10 of the Best African American Genealogy and History Blogs and Websites

There are countless blogs and sites dedicated to African American history and genealogy; this is a list of 10 of the best. They are diverse and potentially helpful for writing as well as doing personal genealogy work.

FreeAfricanAmericans.com provides information on free blacks during colonial times in colonial states. There are links to information about Native American slaves as well as blacks freed after 1782.

Christine’s Genealogy Website is truly a labor of love. It contains information about slaves and emancipation.

Crestleaf’s 80 Resources for researching African American ancestry is amazing and pretty exhaustive. This is a page you will want to bookmark for later.

BlackPast.org is another great resource that not only provides information but resources for your searches and research.

Afrigeneas is a site for searches and for historical information.

Bernice Bennett’s Blog Talk Radio program is dedicated to history and genealogy. Her guests run the gamut from helpful to extremely helpful.

PBS’ History Detectives is a gem for learning how to research and learning the whys of research. You can also use their site to learn about investigative techniques and there is a section for educators, which is also a blessing for those of us in need of educating.

OurBlackAncestry.com has one of the best black history timelines found online.

The Library of Congress slave narratives are first-hand accounts of slave life and emancipation. The people interviewed can tell you best about slavery.

The Smithsonian magazine online has great articles about African American life. Do a keyword search and you will find little known information as well as long-form articles about historical facts.

Details are very important to writers and even in personal genealogy research. The hope is that these resources will help your writing become richer or help you learn more about your ancestry.

6 Resources for Writing Found on Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com is more than a genealogy site. Yes, you can create a family tree on Ancestry but you can also research historical information that helps you build a fiction story or tell a non-fictional story involving rich details.

The Ancestry Blog contains scores of stories about successful family searches on the site. It also contains things like coupons for some of their paid services, how-tos and tips for using registries, and search help. It’s incredibly organized into categories, so it you will find it easy to use.

Hire a Genealogist/Expert is a great way to ask someone adept at genealogy delicate and complicated questions to shape your story.

Ancestry Academy is the organization’s visual classroom on genealogy. You will find tons of instructional videos to assist you in a personal search or professional.

Message Boards enable users to ask questions and conduct queries. The easiest search is the surname search. Connect with others who can assist you in writing and with facts too.

Fold3.com is their affiliate site that houses military records and other government-related information. There are weekends and durations of free use, depending on your Ancestry membership type.

Newspapers.com is another affiliate that houses a wealth of archived newspapers from around the world.

Finally, a bonus is the LifeStory feature found on each person entered on a family tree. LifeStory offers historical context of the person’s life. To test it, sign up for Ancestry and fill out your personal information, then look at your own LifeStory entry. It’s pretty neat to see your life put in narrative form.

New Fun with Facebook Pages

Facebook pages were kind of blah and bland for a long while. Most page owners struggled for participation and activity that engaged. Facebook just added a few changes that could make using your page a little more fun, and make the page even more useful to you.

  • The look has changed.
  • You can now use the @yourpagename for a username.  If you’ve already set your username, then it will convert automatically – depending on the length of the name. If you haven’t set a username, use this link to do so. (Log into your account and follow this link https://www.facebook.com/username)
  • You can also link your other social as well as find your page links easier. Even your call to action will be found right underneath your page’s profile pic. All of  your apps appear there too.
  • There are more options for posting photos. You can create an album, post a photo singularly, create a photo carousel or create a slideshow video complete with music. I suggest using a tool like Canva to uniform the sizes of your photos before uploading to a carousel or slideshow.
  • The ABOUT section is on the right and more visible. And …
  • You can search for posts on your page, because there is a search bar also on the right.

The new look and features are great for people with no personal website. You can be very creative in arranging the pages content and how you showcase your products or work. And don’t forget you can use hashtags on Facebook too.

Play around and let me know how you like it in the comment section below.


Mental Floss: A Smart Website Chock-full of Information for Writers

Mental Floss is a magazine (online and print) that publishes some of the best quizzes, trivia, and information without the boredom and stuffiness. It’s actually quite entertaining. Writers, however, can find some useful articles on the site to help you with the process of writing as well as gird you with a bit more knowledge.

If  you do search on the site using the keyword “writing,” then you find articles about everything from little known facts about authors to little known facts about grammar to word usage trivia. Here are three articles you might find useful.

Do you need some social media content to share on Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn? Well, you can do keyword searches on Mental Floss’s site that could prove useful and fun. Try putting in the keywords “nursing,” “history,” and “African Americans” to see what you find. In fact, use keywords that are close to the subjects you like sharing, because there are many on this site.

Lastly, a fun offering are their quizzes. Try these quizzes: Pick the Correct Word for Each Definition and Think You’re House Smart?

Mental Floss is a great place online to waste some time, but it is also filled very useful information to make us all better writers…and learners.

Single Mama Dating Drama

Single Mama Dating DramaHello Readers,

Are you looking for an excellent book with multiple short stories? Well, check out the new anthology “Single Mama Dating Drama.”

