Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blog 156: Genealogical Education (5): Research Techniques: Part I

By Minnie K. Peebles
(Guest Writer)

     Both of my grandparents were enslaved until emancipation. My father only knew that his father was named Lewis Keith and that his mother was Susan Green. His mother (Susan) told him that his grandfather Green was a minister in Wake County and belonged to a family named Green. The tradition was that Grandfather Green’s master allowed him to perform marriage ceremonies for the enslaved on the plantation. Preacher Green memorized the ceremony and had the couple jump over a broom. Preacher Green could read and write, but he kept it a secret from his master.

     What I had learned to this point was from oral history and tradition which had to be authenticated (documented). Following the rule given above to trace only one family line at a time, I chose to begin with the Keith line. (paternal)

     I started with myself and entered my own name, birth date, and names of my parents and siblings. I located my father’s age and date of birth in the family Bible. Next, I checked the 1880 census for Wake County and found Lewis Keith and Susan G. Keith. In the 1870 census I found Lewis Keith, twenty years old, living with his mother, Rachel Keith, and with his grandmother, Hannah Keith.

     My curiosity was up. I wanted to know where this boy Lewis Keith came from. As a result, I began reading Wake County wills and estate records for the surname Keith. I found that that a George Keith of Wake County had willed Lewis, five years old, to his son Lemuel Keith in 1853.

     Now, I needed to know where Lewis was in 1860, so I checked the slave schedules for the 1860 census and found a Lemuel Keith owning a boy that matched Lewis’ age. In George Keith’s estate records, I found a petition which listed all of his enslaved along with their ages. Lewis was five years old; Rachel, his mother, was nineteen; Harvey, Lewis’ uncle, was twenty-one; and Hannah, Lewis’ great grandmother, was born about 1809.

     My grandparents, Lewis Keith and Susan Green Keith were married in 1874 at Reverend Larry Green’s house, according to the Wake County marriage register.

     I found Susan Keith listed in the Warden of the Poor Records for Wake County as receiving a bushel of corn in 1885.

     Uncle Harvey, my great-great uncle, died on April 1, 1935. He was 108 years old. I remembered hearing him say once that his father was named Mackland Ward, but I have been unable to verify that. I am now in the process of checking for surname Ward in the Wake County deeds, wills and estate records, and praying that I’ll soon find a clue connecting my great-great uncle Harvey with the Ward family name. I suspect that George Keith purchased my ancestors from someone named Ward.

About the author
(Until retirement, Mrs. Minnie Keith Peebles was an archivist with the Archives and Records Section of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blog 155: Genealogical Education (4): Reflection on Cemeteries (Enslaved and Non-Enslaved)

By Vernon M. Herron
and Iris Chandler

     First, let me redefine some common words used in this blog, which might help us to define an era of enslavement and put us on the same page.
     Often, one notes a misuse of the word “slave,” which is not a proper name. It is a derision often directed toward a person held in servitude as chattel of another. “Enslavement” describes the condition of African ancestored captives who suffered atrocities in forced labor and human indiginities against their will. There were enslaved masters, not slave owners. Some African Americans were born in enslavement but were not slaves, merely captives.

     According to the social statistics of the 1860 census, there were 6,541 enslaved persons in Mecklenburg County, NC. Here, they lived and died, but where they were buried is another story. Today, there is a continuous effort, by the Comprehensive Genealogical Services and others, to seek the location and identification of the burial grounds of enslaved persons willed to obliteration.

     Urban expansion, highway construction, residential development and commercial growth have revealed unmarked burial grounds with evidence of the enslaved period of our history. In some instances, blatant desecration of sacred burial grounds illustrates the need to protect these cultural resources and the urgent need for reflection on burial plots for the enslaved.

     After an enslaved life of “rugged individualism,” at death, the enslaved or “captives,” if you please, were buried in an open field and in unmarked graves.  Characteristics of enslaved burial grounds include:

1.    The  cemetery for the enslaved was removed from the white burial
ground, if the whites were buried on the same plantation. Whites were generally buried in a church burial plot.
2.    The cemetery for the enslaved was always distant from the plantation house. Usually, it was in a grove of trees in a far-off corner of a plantation.
3.    Graves were fairly shallow.
4.    Troughs were in the ground where the decay of the corpse had
allowed the ground to sink. Graves were usually in rows, not randomly placed. These troughs always will run west and east. The belief was that at the Second Coming, Jesus Christ would come at the sunrise, like on Easter morning. Thus, the resurrected one would rise to face the east.
5.    Cemeteries for the enslaved generally had markings including a rock or field stone. Usually rough fieldstones were set at the foot or the head of the troughs. Some had names and dates scratched on the surface, but as of
           this date, such information would be weathered away.
6.    Usually there was no fence nor wall around the burial ground
which would have defined it as a space.
7.    The burial ground was usually covered with a periwinkle plant,
i.e. a groundcover that minimizes care of the ground and an evergreen that symbolizes everlasting life.

