Everyone’s Genealogy Library or Family History arsenal must possess this Book by “the Godfather of Black Family History”, Tony Burroughs. He is a Historian, Internationally renown Master Genealogist, Lecturer and Best-selling Author. Mr. Burroughs is also the founder and CEO of the Center for Black Genealogy
I was privy to attending a lecture session of Mr. Tony Burroughs at RootsTech 2018. A vibrant speaker, he was thorough with a commanding presence and I quickly learned that in his tell of “the story” there was a minefield of clues and research strategies off the beaten trek; I was imbued to go back over some of my own steps concerning an Ancestor with an “African” birthplace and whose Mother and Father’s birthplace was Africa as well, on the 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Union, Nevada, Arkansas, USA. When I mentioned her surname, “Gulley” to Mr. Burroughs, there immediately was actual Family kinship who had shared their own inquiry with him prior, which turned out to be about my LYDIA GULLEY.
Seriously?! Out of 28,000 folks in attendance that year, Africans Americans represented less than 200, and I’d make a direct connection with a couple other Family Historians who’d share kinship with me in Mr. Burroughs’ session — the majesty of it all! Among many Distinguished Awards, Mr. Burroughs is also a sought after Professional Genealogist appearing on Television shows such as Oprah’s Roots on PBSwithHenry Louis Gatesand with Smokey Robinson on Who Do You Think You Are? Over 35 years in the field of Genealogical research and Family History he’s traced his own lineage back 8 generations. A dedicated Pioneer cultivating Family History advocacy, education and scholarship, aligns himself with the vision of his Institution that:
“Every person of African descent knows their family history.”
Take your Family History Sojourn on a Virtual Experience, FREE! Register: www.rootstech.org
February 25-27, 2021 | ONLINE: Streams, Sessions on Demand, Interactive Expo, Language Translators, Cooking Demos, Cultural Heritage exchanges, and Africans Teaching Africans, so pleased for the opportunity to connect with my Continental Kinship.
“Learn the best practices and methods available to search and find your ancestors within African American historical records.” #RootsTech2021
I’m still tuning up my Playlist via the Familysearch.org access, let’s Connect and watch a few sessions together. @nzoCALIFAncestry
in shared kinship works, Sis. Regina Calloway, Field Research Genealogist workingmylines.org | #nzoCALIFAncestry IG: ReginaCalifa360
You’re right on time, as the sessions are ON DEMAND through the RootsTech portal. Visit the website. www.rootstech.org
Be informed that although you don’t have to create a RootsTech account, registration allows you to patch into the happenings. To enable access to customization features and make CONNECTtions with other attendees, you will need a FamilySearch account. Sign up for one FREE, if you don’t have one: Family Search
GOT MORE FAQ’s, the ROOTSTECH PORTAL HAS YOUR ANSWERS
During these unique times sanctioning our distance, #RootsTech2021 Connect presents a rare opportunity for US to be close again.
Like no other, the very divinely conscious idea of YOU was definitively created with a purpose. Imbued with a powerful energy force of LOVE SUPREME, not only to be received, worked, curated or taught, but to endure, to teach and to grow infinitely. Through guided rites of passage and self-exploration, FAMILY has become for me God's treasured gift to this world. Where by blood, life force flows and by Spirit it is edified, thru breath. What some of our Elders knew then, is still vital to to weather the times of now.
It's important to honor your walking History, your Elders, Family and Community Leadership. FAMILY bears a value of which no Man can price, for it is indeed of Godly proportions. No matter who you are, where you might be or what you've been through, your sojourn is the continuing journey of the many before you. And your Godly potential realized today, will continue to enlighten pathways for others to travel well.
So #walkwell and honor breath.
Egun iba'se - give praise of Aṣẹ to the lives of our Ancestors. *loosely translated*
“I do not walk alone. My ancestors are always with me. They carry my spirit during the challenging times of my life and walk in prayer with me everyday.”~Native American wisdom
~ in shared kinship works, Sis. Regina #workingmylines
How a small Northern Louisiana town, called Summerfield, Louisiana could hold generations of my life to date? Becoming a Field research Genealogist would most certainly reveal to me the enormity of this discovery. I posted a lead post earlier on my #Genealogy Instagram platform @ReginaCalifa360, about the wisdom shared by my maternal Grandfather, CLAUDE WATERS, JR. :
“…take care of your own backyard.”
