African American Genealogy Workshop

Date(s) – Feb 02 2019
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

In honor of Black History Month, the museum will co-sponsor a workshop to help you find your African American ancestors at the Rome-Floyd County Library from 10am-12pm on Saturday, February 2nd. Sponsored in-part by both the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and the Rome-Floyd County Library, the workshop will feature a presentation by Emma Davis Hamilton, a genealogist who specializes in African American ancestry, particularly when searching for enslaved relatives owned by Native Americans.

When learning about history, many researchers are surprised to discover that many Native Americans were slaveholders. Long before the African slave trade existed in America, there was evidence of inter-tribal servitude and slavery throughout the various Native nations that lived here. However, slavery for Native Americans was often the result of warfare, with slaves being taken from conquered tribes. With European contact, however, the concept of slavery in North America began to change—African slavery was a lifetime condition that passed from generation to generation.

For the Cherokee, the use of African slaves for large-scale labor emerged after the United States became its own nation. Soon after American Revolution, the United States government encouraged the Cherokee people to assimilate into American life and lead a more farm-based lifestyle that included subsistence farming, plantation farming, and ranching. As a result, the Cherokee began to raise cash crops such as tobacco and cotton that required slave labor. In general, slaveholding in the Cherokee Nation was limited to a wealthy minority of Cherokees, including Major Ridge. On the Chieftains property, Major Ridge owned a 210-acre plantation with between 15 and 30 slaves tending the fields and house. The property also included three slave cabins.

Finding enslaved ancestors is a challenge for many African American researchers, a challenge often met by professional researchers like Emma Davis Hamilton. Emma Davis Hamilton is a native of Florida. She has 25 years of experience as a genealogy and history researcher. She is the past president and a charter member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Metro Atlanta Chapter and a board member of the Georgia Genealogical Society and the Friends of the Georgia Archives. Hamilton is also a member of the National Genealogical Society; the South Carolina Genealogical Society and the Florida Genealogical Society. She has made presentations at the National Genealogical Society conference, the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, the National Archives at Atlanta, the Georgia Archives, and the Atlanta History Center. Hamilton a is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel (U.S. Army). She received her undergraduate degree from Howard University and a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University.

The February 2nd workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To make your reservation, please contact the museum at (706) 291-9494 or via email at by January 30, 2019.

THETA OMICRON OMEGA’S MISSION: The members of Theta Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated shall cultivate high scholastic achievement; ethical standards and personal development while supporting family unity and implementing effective programs that positively impact the communities we serve.

Sherry Turner, President

Yvonne Prater, Vice-President & Program Chairman

Lauren Blair, Target IV ~The Art Chairman