The Periwinkle Plant  

     Most cemeteries for the enslaved are usually covered with a periwinkle plant for minimum care. It symbolizes everlasting life. It is the common name for about 12 species of evergreen. The common periwinkle has thick, glossy, narrow-based leaves and white or blue-violet five-petaled flowers up to an inch wide.

The Comprehensive Genealogical Services (CGS)

     According to study, no one repository has a full collection of information on enslaved cemeteries in Mecklenburg County. The Comprehensive Genealogical Services has established community initiatives to locate and validate enslaved cemeteries in the county. It has discovered and registered approximately 50 burial sites for the enslaved.  These initiatives include: Identification and Location; Restoration and Preservation.

     Identification and Location include working with land owners and the general public, attempting to identify and locate burial plots of the enslaved.

     Restoration includes encouraging the property owners to:
         - clear designated burial ground of all debris
         - erect a name indicator which identifies a burial ground and
- establish accessibility to the burial ground for researchers and visitors.

     Preservation includes encouraging the property owners to:
         -maintain the burial sites in a decent and orderly fashion.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Blog 154: Genealogical Education (3): Census Data, 1790-1890

By Vernon M. Herron

     Census records are excellent ways for locating your ancestors in time and place. (By the way, do you know the definition for ‘ancestor’? Answer: dead relative.) Such information can be found in federal population and mortality censuses.
     From census data, one can learn about the composition of a family, places of residence, approximate dates of birth, state or country of birth, approximate date of marriage, number of children born to a mother, the year of immigration to this country and much more. Mortality schedule, 1850-1880 give date, place and cause of death.
     Separate enumerations of slaves were taken at the 1850 and 1860 censuses. Unfortunately, these schedules are not particularly helpful in tracing black families since they generally list only the name of slave masters. Slaves were enumerated by age, sex, and color only. Slave schedules are listed in the National Archives catalog Federal Population Censuses, 1790-1890.
     A census of the population of the United States has been taken by the federal government every ten years since 1790. It is constitutionally  mandated. To protect the privacy of persons enumerated in each census , 72 years must elapse before the forms are released for public research.
     When one studies the many released censuses, the distinction of each should be noted.   Here is an overview of the same for the years 1790-1890 as suggested by the National Archives and Records Services.
Census of 1790=1st Census
     Name of head of family; address; number of free white males of 16 years and up, including heads; free white males under 16; free white females including heads; all other free persons; number of slaves.
     This census is supposed by many to be inaccurate because of the popular notion that these people were counted for the purpose of being taxed and many understated the actual number of persons in their families.
Census of 1800=2rd  Census
     Names of head of family; address; number of free white males and females under 16, 16 and under 26, 26 and under 45 years and upward; all other free persons, except Indians not taxed; number of slaves.
Census of 1810=3rd Census
     Name of head of family; address; number of free white males and females under 16, 16 and under 26, 26 and 45, and 45 years and upward; all other free persons, except Indians not taxed; number of slaves.
Census of 1820=4th Census
     Name of head of family; address; number of free white males and females under 10 years of age, 10 and under 16, 16 and under 26, 26 and under 45, and 45 years and upward; number of free white males between 16 and 18 years; foreigners not naturalized; male and female slaves and free colored persons under 14 years, 14 and under 26, and under 45 and upward; all other free persons, except Indians not taxed; number of persons (including slaves) engaged in agriculture, commerce, and manufactures.
Census of 1830=5th Census
     Name of head of family; address, number of free white males and females in 5 year age groups to 20, 10 year age group 20 to 100, and 100 years old and over; number of slaves and free colored persons in six broad age groups; number of deaf and dumb under 14, 14 to 24, and 25 years and upward; number of blind; foreigners not naturalized.
Census of 1840=6th Census
     Name of head of family; address, number of free white males and females in 5 year age groups to 20, 10 year age group 20 to 100, and 100 years old and over; number of slaves and free colored persons in six broad age groups; number of deaf and dumb; number of blind; number of insane and idiotic in public or private charge; number of persons in each family employed in each of classes of occupation; number of schools and number of scholars; number of white persons over 20 who could not read and write; number of pensioners for Revolutionary or military service.
Census of 1850=7th Census
     Name, address; age; color (white, black, or mulatto) for each person; whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic; all free persons required to give value of real estate owned, profession, occupation or trade for each male person over 15; place of birth, whether married within the year; whether attended school within the year; whether unable to read and write for persons over 20; whether a pauper or convict.
