Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute Day #1

Professor Dru, aka Drusilla Pair discusses thinking  outside the box.

Things got underway in the first full day session of MAAGI. The tracks all began ontme, and by 8:00 am the Pre and Post slavery era was in full swing. By 8:30 the other tracks began their sessions.  In the professional and Beginning Level track a joint session on planning one's research and establishing a research plan was held. After an introduction of the participants, Shelley Murphy and Angela Walton Raji each gave a presentation to the the participants in the joint session.

Then the Professional Track had their own separate sessions and the day got better with Lisa Smith and Professor Dru (Drusilla Pair) each leaving the participants enthusiastic and filled with information. The day ended with an amazing discussion on the process of documenting the genealogical process and how to give a professional summary to the genealogical journey, whether a research trip, or even a journey to one's ancestral homeland.

And it must be mentioned that for many participants, the opportunity to fellowship with other researchers was just as rewarding as the workshops.

After classes ended on this first day a special treat was to have a wonderful meal at the famous Sweetie Pie's Kitchen.

                                                                                    In line at Sweetie Pies.

                                           Connie Tensley and Bernice Bennett before having dinner. 

The evening ended with many returning either to the residence hall or the hotel  to fellowship and discuss some of the topics presented in the day's sessions. The enthusiasm was shared by many and comments continued to pour in throughout the afternoon and evening about how much had been learned.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

MAAGI Begins!!

MAAGI Participants listening to speakers at opening session.

Participants from Virginia to California and from Minnesota to Mississippi, arrived yesterday in St. Louis to attend the Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute. This is the first year of this institute, and the energy was high yesterday as friends old and new gathered at the campus of Harris-Stowe State University for the opening session.

Some of the residents chose to stay in residence halls on the campus while others selected the Pear Tree in midtown St. Louis during the next three days. There are 4 tracks from which participants will be immersed in the next three days having an in-depth immersion into methods and strategies of African American genealogy and research.  Some are beginners and others are seasoned researchers hoping to refine their skills, learn some technological skills and others to explore options that me available as they contemplate becoming professional genealogists!

An attentive audience gave the speakers their attention.

Other participants at opening session.

 Speakers from around the country are part of the faculty at MAAGI.  Thomas Macentee from Chicago, is a well known blogger and genealogist. Other speakers are Lisa Lee of GotGenealogy, Dr. Shelley Murphy aka familytreegirl, Tim Pinnick, Nicka Sewell Smith formerly of Northern California and now Tennessee, Curt Witcher of the Allen County Library, and noted blog radio host,Bernice Alexander Bennett and Professor Dru - Drusilla Pair of the Find Your Folks blog.

 Bloggers Thomas Macentee and Drusilla Pair chatting before the opening session.

Many of the participants gathered to take group photos, and many took images of the individuals in their various tracks.

 Track  3 (Pres & Post Slavery Era Research)

After the opening session, many of the participants went to dinner and of course as the sessions begin on Tuesday morning, the work begins!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Prepping for MAAGI

Syllabi Prepared for the Inaugural MAAGI - Genealogy Institute in St. Louis

I must admit, that I am so excited!

After more than a year of planning the first Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute will unfold. The idea came out of conversations with a handful of people about 18 months ago, and now, a year and a half later, the institute will no longer be an idea, but an idea whose time has come.

Known unofficially as MAAGI, July 9 - 12th  promise to be exciting with speakers from the Atlantic to the pacific and attendees from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, and from Baltimore to Burbank.

I have been working with many of the speakers and also getting myself prepared for this event and as I am working on those last minute details (tweaking power point presentations) the days get closer and closer. I am excited to be on a program with people of many talents, and MAAGI will provide an opportunity for many of us to meet people whom we have known online in Social Media.  The talent of the speakers is a cadre of leaders in the genealogy community and I am honored to share this event with them.

The institute will be hosted on the campus of Harris-Stowe State University in Mid-town St. Louis, and the event promises to be an exciting one.

I had the honor of working with Institute director, Charles Brown who is also President of the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society. He is one who is organized, and knows how to get things done. Thanks to him and a team of dedicated coordinators of the tracks, we have a dynamic group of faculty memnbers. Eveyone  will all arrive in St. Louis on Monday with classes unfolding on Tuesday morning. Several of us will be blogging and posting images on the Facebook, Twitter and beyond.

MAAGI now has a Facebook page, and one can simply join the group and follow us next week as many of us will be live blogging from the Institute.

I am so excited as I pack and get ready to leave and to go and meet new friends in St. Louis!