Today, we recognize Black History Month by celebrating Black culture and the contributions that Black Americans have made throughout the years. Even still, an unsettling amount of Black history goes unrecognized. Portions have been left out of history books, others were never recorded. Luckily, genealogy can fill in those gaps.
On Feb. 18, the Evanston Public Library partnered with the African American History and Genealogy Study Group of Evanston to create the Family Sleuth Project. Participants were given clues designed to highlight important figures in the Black community that have been left out of history while also teaching them how to navigate the world of genealogy and met to discuss their findings and ways to continue researching their own family histories.
The members of the African American History and Genealogy Study Group of Evanston believe that genealogy is like putting a puzzle together. With every marriage certificate, birth certificate, and other document that they uncover, they are able to put the pieces together to create a complete story of their heritage.
This research is more than a personal project. Carole Boone, a study group member, says that she’s not just researching for her own benefit, but for the generations coming after her. The study group recognizes the importance of knowing where you came from, and they want to ensure that the generations after them have the records to know their history.
The group meets once a month over Zoom and encourages anyone, regardless of age, to join them. Their next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 6 p.m. Interested in participating? Contact Miss Boone at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on how EPL is celebrating Black History Month, visit epl.org.