AfriGeneas News & Announcements
July 2004

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Melvin J. CollierMel Collier To Manage Family Reunion Forum is pleased to announce that Melvin J. Collier has been named the Manager of its Family Reunion Forum effective Monday, July 26, 2004. The
African American Genealogist's Family Reunion Primer is the newest member of the AfriGeneas family of websites. AfriGeneas is the oldest and largest African-American genealogy site on the Web.

Melvin J. Collier, the son of Mr. Jimmie & Mrs. Versia Reed Collier, was born in Jackson, Mississippi and raised in Canton, Mississippi. Every since high school, he possessed a fascination about learning his family roots, and thus began his genealogy research in 1993 at age 21, during a summer break from college. Collier graduated from Mississippi State University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Soon after graduation, Collier moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he has been working in his field, Transportation Engineering.

Collier attended his first family reunion on his mother�s side in 1992, at which time he became actively involved with the reunion. In 1997, at the age of 25, he was asked to chair the 1998 Reed-Puryear Family Reunion, which was held in Memphis, Tennessee, the first time outside the state of Mississippi. With a strong desire to get to know more members of his family and to bring more of them together, Collier formed a committee and diligently worked to increase the participation in the reunion. As a result, the 1998 reunion was attended by approximately 150 family members, a far increase from the 50-60 people who had normally attended in the past. Collier was also the chair of his 2000 family reunion, a member of the 2002 reunion planning committee, and the co-chairperson of his 2004 reunion, which took family members back to Abbeville, South Carolina � the birthplace of the patriarch of his family, Bill Reed, that was discovered through Collier�s genealogical research.

Collier�s genealogy website can be seen at

Posted by Staff on 7/29/04 at 7:44 pm EST

Servitude and Emancipation Archival Research Clearinghouse (SEARCH Act of 2004) Passes the Senate

Preserving Americans' history vastly important
By Sen. Mary L. Landrieu/Special to the Leader

Thousands of Americans have taken great pleasure in tracing their family roots, researching information and details about ancestors they never knew, and learning about a history that is uniquely theirs.

For most Americans, such research involves searching through municipal birth, death and marriage records -- most of which have been properly archived as public historical documents.

However, many African Americans face a unique challenge when conducting genealogical research. Often, the records of their ancestors were kept by private slave trading companies and large plantation owners.

Many of these private records of servitude and emancipation are frequently inaccessible, poorly catalogued, often lost and inadequately preserved. While states around the nation have undertaken the archival of these records with varying levels of success, it is important that these brittle bits of history be saved permanently.

To make such research easier and more open, I am working to pass the Servitude and Emancipation Archival Research Clearinghouse or SEARCH Act of 2004.

Read more . . .

Source: Leesville (LA) Daily Leader

Posted by Staff on 7/29/04 at 7:09 pm EST

Were My African-American Ancestors Muslims?

Were My African-American Ancestors Muslims?
by Nathan W. Murphy, AG�

Ever wondered what religious practices your African ancestors followed before arriving in America? While many observed indigenous tribal beliefs, Islamic historians estimate that between 7 and 30 percent of African slaves brought to America were Muslims. As a classic example, in the television series Roots, Alex Haley portrays his black immigrant ancestor as a follower of Muhammad. Historians recognized this interesting and little known fact by identifying historic American texts written in Arabic, pinpointing the location of prominent slave recruiting grounds in Africa, identifying Muslim given names amongst American slaves, and uncovering personal accounts of prominent Islamic African-Americans. Read more . . .

Source: Genealogy Today

Posted by Staff on 7/29/04 at 6:44 pm EST

6 Jul 2003 | 04 Sep 2004
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