Sunday, March 25, 2012

Finding Your Roots Premier video

 Finding Your Roots 

with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

The Wall Street Journal has an article by John Jurgensen about the new PBS series "Finding Your Roots" with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Premiered today, part of a 10 part Prime Time series.

The Premier episode includes Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

They were showing back to back videos here on my local PBS station tonight, so I was able to view the program without looking through the program listings.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis

Mr. Gates has done previous videos on African Americans, but I have to say that the video interview with John Lewis was an interesting story to view. 

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Preserving his previous video style, Gates combines genealogy with DNA and an historic perspective.

Scheduled for the series are Harry Connick, Jr., Barbara Walters, Geoffry Canada, Branford Marsalis, Samuel L. Jackson, and others.

In an upcoming episode, Mr. Gates will use DNA to find the connection in the ancestry of conservative commentator Linda Chavez and actor Adrian Grenier.

PBS "Finding Your Roots" Extended Preview:

PBS "Finding Your Roots" Preview of the Cory Booker and John Lewis Episode

"Doubling Down on DNA" Wall Street Journal article

Mr. Gates is a Harvard humanities scholar, wrote each episode of "Finding Your Roots" and is a founding partner of
African DNA, which offers African-American clients a method of tracing their history beyond 1870.

TV schedules are at the top menu of the PBS previews.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Native (American) Heritage Project

Roberta Estes has been quietly working on the Native Heritage Project.

This project seeks to document people who are Native in existing records. To do this, Roberta says she is taking the following steps:

 1. She is collecting every instance of documents where Native people have surnames in some record that states they are Native, of Native descent, or have Native heritage. Initially, she has focused on the primary areas of Virginia, NC and SC and the Eastern Seaboard states.   

These, for the most parts, are tribes that were annihilated. Tribes west of the Mississippi were often able to maintain their tribal and cultural heritage after those east of the Mississippi has all but disappeared.

 2. Regarding the DNA, Roberta is matching the list generated by item 1 against people who are haplogroups Q and C, which are Native, to find a matches between the two lists.

 3. Ultimately, she would like to combine that information, above, with historical research that maps oldest ancestor of those who are genetically Native and village/tribe locations and perhaps, in time, the hope is to find a correlation and a way to tell which tribe someone is descended from.

 This is an unbelievable amount of work. Roberta has been working on it for almost 5 years now. Much of her early work was in documenting mixed race migrations and historical reading and references documenting early tribal locations.

Roberta is maintaining a separate page that shows resources she has already accessed.


If you have any record of a person that shows their Native ancestry, with documentation, please contact Roberta Estes. She would love to give them a voice by including their record in the project.  

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        London and Middlesex Parish Records

Brian Swann was kind enough to send an announcement about free access to London and Middlesex records.

              The West Surrey Family History Society web site: 




Brian's brief instructions for finding records:

 - Click on Publications Page and then on Research Aids.

 - Scroll down until you get to RA 49, RA 50, RA 51 and RA 53. 
   These can be opened online and are free!

These indexes cover Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and Nonconformist registers for the specified dates pre-1837.

Brian points out that you should try to read the comments on the web site by Cliff Webb, an authority on London and MIddlesex registers.

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