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is a member of the Piedmont Chapter of AAHGS. He started earnestly doing genealogy research on his family while living in the Washington, DC area in the late 1980s. His initial research activities included scouring through microfiche at the National Archives. More recently, he has use the available electronic methods of research such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Lastly, he has included DNA analysis in his efforts. This included using 23andMe, Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and Y-Chromosome testing as part of the Genographic Project. His presentation addresses the three primary reasons individuals get their DNA tested using his personal experiences.
Fred Watts is a retired information technology professional. His retirement hobby is as a mathematics instructor at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, NC.
is the Community Research Fellow for the Hidden Town Project at Old Salem Museums & Gardens. He has family in Tampa, Florida, and all over the Georgia state, but has lived in North Carolina since 2010. He is a 2016 graduate of Parkland High School. He is interested in bringing the rich history and events of Happy Hill, the first African American community in Winston-Salem, to the forefront. Mr. Serrano looks forward to building generational wealth for the African American community as a whole. While Jonathan was a resident of the historic Happy Hill community, he served on the Happy Hill Neighborhood Association. He began work at Old Salem as a volunteer in January 2020 and in August, he became the initial recipient of the Hidden Town Community Research Fellowship. His research is focused on people of the Happy Hill community, past and present.
Martha Hartley is Director of Moravian Research at Old Salem Museums & Gardens. A native of Winston-Salem, she received undergraduate degrees from Hollins College and spent a year in Paris during college. From the University of Virginia, she received a master’s degree in Urban Planning and a Certificate in Historic Preservation. Her work as a Preservation Planner has included community preservation, advocacy, and public awareness. For over 30 years, Martha and her husband Michael, anthropologist and retired Director of Archaeology at Old Salem, have worked together with the archaeology, history, landscape, and preservation of the Moravian communities in the Winston-Salem area. She is co-chair of Old Salem’s Hidden Town Project, To Research and Reveal the History of People of African Descent in Salem.
has been engaged in genealogical research for over 30 years. She is the descendent of formerly enslaved ancestors. Mavis is the author of two blogs: “Georgia Black Crackers,” which focuses on her research on her maternal line; and “Conversations with My Ancestors,” which focuses on her research on her paternal line.
Mavis is a member of the North Carolina Genealogical Society (NCGS), the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS); the East Georgia Genealogical Society (EGGS); the Martin County Genealogical Society (Martin County, NC); and the African American Heritage Ministry at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. Mavis recently began teaching beginning genealogical classes and doing genealogical presentations at her church and for the Charlotte chapter of AAHGS. Mavis has taken course work through the Midwest African American Genealogical Institute and has attended various conferences through the years.
Mavis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and as worked in both the public and private sector for the past 37 years.
is a member and past president of Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. Charlotte Chapter early 1990's.
He has been on a mission to research, document, preserve and present histories of his family since the early 1980's; who originated in York County, South Carolina, Cleveland County, North Carolina, Forsythe County, North Carolina and Chester County, South Carolina. He has been able to trace all four branches of his family back to slavery.
His current focus is on the Sadler Family branch. He has found the white slave owner of his great-great grandfather; and was able to trace great-great grandfather as a “Free Man “out of slavery, as documented in the 1870 United States Census.
Additionally, he is currently writing a book on his family; and how he was able to find his grandfather. It will include explanation of the tools utilized; the trials and tribulations he encountered, during his research.
He has completed and is scheduled to publish, in 2021, a four volume set of books, on how to research your family history both pre and post slavery.
Dr. Claire Heckel PH.D
UNCG People not Property: Slave Deeds in North Carolina
Dr. Claire Heckel is the Project Coordinator for the project "People Not Property: Slave Deeds of North Carolina" at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Originally from Stanly County, NC, she holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from New York University.
Renate Yarborough Sanders, genealogist,
is the descendant of formerly enslaved ancestors, as well as enslavers and free people of color. She is the author of two blogs: “Into the LIGHT”, which focuses on her own family history; and, “Genea-Related”, a platform for presenting a variety of information of genealogical interest. Renate also produces a “(Mostly) African-American Funeral Programs” online database, in which she publishes vital data extracted from funeral programs.
Renate is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the North Carolina Genealogical Society, the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society (AAHGS), and the Tyrrell County (NC) Genealogical and Historical Society. She is a panelist on BlackProGen LIVE, an online live show presenting topics of interest for people researching ancestors of color and co-hosts a YouTube series, “Let’s Talk North Carolina Genealogy,” which focuses on topics specific to North Carolina research. Renate has published articles in genealogical articles, and she volunteers in the historical and genealogical community by indexing and arbitrating documents for Family Search, Ancestry.com, and Fold3. Renate is the Newsletter Editor and Membership Chairperson for the Hampton Roads Chapter of AAHGS, a member of the AAHGS National Editorial Board, and a volunteer photographer for Find-A-Grave. She retired in July 2017 from a 32-year career as elementary educator.
