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AfriGeneas News & Announcements
July 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

African American Funeral Programs from East Central Georgia Placed Online

The Digital Library of Georgia announced the availability of a new online resource:
African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library.

The African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library online collection consists of over one thousand funeral programs ranging from 1933 to 2008 (with the bulk of the collection beginning in the 1960s) from the Eula M. Ramsey Johnson Memorial Funeral Program Collection. A majority of the programs are from churches in Augusta, Georgia, and the surrounding area, with a few outliers in other states such as New York and Florida. The programs typically contain a photograph of the deceased, an obituary, a list of surviving relatives, and the order of service. The collection provides extensive genealogical information about the deceased, including birth and death dates, maiden names, names of relatives, past residences, and place of burial. Alongside this genealogical information, the obituaries provide a rich source of local history about African Americans. Many of the people included in this collection were prominent in their communities, and many were involved locally in the struggle for civil rights.

The African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia in association with the East Central Georgia Regional Library as part of Georgia HomePLACE. The project is supported with federal LSTA funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Source: Digital Library of Georgia

Posted by Staff on 7/17/09 at 5:36 am EST

Monday, July 13, 2009

ProQuest Announces ProQuest African American Heritage, Partnership with AfriGeneas

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 10, 2009 - ProQuest announces the first digital library resource dedicated to the unique needs of African American genealogical research. Available fall 2009, ProQuest� African American Heritage is a groundbreaking new resource that provides key genealogical and historical records specific to tracing the lives of African Americans. The resource goes further to set itself apart by including a critical set of research and social networking tools that address the common genealogy need for research guidance, personal assistance, and mentoring.

Genealogical research for African Americans can be more challenging than other genealogical inquiries as a consequence of slavery and the changing legal status of African Americans. Records made prior to the Civil Rights era were segregated and are difficult to find, and oral histories passed down from generation to generation may be incomplete or inaccurate. Chris Cowan, vice president of publishing for ProQuest, notes that �With limited local resources and no dedicated electronic library resources for African American family history research, libraries have found it challenging to meet the unique needs of their users. Now, ProQuest African American Heritage helps to fill that gap by bringing together genealogical and historical resources critical to researching African American heritage back into the 18th century and helps people put together missing pieces of their past. �

ProQuest African American Heritage is designed to provide a comprehensive and useful guide for researchers by presenting relevant and unique content as well as providing insights and suggestions on how to further their searching. It contains information vital to African American genealogical research, including U.S. federal census, freedman and slave records, birth, marriage, and death records, church records, court and legal records, genealogies and family histories.

In addition, ProQuest African American Heritage incorporates social networking, reference books, and other digital how-to tools from two key partners: AfriGeneas and Genealogical Publishing Company. AfriGeneas, the oldest and best-known African American family history site, provides social networking to connect people to a community of researchers, expert advice, moderated forums, chats, mailing lists, surname registry, and more devoted to African American genealogy and history. For over 50 years, Genealogical Publishing Company has been publishing authoritative genealogical and family history books that are widely respected by amateur and professional genealogy researchers alike. ProQuest African American Heritage will contain several selected titles from Genealogical Publishing Company, including, including a special online edition of Black Genesis. Black Genesis is an exhaustive guide that makes locating resources pertaining to slaves and free blacks easier. Written by Dr. James M. Rose and Dr. Alice Eichholz, this essential reference work features an extensive compilation of African American resources for all fifty states, Canada and the West Indies. With these resources, ProQuest African American Heritage provides connections to important assistance and mentoring from experienced African-American genealogists, which greatly increases the researchers� success.

ProQuest African American Heritage is the latest addition to the company�s suite of genealogy resources, which include Heritage Quest� Online, Ancestry� Library Edition, Historic Map Works Library Edition�, ProQuest� Historical Newspapers, ProQuest� Obituaries, Digital Sanborn� Maps, UMI� Heritage Quest� in microform, and UMI� Genealogy and Local History in microform.

For more information visit

Source: ProQuest

Posted by Staff on 7/13/09 at 12:29 am EST

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Lowcountry Digital Library Launched

The College of Charleston announces the launch of the Lowcountry Digital Library (LCDL), a collaborative effort to build a digital (online) library with more than 50,000 items drawn from public and private archives in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina. The LCDL will make unique and often rare items more broadly available for free to anyone in the world. Other partners on this project are the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), The Citadel, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Historic Charleston Foundation, Beaufort County Library and the Charleston County Public Library.

"This is an important and ambitious project that allows for the sharing of priceless historical documents through the use of cutting-edge technology," College of Charleston President P. George Benson said. "I'm pleased that the College of Charleston is spearheading this effort. This project demonstrates how public-private partnerships can produce high quality work that furthers scholarly research and inspires innovation. Collaborations that tap a broad base of support and expertise help public higher education operate more efficiently and reach larger audiences."

A $305,000 grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation will enable the LCDL to grow from its current 7,000 images to 50,000 over the next three years. One full-time project coordinator and two part-time scanning technicians will be added to the project to facilitate the process. All of the items in the LCDL are either about or housed in the Lowcountry.

"It can take lifetimes to digitize collections," said John White, project director. "Some documents that are handwritten or in another language can take up to a year to transcribe. Then the documents still need to be scanned and catalogued. Until now, we haven't had the resources to dedicate to these historically relevant and interesting documents."

"A digital library is absolutely essential for the Lowcountry," said Jennifer Welch, assistant project director. "A digital library makes fragile or original documents more widely available and opens the door for research scholars to view materials to which they wouldn't have had access. Users will be able to find documents without traveling between several locations within the Lowcountry."

The technology used by LCDL is some of the best in the world. Documents are easily searchable, are available in high resolution and are transcribed for easy use.

For more information, visit

Source: Lowcountry Digital Library

Posted by Staff on 7/09/09 at 5:06 am EST

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