Genealogical Methods: Using Historical Records (Introduction) – William Pretzer


Bill Pretzer:
Good morning. In the interest of the scientific method, we’re going to try to keep as close
to the time schedule as possible, so if you would take you seats, please. As if anticipating Dr. Michael Blakey’s call
for genealogists and family historians to remain rooted in the written record, the planners
of this — or of this conference, in fact scheduled the very next session to be a session
on using historical records for genealogical research. I’m Bill Pretzer, the Senior History
Curator at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and it’s my pleasure
to welcome you to this session. This morning, to explore the use of written
records for genealogical and family research, we have three distinguished presenters from
three of the preeminent research institutions in the United States, and I’ll introduce all
three of them at this time, and then let them take the podium, make their presentations,
and we’ll take a question and answer. And I want to emphasize: question, answer. [laughter] At the end of each of their presentations,
so we’ll, in fact, have three question-and-answer periods. Our first speaker, Ahmed Johnson, is a reference
librarian, specializing in African-American genealogy in the Local History and Genealogical
Room of the Library of Congress. A widely-recognized speaker and the creator of an online reference
guide to African-American genealogy and family history, Mr. Johnson will begin our discussion
of using the written record for family research. Ahmed?

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