African-American genealogy workshop to be held in Westlake

A free, full-day seminar on tracing African-American heritage will be held on Saturday, March 10, from 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 25000 Westwood Road in Westlake. The African American Family History Symposium brings together nationally-known historians and genealogists from Cleveland and beyond to teach and inspire attendees to explore their African-American roots.

This workshop offers something for everyone: the absolute novice, the history buff, the genealogically curious and the advanced researcher. Keynoting the event is John F. Baker Jr., nationally-known author, historian and genealogist. He will present his family’s journey from slavery to freedom against the fascinating historical backdrop of the lives of 300 African-American slaves at the Wessyngton Plantation in Tennessee. His story is both historical and personal.

Attendees can then attend presentations on beginning genealogy, using popular websites for genealogy; doing DNA testing for family history; writing your own life story; and common genealogical sources such as censuses, vital records and maps. More specialized topics to be taught include migration patterns, plantation records, Freedmen’s Bureau records, manuscript collections and unique library holdings, and other resources and techniques that can help descendants discover more about African-American ancestors whose lives – especially before the Civil War – were often less-well documented than those of other Americans.

These lectures will be taught by several expert speakers. Among them are professional genealogists Deborah Abbott and Ari Wilkins, who have extensive and nationally-recognized expertise in African-American research. Family Tree Magazine columnist and Ohio Genealogy News co-editor Sunny Morton, whose voice is heard on the internationally-known Genealogy Gems Podcast, will also be presenting.

In addition to these classes and presentations, a free lunch will be served to all pre-registered attendees. Interested persons can register online before March 2 at or call 216-394-6438.

This free symposium is sponsored by T​he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in partnership with the African-American Genealogical Society, Cleveland and The Oberlin African-American Genealogy and History Group.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:45 AM, 02.20.2018