Expert to present TROY workshop on African-American genealogical research in Dothan

Posted: Tuesday, 03 May 2016

DOTHAN - A renowned expert on Alabama genealogical records will lead a workshop on the challenges and best research practices for researching African-American family histories at the downtown branch of the Dothan Houston County Library on Saturday, May 21.

Presented by Troy University, the "African American Genealogical Research in Alabama" workshop is part of the Wiregrass Common Heritage Project, a summer event aimed at enhancing Wiregrass residents' understanding of the importance of their historical documents and photographs as well as preserving them for researchers across the state.

Frazine K. Taylor, former head of reference for the Alabama Department of Archives and History, will present the workshop, which will contain three lessons: Useful Resources in Overcoming the Challenges of African-American Genealogical Research, Genealogy at Its Worst: Researching Convicts' Records, and Speaking from the Grave: What Will Your Ancestors Tell You?

"Because of the significant disparities of social place and power between white and black Alabamians during the eras of slavery and racial segregation, African-American genealogical resources are often very different," said Dr. Marty Olliff, director of the Wiregrass Archives. "Ms. Taylor opens this world of sources to her students. Everyone who attends will gain an appreciation for the research strategies and sources they might not have considered using."

The workshop lasts from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and is free for the public with pre-registration. To register, call the Dothan Houston County Library at 334-793-9767. Space is limited to 35 attendees, and lunch will be provided.

Taylor works part-time at Alabama State University as an archivist, serves as the president of the Elmore County Association of Black Heritage and the chair of the Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission. She also serves on the boards of the Patrons for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture at ASU, the Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance, the Alabama Governor's Mansion Authority, and is the president of the Friends of the Alabama Archives.

In 2008, she authored "Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide."

The Wiregrass Common Heritage Project kicks off with Taylor's workshop and continues into the summer with the following events:

  • "Preserving Your Family Archives" workshop by Tuskegee University archivist Dana Chandler on June 4
    • 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Landmark Park.
    • Free with pre-registration, limited to 35 attendees.
    • Call 334-794-3452 to register.
  • Community Scanning Day on June 18
    • 1-5 p.m. at Dothan Houston County Library Downtown Branch.
    • Residents are invited to bring 12 unpublished family archival items to scan.
  • Community Scanning Day on June 25
    • 1-5 p.m. at Landmark Park.
    • Residents are invited to bring 12 unpublished family archival items to scan.

The project is funded by a $12,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant to the University's Wiregrass Archives at the Dothan Campus.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.