African American genealogical research can be challenging and difficult. The underrepresentation of African Americans in public records, as well as the absence of legal surnames for slaves, creates seemingly insurmountable obstacles. During Black History Month, the Library will host experts who have developed techniques used by highly skilled detectives to push past the “brick walls” of African American genealogy.
How to Pick Apart a Death Notice and Obituary
Thomas D. Jordan, native Cincinnatian, Xavier University graduate, and member of the African American Genealogical Group of the Miami Valley, is the co-host of “New Day,” a community affairs television program on WCPO-TV9. Although he refers to himself as the “new kid on the block” in terms of his genealogical experience, he has achieved a huge amount of success after four-plus years of diligent research. He has identified 13 of 16 of his great-great grandparents. Mr. Jordan will share his techniques on how to maximize clues found in newspaper death notices, obituaries and the funeral program biographies.
Saturday, February 2, 2:00 p.m.
African American Genealogy Seminar with Dr. Deborah Abbott
The Library is hosting a two-session seminar with Deborah A. Abbott, Ph.D., a specialist on African American research, co-sponsored by the Friends of the Public Library and the Hamilton County Genealogy Society. Dr. Abbott is on the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and serves as the Cleveland District Trustee for the Ohio Genealogical Society.
African American Research: From Slavery to Freedom (first session)
The most difficult part of genealogical research for African Americans is finding and correctly identifying slave ancestors and their owners. Researching during the slavery era is challenging, but not impossible. Dr. Deborah Abbott introduces clues and resources needed to re-create an African American journey from slavery to freedom using case studies that illustrate methods for connecting former slaves to their slave owners.
Saturday, February 9, 11:00 a.m.
Cluster Genealogy: Finding Your Lost Ancestor (second session)
Cluster genealogy, an important strategy for genealogists of all ethnicities, is invaluable in African American research. Using fascinating case studies, Dr. Deborah A. Abbott demonstrates the importance of researching ancestors through extended family members, friends, and community. Learn how tracing records of others can lead to your ancestor.
Saturday, February 9, 2:00 p.m.
Searching for Descendants of African American Civil War Soldiers: Giving a Narrative to Cincinnati’s Forgotten Heroes
In 2012, the City of Cincinnati asked the Library’s Genealogy & Local History Department to track down present-day descendants of seven African American Civil War soldiers buried in unmarked graves in Wesleyan Cemetery, in order to honor the deceased veterans with tombstones.
Join a panel discussion with the Rev. Mendle Adams of the Masonic Lodge Brothers Memorial Project, librarians, and researcher Dr. John Bryant as they share the roadblocks they encountered and breakthroughs they made researching these heroes. The panel will present their findings and the various resources they used to piece together narratives of the soldiers and connect the past with the present.
Saturday, February 23, 2:00 p.m.