(Important to note: 1850-1870)
     The value of the population censuses for genealogists increased tremendously in 1850 when, for the first time, the NAME of each person in the household, including blacks, was recorded together with age, sex, color, occupation, and place of birth.
     When Blacks were eventually enrolled by names, they too were so fearful of the system that they sent a warning signal by their spiritual song, “There’s a man goin’ round taking names.”
Census of 1860=8th Census
     Name, address; age; color (white, black, or mulatto) for each person; whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic; all free persons required to give value of real estate and of personal estate owned, profession, occupation or trade for each male person over 15; place of birth, whether married within the year; whether attended school within the year; whether unable to read and write for persons over 20; whether a pauper or convict.
Census of 1870=9th Census
     Address, name, age, sex, color (including Chinese and Indian); citizenship for males over 21; profession, occupation, or trade; value of real estate; value of personal estate; place of birth; whether father or mother were foreign born; born within the year; attend school within the year; for persons 10 years old and over, whether able to read and write; whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic.
Census of 1880=10th Census
     Address; name; relationship to head of family, sex, race; age, marital status; born within the year; married within the year; profession, occupation, or trade; number of months unemployed during census year; whether person is sick or temporarily disabled so as to be unable to attend to ordinary business or duties; if so, what is the sickness or disability; whether blind, deaf and dumb, insane, idiotic, maimed, crippled or bedridden; attended school within the year; able to read and write; place of birth of person, father, and mother.
Census of 1890=11th Census
(More than 99% of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire in 1921)
     Address; number of families in house; number of persons in house, number of persons in family; name, whether a soldier, sailor or marine during Civil War (Union or Confederate) or widow of such person; relationship to head of family; white, black, mulatto, quadroon, Chinese, Japanese, or Indian; sex; age; marital status, whether married during year; mother of how many children, and number now living; place of birth of person, father and mother; if person is foreign born, number of years in the U. S.; whether naturalized; whether papers have been taken out; profession, trade, or occupation; months unemployed during census year; ability to read and write; ability to speak English; if not, language or dialect spoken; whether suffering from acute or chronic disease, with name of disease and length of time afflicted; whether defective in mind, sight, hearing, or speech, or whether crippled, in mind, sight, hearing. Or speech, or crippled, maimed, or  deformed, with name of defect; whether a prisoner, convict, homeless child or pauper; home rented, or owned by head or member of family; if owned by head or member, is it free from mortgage; if head of family is a farmer, is farm rented or owned by him or member of his family; if own, is it free of mortgage; if mortgage, give post office address of owner.  
     Census data is good secondary information. Study it well!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blog 153: Setting a New Numerical Goal

By Vernon M. Herron

     After writing my first blog, it brought on a bit of relief, because of its content, analysis, style, relevancy, format, reading comfort and vision. A numerical goal of writing 50 blogs, then publishing the same in book form was established as our first goal. Yet, after reaching blog 50, I refused to give up the mental therapy which brought joy and alertness, creativity, new ideas, significant relationships with people and spiritual growth.

     I immediately passed the 50th goal mark and established 100 as the new goal, then publish the book. This was done. The new numerical goal is to write 200 blogs and then evaluate. At this point, there is an urgency to continue blogging which has become a cooperative enterprise. I do not work alone; others help. They include an illustrator, proof reader, technician, photographer, guest writers, poster, field staff, public library, local churches, etc. (See blog 100 for further discussion.)

     People often inquire about my health, wondering how long I will be able to write blogs. I respond by saying. “Sometimes I am up and sometimes I am down. But thank God for life.”

     Some few weeks ago, we all experienced a break in my blog writing because of declining health. But with the doctor’s help, drinking Ensure and Boost, regaining lost weight and your prayers, I am back in print, writing blogs.

     We now are at blog 153, with ten more on the drawing board. Future blog subjects include:
            Expressions from Blog Readers
            Genealogical Education (3): Census Data
            Genealogical Education (4) Cemeteries
            Genealogical Education (5) Black Genealogy
            What the Comprehensive Genealogical Services Did
            Meet Leon D. Gill

     I repeat, we now set a new numerical goal of 200 blogs then publish a second book. You are probably wondering what plans do I have after the goal of publishing blog 200 is reached?

