SALT LAKE CITY-To commemorate Black History Month, the Utah Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and the Family History Library announce the Seventh Annual African American Family History Research Series. The free event will be held Saturday, February 6, 2010, at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The daylong series of classes and workshops will begin with a keynote address by author and genealogist, Darius Gray.

Trained in broadcast journalism at the University of Utah and Columbia University, Mr. Gray worked for KSL radio and television in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  Mr. Gray recently co-hosted “Questions and Ancestors” a weekly series focused on genealogy questions submitted by the broadcast audience. The program was produced by BYU Broadcasting for radio and television. He also participated in the highly acclaimed PBS family history series, “Ancestors,” and was involved in the KUED documentary, “Utah’s African American Voices.”

Perhaps his greatest genealogical accomplishment was as co-director of the project to organize and save to CD the “Freedman’s Bank Records.” This genealogy treasure contains the marriage, birth and family records of more than 480,000 freed slaves from the 1860s and has offered breakthroughs for countless African Americans seeking to trace their family roots.

Mr. Gray’s presentation, “The African American Family: We Must Remember!”, will begin at
9:30 a.m. in the main floor classroom.  There will also be free classes on how to succeed in doing African American family history research. The library staff and volunteers will be available throughout the day to offer free personal assistance. Family history classes and assistance with individual research will immediately follow the keynote address. 

The class topics include:

  • Beginning African American Research
  • Bureau of Refugees, Freedman and Abandoned Land Records
  • Migration Patterns: An Alternative for Locating African Origins

For a complete schedule of classes and times, go to www.familysearch.org, then to Family History Library and Monthly Class Schedules.

There are three ways to register for the free classes:

  • Send an e-mail noting desired classes to FHLClassReg@ldschurch.org
  • Call 1-801-240-4950.
  • In person at 9:00 a.m. the day of the event in the Family History Library.

The Family History Library is located at 35 North West Temple Street, directly west of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City and just half of a block north of the Temple Square TRAX station.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.