Searching Freedmen’s Bureau Records

About a month ago, I learned that searching Freedmen’s Bureau records was now a possibility. What a wonderful resource for African American family historians! Between 1865 and 1872, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (what came to be known as the Freedmen’s Bureau) assisted tens of thousands of former slaves and impoverished whites […]

Ancestors unKnown: Interview with Dana Saxon

Christine: I am having a conversation with Dana P. Saxon, Founder and Executive Director of an exciting resources for teachers, youth, and community organizations called Ancestors unKnown. Dana, on the website, readers can learn about the profound impact genealogy research had on you and why you developed Ancestors unKnown. Briefly, what would you say was the […]

Critical Family History Book Review: Silenced Voices

Inez Hollander grew up learning that her family’s past on the island of Java in Indonesia was “taboo even to remember.” Intrigued by self-censorship of not just her family but also Dutch society at large, she set out to uncover silenced stories which were part of a silenced history. Her book Silenced Voices chronicles her […]

Critical Family History and Sundown Towns

Christine: I am having a conversation with James W. Loewen, author of many well-known books including Lies my Teacher Told Me and Teaching What Really Happened. We are talking about critical family history and sundown towns. Jim, I didn’t know I had grown up in a sundown town until I read your book Sundown Towns. I […]

“Black People Don’t Float and Swim:” Another Jim Crow Lie

Unfortunately, the phrase “Black people don’t float and swim” has been interwoven as a deterministic Jim Crow lie deep within the fabric of this nation. There were skewed social science studies of our buoyancy and muscle density in relation to our White peers to suggest that we can’t float. From this conclusion, it was determined […]

Historical Societies

Historical societies are wonderful resources for information about the historical contexts in which your ancestors lived. There are historical societies (or other history centers) at the state, county, and city levels. The easiest way to locate those relevant to your work is online. For example, I live in California. The state has a large historical […]