and Lowcountry Africana Publish Slave Records

South Carolina estate and bills of sale from 1732 -1872 are coming online. So far, only three percent are actually available online for free at

You can read the entire story here at FamilyTreeMagazine:

In addition to the article are some informative links for help with researching your African American ancestors.

January/February 2009 News at the Printer

For those of you waiting with baited breath — the January/February issue of  AAHGS News is at the printer finally!  We’re hopeful to return to a normal printing schedule with the March/April issue.  Thank you for your patience!

Soon to follow:  an index of the links for the Jan/Feb ’09 issue.

AAHGS Election 2008: Important Update

The AAHGS Board of Directors has voted to defer final ruling on the recent election for officers for the 2009-2010 term pending completion of a review of employed procedures.  Current officers will continue in their positions until the issues surrounding the process have been resolved.  Chapter presidents, AAHGS News, and the AAHGS website will be updated when resolution has been reached.

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish all of our AAHGS News readers a Happy New Year 2009! After an extended absence, we are back on the blog with the November/December and January/February AAHGS News newsletters in the works as I write this.

Thank you to all of our members for continuing their involvement with our organization. Here is the latest update regarding the 2008 elections from our President, Khadijah Matin:

“The AAHGS Board of Directors has voted to defer final ruling on the recent election for officers for the 2009-2010 term pending completion of a review of the procedures employed. We apologize for the delay and any confusion; however, we want to be absolutely clear that process followed comports with our governing documents and that your rights as members have been protected. To that end, the current officers will continue in their positions until the issues surrounding the process have been resolved. When the resolution has been reached, you will be notified through your chapter presidents, through the newsletter, and through the website.  If you have any questions, please contact the vice-presidents for genealogy or history,
Charles Howard at ; or
Denise Lancaster Young at

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2009!

A Cemetery Rediscovered

I am always concerned about lost cemeteries.  Most people would imagine that once they bury their loved ones, that hallowed ground would remain forever so.  Unfortunately, I have seen too many cases where this was the exception rather than the rule.  One such case came to my attention this week from Cape Giradeau County, Missouri, in the News Leader newspaper. 

Shady Grove Cemetery in southeast Missouri near Dutchtown houses the remains of area residents from 1887 to 1972.  Several books have been written on the Shady Grove area, a rural black community whose residents came from surrounding towns and slave-holding estates.  Two noted in the article:  “Rural Schools and Communities in Cape Girardeau County” by Christabel Lacy and Bob White; and “Dark Woods and Periwinkle:  A Glance Back at Shady Grove” by Diana Steele-Bryant and Sharon Sanders.  In Dark Woods the authors noted that 245 burials in Shady Grove cemetery were documented utilizing mortuary records and obituaries from local newspapers.  Unfortunately, even this publicity has been unable to revive the cemetery which sits overgrown with poison ivy and weeds. 

For me, the article raised more questions than it answered including whether or not anyone was actively pursuing National Register of Historic Places paperwork mentioned, where one could find the names of the individuals buried within, and if there were plans in place for a cleanup effort. 

I have requested further information from contacts listed in the article.  I will report back when I hear.

Eric Ledell Smith, Pennsylvania Historian and black history author dies

Eric Ledell Smith, associate historian at the State Museum of Pennsylvania and author of several books on black history such as African American Theater Buildings: An Illustrated Historical Directory 1900-1955; Blacks in Opera: An Encyclopedia of People and Companies, 1873-1993; and many other works and pamphlets about black history for the museum regarding blacks in Pennsylvania died in his home of unknown causes but foul play was not suspected.  To read the full story click on the link below:


Welcome to the new blog for the Afro-American Historical Genealogical Society (!  In an effort to connect with our membership in between newsletters and journal publications, this blog has been created to keep you informed about happenings, resources, and news for those interested in African American research.  If you have items of interest that you would like to see covered in the blog or have an idea for article for either of the above publications, please feel free to email me at aahgsnews “at” yahoo “dot” com.