The WALSTON Family Reunion was conceived upon a foundation of woven memory and Family History research encompassing oral narratives about our Family Patriarchs MILES and MISSOURI WALSTON of Summerfield, Louisiana.
This year’s Family Reunion held in in the Bay Area, California was a tremendous success supported by a core of Wisdom Keepers, Family Elder Advisory and a fantastic Committee of dedicated members, lead by the visionary excellence of our Co-Chairs Cousins Kelly Bailey and Jayde Williams both of WILLIE WALSTON lineage. Our Family History Pioneers ARTHUR WALSTON and ADA MEADORS represent the living blueprint for which has become the Family History story we know today.
And taking cue, since the late 1800’s, Family members have transcended this story from generation to generation through their daughter VERA WALSTON unto its kinship legacy of the HILDRETHS, the LIVINGSTONS, VANHOOKS and so on. As it would become a joint commissioned effort of my Cousin Deborah through the Pioneering lineage of her Grandparents, so would it invoke my life’s quest ushered by my Grandfather’s wishes, who was SALLIE WALSTON’s Great Grandson. And this year the both of us served on the WALSTON Reunion Committee to advance the work, expanding the Reunion’s Genealogy and Family History component.
DOUBLE COUSINS ACTIVATE!!!
Deborah and I are also double cousins, not only verified in our own respective Family History research, but recently discovered through DNA as she matches Family members on both my Mother and Father’s side. We just “GET” each other and indeed it is a dynamic Spiritual exchange of kinship that we bear. Our dynamic research exchanges boasts energy of revelations that connect Family relations. Often we laugh and marvel at our discoveries. I truly value the inspirational inheritance of our relationship.
So when a clan of folks, recently came to visit my Father’s Mother, boasting 106 years on this planet earth, TRUST it was a day I had to be present. Mama Georgia is lively, brass and brash with Spirit whose calling never fails to share A Word, with the Bible nearby her elbow seen or unseen. In this visit were my Grandmother’s nephews and nieces who were KENNEDYs, and included a surprise visit by my Great Uncle Bobby HUNTER who only recently retired from driving Big rig trucks well into his 80’s; My Hunters are about some God-given vitality, and quick to deliver A WORD or wield “A CUT” so take the warning first. LOL *smh*. >>Although I had met Cousin Bo at Mama Georgia’s Birthday party, prior to this visit, his Brother Charles had connected with me online, inciting a cataclysmic exchange of Summerfield, Louisiana connections — My people! I learned sooo much about our intersections and connections, I was too full.
I LOOOVED the inertia of Summerfield Family energy, as we all “kinned up”, broke bread, laughed, faced-time other Family members marveling at our common ways, connections and celebrated just how GREAT GOD IS through Family.
Finally, I had a captivated audience to submit the claim that my maternal Grandfather and Father were distant Cousins, Elders were NOT surprised to learn of this once information. And as I shared my discovery, each Family clan knew of each other with some living only blocks away even to this day. Others could identify whether Family clans lived in the Mt. Sinai or Mt. Olive areas; I had also researched on FIND-A-GRAVE.com that some of my Father’s Maternal side, HUNTERS were also buried at the Old Mt. Sinai Cemetery along with WALSTONS. There are Cousin who’ve shared that there are some CALLOWAYs who are buried at Mt. Sinai and that there was a Pastor related to me that preached at a local church. *whew*
There are even more irons in the fire right now, added to an already HOT research docket. I’m grateful for the reunions, and will add, don’t wait until a Family Reunion to gather or meet up. Start with the Family around you, those you can still access , travel to or make a phone call. Welcome inside your Family gathering this season, to truly learn about your Family History lineage. Move beyond obvious questions concerning geographical and chronological dates and begin to ask Elders what was it like to grow up. Ask about foods, music, past times they enjoyed; What animals did they raise or know about, names of neighbors or what was the most historical event they could remember during their time. This will encourage the story that truly matters, en-souled with lessons that can impact your life today.