     I have an idea! A blog reader from a sister state has shown great interest and writing skills in blogging. I have known him since high school days. I am impressed with his research skills and I am encouraging him to become a blogger. With your permission (all objections sustained), I will give him my blogging roster; I will guest-write with him according to inspiration, thereby maintaining a tradition.

     What do you think of this idea? Let me hear!    

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blog 152: Expressions from Blog Readers

By Vernon M. Herron

Blogging is a process of interaction. The blogger writes, the reader responds by critiquing and/or setting forth alternatives. Below are expressions from blog readers like you.

Reflective Comments

Bullying is not in my vocabulary as I detest it very much.  I liked your blog on the subject. I believe that those who bully others are very insecure people, who are in need of help. Children need to be taught social skills from early ages; they need to know their self-worth. The "Golden- Rule "should be constantly instilled in them. When I taught, I always chose literature to read to my class which taught the children to be nice and respectful to others.  I did this because I saw potential bullies and I wanted to change attitudes. Bullying should never be tolerated in any setting, the earlier we eradicate it, the better. Thank you so much for the blog, it should be read by all educators of small children.


A wonderful blog, Dr. Herron. Ms. Thornton is so very correct. There was a time in another era and another place when our teachers and schools integrated characterinto everything that we did. What happened to this whole notion of doing business for children? I have some ideas, of course. I would like to hear what others think. 

Kenneth Simmons


In the late 1990's before I retired, some parents objected when school personnel addressed character development with their children. At that time, I was a junior high assistant principal. (The change to middle school had not yet occurred.)  On several occasions I was visited by parents who wanted to discuss the school's efforts to discuss character development in assemblies and school clubs.  Each visitor always insisted that parents were solely responsible for the character development of their children.  On more than one occasion the parent arrived with a written "position paper" that had been prepared by a group of parents of the same mindset.  I always shared with them the rationale for the school's involvement in the issue of character development.  I responded in the following way:  I agree that parents should be responsible for character development, but not necessarily solely responsible. Unfortunately, some parents do not address it at all.  Even when parents take it seriously, children do not always exhibit behavior at school that would make their parents proud.  Because disparities exist, character development should be addressed at school in order to maintain reasonable behavior standards.  Parents and school personnel should work together to help students achieve self-discipline.

Bullying at school was a problem then, as it is still.  The bullies did not always come from the homes where parents discussed it very seldom, if at all.  Some of the visiting parents with their objections and "position papers" and their professions that they were sending model students to school each day were actually parents of bullies and children with other character flaws. It is interesting that people do not always see themselves as others see them.

Barbara P. Hendricks


I appreciate your blogs, and look forward to seeing you again. Thank you in advance,

Kenneth Morton


We have a very brief summary on bullying. I would love to speak with you concerning this topic.

Lady Cruz


Thank you so very much for including my daughter and me in your collection of interviews and pictures of families. I am particularly enjoying the family blog and your additional blogs.

Thank you for creating a format in which my daughter expressed her love and gratitude in an exceptional manner. I had not read it until it appeared in your blog. We have printed off the picture and article as a keepsake.

We are enormously grateful for your kindness and thoughtfulness. We pray for your continued strength and good health. May God continue to bless and keep you.

Rosemary L. Lawrence


It is with great pride that I extend best wishes. You have been a source of great wisdom and a wealth of information.

 Senator Joel D. M. Ford

Dear Vernon:

My staff, family 12th district constituents and I wish you the best for your blogs. You have been an inspiration to so many, including me.

  Melvin L. Watt
Member of Congress, 12th District, North Carolina

My dear Dr. Herron:

As I read your blogs over the past few years, I have come to realize that your deep and thoughtful commentary has blessed many of us. I most certainly have been blessed; and count it a privilege to be a part of your network. I thank you for your blogs of wisdom, of deep penetrating words and your religious and historical perspective on life. May God continue to bless your life; so that you may keep blessing our us.

 James and Emily Kellum


Dr. Herron

I enjoy your blogs. One day soon, I will send you one that I wrote from the inspiration I gathered from you.

  Lena Pickens


Dear Uncle Vernon,

Through your many blogs, many people have had self reflection. You have taught through life’s experiences. I thank you for knowledge sharing. Reading your blogs over the years has helped me to learn and grow; to realize that we all have a story to tell. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell part of my story.

May God Forever Bless and Keep You.