Authors – Cherritta L. Smith ~ Denise Anquenette ~ Patricia A. Bridewell ~ Trina Charles                Tomeka Farley Daugherty ~ Monica Lynne Foster ~ Princess F.L. Gooden ~ Candice Y. Johnson Sonia Johnson ~ Michelle Cornwell-Jordan ~ Charlie Marcol ~ Michelle Mitchell                Dwon D. Moss ~ Jasmyne K. Rogers ~ Michelle Lynn Stephens ~ Kimberly D. Taylor       Leiann B. Wrytes

Brown Girls Books – Preorders available on Amazon.comhttp://amzn.to/2cXHNzk  

Single Mama dating! It doesn’t get any more complicated than that. How can you find love when you have a career and kids? Where can you find that love connection? Is he on-line, in church, standing in front of the grapefruit in the grocery store? In these hilarious and heart-warming stories, you’ll find single moms finding love in the most interesting of places, all while steering clear of the crazies, the lazies and definitely, the shadies.

In Single Mama Dating Drama, seventeen talented writers share fictional stories about the woes, pitfalls, and joys of dating while raising kids. From Monica Lynne Foster’s explosive tale of an ex who fights for custody of his child while fighting to gain his ex-wife back from her newfound love…to Dwon D. Moss’ hilarious Internet dating spin on a widow who runs into a holy roller, a pretty boy and a liar….to Candice Y. Johnson’s laugh-out-loud take on a mama whose baby girl prophetically dismisses all of her potential suitors…to Denise Anquenette’s story of how one woman’s attempt to take back control of her life strains the bonds and boundaries of her relationship with her children…..to Michelle Mitchell’s sticky tale of a woman who meets her mate at a sperm bank…. these captivating stories are sure to make you laugh, shake your head, clutch your pearls, and cheer for these mamas and all their dating drama!

Here is a snippet of my story  –  “ I Got My Mojo Working

Single and looking” is past tense after singer Mojo serenades his way into Laila’s heart. Their similar interests in music and another shot at love draw them closer. Until their busybody teens start plotting to keep them apart. Will their relationship flourish? Or will their kids’ mischief ruin a budding romance?

Happy Reading!


15 Activities Your Characters Should Be Doing In the Fall

Do you have a story that is set in the fall? Instead of just writing about brightly colored leaves and pumpkins, be more descriptive with their activities. Here is a list of 15 fall activities that can inspire your work.

  1. Have them attend an Oktoberfest. Every city and town in America has an Oktoberfest, and each of those festivals is famous for its food. Check out this list of recipes at FoodRepublic.com.
  2. Maybe your character likes to swap out their summer door wreath for a festive fall wreath.
  3. Fall exercise activities include biking, hiking, and running an indoor track.
  4. Does your character need to get away? Have them rent a cabin in the woods or take a ride in the country.
  5. If you have a sports-loving character, fall is football time. They can tailgate or attend a Friday Night Lights game at the local high school.
  6. Preparing a garden for frost is a great activity for your gardening character.
  7. If your character is young at heart or just needs to shake things up a bit, have them fall into a huge pile of leaves.
  8. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, perhaps your character is binge-watching a program on Netflix, and prone in the fetal on a comfy sofa.
  9. Or on that same rainy day, maybe your character decides to go outside and jump puddles in a pair of yellow rain boots.
  10. A weekend trip to a local winery for a tasting and lunch is a great thing to do in the fall.
  11. Perhaps your character likes to go outside in the mornings to drink a cup of coffee and watch birds fly south.
  12. Give your character some indoor “me time” by having them work on a craft project.
  13. Have your character bake fall goodies like pumpkin bread and pies.
  14. Maybe your character has to pick the last of their vegetables from a garden to can them or freeze them for the winter.
  15. And your character could prepare their house for the winter by checking gutters, changing windows, and raking leaves.

Do you know what else your characters can do in the fall? They can do whatever you do in the fall. That should make them mighty interesting.


7 Ways to Avoid Plagiarizing in Your Work

In the previous blog post about plagiarism, we provide a primer or 101 lesson in the act. In this post, we will give you 7 tips to avoid plagiarizing in your work.

  1. Plagiarism includes images, video, and music. All need to be properly credited as in stating who the songwriter is in sharing music, or the producer is with video, and credit the owners of images you use in your work, including on social media. You will find that some images, video, and music will not require attribution, but check to be certain.
  2. Use quotation marks when using more than two words from a written piece and cite the author.
  3. Paraphrase something and make sure you cite the original author. For example, instead of using a direct quote, write the words in your own way, but make sure you share where you found that information.
  4. Plagiarism includes lifting and stealing ideas. If you are using an idea that you found somewhere else, simply give credit where credit is due.
  5. Understand that while facts cannot be held to the rules of plagiarism, the words used to express those facts can be held to the rules of copyright infringement.
  6. In works of fiction, check direct quotes by other authors and orators; make sure your story idea and its execution is not exactly the same as someone else’s work; and  look for similar titles and storylines on Amazon.
  7. Always remember that just because you found it on the internet, it is not always free for your use. Before using information, images, etc., make sure you can identify the author and owner, and then give them the appropriate credit.

There is so much to remember in regard to copyright infringement and plagiarism, which is why using a site like Plagiarism.org is highly recommended.