‘Researching African American Genealogy,’ a Panel Discussion to be Held on February 24

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—February 6, 2013. ‘Researching African American Genealogy,’ a panel discussion, will be presented by the Park Forest Historical Society, Sunday February 24, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. at Park Forest Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive. Six panelists will present their own research and resources available. This program is free and open to the public.

Panelists include: Evelyn Nabors, of the African -American Genealogical & Historical Society of Chicago; Pam Taylor, Genealogy Club Facilitator, New Lenox Public Library; Viola Baecher, Jane Brown and Rose Thomas. Each will be speaking about her own research. Dr. Rodger Lerohl, Director of the LDS Chicago Heights Family History Center will talk about resources they have available. Panelists will be setting up displays.

More about our panelists

Evelyn Nabors, Vice-President of the African-American Genealogical & Historical Society of Chicago (AAGHSC), has done research for 17 years, tracing her roots to the early 1800s. Evelyn lectures on conducting family history research, hosted the CAN-V show, “Tracing Your Family Roots,” and has published five books. She is currently chairperson planning the AAGHSC’s 31st family history conference. Her research is focused on Mississippi and Alabama, surnames Nabors, McGaughy, Harper, White and Parks. Evelyn does genealogy because she believes, “we honor our ancestors by remembering their names.”

Pam S. Taylor has taught many classes on genealogy research. The Genealogy Club Facilitator at New Lenox Public Library, she has been researching the birth names of her children, including Mayo, Gaines, and Lindsey. She also has had success researching her own family names of Hanaway, Wozniak, Ziolkowski, Sommer, Guinee, Sawicki, and Wieczorek.

Viola Baecher spoke to us last February on her discoveries. Viola, a former educator at Rich Central, has successfully traced her family’s roots to Virginia, and to many prominent families in Stockton, CA. She hopes she can encourage more people to discover and share their own stories. “It’s especially important for African-Americans,” said Baecher. “We just don’t have enough of these incredibly positive stories for people to see and to appreciate their own stories.”

Jane Brown, active in South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society, (SSGHS), researches both of her parents’ families. She has traced her ancestors to James Connor Baumann of Kenner, Louisiana, and to Dr. Benjamin Prescott. Her grandfather married a Cherokee Indian. Ms. Brown is a Hazel Crest village trustee. 

Rose M. Thomas, a retired educator, now PFHS volunteer, has helped with this program. Rose has researched her maternal line (Pirtle) to pre-Civil War slave owners, now showing six generations on her family tree. She has taken online genealogy classes at About.com, FamilySearch.org, and Ancestry.com. She took a series of workshops at GSU taught by Pam S. Taylor, and researches at the Family History Library in Chicago Heights, Il. She is working on her paternal line (Huffman, Norman), and her husband’s (Thomas). Rose’s goals are to begin attending genealogy conferences, and go on genealogy vacations to the states where her ancestors lived.

To learn more about the Park Forest Historical Society, their programs, or the 1950s Park Forest House Museum, visit www.parkforesthistory.org.