Meeting African American genealogist, Bernice Bennett at #NGS2011

Bernice Bennett (Left), photo by Mr. @SavingStories

For those of you who do not know, NGS presenter and genealogist,  Bernice Bennett, shares her expertise on the BlogTalkRadio Show, Nurturing Our Roots with Host, Antoinette Harrell.  I had the privilege of meeting Bernice in person, and look forward to the great genealogical resources she will continue to share on upcoming episodes of Nurturing Our Roots. She is truly a great lady.

I was very captivated by everything Bernice shared with me in when we met.  You can tell by my faraway look that my mind was churning.  I have to also say that it is such a great privilege for me to meet an African American woman who shares the same interests and knows of the person struggles of our ancestors and the difficulties we face in documenting them.  Bernice has researched in two of the same states where I am also researching, Louisiana and South Carolina.

Please enjoy the Afrigeneas YouTube Video from NGS 2011 where Bernice shares a little about tracing the homestead records of African Americans living in Livingston Parish, LA:


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Mr. @SavingStories goes to #NGS2011

Mr. @SavingStories downtown Charleston, SC.

Mr. @SavingStories is my number one fan.  He has always made it possible for me to stick to the “hunt.”  Many times without saying a word, he washes dishes, mops the floor, or makes dinner.  Many times, he says, “You need to stop and eat.”

For those of you who get caught up in searching for ancestors or helping others do the same and you have a better have like Mr. @SavingStories, you know how blessed I feel.  Whatever I need to purchase, wherever I need to go, Mr. @SavingStories quietly supports it.

I know I may have required some difficult things in recent years like moving South away from the city where Mr. @SavingStories grew up and was comfortable.  It is amazing how he has adapted and love it here.

NGS is the longest number of days he has had to follow me around with genealogy. He had my tethered Android connection for when he got really bored.  I noticed yesterday, Mr. @SavingStories had not been escaping much that way all week.  He had been following me around and had not gotten bored.

I was very impressed by his comment yesterday.  After meeting so many of my friends and all the excitement,  Mr. @SavingStories realized something.  “What you do is really NOT a hobby like I thought,”  he said.  Words cannot explain the joy I felt over this discovery.  I did not even know he eyes were not open to that fact.

Mr. @SavingStories is now wanting to search out his ancestors for himself.  I am so excited.  Thanks to all of you who spent time to chat with Mr. @SavingStories.  I cannot wait for all the new adventures ahead.


Posted by on May 14, 2011 in Legacy, News


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Meet up with twin, @LCAfricana, at #NGS2011

I often think about the many great friends I would not know if I were not on Twitter.  I follow and have learned from the best of the best.  It has been such a great experience finding so many people who share the same interests in genealogy as I do.

Left: @LCAfricana (Toni Carrier), photo by Mr. @SavingStories

Once again I had the opportunity to meet up with @LCAfricana (Toni Carrier) who introduces me as her twin.  When we first met in person last year, we found ourselves finishing each other’s sentences and being totally rabid about genealogy. Many times I am up until 2 am and all of a sudden, she will tweet me as if she knew I was out there.

I had the wonderful opportunity on this trip of watching Toni work her extreme magic uncovering an unbelievable number of resources to document the slave ancestry of a person she was helping.  I have used (SC, FL, GA resources) for years, and am glad to know the brains behind the source.

We are twins for many reasons.  She has the same incredible dedication to providing resources to help others and works tirelessly around the clock.  Toni is also always surrounded by people who are also hard working and truly dedicated. Mr @SavingStories, and I had a wonderful experience set up by my twin at Magnolia Plantation this week where D. J Tucker gave the most correct and inspirational African American interpretation at the slave dwellings on the site.  After the presentation, D J kept making a move to go for the day, but hesitated until he had shown us each of the cabins and had given the history behind who had stayed in them.

It was great to hear the response of the class after Toni’s presentation at NGS yesterday.  They were in total awe.  I heard someone comment, “I was looking for help, and I found Toni.  Now she’s all I need.”   Toni patiently answered questions and conversed with each of them who approached her afterwards.  She is a true treasure to know.  Everyone needs a twin!


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Helping at Charleston SC Family History Center during #NGS2011

Even before the first shift began at the Charleston SC Family History Center, patrons from Kentucky had stopped by yesterday to find resources to document an ancestor who lived locally.  I always enjoy my visits to the center in October where I am usually invited to give presentations.

I had not had the opportunity to see the staff work their magic with patrons who need assistance until yesterday.  I helped to determine the basics, time period and names, for the patron, but of course was dependent on the staff’s knowledge of resources on site.

