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      Searching for Your Ancestors: The Genealogical Impact of Forced & Voluntary Virginia Migration in Richmond

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      September 14, 2019

      Saturday   9:00 AM

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      Searching for Your Ancestors: The Genealogical Impact of Forced & Voluntary Virginia Migration

      VIRGINIA FAMILY HISTORY DAY CONFERENCE Searching for Your Ancestors  The Genealogical Impact of Forced & Voluntary Virginia Migrations   Saturday, September 14, 2019 | 9:00 AM–5:00 PM OPTIONAL OPEN HOUSE: Friday, September 13, 2019 | 10:00 AM–4:30 PM Library of Virginia | 800 East Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23221  Cost: $35 ($14 for optional lunch)   The 1619 arrival of Africans marked a pivotal moment in Virginia’s history and eventually caused major shifts in its economy and culture. The 400th anniversary of this seminal event invites us to examine its influence on the practice of family history as well as the impact of subsequent migrations to, from, and within the commonwealth. Many American families have ancestors who migrated through Virginia, crisscrossing the map within historical migration routes. Africans and African Americans suffered the harshest experience of all migrants, experiencing the horrors of slave ships and having their families forcibly separated in the routine transactions of the American slave trade to which Virginia was essential. Famines, land clearings, poverty, and religious persecution pushed British and European souls out of the Old World to find a new life and new land in Virginia and beyond, whether as indentured servants or willing immigrants. In the process, native people lost their land to the colonizers due to warfare and forced resettlement.   This conference explores the ways in which the search for ancestors in records is affected by these historical currents. Attendees can learn more about the historical context of their family history stories and shed light on their ancestors’ journeys.   Join us for an exciting day of family history exploration and networking. Keynote speaker Ric Murphy—an educator, historian, lecturer, and award-winning author and the national vice president for history with the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society—will discuss "The 400th Commemoration of the First Documented Africans in English North America." An optional open house on Friday, September 13, offers computer lab sessions on topics such as newspapers and maps, one-on-one "Ask an Expert" sessions, and a tour of the Library. (Reservations are required for the “Ask an Expert” sessions. To schedule one, contact Ashley Ramey at or 804.692.3001.) The Library of Virginia hosts this third annual Family History Day conference in collaboration with the Virginia chapters of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc., the Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society, and the Richmond-area congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with support from FamilySearch.   For more information, contact Ashley Ramey at or 804.692.3001. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Schedule of Events:  8:15–9:00 am | REGISTRATION 9:00–10:00 am | KEYNOTE LECTURE The 400th Commemoration of the First Documented Africans in English North America RIC MURPHY | This year Americans commemorate an important milestone in our history, the 400th anniversary of the first recorded Africans in British North America, signaling an important milestone in American and African American history 10:15–11:15 am | SESSION I Virginia Geography: Its Effect on Settlement & Migration BARBARA VINES LITTLE |  Rivers, mountains, swamps, and Indian trails all affected the movement of people as they spread across the commonwealth. Often they provided a pathway, but not always in the chosen direction. We’ll look at how the geography of the land directed the movement of individuals, as well as how geography and events drew them into new territory or channeled them in specific directions—which we hope will allow us to follow the path in reverse to their origins. Understanding My Early Colonial Virginian Admixture: An Intersection of African, European & Native Genealogies BRIAN SHEFFEY |  DNA and paper trail research are revealing a paternal family saga that is as old as the Virginia colony itself. Presenter Brian Sheffey’s paternal ancestry stretches back to the first inhabitants of Jamestown, the 25 Africans who arrived in Jamestown in 1619, and the Pamunkey tribe. This revelation has a resulted in a project Sheffey informally refers to as the James River Project, with a key mission to identify and trace his 17th-century Virginia ancestors and their descendants through migrations within Virginia and throughout the colonial-era southern slaveholding states.  11:30 am–12:30 pm | SESSION II Tracing the Trafficked: Enslaved People in the Archive of the Domestic Slave Trade JOSHUA ROTHMAN |  Millions of enslaved people experienced being trafficked as part of the domestic slave trade in the United States. While evidence of their sales, purchases, and relocations has often not survived, we are able to document, in part or in full, the specific separations and forced migrations of tens of thousands of black people. This session explores the possibilities and limitations of the documentary record by drawing attention to significant types of source material, reconstructing the stories of enslaved people, and discussing how we might discover more about the lives of those entangled in the mechanisms of the slave trade. Indentured Servants in Colonial Virginia VICTOR DUNN |  Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Virginia faced a labor shortage. Coupled with the headright system, this encouraged the importation of servants into the colony. Learn where they came from, laws that help identify them, and the impact of the headright system on these individuals. Records that are unique to this group will also be examined.  12:30–1:15 pm | LUNCH 1:30–2:30 pm| SESSION III Case Study: “20 & Odd” Genealogy RIC MURPHY | Documented in early colonial records, a group of African men, women, and children known as the “20 and odd negroes” arrived on the English ship White Lion in the British colony of Jamestown in August 1619 at Point Comfort, along the James River, and reportedly were sold in exchange for food. Their journey documents a fascinating story of international colonialism, piracy, enslavement, British headrights, and colonial indentureship. As the field of African American history has evolved over the past 50 years, the body of knowledge about these lives during the colonial period has grown significantly. German Immigration to the Shenandoah Valley DANIEL BLY |  This session explores German immigration to the Shenandoah Valley, primarily in the 18th century, focusing on where in Germany the immigrants came from, their reasons for leaving, and why this area was an attractive destination. We will also examine patterns of settlement in Virginia and ways in which immigrants adapted to a new environment while maintaining elements of German culture. 2:45–3:45 pm | SESSION IV African American Migration Records at the Library of Virginia CARA GRIGGS |  This session will provide an overview of the types of records in the Library of Virginia’s holdings that track free and enslaved African Americans who were involved with the international and domestic slave trade, as well as other migrations within Virginia, including those resulting from voluntary relocations and the settlement of slaveholders’ estates. The Scotch-Irish from Pennsylvania through Virginia and Migration VICTOR DUNN | After settling in Pennsylvania early in the 18th century, these elusive ancestors began migrating southward into Virginia and the Carolinas. This session focuses on the migration from Pennsylvania and later directly from Ireland to Virginia. Migration out of Virginia will also be discussed along with settlement patterns throughout the Valley and Southside Virginia. Learn methods for locating landowning ancestors, as well as ways to identify non-landowning ancestors through court records and manuscript sources. 4:00–4:45 pm | WRAP-UP Closing Session & Conference Wrap-Up CONFERENCE PRESENTERS |  This wrap-up session will provide attendees with an opportunity to ask questions that may not have been answered in earlier sessions. Conference presenters will respond to as many questions as time will allow.

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