We are history makers, not spectators.”
It’s A Family Affair
To believe that an entire people’s inception began in enslavement is an act of violence.
Miriam Weiner’s database, Routes to Roots, highlights the fact that the journey of self-discovery through ancestral connections is felt across ethnicities. “Forty years ago, genealogy was typically described as a hobby for retired people who trudged from archive to archive and few Jews at that time were among them. Then a series of events occurred beginning with Alex Haley’s Roots that mesmerized television audiences night after night. The thought of tracing one’s ancestors back to the old country struck a chord in literally millions of people, whether it was back to Africa or the shtetls of Eastern Europe.”
In the film SANKOFA, Mona makes a spiritual return to the past so that she can learn lessons that will empower her in the present. This next lesson encourages learners to also revisit the past, but this time the tool is genealogy.
Family historian Hannah Scruggs will walk learners through the steps of building a family tree, explain best practices and share tips on how to perform successful research. While the need to take a trip to your local library, state archives or county courthouse still exists for many family history researchers, hundreds of thousands of people have now harnessed the power of the internet and the science of DNA testing to jumpstart their research about their family history and heritage.
At the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:
- Use the U.S. Census and other vital records to perform family history research
- Create a family tree
- Understand why genealogy is an important tool on the Sankofa journey