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A Genealogist In The Archives: Black History Month: Finding Lucy

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Black History Month: Finding Lucy

February is Black History Month and all month long my blog posts will be about researching African American ancestors. 

I was very excited to see that my local news station WSMV-Nashville Channel 4 is doing a series of stories during Black History Month highlighting African American history and genealogy. Their first story really interested me as a genealogist and as an archivist. 

1859 Ambrotype Photograph of 9-Year Old Lucy Waggoner

Marius Payton, one of the WSMV news anchors ran across an ambrotype photograph of a little 9-year old girl named Lucy in an issue of the Tennessee State Museum Magazine. This photograph is dated 1859 and Lucy was enslaved with the Waggoner family in Davidson County, Tennessee. Marius reached out to the Afro-American Historical Genealogical Society (AAHGS) to help him research the history of this little girl. The AAHGS website is at this link:

I will not recount the remainder of the story here in my blog, you can watch the video of what researchers found at this link: fbclid=IwAR2ErrM5aIs0F4Y6o2XctPvdHimC0ZaEOHA3nNJxZAxfDlTEqSc5qwuXW1A

Researching African American genealogy can be a daunting task, especially once you get back before 1870. But do not let that deter you from researching your black history. Many archives have records, photographs and artifacts that could help you. February is the time to be on the look out for these archives to share what they have as we celebrate the lives and history of African Americans. 

Maybe you have a story like Lucy Waggoner, I would encourage you to not give up and to keep searching for the answers. Everyone who ever lived on planet Earth has a story to tell and we as genealogists need to be telling that story so it is not forgotten.


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