My very first attempt at creating something to display my genealogical research was compiled in the memorabilia calendar below in 2007. It was difficult because.. well I didn't know what I was doing! With the help of Yolanda Ciolli, who was the owner of the now defunct 50 Minute Photo; she came up with the design idea. Because of her -- the calendar came to fruition -- and she really made it happen in terms of aesthetics and layout. She's currently running an independent book publishing and customized printing shop called AKA:Yola. It was a project that gave us both a headache; and I am pretty sure when all was said and done she didn't profit from this venture. But she believed in what I was trying to do and I am immensely proud of her hard work on my behalf. Yolanda has a million-dollar smile and uplifting personal energy and spirit that you can feel whenever you are in her presence. I owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude for breathing life into something I imagined I could do (with help of course).I carried over the Adinkra symbol to the calendar -- which was the background on my website called African Americans in Missouri. I created this site with the help of my friend Belinda Forgy who taught me how to build a webpage via IRC -- early in the mornings when my kids were much younger. Again -- she believed in the project, taught me for nothing and helped in anyway she could. I am very grateful for the investment of her time and knowledge.
I think I will start this blogging writing journey by reviewing the "Love Does Not Get Lost On It's Way Home" calendar and telling the stories that I learned about each page from research. It's not a complete story; but what I learned, how I learned it and why it was meaningful to me. Readers can jump in at any time; and tell me more.. or correct me.
The calendar was designed to be memorabilia, attract the attention of older relatives whose memory might be jogged from seeing photos and those who generally had an interest in this ancestry of our family from Bunceton, Cooper County, Missouri. The research journey has expanded over time to include projects that took me to Southern Missouri, Northeast Missouri, Kansas City and St. Louis. I don't profess to be an expert at all.. but I am intensely nosy (my dad used to tease me and say I should have worked for the CIA) and solving genealogical puzzles is a challenge that captures my intellectual curiosity. I like collaborating on research because two brains and two sets of eyes don't think alike but can really produce great finds when you question everything and then ask: "What else is there to know on this subject? And, "What's out there in terms of records and documentation?"
There's a pretty cool webcast series on the Missouri Secretary of State's website called: African-American Genealogy: Putting Together the Pieces of Your Past.
The program summary says: Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, Family History Research Consultant, explores the resources available online and in local, state and national historical repositories that help family historians discover more about their African-American heritage. This five-part series provides helpful tips on accessing the best websites, which records are most beneficial, and how to get the most out of original records. Together, "What's Out There?;" "What's Your Story?: Finding It on the Web;" "How Do I Find Out More?;" "What Happened During the Wars?;" and "How Do I Put All the Information Together?" teach researchers to use all the pieces they find to gain a better understanding of those who came before them.
If you are super curious and can't wait for me to write about my research journeys -- then please get started watching the webcast series when your time permits. I am indebted to the Missouri State Archives which produced a very professional and well-organized web program focused on African American genealogical research.
Stay tuned ....Traci Wilson-Kleekamp