Love, Your Niece Earline


I searched all over for information about Brooklyn, (Charlotte, NC) too, and you, helped me so much, especially by putting into categories what was lost by so many when Brooklyn went down: home, school, church and community.  My thanks for the blogs and best wishes.

Ann Mayhew


I am happy to see you back in print. (Blogging)

  Ione Vargus, Ph.D., “Mother of Family Reunion”


Needless to say, I was very happy to read your blog regarding genealogy. I look forward to more.

Constance Dillon


I wish that I could find the words to express to you just how much you mean to me as a role model, an inspiration and as a friend. Thanks for the blogs and all that you have added to my life. I trust and pray that you will continue to write blogs and be a role model for me and others for years to come!

Much love, Kraig Holt

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blog 151: An Avalanche of Birthday Cards

By Vernon M. Herron

     Do you remember the best party you ever attended or what was served? Last year I wrote about the best social party, which I had attended in life, at that time. From blog 2, here are excerpts I wrote about that experience.  
     “During the 50s the Lee’s Home was a well-known part of the middle-class black community. I attended two noted social activities there which I shall never forget…The second activity was the best social party I ever attended in my life. It was a “blowout” of chatter, fun and refreshments. The fun part was based on the fact that we had “all things in common.” The refreshments made this party great. Can you guess what the menu was? Pop-Corn and coke! That’s all. It was the company and the setting which made the day.”
     But that opinion has changed. A few days ago, on October 7, I observed my 85th birthday. I received a “bushel” of birthday cards and no food was served. This birthday celebration “tops” them all. The avalanche of birthday cards filled a huge basket. Each card was personal, unique and appreciated. Each card reminded me of a relationship, a recognition of my personhood and a deep appreciation of friendship. Cards came from fellow churchmen, fraternal brothers, sorority sisters, political allies and social contacts.

Here is a copy of the invitational letter friends received. 
Leila Herron Waters
2510 Century Oaks Lane
Charlotte, NC 28262
Fax: 704-599-1076

     On October 7, 2013, our father, Dr. Vernon M. Herron will observe his 85th birthday. His family will quietly celebrate this significant occasion with thanksgiving, reverence and an avalanche of cards.
     Please accept this correspondence as your invitation to extend best wishes by participating in a card shower. Send your card to me, at the above address for this momentous occasion.
     Should you choose to accept this invitation, please respond by September 30, 2013.  Because of his love and respect for you, I am sure that he will be delighted with your response. Your name may appear twice; if so, pardon the redundancy.
Leila Herron Waters
     Friends responded. 
     Now I want to describe a few of the cards for your fancy. Three of the cards were vocal, including one snoring. I am not sure of the implication; 

One card came from a couple whom I married 59 years ago;

One card came from a young man (lad) whom I met at a MLK, Jr. parade, four years ago when he was seven years old. He adopted me as his father and wanted to take me home with him.

One card came from my church seat partners who enclosed a “bill” with B. Franklin’s picture on it; 

One card came from a political ally with clever sayings from each of his grandchildren. Picture one said, “Dr. Herron, my  Pa-Pa said that you were “cool” like me.” Picture two said, “Pa-Pa said you were tough like me.” Picture three said, “Pa-Pa said you were brilliant like me.” Picture four said, “Pa- Pa said you were funny like me.”  Picture five said, “Our Pa-Pa said you have been all of these things for 85 years. Happy  Birthday.”

Finally, a 10-page notebook card was created by a cousin couple which included flowers, a song, balloons, birthday wishes and a family portrait.

Observing my 85th birthday was a success. It will long be remembered. My daughter, Leila McPherson Herron Waters, deserves the credit for this successful and memorable occasion. She made and executed the plans. She made my day with your help. She has my love, respect and appreciation. 


Here is a copy of the “thank you” letter sent:
A “Thank You”  Note

You helped me to live:
Thank you for your birthday remembrance

Vernon M. Herron

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Blog 150: Genealogical Education (2): Primary and Secondary Sources

By Vernon M. Herron

     Genealogical education seeks to raise awareness of standards and principles of family research. It seeks to promote reliable and retrievable information that documents history. That research may be primary and/or secondary.

     Primary records are created at the time of, or shortly after the event or circumstances. Such records are noted by someone with personal knowledge of the event. They identify the date, places of events which establish personal identities and family relationships including births, marriages and deaths.

