For many African Americans, the process of finding their family’s history can come with several obstacles. The ability to trace ancestral roots has often been hindered by the scarcity of pre-1870 census records, and any records that were kept by enslaved individuals were often handwritten, poorly maintained and lost over time.
Whether talking with family members, using a DNA test kit, or many other ways to trace ancestry, it can be challenging to know where to start your search. However, that doesn’t deter African Americans from trying to trace their roots. One in three Black adults has used more than one research method to find their family’s history, based on a 2022 Pew Research Study.
“American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson sat down with internationally known genealogist Tony Burroughs, who has consulted with celebrities such as Smokey Robinson and Oprah Winfrey about their family history, to hear how African Americans can start their search. Burroughs is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Black Genealogy and published a popular book, “Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree.”
Burroughs talks with Henderson, who has been on his own journey to discover his late father’s ancestral history, about the methodology of genealogy. He outlines the steps to take when researching your ancestry, as well as shares some of the unique challenges associated with tracing African American roots and the importance of knowing where you come from.
Subscribe to Detroit Public Television’s YouTube Channel & Don’t miss American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.
Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.