Unlock Hidden Family History Gems with these Free Genealogy Resources in Libraries

Discover a treasure trove of free resources for genealogy enthusiasts with our latest WordPress post. From printable family tree templates to online databases and tools, unlock the key to tracing your family history and uncovering valuable information. With a diverse range of offerings and user-friendly interface, this guide is perfect for all levels of researchers. Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your genealogy journey and get started for free today!

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Freebie Friday!

Middle Peninsula genealogy group to host virtual talk ‘Tracing Our Ancestors’ | Richmond Free Press

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Historian and genealogist Karice Luck-Brimmer will discuss “Tracing Our Ancestors’ Footprints” and how Black people can reclaim their heritage during ...

Historian and genealogist Karice Luck-Brimmer will discuss “Tracing Our Ancestors’ Footprints” and how Black people can reclaim their heritage during a virtual meeting of the Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Ms. Luck-Brimmer also will discuss her role in tracing the ancestry of Air Force veteran Fred Miller.

In 2020, Mr. Miller purchased an 1850s-era Gothic Revival-style house near his childhood home in Pittsylvania County. He wanted a large space to host gatherings for his extended family. In doing so, Mr. Miller found hidden information about his family’s past. The house, called Sharswood, was a former plantation where his ancestors once were enslaved. Ms. Luck-Brimmer helped uncover the family’s connection to Sharswood and the story behind the discovery made national news on media outlets such as CBS’ “60 Minutes” and the Washington Post.

As an education and community initiatives program associate, Ms. Luck-Brimmer works primarily in the Dan River/Danville region where she collaborates with local community members and cultural organizations committed to positive change.

A public historian and genealogist, she has conducted extensive genealogical research in the Pittsylvania County area and is the founding president of the Danville/Pittsylvania County chapter of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society.

While the Middle Peninsula African-American society focuses on the history and genealogy of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck, its programs are accessible to anyone throughout the United States.

For more information, email mpaaghs.va@gmail.com or call 804-651-8753.

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Check out this wonderful Black genealogy program

Black Homesteaders of the South with Bernice A. Bennett

On Saturday, February 4, 2023, 12 – 1:30 PM, the African American History and Culture Museum will host its African American History and Culture Event.

It will be held on the Concourse, Oprah Winfrey Theater + streaming

It’s free. It’s also recommended that you get tickets or register at www.etix.com.

Join genealogist Bernice A. Bennett who will uncover the stories of African American families who became landowners through the Homestead Act of 1862 from her latest book Black Homesteaders of the South. Bennett’s work is a modern story of black genealogists who networked through a Facebook page to trace the footsteps of their ancestors in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana & Mississippi. Find out how these families navigated the application process through the federal government, and what this legacy means for their descendants today.
Bernice Alexander Bennett is an award-winning author, genealogist and host of Research at the NationaArchives & Beyond BlogTalkRadio program. Her genealogical interests focus on Southeast Louisiana and Edgefield and Greenwood Counties, South Carolina. Bennett is an author and contributor to 2 award winning genealogy books including Our Ancestors, Our Stories and Tracing Their Steps: A Memoir. A New Orleans native, Bennett is a volunteer with the Homestead National Historical Park Service identifying descendants of Black homesteaders to share their stories.
Black Homesteaders of the South with Bernice A. Bennett

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Celebrating January First … African American style

First Kwanzaa December 26, 1966,Photo donated to BBC by Terri Bandele, pictured on right.

“What do the Africans do?” That is the question asked by a then-young girl, 11-year-old Terri Bandele, who was among the first families celebrating the first Kwanzaa celebration from Dec. 26, 1966 – Jan. 1, 1967. Her question and the organized determination of Dr. Maulana Karenga, Bandele’s parents and others, led to the creation of Kwanzaa, the pan-African and African American holiday that honors the “matunda ya kwanza” that means “first fruits” in Swahili.

Kwanzaa arrives December 26th — the day after the traditional Christmas Day — and culminates January 1st. It does not compete or replace any holiday, according to Dr. Karenga and many organizers. Nor does it compete with a longstanding January 1st celebration for U.S. Blacks and that is Jubilee Day.


Central to Kwanzaa’s purpose is its celebration among family, friends and communities. Today, millions celebrate Kwanzaa and its seven strong principles:

  • The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.
  • Unity:Umoja (oo–MO–jah)To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
  • Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

At Atlanta’s Hillside International Truth Center, Executive Bishop/Senior Pastor, Dr. Jack Bomar, led the church celebration on Jan. 1, 2023, in honor of Kwanzaa’s final day. “We are gathered to celebrate our heritage and honor the spirit our ancestors,” said Bomar while pointing out the symbolic “first fruits” placed on the tables in the church’s smaller chapel. The King Chapel as it is known in honor of the church’s founder, Dr. Barbara Lewis King, was filled to capacity.