WHEN IS YOUR NEXT FAMILY MEET UP?!
It’s been my personal goal for decades to visit the old Mt Sinai area and nearby landmarks of the times that have shape the very lives of both sides of my Family. The stories of my Ancestors continue to prosper my own pathways and Family History. I encourage you to gain the wisdom you’ve inherited, and be guided HOW, to take care of your own backyard. Know your Family History.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Been a bit, as I’ve been hitting the pavement, digging deep, traveling wide and praying on high, blasting through proverbial research Brick Walls, and basking in the inheritance of a multitude of FAMILY!!! *Special shout out to the fantastic Family Reunion efforts of SIMS in New Orleans, the WALSTONS in the Bay Area and the BROWN-REDIC Family ties convening in Las Vegas this year.
We all know that although Family Reunion planning can prove to be challenging, the rewards run long and deep. We have so many reasons more to strengthen our ties, honor our Elders and to motivate the minds of our Youth to carry our traditions forward. I am deeply inspired, and enjoy my newly discovered kinship. I share in the vision to rediscover, rejuvenate and reunite, Family.
Although this Season is considered FALL, Ancient wisdom would reveal that this time of the year IS the New Year. Celebrated Wisdom Teacher, Iyanla proclaims the season to “ALL FALL UP” , to do those things required to get us back in sync with nature, to FALL INTO your purpose. *a’dupe Iya*
I know it to be Odunde in Yoruba, West African Culture, the Harvest or in the Bay Area and some regions Kwanzaa is celebrated honoring First Fruits and thus the fruits of our labor. Among Communal kinship circles, the Fall is filled with a fête season of Ancestral remembrance, perfect for gathering Summer Reunion memories, bringing them forward to share at ceremonial offerings of atonement.
It’s the time to cove, for reflection, to release, and for re-envisioning; The Fall Equinox is my is my favorite time of the year for gratitude, and let me tell you my cup runneth over. I get excited by stepping up my service in the legacy of my Ancestors as Missionaries, Evangelists and Community Workers. Activating my own vehicles of service, I recruit and motivate aligned interests who desire to demonstrate exceptional acts of kindness, to express favor and practice #goodGIVING and Giving thanks, simply.
Bursting with the abundance of wisdom from researching my Family History, continues to fill me. I am grateful for the indomitable Spirit that dwells within me in a long walk of Faith, that transcend from a folk whose daily bread is guided prayer, praise and giving God the Glory.
#workingmylines — Such a wonderful way to share my Genealogy boudoir of stories about my Ancestors. I’ve accepted the #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge created by Professional Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow serving as a boost for those of us with aspirations to write Ancestral memoirs or a book; It’ll also serve as a creative outlet to elevate our narratives that educate Family about our Ancestors. My formal posts will be on Mondays weekly, yet with this pre-launch I begin with one of our foremost celebrated Matriarchs, whose 1st year observance of transition date recently transpired. My Auntie Selyah remains timeless near my heart. #givepraisetolife
Maternal Aunt: Selyah Glenn Waters
birth: July 24, 1948, Oakland, CA | death: May 30, 2017, Oakland, CA
My Second Mother My Mother’s 1st Sister, Middle-child Aunt Selyah…
Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Iyakekere (Community Mother)
💛I grew up adoring this beautiful Black Priestess, ready for the World before most; She dared the Mysteries, challenged Drum rhythms, reasoned with Nyabinghi Rasta Elders, and danced in the fire, YES I; She spoiled us on Black-skillet-pineapple-upside-down-cake, intrigued us with ghost stories and always let me play in her fantastic wardrobe.
🔮Auntie introduced me to OHM, Jambalaya, A Course in Miracles and eating red clay; Auntie was a Warrior Spirit, Healer, Teacher, Root Woman, and Bebe to a 3-generation tribe, with a deeper heart that challenged the hearts of Men and those of us who loved her.
