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Posted on: April 29, 2022

SML Genealogy Department hosts African American Ancestry Workshops May 10-24

SML Genealogy Department hosts African American Ancestry Workshops May 10-24

Tracing African American ancestry can be challenging, but not impossible. Many African Americans face obstacles that others may not experience. Because of this, Shreve Memorial Library Genealogy Department is hosting a three-part workshop on tracing African American Genealogy. The workshop series begins on Tuesday, May 10 and will take place on subsequent Tuesdays during the month of May. All workshops will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in the meeting room at the Broadmoor Branch, located at 1212 Captain Shreve Drive. All workshops are free and open to the public.

Part one of the workshop kicks off with "The Introduction to African American Genealogy” on Tuesday, May 10.  Patrons will discover how African American genealogy mirrors that of other American ethnicities and ways to overcome the many challenges of obtaining records and information. Participants will also learn how to research African Americans who were free, and hear the fascinating story of John Jones, the free preacher of Antebellum Shreveport, and how Jones’ story breaks the mold.

On Tuesday, May 17, attendees will survey Freedman’s Bank records, military records and special sources for African American family history. Freedman’s Bank records contain records from the Freedman’s Bank, formally known as the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, which operated between 1865 and 1874. Records from the Freedman’s Bank contain a wealth of information about African Americans and the way they conducted their business. Participants will also explore the case history of Presley Robinson, a veteran of the United States Colored Troops who lived in Shreveport after the Civil War.  Robinson’s story illustrates the wealth of information that may be available for African American ancestry research.

The workshops wrap up on Tuesday, May 24. Part three of the workshop series focuses on tracing African American family history back into slavery. Slave research is very challenging, but not impossible. Attendees will hear the story of Henry Bibb, a famous abolitionist. Outside of his own memoir, Bibb hardly left a trace of his life as a slave in north Louisiana in the 1840s. Henry and Mariah Means’ lives have been traced to their times as slaves on Roseneath Plantation in De Soto Parish.

For more information about the African American Ancestry workshops and genealogy research at Shreve Memorial Library, please contact the Genealogy Department at 318-869-0120.

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