Renate is an experienced and engaging speaker. She enjoys presenting genealogy lectures on a variety of topics but specializes in sharing knowledge and techniques for researching ancestors of color – both pre- and post- Emancipation: free people of color, or enslaved. When possible, her presentations are fine-tuned to include information specific to the participants and/or location of her audiences.
Tamara McKethan's interest in family genealogy began as a child listening to her maternal grandfather and aunt recount family history. Later, the birth of her child, Janell, sparked a renewed interest in exploring and documenting the history of her family of origin and that of her husband, Herman. In 2015, Tamara and Herman began building a family tree on Ancestry and submitted to a DNA test. Since then, the McKethans have created a family tree with over 4,600 persons, numerous pictures, and other documents substantiating six generations of family history.
When she is not engaged in genealogy, Tamara is a university professor of nursing. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and collecting African art. The McKethans live in South Carolina
Professor Ralph Scott
East Carolina University Joyner Library
Ralph Scott is a Professor and Curator of Rare Books and Maps in Special Collection at East Carolina University. He hold a B.A. degree in History from Columbia University, a M.S. in Library Service from Columbia University and an M.A. in Maritime History from East Carolina. He is Treasurer of the Historical Society of North Carolina, and Chair of the Brewster Award Committee of the Association of North Carolina Historians. He currently is the editor of the publication: North Carolina Libraries (www.ncl.ecu.edu) He is the author of: Wilmington Shipyard: a history of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, 1941-1945. (Charleston, 1997)
African American Experience
Isaac Johnson was born February 12, 1855
James Isaac Turner born February 20, 1858
Nellie Smith born in 1856
grew up in Hartsville, South Carolina where her parents instill faith, and hard work. I work several years as a Financial Business Banker. I have a BA in Business Administration. I serve on a non-profit as Vice Chair and board member of One More Round Boxing Team Darlington, South Carolina.
I became interested in Genealogy because my mom wanted to know about her great grandfather. We had our DNA tested through Ancestry and that was my beginning in researching my family history. I have discovered new family members in North Carolina and around the Globe. This past year at my family reunion my family awarded me with a globe and told me to continue to discover new family members from all over the world. Over half of the family members that was in attendance were new to our family.
In my discoveries I found several Royal family members that lived on the continent of Africa. When I hear others say we came from royalty I have proof that this is the case. I am Igbo (Nigeria) and Ewe (Ghana) and so many more. Discovering who we are and where we come from is the most rewarding thing. Using the tools available to you will allow you to break down the wall such as Gedmatch Genesis, My Heritage, FamilySearch so many more.
Deena L. Hill
Born in North Hollywood California, moved to Utah as a child and have lived in Utah most my life, except for a few moves to Northern California. I grew up in a large family with 11 Siblings, being the second to
the oldest. I married young and after 43 years I am lucky to be with the same wonderful man. I am blessed with 3 wonderful children and 11 amazing grandchildren.
I owned my own wedding coordinator business for 5 years and then went back to school to become a Certified Nurse Assistant. I was very lucky to work 16 years on the Mother/ Baby unit at Utah Valley Hospital, welcoming the new babies into the world. The last 5 years I have enjoyed retirement and helping people discover t heir family stories. I love aiding people in finding their biological families.
I enjoy family time, camping, genealogy and traveling. My husband and I have been to all 50 states and we have been to 14 countries.
I have spent over 40 years researching family history for myself and others. I have organized several family history conferences and have coordinated with the University of Utah Black Mormon data base project. For the last14 years I have been teaching " Family Search" classes- teaching the in' s and outs of using "Family Search".
4 years ago, thanks to Ancestry DNA, I was thrilled and surprised to find out I have African American blood, along with 85 relatives who also tested with ancestry. This began an amazing journey of discovery. I found that my 3'' great grandfather had been a slave in Missouri. I learned that he was the child of a slave and a plantation owner's nephew. I discovered that his grand and great grandparents were slaves in Harnett Co. North Carolina. This amazing discovery has lead me to visit North Carolina,
where I have been able to connect with bot h, the black and the white sides of my family who had been unknown to me. What a joy this has been. I have been welcomed and loved by all and some very strong family bonds have been formed.
Debra Taylor Gonzalez
is a passionate genealogist. She has worked on her family’s genealogy for over thirty years. As president of the Friends of Geer Cemetery, she has been instrumental in the reformation of the organization since 2019.
Debra has put together several histories for the people buried in the cemetery and created hands-on activities for events. She presented an entry level genealogy class for the Durham Parks and Recreation and Duke University students. She has made presentations to a local AAHGS chapter and regional workshop. Debra has presented Geer Cemetery biographies and genealogy speeches to Toastmaster chapters. As the Friends of Geer Cemetery president, she has made several presentations on the Geer Cemetery to various groups.
