During a book signing in Evansville in February I met a cousin Mildred Moore Robinson who gave me this wonderful photo that belonged to her mother. The photograph was of an 1890s baptism in Cedar Hill, Tennessee. The church was a central part of the African American community. People would come from miles around to witness a baptism as shown in this photo.
Archive for March, 2009
1. Start with yourself
The first step in tracing genealogy is to start with yourself and work backwards.
Start with what you know such as the names of parents, grandparents etc. then search
for the unknown.
2. Interview older relatives
Older family members can give you personal information about your ancestors
not found in official records. They may also give you information that will lead you
you to other genealogical resources such as the names of extended family members,
locations where family members lived during a certain period, birth, marriage, and
death dates of family members. Always record the interviews if possible.
3. Copy old photographs
Copy all old family photographs and share them with family members. Be sure to
record the names of all persons featured in photographs on the back. We have all
seen old photographs of family members that no one can identify.
4. Share information with family members.
Always share what you find with family members. If you share information others
will likely share with you.
5. Organize your work
Always organize your research and cite sources so the information you find is
useful to others.
Personal connections between the descendants of the Washington family and Ann Nixon Cooper have been renewed thanks to President Barack Obama’s speech on the night of his historic election. You may read the complete story:
I invite you to listen to an indepth interview: On with Leon Presents John F. Baker Jr. with host Dr. Leon Wilmer.
I invite you to listen to an indepth interview: The African American Literary Review Presents an Evening With John F. Baker Jr. with host Tracey Ricks Foster.
On March 7th I had a book signing at Borders in Nashville. The event was well attended by many family members and friends. I met several new cousins there. The event also brought together descendants of Wessyngton’s founder Joseph Washington, and African American descendants, whose ancestors came from the plantation. A group photograph was taken of both families.
The book tour in Atlanta went very well. On the first day of my trip I visited the home of Mrs. Ann Nixon Cooper and presented her with an autographed copy of The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation. I was very honored to have Mrs. Cooper sign a copy of the book for me.
The second day of my tour I was interviewed about the book by Dr. Collette Hopkins, director of the National Black Arts Festival, who graciously accompained me to the book signing at Waldenbooks.
On the third day of the tour Dr. Opal Moore interviewed me at the Auburn Research Library. I later gave a presentation followed by a book signing.
The event was well attended and I met two new Washington cousins Jonathan and Jordan Terry who live in Atlanta. They were excited to find their names on the Washington family tree among more than 600 names.
My good friends Beverly Shelley and her daughter Kimberly attended the event. Their ancestors also came from Wessyngton.
My editor just told me that she received a letter from former President Bill Clinton. After thanking her for sending him the book, he wrote, “it was wonderful!” I will certainly place that letter in a place of honor in my home.