AfriGeneas News & Announcements
September 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

NARA Announces Reduced Hours

Date: September 26, 2006 10:25:39 AM EDT
Subject: NARA Notice 2006-278, Final Rule on Research Room Hours Change

September 26, 2006

I announced in July NARA's plan to reduce the research room hours in the National Archives Building and the National Archives at College Park, effective October 2. This measure was taken in response to the need to reduce operating expenses significantly in order to have sufficient funds to fulfill our mandate throughout the fiscal year. As detailed in NARA Notice 2006-229, the rule would change our hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The interim final rule was published on July 25, 2006, and was open for 45 days for public comment. A well-attended public hearing was held on August 3. We received over 530 comments on the rule.

In response to strong public comment, we have modified the schedule to provide extended research room hours once a month on Thursday and Friday evening and Saturday. The new hours are: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Once a month, we will have extended hours to accommodate researchers who seek evening and Saturday hours. The monthly extended hours are: Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., and Saturday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The first extended hours will be held October 19 through 21.

In addition to the forthcoming publication of the final rule on September 27, we have posted signs in the research rooms in Washington and College Park and are sending a message to many of our constituent organizations notifying them of the new hours. We also will have the new hours posted on, including the specific dates for extended hours in FY 2007.

As a researcher myself and a past user of National Archives services, plainly I am troubled by the need to institute these reduced hours. I can only assure you, however, that I will make every effort in the months ahead to restore NARA to a financial situation that will allow us to resume our existing hours.

Archivist of the United States

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Posted by Staff on 9/28/06 at 10:40 am EST

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

URGENT! Support Passage of HR 5216 -- the Preservation of Records of Servitude, Emancipation, and Post-Civil War Reconstruction Act of 2006

AfriGeneas needs you to act quickly to guarantee passage of HR 5216 -- the Preservation of Records of Servitude, Emancipation, and Post-Civil War Reconstruction Act of 2006 by calling the leaders of the House of Representatives.

The bill requires the Archivist of the United States to: (1) establish, as part of the National Archives, an electronically searchable database of historic records of servitude, emancipation, and post-Civil War reconstruction, including the Southern Claims Commission Records, Freedmen's Bureau Records, Records of the Freedmen's Bank, Slave Impressments Records, Slave Payroll Records, Slave Manifest, and others, contained within the agencies and departments of the Federal Government to assist African Americans and others in conducting genealogical and historical research; and (2) Requires the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to provide grants to states, colleges and universities, and genealogical associations to preserve records and establish databases of local records of such information.

Please call the following Congressional Leaders and ask that: (1) they lend their personal support to this very important legislation and, (2) (1) they approve bringing this bill to the House floor under suspension so that members can vote passage.

Please call:

Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
(202) 225-2976

Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
(202) 225-6205

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
(202) 225-4965

Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC), Chair
Congressional Black Caucus
(202) 225-1510.

Sample talking points:

Thank you for taking my call. My name is [your name] and I am calling to ask [the Congressional Leader's name] to support HR 5216 to preserve civil war and reconstruction records at the National Archives. These records are extremely important to genealogists, historians, and others interested in understanding this very critical period in American history. As an American, I have a personal interest in these records because much of the information about my ancestors are in them. Please use your leadership and bring this very important bill to the floor for a vote.

Please act now! Time is of the essence!

The AfriGeneas Staff
[email protected]

Posted by Staff on 9/26/06 at 12:28 pm EST

Thursday, September 14, 2006

DNA Test Points to Tribes of Their Past

DNA Test Points to Tribes of Their Past

Genealogy Among Celebration's Topics

By V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 10, 2006

Susan Kidd, an anchor on WRC (Channel 4), says she is the genealogist in her family, having traced her heritage to an enslaved woman named Binah. But like many other African Americans embarking on similar searches, she ran into a roadblock trying to pinpoint the area of the vast continent from which she came.

Yesterday, Kidd and other local celebrities got a clearer idea of their ancestry. Through a scientific analysis of their DNA samples, submitted through a cheek swab several weeks ago, the four learned what they believe is their country and tribe of origin.

Sitting on a stage in a tent before nearly 100 people, Kidd was told that she is from the tribes of Tikar and Bamileke in the central African country of Cameroon.

"Oh, my goodness. Anybody got a tissue?" Kidd said in an uncharacteristically soft voice, wiping tears from her face. On a table nearby were photos of her great-grandmothers she had brought for the occasion.

The genealogy event was part the Black Family Reunion on the Mall. The two-day celebration, which continues today, includes health fairs, R&B; and gospel concerts, and games for children. The National Council of Negro Women has sponsored the event for 21 years to provide resources and information to strengthen black families.

Read the full story . . .

Source: Washington Post

Posted by Staff on 9/14/06 at 9:37 pm EST

Monday, September 11, 2006

History of Slave Trade Shipments to Go Online

History of slave trade shipments to go online

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 09/10/06

James Hair bought a man and two girls.

Joseph Bee plunked his money down for a boy and a girl.

The purchases are included in a detailed account of a 1784 slave sale in Charleston, S.C. The slaves � 563 men, women and children � arrived in South Carolina aboard the Comte du Nord, a British slave ship that carried its human cargo from the West African port of Malembo, north of the Congo River.

The slaves were sold to various buyers for the equivalent of roughly $150,000, or an average of $266 each.

The business deals were handled in the same way as the purchase of cattle. Each sales document lists the buyer, the gender of the slave, how many slaves each person bought and the price.

The Comte du Nord sale is significant because it may have been the largest shipment of slaves directly from Africa to Charleston.

Researchers at Emory University hope to make such information widely available soon.

The university recently received grants of more than $349,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research to revise and expand an existing database on slave trade voyages and make it available online for free.

Read the rest of the story . . .

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Posted by Staff on 9/11/06 at 2:09 pm EST

6 Jul 2003 | 02 Oct 2006
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