dickinson, a member of the museum committee, heard Bah speak at a conference in Fairfax. She was impressed with Bah and recruited her to come to speak in Berryville.
Tracing African-American genealogy is "challenging" Bah said, especially when "you cross that 1865 line."
When you are searching for records of free people, Bah said, wills and court records and newspaper information are good sources.
"There are more records."
But, when you move into the era of slavery, "You have to think of your people as property. You have to identify the owner. You are tracing the owner's voice and his family."
Bah said research includes finding out where an owner purchased his slaves and whether his wife brought "dower slaves" with her to the marriage.
Bah credits Alex Haley's fact/fiction work "Roots" with spurring her interest in tracing her ancestors.
A policy writer for the federal government, Bah said her educational background, in urban studies and African and African-American history was a suitable grounding for her research work.
A member of the D.C. Genealogical Society, where she served on the governing board, she is the historian for the Virginia Genealogical Society and serves on its executive board.
Researching her own family has brought her some interesting experiences. She has found a member of the Buffalo Soldiers, black U.S. Army men who, after the Civil War, were stationed on the frontier to protect advancing settlers from Indian tribes. The Indians gave them their name, likening their hair to that of the buffalo which was the staple of Plains Indian culture.
Checking on one family line in her native Halifax County, Bah said she came face to face with a shotgun. It seems that the tradition that the family had been bootleggers had been carried down to some descendants.
A phone call from Germany put Bah on the trail of an American serviceman from World War II. His natural son was trying to trace the father he had never known and found Bah's name on the Internet as a researcher located in Stafford County.
Taking the information, she was intrigued by the fact that his father was a Clark, a name that turns up in branches of her family. Some of her relatives lived in Lynchburg, his father's last known address.
Checking Census data and obituaries, she located his deceased father's family members and found that the man was a brother of her grandmother. "We were second cousins."
Her German relative had bemoaned the fact that he had no family. "I woke him up at 4:30 in the morning to tell him, said Bah. "He's got a whole slew of them now."
She's found other relatives, often by reading obituaries, something she does every morning.
Often she's reported to her co-workers, who get a kick out of her obituary-reading habit, "I've found me another relative."
The best way to get starting in finding your roots is to interview older relatives, Bah said.
A great-aunt, born in 1890, who lived to be 106, was Bah's first source.
"Luckily for me, she was a nosy person, and so accurate. She gave me the scoop on everybody."
As soon as you have some basic names and dates, check them out using the U.S. Census records, Bah said. After 1880, the census listed both the head of the household and the relationship of other people living there to that person. This is a big help, said Bah.
Finding names you don't know can spark your source into remembering even more, she said.
Names carved in stone in cemeteries, wills and deeds in courthouses and newspaper accounts of marriages, births and deaths flesh out those who came before you.
"Everybody wants to know where their place is in history," Bah said.
Bah has traced her own family back to pre-Revolutionary War days.
"I have four lines going back to 1700. My people mostly come out of Virginia. I believe I'm related to everybody in Halifax County."
Bah plans to use her Virginia ancestors as a case study Sunday in her talk in Berryville.
"I work on my genealogy every day. It's not a hobby. It's almost an obsession."
The Josephine School Community Museum is located at 303 Josephine St., Berryville.
Posted by VKN on 4/26/04 at 5:56 pm EST
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Marjorie Sholes-Higgins elected FGS Board Member
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has elected Marjorie Sholes-Higgins as a Board member to serve through 2006.
Marjorie Sholes-Higgins, Los Angeles, California, is a charter member of the San Diego African-American Genealogy Research Group and the Las Vegas/Westside African-American Genealogical Society and the president of the California African-American Genealogical Society.
She is an African-American consultant at the Los Angeles Family History Center and the 2003 chairperson of the 3rd Annual West Coast Summit on African-American Genealogy Research Los Angeles, CA. She has presented at several workshops. In 1984, she began doing her research as the result of a statement about her great grand father being the father of 24 children. She has since compiled a database of over 1,600 direct descendants of her great-grand father and organized the first family reunion, "A Homecoming," in 1989 with over 350 in attendance.
Posted by VKN on 4/24/04 at 12:25 am EST
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Doll Hargrove is Spotlighted in Bucks Co., PA News
A rust-colored picture of a handsome man stared out from Doll Harris' computer screen in Lower Southampton.
The man was Chance Harris, a great-great-great-grandfather- a man she believes had two households, two wives and nearly 20 children in Alabama and Georgia.
The sender of the picture, Eddie Stoval, was a man she had met on the Internet. He turned out to be a cousin in Missouri, with a branch of the family she had never known about.
Both Stoval and Chance Harris, she said, have "eyes very similar to mine and my son's."
Such is the new face of genealogy.
Read the full exciting account
Hugs of Love to you Doll for the encouragement and support you provide to all of us.
Posted by VKN on 4/17/04 at 3:32 am EST