A Friend of FriendsIn the days following my Feb. 8 genea-community call to action, it became apparent that once the exchange of slave records and related information began, a community resource was needed to collect the data being shared and to facilitate its dissemination [quickly] to the broader research community.

The decision to create a web portal to support the descendants exchange came easily, and after a brief brainstorming of possible names, so did the final naming convention — A Friend of Friends (AFoF).

Like many, I was inspired by the sentiments shared by Sandra Taliaferro’s A Friend of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad blog post and after settling on the name, quickly enlisted the help of my friend San in the effort to get AFoF online!

In its simplest form, AFoF is a medium for Friends of Friends to share data and information with descendants researching slave ancestry, as we work to free our Ancestors memories and names from a lost and oft times buried, history.

In truth, African-American Ancestors for the most part, have not been fully emancipated yet. They will not be FREE until their names are known and their stories told.

AFoF is a community vehicle. It is very likely you will find information posted to AFoF appearing in the repository of LowCountry Africana, on the message boards of AfriGeneas or Ancestry and/or circulating through the communities of GenealogyWise or Facebook.

In respect to slave data, the key is saturation — we need vital AFoF data posted to as many outlets frequented by African-American researchers as possible.

Our motto is share what you have, and take what you need.

The First Carnival of African-American Genealogy, Restore My Name: Slave Records & Genealogy Research, was a huge success, with 35 submissions of slave data, resources and heart-felt posts. Our genea-community proved that yes, a healthy, healing, dialogue between descendants of slavery — from both sides — is possible.

Now that Restore My Name is behind us, it is vital that the dialogue we’ve begun continues.

I ask that you please use your personal networks to get the word out about AFriendofFriends.com and that you continue to think of us as you encounter relevant slave information through both your personal and community research.

If you have information to share, San and I (AFoF’s Conductors) are easily reachable via Twitter@Sjtaliaferro and @OurGeorgiaRoots — respectively. There is also a convenient AFoF contact form here.

Just remember if using Twitter to apply the #AFoF #genealogy to your *tweet* so that we can locate your info easily.

So there you have it, the skinny on the new A Friend of Friends blog that quietly floated in to support the first CoAAG and with blessings from the Ancestors, will be around to support the genea-community for many years to come.

None of this would have been possible without you, my genea-friends and family. I am eternally grateful for your support and encouragement.

We are the change.