After the initial help, Vivian Kessler, volunteer, produced a book on the Wadamalaw area and the patron found a reference in no time.  I am always amazed at the varied types of local resources you can find in a center.

Vivian and her husband, Paul, were kind enough to pose with me yesterday so that Mr. @SavingStories could take a photo of us.  These are only a couple of the great friends I have made here.  They have also been a great help to those whom I have referred.

Left: Paul Kessler, Right: Vivian Kessler, photo by Mr. @SavingStories

If you are searching for resources visit the Learning Resources at

Charleston SC Family History Center

1519 Sam Rittenberg Blvd

Charleston, SC 29414


Tues-Thurs 10 am -9 pm

Fri-Sat 10 am – 2 pm


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A sweet meet at #NGS2011

Mr @SavingStories, @SavingStories, @DearMYRTLE taken by Geni.

When I saw this tweet by Geni:

I knew I had a good chance to meet my Twitter friend, @DearMYRTLE.  She is just as sweet in person as online.  She introduced me to Geni, who I also follow on Twitter, and I learned they will soon be coming to a FamilySearch Center Portal near you.

I am  looking forward to learning about this software and how it is able to pull from the databases of other family history software without using a the .gedcom.

Geni had the first business card I have seen with the QR Code…very impressive.

Thank, Geni, for taking the photo and tweeting!


Posted by on May 13, 2011 in News


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Grand Opening April 16th! Seashore Farmers’ Lodge, James Island

The community of Sol Legare located at James Island came together and restored the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge, which was established by the children of former slaves.  4th through 7th generation descendants having a strong connection to their ancestors, history, and the lodge have made it possible for their descendants to learn of the importance of the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge to their community.

To me, this is a beautiful illustration of the importance of community and what can be accomplish when people work together.  The lodge stands as a symbol of the thrift, hard work, and unity that it took to for African Americans to be successful in establishing a family unit, owning land, and achieving economic advancements.

I am proud to see this symbol which represents the contributions of the Coastal African Americans to South Carolina and the world.  I look forward to learning more about the rich history of the lodge and it’s community. All are invited to the Grand Opening on April 16th.

In case you missed it, I had the great pleasure of Co-Hosting the show below on the April 10th episode of Nurturing Our Roots where we had the pleasure of learning from Ernest L. Parks, a 5th generation resident of Sol-Legare, Bill “Cubby” Wilder, a 4th generation resident, and Corie Hipp, who initially became involved as a volunteer coordinator:

Descendants of Community Preserve Seashore Farmers’ Lodge

Learn more

History Comes Full Circle: Community Comes Together to Preserve Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767

The Grand Opening of the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge Museum and Cultural Center

Seashore Farmers Lodge-Museum (Seashore Farmers’ Lodge)

Seashore Farmers’ Lodge… And more news!

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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Legacy, News


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Sadie Delany gets the last say at 107

The image of American educator and author, Sar...

Image via Wikipedia

I just read “On My Own at 107:  Reflections on Life Without Bessie,” by Sarah L. Delany (Sadie)  with Amy Hill Hearth.  It was one of Readalikes suggested by the Richland County Library at One Book, One Columbia.  Throughout the book, Sadie speaks in the first person to her dear departed sister, Bessie.

After reading, “Having Our Say:  The Delany Sister’s First 100 Years,”  I was anxious to learn about Sadie’s experience with moving on with life  after having spending over a century with Bessie.  Of the two sisters, I have to say that I believed the Lord was kind to Bessie for allowing her to exit this earth life first.

I came to understand just how more sensitive Bessie was from Sadie’s reflections in this book.  I believe Sadie was more suited to such a great loss and had already made it through the loss of her mother after being her mama’s girl.

Anyway, if I understand what it means to be a big sister, if Sadie could speak now, I believe she would tell us that she would not have it any other way.  Beautiful paintings of Bessie’s most loved flowers from her garden and verses of scripture are thoughtfully placed throughout the book.  It was very significant to me how the garden became a great source of strength to Sadie.  It was almost as if Bessie was reaching back into this existence to provide solace for her grieving sister.

As Sadie took comfort in each developing flower, I realized that we really can find important things in this life to give our strength to that when we pass on, loved ones can feel our influence in tangible ways.  Sadie was sensitive to this influence because she had cultivated the faith which she had been taught in early years.

It is so rewarding to me to have this personal testimony of faith.  I have truly bonded with the sisters because they were raised to embrace values that I too hold sacred.  It is so powerful to know of these sisters and the fact that the principles that they lived by never failed them after over 100 years.

I am satisfied that even though they had to live past 100 to be recognized and that even while the world would challenge by own abiding by most of the same precepts, the example of these stalwart sisters shines like a lighthouse.  They overcame.  So can I.

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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Legacy


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