     The first phase of your genealogical information begins in the home. It may include family tradition. Here is an example: “My great-grandparents, Richard and Harriett Herron (c.1825-c.1870) lived in enslavement under an enslaved master by the name of Isaac W. Herron, M.D. in Mecklenburg County, NC. Richard and Harriett were parents of eleven children. The fifth child, whose name was “Green,” was sold to a Grier family. Green Herron’s name was changed to Green Grier. During this period, the Herron and Grier families often traded their enslaved. This account was first told to me by my late uncle John Herron, 3G in 1950 and later verified by census records.”

     Events and relationships recounted in an oral tradition cannot be considered genealogical data unless and until they have been verified by existing documentary evidence.

     Here is another example: Suppose I said, “I was born January 1, 1910.” That is not primary material because I have no knowledge of my birth. I am only repeating what someone told me. But if the attending doctor signed a birth certificate certifying that I was born on the said date, then that is primary material.

     Other primary sources of information may include the family Bible, family papers, memorabilia, diaries, journals, letters, unrecorded Deeds and wills, marriage certificates, Patriotic and Fraternal organization papers, military records, photographs, birthday books, autograph albums, diplomas, yearbooks, certificates of membership, anniversary and wedding announcements. These mentioned documents may contain much primary information. Start now to collect and maintain your file.

     The term “secondary source” is used to describe material that has been compiled or copied from other sources. It may have been compiled from one or more primary sources, or it may have been copied from other secondary sources. This material is usually found outside the home like in libraries or in record repositories. All information obtained from secondary sources should be verified by the use of primary records whenever possible.     

     Secondary sources of material may be found in family histories and genealogies, local histories, genealogical and historical periodicals, newspapers, early settlers lists, biographical dictionaries, state papers, city directories, telephone books, patriotic societies, manuscript collections, books, periodicals, etc.

     Knowing the difference between primary and secondary sources will help you in organization, recall and recording. Show me what a researcher you are.

Peace be upon you.

Good luck!

Stay the course.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Blog 149: Reflection: Genealogical Education

By Vernon M. Herron

     My formal training in various disciplines includes the ministry, grantsmanship, counseling, strategic planning, public speaking and genealogy. It is about this latter discipline which I wish to reflect in a series of articles.

     We begin with the concept of genealogical education. Many persons want to research their family history but hardly know where or how to start; no clues, maybe a few “hear- says” which have been handled down from previous generations, or by the interruption of slavery. No longer can excuses be tolerated for slipshod research which does not stand the test of verification. The best way to begin is with a process called genealogical education.

     There are many manuals, textbooks, workshops and seminars which explain the intricacies and pitfalls of genealogical investigation. You might want to note Jacobus’ Genealogy as Pastime and Profession, Doane’s  Searching for Your Ancestors, Williams’ Know Your Ancestors, Stevenson’s Genealogical Evidence, and Greenwood’s The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy.

     I gave these books to our newly crowned family griot some time ago. I assume that she has read them. Make friends with good books, friends, they will never leave you.

     And now, in its continuing effort to educate the public concerning the importance of genealogy and family history, and to demonstrate the correct methods of research, the National Genealogical Society, through its Education Committee,  has developed  an excellent home study course on genealogical research. I took that course and finished three months ahead of schedule. I highly recommend this study to all. 

Contact information:

National Genealogical Society
Education Committee
4527 17t Street North
Arlington, Virginia 22207

     In addition to completing the basic course in American Genealogy, I have attended numerous workshops and seminars including study in Paleography (the study of describing or deciphering ancient writing) and Writing Family History. So whenever the opportunity comes to enhance your genealogical education, go for it. You will enjoy moving from the “unknown to the known.”

     Once, I received communication from a gentleman with the following symbols behind his name: C.G., F.A.S.G., F.N.G.S., F.G.S.P., and F.T.S.G.S.  I researched the meaning of those letters and found the following areas of specialization.

A.G. Accredited Genealogist
C.G. Certified Genealogist
F.A.S.G. Fellow American Society of Genealogists
F.N.G.S. Fellow National Genealogical Society
F. G. S. P.   Federation of Genealogical Societies of PA
C. A. L. S. Certified American Lineage Specialist
C. G. R. S. Certified Genealogical Record Searcher
C. G. L. Certified Genealogical Lecturer
C. G. I. Certified Genealogical Instructor
C. A. I. L. S. Certified American Indian Lineage Specialist  
C. I. L. S. Certified Indian Lineage Specialist

     Those symbols taught me that “a good genealogist is one who will base his work on primary sources and not on flights of fancy.” Likewise, please know that “genealogy is a field of study based on the scholarly use and interpretation of documentary evidence.”

     Let us begin!