Sept. 25th 2015 — Legacy Family Tree Webinar: MAPS tell some of the Story for African-Ancestored Genealogist webinar http://bit.ly/1NRKwr1.
Special Guest, Angela Walton-Raji, Author, Afrigeneas founding member and African Ancestored Genealogy specialist begins the session sharing that in some cases, Maps can be the only evidence to prove that certain areas were ever there, such as contraband camps, settlement areas and estates.
Regarding one of her own home states, Angela shares that Oklahoma had and has more African American settled towns than any other state in the country. She took us down a winding mystery regarding a Pottawatomie County “Negro Settlement” town identified on a map as early as 1879, later referred to as a hut to finally disappear upon any map by 1907, the year when Oklahoma entered into the Union. Although the actual inhabitants of this area still remains a mystery, like a savvy detective, Angela shared with us her intriguing journey to discover more about the area and perhaps the people of this dwelling. Examples of various maps were pointed out, citing it authors, publishers and publishing dates. Identifying nearby landmarks like the Canadian River, Walnut Creek, a cattle crossing and the Cheyenne Agency Road gave more information about the “settlement area”. Looking into other strategies, Angela bridged her research with modern technology utilizing Google Maps to zoom in on other communities, satellite and street view, only to discover just a single oil well — still no additional clues. Resolute, she posted this case scenario to her nationally renown blogs and interestingly enough, a California resident yet Oklahoma native, owned property near Norman and Roble, near the area in question she researched about. Upon this blog follower’s return home in Oklahoma, he picked up the trail by researching county records eventually producing an even older map for Angela, listing the area in question as a Negro Hut, with an additional structure charted as a Negro House.
Questions aroused: Could this have been used by Cowboys from the nearby cattle trail? or was it a boarding house? The mystery has yet to be solved – but it was sure intriguing to us session listeners gaining perspective about how to unearth genealogical mysteries in our own works.
Naturally my mind began to churn as this latest technological find has been of great interest to me– right up my alley, especially since researching the lines of my maternal and paternal branches in Louisiana have been somewhat of an overwhelming feat as of late. Yet, as an Artistic person slash organization development specialist, charting the locations where my Ancestors dwell upon a Map would allow me to see the BIG picture and make preparations for my travels and research more efficient – then BINGO, Angela mentions Maps Marker Pro!
This is how mapping the Freedman Bureau offices in Arkansas came to be project turned historical initiative. Yet it’d be one of Angela’s colleagues from Low Country Africana that’d strongly convince her to map ALL of the Freedmen Bureau offices for all of the states. Of historical merit, creating a visualization of history that had yet to be done, allows us to see where people were in those early days of Freedom, charting a different stage of their life– post slavery. I love it, #Genealogist creating and cultivating History in the field. #RiteOn
In the session’s close, Angela encouraged us to write new chapters in the African American story. Begin to tell your own story, the story of your town, your county, whatever institution that you can think of — and tell the story on a map. #RiteOn
Sources shared from the Webinar: