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African American Family History Day- NOW VIRTUAL

October 17, 2020 from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

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African American Family History Day- NOW VIRTUAL

October 17, 2020 from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

The registration form for this event is currently down but registration for the event is not closed. If you would like to register, please email Elise Paisant, Program and Events Coordinator at elise@poplarforest.org


Find your roots with help from genealogists who specialize in researching African American family histories. Join the Poplar Forest African American Advisory Group online for an interactive experience designed to help you navigate historical records in search of your African American family tree. Hear stories about exploring ancestry and learn about research methods, tools, ideas and strategies for tracing your ancestors. Admission to the digital event is free, but registration is required (via the form below) to receive the link to the livestream.

Virtual Event SChedule

10:00–11:00 am
An Introduction to African American History and Archaeology at Poplar Forest

Presenters: Dr. Eric Proebsting and Karen McIlvoy

Along with exploring Thomas Jefferson’s retreat home, Poplar Forest’s Archaeology Department is dedicated to understanding the lives of members of the plantation’s enslaved community. This presentation will discuss how archaeology plays an invaluable role in uncovering artifacts and other evidence to help share the stories of the more than 200 enslaved men, women and children held at Poplar Forest during Jefferson’s lifetime. This collaborative work includes ongoing efforts to develop family trees and personal biographies for those who lived and labored at Poplar Forest.

11:15 am–12:15 pm
The Case for DNA: Why Should I Test?

Presenter: Renate Yarborough Sanders

Are you on the fence about DNA testing? Do you wonder if the results are “real” or if they can truly help you to further your genealogy research? Learn about the different types of DNA testing and how each can help to inform genealogical research. Examples of real-life DNA success stories will also be shared.

12:15–1:00 pm
Lunch Break

1:00-2:00 pm
Monticello’s Getting Word African American Oral History Project

Presenters: Aurelia Crawford and Brandon Dillard

Join Aurelia Crawford, Research Assistant for the Getting Word African American Oral History Project at Monticello, and Brandon Dillard, Manager of Historic Interpretation, as they share the stories of Monticello’s oral history project documenting the descendants of those enslaved by Thomas Jefferson. Aurelia and Brandon will talk about the historic subjects they study, the importance of ongoing research, and the ways in which this history and its study changes over time.

Meet the Presenters


October 17, 2020
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Event Categories:


Poplar Forest
1776 Poplar Forest Parkway
Lynchburg, VA 24502 United States