🌹In her anchor legged-years, She allowed me to care for her through playful resistance and sometimes brave fights; She got to Love Jamaica one last time, not before invoking the sweetest Love blessing atop of my head, a Family Matriarch first.
🗝I honor Her for such life-altering gifts, I transcend Her wisdom and blaze healing trails of ascension for our Matrilineal heritage. I Love you Auntie Selyah…still missing you in such a divine and personal way, grateful you are ascending, prayerful we all continue to do so. ~Selah
Traditional Dances steeped in West and Central African spiritual traditions, has invoked
DNA wisdom within me since the womb. I indentify with Òsùmàrè [Oxumaré – Brasilian Candomble] known as the “rainbow spirit” of Yoruba traditions holding dominion over the heavens and the earth bearing dual qualities of male and female; Òsùmàrè is the umbilical life-line of continuity’; this embodied concept permeates throughout the island of Haiti — undulating dance movements of Yanvalou, honoring the divine serpent duo known as lwa, Ayida-Wedo and Damballah-Wedo; where rainbow showers and white offerings activate writhing, from the cerebral cortex winding down to the coccyx. And in the Ancient star systems of the Dogon peoples exist the serpentine symbolism of the “double-helix”.
America’s noted discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953, propelled a Congressional proclamation called National DNA on April 25, 2003. This initiative transcended into an anniverserial event carried forward by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), now celebrating it’s 15th year.
DNA testing is a powerful tool for identification. ~DNA Diagnostics Center
DNA testing made accessible for home use?! seemed almost unbelievable. For African Americans on their quest to find their ROOTS marked an important benchmark in Family History Research. Yet, long before I considered taking a DNA test I needed to consider a few things:
1st Exorcise historical Family ‘lore, fears and myths concerning taking such a test, in light of how much surplus blood I’ve given at a many Doctor and or Medical visits.
2nd I actually LOVE biology and particularly became fond of our Genetics component, in High school. Although I was aware of MESA [Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement] my Mom was actually a Health and Safety Lab technician at Lawrence Berkeley Labs and anything less than an ‘A’ in Biology and Chemistry was unacceptable.
3rd It became apparent that I needed to immerse myself, so I took workshops with Field leaders and binged on very accessible tutorials by Ancestry.com on youtube.com. Learning about the discoveries of other African American Genealogists and Family Historians heightened my determination. It was the dynamic delivery of Mr. Shannon Christmas, experienced genealogist specializing in genetic, colonial American, and African-American genealogy in Virginia and the Carolinas, that tipped my scales. He’s well-versed, studied and a dynamic lecturer whose sought out expertise and encouragement invoked me to buy 23andMe immediately after his lecture at #Rootstech2017, Salt-Lake City, Utah. Since then, 4 generations of my maternal line are tested. I’ve taken a second test with Ancestry.com and planning my 3rd effort through FamilyTreeDNA.
Soooo, over 1500 DNA matches later, I am a deep diver of Family History research and highly advise that working YOUR lines is a must, as it often said by experts that Genealogy and DNA testing goes hand-in-hand. And while waiting for your results to come back, make certain to interview your walking history – the Elders in your Family and continue to build your tree. In special cases of adoption, I can share that DNA testing will enhance your investigation, along with Genea-friend kin support, with select educational online sources; Consider every piece of information as a clue towards your find. To this day, I’ve be in the service to locate biological parentage of cherished friends and DNA matches who are adopted; If there ever was a testimony to share, this area of Genealogy, DNA testing bears powerful impact of transformation.
That being said, take all of these cues of inspiration and further your right to learn about your birthright through your Ancestral codes. Testing opportunities are accessible, available and now on SALE. ~ workingmylines.org #workingmylines
Most recently I took on the commission of installing an Ancestral Community altar paying homage to beloved Arts and Cultural leaders who’ve transitioned into the Ancestral realm, all-knowing that this calling was a whole lot greater than the actual work. Thinking from a genealogical perspective led me to the daunting task to actually research sunrise and sunset dates associated with the names located. Eventually, another tier added to these efforts was to locate the place of birth and place of death.
