Renowned genealogist Tony Burroughs presented the wisdom-filled webinar "Avoid Traps in African American Genealogy" tonight on The webinar focused on common pitfalls that can hinder your search for African American ancestors. The webinar will be archived within the next few days and will remain free for viewing at any time in the future – you don't have to be an subscriber to view it.
     Among the genealogy traps discussed:
Accepting Information in Census Records as Gospel: We must expect variation in Census records for any given family over time: variations in spelling, dates of birth, birthplace. To understand why, we must understand the Census itself –  you can learn more by viewing the webinar broadcast, and also in the article Are census records reliable for genealogy research? by Michael Hait, Coordinator of the Lowcountry Africana Resource Library.
Only Tracing Direct Ancestors: So often the information for an individual ancestor we seek can be found in records of their family members. For example, only researching your grandfather, great-grandfather and his parents can cause you to overlook valuable information in the records of their children, or their siblings. It is important to gather records for all of your ancestors you have identified. Michael Hait has written an excellent article on this topic in the African American Genealogy Examiner: Using 'clusters' to track your ancestors through multiple census years.
     These and many more pitfalls were addressed in Tony Burroughs' webinar. To watch for the archived webinar which should be available in the next few days, please visit's Webinars: Online Seminars page at
     While you wait for the archived version of the webinar, we invite you to visit Michael Hait's Resource Library on Lowcountry Africana! Be sure to follow the links to his archived African American Genealogy Examiner articles for in-depth articles on sound research methods for African American genealogy.

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