Monday, July 14, 2014

The MAAGI Experience

On last week I attended the Midwestern African American Genealogical Institute (MAAGI).  This is my second year.  Last year was great, but this time the instructors really took it to the next level. 

There were four tracks offered:
I.               Methods & Strategies
II.             Technology & Social Media
III.           Pre and Post Emancipation
IV.            Professional Track

This year I took Track 1- Methods & Strategies taught by Dr. Shelley Murphy (aka "Family Tree Girl", Professor, Lecturer, & Historian).  We were taught to elevate our approach to genealogical research.  We had to create a timeline to help organize our research and identify gaps.  We often find documentation in our research and declare victory.  Finding the documentation proving that our ancestors exist is not enough.  We have to keep in mind what we found is just a snap shot in time.  The next step is, 

We learned how to find additional clues from the documentation we found that will lead us to additional information by dissecting the data.  Dr. Shelley Murphy definitely challenged us to think outside of the box because every record creates a record.  However, before we can begin we have to determine what question we are trying to answer.

After the day sessions we met in the evenings to work in groups getting additional assistance and tips on furthering our research. 

During an after hour study session, two of the participants met for the first time at MAAGI.  They discovered there was a connection to a common ancestor (benefit of doing a timeline).  I could not do justice telling retelling the story.  Their amazing discovery at MAAGI can be heard on “African Roots Podcast” hosted by Angela Walton-Raji.

Episode #275 of the African Roots Podcast is now uploaded. Tune in to hear a special episode with Renate Genealogist Yarborough Sanders and Gary Franklin as guests, tell their amazing story!

Track II – Technologies & Social Media taught by Bernice Bennett (Blog Talk Radio Host, Author, Lecturer and Community Historian)
The participants created a blog talk radio show; check it out the story about Matilda played by a fellow participant.

Track III – Taught by Janis Forte - (Author, Lecturer, Historian)The participants learned research discovery in Pre and Post Emancipation Records

Track IV – Taught by Angela Walton-Raji - (Lecturer, African Roots Podcaster, Author, Historian and Blogger)
The participants learned about Genealogy as a Profession.

The other amazing instructors at MAAG were:
·      Drusilla Pair -- aka "Professor Dru", Lecturer, Historian and Playwright, Blogger
·      Nicka Smith -- aka "Who Is Nicka Smith?", Professional Photographer, Videographer, Historian and Blogger
·      Thomas MacEntee -- aka "Geneablogger", a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media, lecturer, historian, blogger
·      Judy Russell -- aka "The Legal Genealogist", Attorney, Lecturer, Historian, Blogger
·      Charles Brown, Jr.MAAGI Director, one of the founders and president of the St. Louis African American History & Genealogy Society

The new friends and networks were priceless.  This year’s institute was definitely first class.  Looking forward to 2015.

MAAGI 2014 Participants


  1. Truly MAAGI 2014 was an amazing experience! The people were wonderful, and the hands on activities were outstanding!

  2. I fully enjoyed MAAGI 2014! Great rundown on what happened at this awesome Institute!

  3. Yes, I am also looking forward to MAAGI 2015.