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IAAM launches groundbreaking genealogy resources at Center for Family History 

New research area and reference library expand access to millions of ancestral records

5 mins read

(Charleston, SC) – Historically, African Americans have faced significant challenges with discovering their ancestral history due to lost or difficult to find genealogical records. Now, the Center for Family History (CFH) at the International African American Museum (IAAM) is helping to bridge that gap. Recently the CFH launched its new Genealogy Research Area and Reference Library. These resources give visitors access to millions of online genealogical records, including over 1,300 books, and offers them the benefit of real-time expertise from onsite CFH genealogy experts. 

“Conventional wisdom has been that African Americans cannot trace their ancestry in the U.S., prior to 1870,” said CFH Director Brian Sheffey. “With the addition of these resources to the Center for Family History, the museum is making significant strides to change that misperception.”  

The tech forward CFH Research Area features iPad stations where visitors can search 32 popular genealogy and African American historical websites to begin or further the journey of uncovering their family history. Visitors are asked to bring a USB-C or a standard USB flash drive to save generated genealogy documents to help maintain the center’s paperless environment. 

Nearby, the CFH Reference Library is home to over 1,300 books covering a wide range of genealogy topics. Books reservations are available online at www.libib.com/u/iaamcfh for registered library patrons only. To become a patron of the Research Library, visitors must email their interest to cfh@iaamuseum.org along with their first and last name. 

The CFH offers free digital resources on family genealogy, which can be found here. Those seeking additional guidance on uncovering the history of their ancestry can register for a virtual one-on-one consultation. The cost is $79 for a 45-minute session. Consultations are offered Monday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Reservations can be made at the following link.

Admission to the Center for Family History is included with timed ticketed reservations for the museum. Tickets are available online at www.iaamuseum.org, and more details on the CFH Research Area and Reference Library are available at www.iaamuseum.org/center-for-family-history.

The CFH is also offering several programs open to the public to help individuals begin their genealogical search.

Getting Started with Genealogy

Date: Every Tuesday through Friday

Time: Session One – 11AM / Session Two – 2PM EST

Program Location: IAAM – 14 Wharfside Street, Charleston, SC, 29401 (Center for Family History)

Program Details: This 20-minute presentation on “Getting Started with Genealogy,” is followed by a 10-minute Q&A session, where curiosity about tracing family roots can be explored and answered. The session will guide both beginners and those with experience through the world of genealogy research, covering the essential steps on how to embark on a genealogy journey, unraveling the secrets of a family’s past. Participants will learn about proven methods for genealogy research, including the use of online databases, traditional archival work, and more.

Cost: Participation in the program is included with the purchase of a ticket to the museum every Tuesday through Friday

Registration: No advance registration required

Getting to Know the Center for Family History

Date: Saturday, April 20, 2024

Time: 1:00PM

Program Location: Virtual

Program Details: The Center for Family History at the International African American Museum is dedicated to helping individuals reconnect with their family history and ancestors. Whether an experienced genealogist or someone just getting started on their journey, the Center for Family history staff will discuss the challenges, the records and resources to help find connections to ancestors and discover their all too often hidden stories.

Panelist: Brian Sheffey – Director of CFH, Darius Brown – Research Assistant, Whitney Day – Research Assistant, and Grant Mishoe – Research Assistant

Cost: Free

Registration: (https://streamyard.com/watch/9J4WgeHgpieA)

Admission to the Center for Family History is included with timed ticketed reservations for the museum. Tickets are available online at www.iaamuseum.org, and more details on the CFH Research Area and Reference Library are available at www.iaamuseum.org/center-for-family-history.

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