New Software Assists Black Families in Finding Their Heritage


– The Our House Family Trees, (Collection I) CD-ROM consists of lineage data compiled from 17 years of genealogical research. –In 1976, Alex Haley published Roots: The Saga of an American Family, a novel based on research into his heritage. Stemming from an ancestor, Kunta Kinte, who was kidnapped from Gambia and sold into slavery in 1767, it spent 22 weeks at the top of The New York Times Best Seller List. The blockbuster success of this novel and television adaptation, Roots in 1977, along with reprints and syndications has stimulated continued interest in genealogy, the desire for independent family reunions, and a greater appreciation for African-American family history and culture.

In 1986, the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. and then president, Dr. Dorothy I. Height, organized and hosted what would be the first nationally recognized Black Family Reunion Celebration (BFRC). Now in its 26th year, the Black Family Reunion Celebration, located on the Washington National Mall in Washington, DC celebrates African-American family values and serves as a rallying point for government agencies, private and public sector entities, corporations, community-based organizations, and families of all ethnicities to forge solutions to reinforce the institution of the “black family.” The BFRC festival attracts more than 250,000 attendees each year, many with a desire to discover their own heritage.

In 2014, the FWA Family History Society developed a software program that assists African American families with such a task. Founded in Texas in 2001, as a 501(C)(3) non-profit, this national genealogical society has aided African-Americans in tracking their heritage, through what would be a painstaking process of locating many official documents. The Our House Family Trees, (Collection I) CD-ROM consists of lineage data compiled from 17 years of genealogical research, a process made increasingly more difficult, having been hampered by scant record keeping, slave codes, and anti-literacy restrictions in place prior to the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. These records have been gathered, from rural southern counties across the United States, by hundreds of members and volunteers of the FWA Family History Society. This resource tool was designed to be an invaluable time-saver for today’s African Americans looking to trace their family’s roots.

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Source: Black News

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