Reared, educated, trained, performed, in the richness of the Bay Area’s Cultural landscape, my honing grounds is that of the African Dance and Drum Community in Oakland, California preceded by my Mother. [see nzoCALIFA dance.blog post] Mentored as a Cultural gatekeeper, now prospering these gifts into a Dance mediumship for service, I envision this opportunity for Ancestral and Communal healing, a mission shared by 2 of my Dance kinship who serve as co-commissioners for Oakland’s Life is Living Festival: African in Oakland – Dance Zone. United we bring into focus, The Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, celebrated Arts portal and cultural cradle place nationally renown also represents for us as “Nzo”, our house, village house and or sacred home, with a mission to elevate its vitality by intentionally honoring our beloved transitioned, treasuring their contributory gifts today.
Immediately the need is to remember our dead transitioned and restore Ancestral rites of atonement in the Community. Approaching this process like a “Spiritual Architect” coin-phrased by Pastor Yolanda Batts of Brooklyn’s Celebration Spiritual Center, I bring my tools as a Field Research Genealogist to the table, ready to shed light upon those good folks who I’ve known through my Oakland Village of African Dance, Drum, and Culture — more than just to say their names, it is important to share their stories cultivating the wealth of knowledge already invested in the Community and to encourage such exchange among each other. From a collected roster of names collected, over 40 to date and growing, my first attempt guided me to research an International comrade who used to wail the call of Zulu warriors with songs of Freedom envisioning the unification of Africa. As an expatriate of apartheid South Africa, I also learned that Brother Sechaba J. Mokoena was a touring member of critically acclaimed South Africa musical “Ipi N’Tombi” eventually defecting to the United States in the 80’s, becoming a resident of the Bay Area.
#nzoCALIFAncestry:I located the record above, showing Brother Sechaba’s birthdate and as a resident of Oakland, California, North Oakland, known as the Upper Telegraph area today; he flourished as a founding member of prominent South African Cultural Groups, Zulu Spear band, and U-Zulu Dance Theatre, always keeping his vision of a United Africa. I am still locating his death date, I have an approximate year based off my recollection at the former Citicentre Dance Theatre back in 2004.
And if ever there’d be a living archive so true to date, that’d capture his views, this video documentary discovered from online research delivers! Listen to the message and learn more about Brother Sechaba. AMANDLA Brother Sechaba Mokoena!
Give praise to life. ~R. Calloway, #workingmylines
#nzoCALIFAncestry: Continued works, documenting and preserving beloved Communal Ancestors transitioned from the Malonga Center Community legacy. Installed at Life is Living Festival and “Library Edition” Oakland Public Library
Woke up on the 3rd Day of #ROOTStech conferencing, WHIPPED from all of the frenzy of information as the Salt Lake Palace Convention Center is huge, boasting “515,000 square feet (47,800 m2) of exhibit space, 164,000 square feet (15,200 m2) of meeting space including a 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) grand ballroom, and 66 meeting rooms.”* There were tens of thousands in attendance, over 200 sessions to choose from, with an Innovator Summit in tow and the most concise Genealogy EXPO one can attend in field knowledge, industry and education planting supple training grounds– whew, Salt Lake City breeds Genealogy and Ancestor research.
My head says stay guided, so after my morning meditations, I turn on the television looking for Gospel programming and as loud as day, this message broadcasts:
“Your spiritual bloodline will always overpower your natural bloodline”
LOL, Pastor Joel Olsteen’s Sermon of the day, I got it! Paraphrased, learn who you are, for your are destined for greatness. He went on to cite “Your spiritual bloodline will always overpower your natural bloodline.” POW, I resonate with this through a legacy of study of African Spiritual traditions and deep reverence for Native American Ancestral propitiation; I am also further inspired that the very root of our Family Spiritual beliefs, is aligned with this overarching message. Generations of social challenges, dysfunctional Family cycles, incomplete rites of passage breeds an insurmountable occurrences of psycho-spiritual calamity in our African Ancestored communities.
