2814692  (Photo of 2015 MAAGI Students and Instructors, St. Louis, MO, Harris Stowe State University)

Inquiring minds want to know! Let me tell you about MAAGI. (I am so excited) It is the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute, thus MAAGI (pronounced maggie). It is open to all, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, or national origin and is held over three days, July 12, 13 and 14. This is our 4th year and we are going strong. 2016 MAAGI will be held in Ft. Wayne Indiana at the Genealogy Center ( MAAGI is the genealogy teaching institute not an annual genealogy conference. MAAGI also is the only institute that is focused on African American genealogy in the United States. You can read about our history by visiting our website ( Listen to the video we did while in Salt Lake City attending Rootstech 2016. (We were wearing Red in honor of Go Red Day)

I want to share brief information on Track 1, Fundamental Methods and Strategies, since there has been some enhancements for year 4. The new location had a little influence on the enhancements. It provides the fundamentals you need to have to ensure sound research tools and strategies regardless of your level of experience.

Each track is composed of 12 different classes by various facilitators.

* Time and File Management-
* Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau
* Determining the Evidence
* Analyzing Your Records and Your Research
* Public Records and the Law
* Slavery & the Law
* Documenting Your Community – Case Study
* Breaking Down the Walls
* Typical Actions in Probate of a Slave Holding Estate
*  DNA & Genealogy
* Military Records and Resources
* Homestead Records

4402964_orig (This photo is showing the evening session where some of the class members are working as a team to access the brick walls of others)

The classes will take you from assessing how you maintain your files, organizing your files, understanding and developing a retrieval system. Next students will look at specific record sets linked to African Americans lives and how to tell the story. There is a pre-assignment of developing a timeline that will continue to be a living document. Also, in order to receive a certificate of completion students will have to draft a research plan based on the timeline.

In the timeline students will set a goal on what it is they want to know about their ancestor, then log in everything that happens around the ancestor that they know. This includes every bit of information and evidence you are able to acquire about his or her family, and the references/citations. Births, death’s, marriages, landownership, local events, anything that could or did impact the area your ancestor lived in. It’s a biographical outline and you will walk through time documenting each year. You will learn about some new records sets, new tools to use and how to specifically analyze the information you have obtained and question the information you see and spot the gaps and conflicts. The “Murphy SO WHAT” concept will walk you through a simple, but fun way to pick apart each component of information on any piece evidence. Then students use what has been extracted to plan their next steps which is the drafting their genealogy research plan.

6125826 Angela Walton-Raji, coordinating the Writing Track will teach you now to use the Freedmen Bureau mapping site. It’s new and highlights how critical this record set is in researching the lives of African Americans right after the Civil War. Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist will walk students through the law, public law and slavery laws. This will help you understand which laws were in place at the time your ancestors were free or enslaved. David Paterson, new to MAAGI, will bring forth tips and tools to assess and work though probate records of a slave holding estate. In addition, he will teach the steps in documenting a community. Bernice Bennett the Coordinator of the “new” DNA track will step in and discuss some basics on DNA and genealogy. Breaking down the wall specifically focuses on genealogy challenges and brick walls from the students. The class will work as a team in assessing each others  “barriers” in their research. And lastly, you will learn about military records and land records, how to access them and use them for leads in your research.


Visit the website at to register and book your hotel room and also enjoy some videos


2 responses to “MAAGI, MAAGI, What’s MAAGI?”

  1. I just found out about this. I’m going to have to be on the look out for next years so I can attend. I know this was a wonderful event.

    1. Next year has been scheduled, join the FACEBOOK page, Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI)

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