One could say that the main purpose of genealogy is to find out more about one’s roots. The goal is to learn as much as possible about the people who are part of your family tree. Some genealogy resources focus on immigration to American. This may be less than ideal for an African-American genealogist who is searching for his or her roots. The My Roots Foundation can help.
The My Roots Foundation was created by founder Alonzo Felder in 2015. He is a full-time IT Analyst for Duke Global Health Institute. Previously, he worked for 9 years as an Academic Technologies User Support Analyst for the Duke University of Law.
In addition, Alonzo Felder has presented on family history research at Duke University School of Law lunch-time workshops/presentations. In 2014, his work was featured on the “Finding Your Roots” TV show website. In 2015, his submissions were featured on The Race Card Project by Michelle Norris, one of the hosts of NPR’s All Things Considered broadcast.
The My Roots Foundation can aid genealogists through activities that are focused on discovering, preserving, presenting, interpreting, exhibiting, and celebrating their heritage (and personal, family, and cultural histories). They can help genealogists and family historians to celebrate the positive aspects of their family trees and to explore their heritage through online resources, personal interviewing, investigation and research.
The main focus of The Roots Foundation is to help African-Americans find out more about their ancestors. The website notes that people who are doing research on African-American families can “hit a wall at the 1870 census”. It wasn’t until 1870 that the United States census began listing the names of all African Americans. The 1850 and 1860 censuses included the names of all free blacks. Previous censuses have even less information about the ancestors that African-Americans are trying to learn more about.
You can find a list of resources on the My Roots Foundation website that are useful for genealogists who are trying to do African-American genealogy. There are many links that will take you to particular resources. There is also a list of more general resources that you can delve into offline. The resources suggested are a good place to start.
One important thing to note is that the My Roots Foundation is not going to do your genealogy research for you. Alonzo Felder is a firm believer that everyone should “do their own work”. The My Roots Foundation gives genealogists a guide that can be used to help them find their ancestors themselves. When you do your own work, discovering the result becomes more meaningful than if you had someone else do the research for you.
Image by David Berry on Flickr.
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