The Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center helps people begin their family history journey and learn the basics of researching African American genealogy. Visitors may register for a genealogy session, view our latest exhibit and explore Transitions in Freedom: The Syphax Family, a digital interactive exploring the family's genealogy through documents, photographs and maps.
Genealogy Research Sessions
Are you interested in conducting genealogy research on your family? Join our staff and volunteers for Genealogy Tuesdays held in the Robert F. Smith Explore Your Family History Center on Level 2 of NMAAHC. Visitors can register in the Center for free sessions that begin at 11am (EST). If you're not able to join us at the museum, you can request an appointment for a free virtual session over Zoom by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During both onsite and virtual sessions visitors learn the basics of using genealogy databases including Ancestry Library Edition and FamilySearch.org. Through researching public documents, visitors will learn how to navigate the U.S. Federal Census, vital records, military records, and capture images of their documents to share with others. Intermediate research strategies using slave schedules, wills and Freedmen's Bureau records may also be shared for those who have traced their ancestors to the 19th century. The Center also collects finding aids for countries outside the U.S. and assists with basic queries from international visitors.
The Family History Center offers periodic public programs covering a variety of topics in genealogy and history related to the African American experience. These programs allow our visitors to expand their knowledge and connect with an ever-growing genealogy community around the country. Visitors interested in our public programs should email us at email@example.com and look for upcoming events on NMAAHC's homepage. Our past public programs can be viewed here.
Black Homesteaders of the South
Pauli Murray - Proud Shoes
Pauli Murray’s Proud Shoes: A Classic in African American Genealogy explores the family history of Pauli Murray, a pioneering lawyer, priest, and writer who published a major African American genealogy. Her book, Proud Shoes: An African American Family, showcases the racial and social dynamics between the union of a free black family from the north and a mixed-race family of the south.
Robert F. Smith Explore Your Family History Center
The Explore Your Family History Center operates as part of the Robert Frederick Smith Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History. The Smith Center provides digital resources supporting the preservation, digitization and sharing of African American family history. The other initiatives of the Center include the Great Migration Home Movie Project, the Community Curation Program and the Internship and Fellowship program.
Explore the Collection
Search the Museum's Collection for objects related to African American family and community traditions.
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