Debra is a member of AAHGS, NGS, Association of Professional Genealogist (National and NC Chapter), North Carolina Genealogical Society (previous webinar committee member), and National Genealogy Speakers Guild. She has attended: MAAGI, IGHR, and GRIP. She attends several workshops thought-out the year and online training.
Debra is a full-time technical writer for a software development company. She is a part-time ESL instructor at Durham Technical Community College. She has a M Ed from NCSU in adult education and BS from NCCU in mathematics.
is the Director of the Center for Family History. She has been a consultant to the museum since 2015. Prior to joining the museum’s efforts, she was the Founding Director of Lowcountry Africana, a nonprofit research project and free website dedicated to African American genealogy in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Ms. Carrier is the founder of the USF Africana Heritage Project and Co-founder of the website Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau: An Interactive Online Finding Aid. Ms. Carrier has served as a panelist on the BlackProGen LIVE Internet broadcast since 2016 and is a regular speaker at national genealogy conferences.
In the 16 years she has been working in and teaching African American genealogy in the Lowcountry, Ms. Carrier conducted research for the PBS series African American Lives II, researched the history of the Point of Pines slave dwelling on behalf of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and traced Michelle Obama’s ancestry on behalf of the Obama for America campaign.
In 2012, Ms. Carrier was the Wood Family Fellow and Charisse R. Cecil Intern at Drayton Hall Plantation, where she conducted research on the post emancipation African American community at Drayton Hall. Ms. Carrier has conducted research for Michael Twitty’s book The Cooking Gene and is currently conducting genealogy research for Dr. Edda Fields Black’s forthcoming book ‘Combee’: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and the Gullah Geechee Transformation.
Ms. Carrier earned her Master’s Degree in Applied Anthropology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of South Florida.
is a public historian and church musician who lives in Smithfield, NC. Most of his professional life has been devoted to Johnston and Wake Counties, where successive generations of his family have resided since the colonial period. He has channeled his two great loves of history and music into a lifetime of service as a local historian, genealogist, church musician, and (more recently) as a music director for community theatre. He has served as administrative head of two of Johnston County’s premiere cultural institutions—the Johnston County Heritage Center and the Ava Gardner Museum—and collaborated with Wake County historian Elizabeth Reid Murray to produce a monumental work telling the story of North Carolina’s capital county from Reconstruction through World War I. He is also passionate about historic preservation and is spearheading a movement to restore the only freedmen’s schoolhouse known to remain in North Carolina.
Janaka Bowman Lewis, Ph.D.
is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and was a prior English instructor at Spelman College. She was raised in Augusta, Georgia. Dr. Lewis earned a Bachelor's Degree in English and African and African American Studies from Duke University, Magna Cum Laude. She also earned her M.A. and Ph. D. in English from Northwestern University.
She is the author of several book chapters and articles on 19th Century African American women's writing and material culture, three children's books Brown All Over, Bold Nia Marie Passes the Test, Dr. King Is Tired, Too!! and a monograph, Freedom Narratives of African American Women(McFarland 2017). Her current scholarship is on narratives of Black girlhood. customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.
Dr. Paula Harrell
retired as Chair of the Department of Music at North Carolina Central University in 2010 where during her faculty tenure, she served as University Organist, University Choir accompanist, Music Education Coordinator, and Coordinator of the Sacred Music program. She also taught piano, organ and handbells. Harrell also serves as the church organist at the White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, NC where she directs the JuBellate Handbell Choir.
Dr. Harrell’s interest in genealogy began while pursuing the name of her great-great aunt who was sold by her slavemaster to purchase a Square Grand Piano. Harrell’s mother, in her youth, worked for the descendants of the slaveholder. Her Aunt Bell, sister of the aunt that was sold, told Harrell’s mother that she was sold for $1000 to purchase the piano. In 1973, the last daughter of the slaveholder, Mildred Connally passed and Harrell’s mother wrote Mildred’s only child, and asked for the piano. The piano was purchased and remains in Harrell’s possession. Since Harrell is a pianist/organist, she feels a divine connection and destiny to solve this mystery. Her story was featured in the AAHGS March/April 2019 Newsletter and the Merrick Washington Magazine, Fall/Winter 2018 (Durham Colored Library, Inc.).
Harrell’s mother did not remember the name of her great-aunt that was sold but she was a daughter of Amy Pulliam. The pursuit to discover the name of great-great-aunt Pulliam led her to find old family photographs she had never seen before. Dr. Harrell felt that these pictures must be preserved and shown to document her family history. Her genealogy scrapbooks/family books serve as coffee table books that promote family history. She does not consider herself an authority on Preservation but freely shares the information she has learned and compiled.