Hillside International Truth Center’s Kwanzaa celebration with first fruits, elders in prayer.

Jubilee Day. It began as a tradition of celebration on New Year’s Day 1863.

Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

The U.S. Government produced a booklet in December 1862 and it was ordered to be distributed by Union Soldiers to Blacks. It speaks of slavery as the “cornerstone” of tragedy.


Nearly two centuries ago, the historical depiction showcases the “jubilee” former slaves felt after their freedom was granted through the presidential act.


Today, church ceremonies such as the NAACP and Roaoke, Virginia community hold a commemorative service in honor of Jubilee Day.

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What better gift than the gift of family genealogy?


I was busy preparing my holiday cards when my thoughts turned to gift-giving. What is the greatest genealogy gift that I could give to my family? The answer: Ancestral research findings.

Guess what? I, too, received the greatest gift.

I poured through our family ancestry records and discovered great finds via newspapers.com. I attached the newspaper clippings to my family members’ trees and also printed some records to share as part of my gift giving.

The clipping below was part of my gift to Cousin-by-marriage Florida L. Fisher Parker a year ago during the holiday season. She was overjoyed to see this clipping, her marriage license and other related documents that I uncovered through electronic methods. My discoveries also prompted Florida sharing funny and tearful memories about that great day in her life.

My cousin, Ret. Col. Parker and Florida on their wedding day, June 27, 1959

Florida, the widow of Ret. Col. Herbert Gerald Parker, is an enthusiast genealogist. She piqued my interest in genealogy while we all lived in Tallahassee, FL. Typically, I would visit with Florida and we would prepare documents for the family reunion. After the burial of her husband, my cousin, Herb, at Arlington National Cemetery in D.C., Florida chose to live near her daughter and family in Maryland. Distance and COVID-19 restrictions have grounded our travels and frequency of our conversations.

That’s why this year, I bundled up some new finds that are related to her deceased father, Dr. Miles Mark Fisher. During my research of her father, I discovered my greatest gifts.

  • Gift #1: I learned that Dr. Fisher was the author of several books and articles. One of his books, “The Life of Lott Cary” is out of print. It is about the life of a former slave who toiled many years to earn enough to purchase his freedom and that of his family’s. He became a member of the clergy and also ascended into other high places.
  • Gift #2: I learned that Rev. Fisher was the longtime pastor of White Rock Baptist Church, Durham, N.C. It was a church that was widely recognized nationwide and in its community for its social activism and highly touted black businessmen and civil rights leaders as congregants. He also initiated a program that held period racially integrated religious services.
  • Gift #3: I learned that Dr. Fisher was a scholar. He was on faculty at Virgina Union and Shaw University.
  • Gift #4: I learned the young scholar was one of the first “Negroes to receive the Ph.D. degree in philosophy and religion from the University of Chicago.”
  • Gift #5: The joy that the printed articles bring to Florida’s life. She doesn’t use technology, yet, she is fond of receiving information about her family.

By sharing your ancestral findings with loved ones, you are giving the greatest gift of all during this holiday season and throughout the year.

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#32 My recommended great reads: African American history

My bookshelf is stocked with a great variety of good reads. They are loosely categorized by subject areas that include “Health and Healing,” “African American History, ” “International and Domestic Finance/Business,” “Black Authors,” “Book Publishing,” and “Media and Journalism” and “Other.” I also have personal journals that date back a few decades.

Over the years, I have amassed hundreds of books from my days as a college professor and dean and from purchases and gifts from countless friends and family who know that I love reading and growing.

As I perused my shelves, my frayed books are those in the “African American History” and “Black Authors” categories. I love history and ancestral truths that have inspired me over the years. I have shelves, baskets for books, closets and tables full of varying books and magazines that suit my interests. The sample shelves from my stacks of books are what I wish to share in this blog.


I offer that reading transforms lives. Reading truths about our ancestral journeys — with appropriate citations such as the extensive ones offered by Dr. Lerone Bennett — uplift the downtrodden. By providing clarity in one’s life about what our ancestors overcame and how they invented so many food dishes, everyday products, expressed themselves with eloquence and grace, fought for and defended human rights, and worked tirelessly to build institutions that we take for granted … keeps me inspired.

Another top row sample of the second half of my book shelves in my home office.

What’s on your shelves? Please share and tell us about your favorite African American books.

Keep reading.

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