Senior Cousin Donald Culverson, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Governor’s State University, Chicago, IL
Trumpeting MAAGI at #ROOTStech, I’ve learned under the auspices of fantastically intelligent minds decoding Ancestor codes and destroying “brick wall” theories. Our Ancestral codes tell us more than where we come from, they give inference as to how we lived, what codes of success we can be inspired by to further prosper our lives; one can learn about Family medical history to chromosomal defects that may affect childbearing and rearing aspirations. One common tenet I’ve learned in my own Family research and personal sojourn is that my folks were devout Spirit people, and yes CHURCH was at the helm. The partnering tenet was education, for as soon as it was made accessible to them without the lash of a whip or “Holy terror” tactics, my maternal second great-grandfather James “Gabe” Coleman born in 1870 Alabama, attended Tuskegee Institute, his granddaughter my maternal grandmother [living] went to Southern and today my niece attends New York University [NYU]. As there are a number of Educational success stories in our family, there also exists specialists who were administrators for Oakland Unified School District for over 30 years, College and University Professors in Chicago and Bakersfield to President of Merritt College in Oakland, California. Others of us are Teachers in Special Education and Arts and Cultural enrichment programs, to licensed and credentialed Health Care Professionals serving as Registered Nurses and Social Welfare Counselors.
Post conference, I was privilege to receive an invitation by one of Salt Lake City’s proud natives and Church member Brother Stephen Debies via his partner Sister Robyn Cherry to attend the historical Calvary Baptist Churchorganized in 1896. This special Church produced voices of inspiration that lit up African Heritage Dayat ROOTStech, lifting up thousands in attendance. On 1st Sunday in Salt Lake City, Calvary’s Activist and Pastor, France A. Davis shared inspiration from the word that day** what we have received, we ought to put it to good use in God’s kingdom and minister to one another… offering up the day’s Sermon, “A Good Steward of the Manifold Grace of God”. I often believe that at their very best, Family Elders work hard to provide and want their families to do well often battling and balancing the course of Family hardship. In this course, I count my blessings daily and strive to stay inspired in my service works to produce spiritual efficacy to overcome these challenges as Pastor Davis’ sermon further speaks about “manifold grace” — manifesting itself in one way to serve my needs whereby my needs met, can begin to serve another.[Calvary Baptist notes forthcoming]
I share this teaching moment… On the last day of #ROOTStech although it was nearly the end of the conference, I rushed to strategize a question to illicit some of the expertise that the “Coaches Corner” had to offer, knowing that the appointments were probably filled — yet the “face drop” response to my inquiry regarding my African American 3rd great grandfather led me to believe, I simply got an expert who didn’t specialize in “my area” as she responded with swift empathy. I knowing that African Ancestored Genealogy is deeply entrenched in World History, I pressed forward calibrating my question resulting in the familiar database response checks. CHECK! Out of time, no problem, “I’m all the way up,” next stop post conference Family History Library research — STILL STOKED.
Scripture inspiration offers that “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22). The harrowing nature of American History and slavery might have broken a many Spirits, yet at the same time, many chains of slavery were broken through the might of Spirit and Faith from liberation to emancipation.
Honor the “walking history” of wealth that dwell among you — your Elders! Listen, learn, record and chart their stories, we can benefit from their embodied knowledge; We are that much more abundant transcending the yoke of our Ancestors. And if you don’t know that by now, then start counting your blessings, starting with your breath; drink from the fountain of Ancestral wealth, be full and then refresh the cup of another. Today, my cup runneth over as I finally send off my first DNA test and skip over to the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. ~ #workingmylines
*[Salt Palace – Wikipedia]
** Feb. 12, 2017 note: Sermon by Reverend Dr. Frances A. Davis, Calvary Baptist Church, SLC, Utah
~MAAGI: Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute – July 11th – 13th 2017: www.maagiinstitute.org/
~RootsTech 2018: February 28-March 3, 2018 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Interview theme “Whose Do You Belong to?!” conceived by Regina Califa, #Dancestory Project Curator, hosted by Wanda Sabir New Orleans native and celebrated International Journalist/Activist of Wanda’s Picks.com [originally recorded 08.07.15]
“Dancestory” is a guided movement source of embodied knowledge – UNEARTHED. It incites exploration of cultural pathways and Ancestral histories, bridged with field-research and Technology.