Join us for Discover Your Roots XIII, the 13th Annual African American Family History Conference, happening at the Historic Los Angeles Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Historians, family history researchers, genealogists and other experts will host presentations and conduct specialized classes focusing on a diverse range of American American genealogy subjects. Volunteers will be on hand to help you get started or dive deeper…
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Alva Moore Stevenson, a native Angeleno, is a historian, oral historian, and writer. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Masters in African American Studies with a concentration in Latin American Studies. For the last thirty-four years, Alva has held positions in the UCLA Library, twenty-five of those in the Center for Oral History Research. Alva is Program Coordinator in Library Special Collections, which includes responsibilities in Oral History, the Collecting Los Angeles initiative and University Archives.
Alva’s career in the Library, in various capacities, has involved documenting the history of African Americans in Los Angeles resulting in the exhibit,Forming and Transforming the City: African Americans in Los Angeles of which she was Curator. Alva’s Master’s thesis, Afro Mexican Racial and Ethnic Self-Identity: Three Generations of the Thornton Family in Nogales, Arizona was based upon her research into the genealogy of her mother’s family.
In her thesis situates her family history within the larger history of Blacks in Mexico, Afro Mexicans who migrated north into the U.S. and African Americans who migrated southward into Mexico. Eager to share this knowledge, Alva gives frequent presentations on-campus, at academic conferences, other colleges and universities and to community groups. She is Guest Editor of a special issue of the Journal of Pan-African Studies entitled,Africans in Mexico: History, Race and Place.
Barbara Randall is active in the Southern California Genealogical Society and is Chair of Jamboree 2015. She conducts workshops primarily in the southern California region on a variety of topics. Barbara is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, National Genealogical Society, Genealogical Speakers Guild, New England Historical Genealogical Society, New York Genealogical & Biographical Society and British Isles Family History Society-USA. Barbara is a DAR registrar and volunteer genealogist/consultant. She is a special education teacher/coordinator.
Richard’s presentation is titled, How To Write Your Family History In 9 Easy Steps. He has been activity involved in genealogy since 1995 when he began to write his maternal family history. He was inspired by all the stories his mother shared with him and his sisters during dinner. She was also intensely involver with many of her 61 first cousins who later became his source for information.
He has written the following books:
- Grandmother Dora Knoll May’s Family, 1835-2000. The book traces his Black Native American heritage. Because of his research he and 28 members of his family are now citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation
- Discovering Our Past, The May Family History, 1705-2004. The book traces Richard’s slave heritage. With the assistance of a descendant of the slave owner’s family he was able to prove through DNA that the slave owner was his Great great-grandfather.
- Aunt Ruth’s Story, The May Family History, 2005. Richard’s aunt had a successful business located on Central Avenue.
- How To Write Your family History In 9 Easy Steps, 2007
- Running For Success, An Anthology Of Fremont High School Track History, 1950s-1980s, 2011. Fremont High School located in south central Los Angeles won 10 Los Angeles City Track and Field Championships during that period and produced four Olympians.
The first two books are located in Los Angeles Central Library, Los Angeles County Library, AC Bilbrew, Black Resource Center and libraries located in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama.
Richard has a versatile and eclectic background. He was born and raised in Los Angeles. Richard attended Fremont high school. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Science degree from California Stare University at Los Angeles. After receiving his master’s degree he began his professional career as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Watts. After transferring to the Employment Development Department (EDD) he became a manager and worked in that capacity for 34 years. He is also a professional scenic and wedding photographer with plans to publish a book of his photography this fall. He has participated in numerous photography exhibits. Richard is a California licensed Marriage Family Therapist and worked briefly as a clinician/ manager after retiring from EDD. He is a member of the California African-American Genealogical Society.
Yvette has degrees in Cross-Cultural Studies & Human Development, and most recently earned a certificate in genealogy research from Boston University Online. She is currently preparing a portfolio for Board Certification of Genealogists. Yvette is also known as the “Root Digger”, and founded Root Digger Genealogy Research Services in July of 2012.
Yvette was adopted at 4 months old and she has successfully reunited with her biological mother and her Father’s family, over 21 years ago. Yvette is currently tracing her birth family’s heritage and researching the ancestry of her parents that raised her. Yvette is a Hairston through her Maternal 2X Great Grandmother Martha Hairston’s ancestry from Henry County, Virginia.
Yvette has traveled to Sugarhill Harlem, NY; Worcester, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., and Orlando Florida to research various historical archives, on the ancestry of her mother’s family, The Cully’s.
Yvette Porter Moore is currently writing a children’s book about her father, Dr. Walter J. Porter so that the children at the elementary school know about the man that the school was named after. Yvette is also researching and writing three other books: “A Taste of Sugar Hill” a memoir of her mother’s life in Harlem in the 1940’s-1950’s; Embrace Identity: A personal memoir of her adoption and reunion with her birth family; and lastly, “The Cully’s-An African American Legacy: An ancestral story of her Great-Grandfather’s migration from North Carolina to Worcester, Mass. during Reconstruction in hopes of securing greater opportunities and equality.”
Yvette has been a member of various civic and non-profit organizations over the years, but as she likes to say that she is on Sabbatical, she has condensed her list down to two organizations, “The San Diego African American Genealogical Research Group” of which she is Vice President & The Walter J. Porter Educational & Community Foundation as President/CEO.
Dr. Ellis D. Miner received a BS in Physics at Utah State University in 1961 and a PhD in Astrophysics at Brigham Young University in 1965. He worked as a Space Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena from 1965 until his retirement in 2005. Since that time he and his wife have been service missionaries at the Los Angeles Family History Library three days a week. Dr. Miner has served in a variety of leadership and teaching callings in the LDS Church. He is also the author or lead author of four books on the giant planets of the solar system and has edited numerous other professional and children’s books on solar system astronomy.
Professionally, Cheri is a math teacher with degrees in psychology, sociology, human and child development, and master’s in education. She became a National Board Certified Teacher, the most prestigious and highest teaching credential in the educational world.
The genealogy bug was planted in Cheri with the 5th grade history project. Her maternal grandmother gave her some material which she used. She used it later for a Girl Scout badge and pulled out the information many times and wondered about her family and how she could learn more. Some of this material is still incorporated into her current presentations.
Cheri began her active adult research in 1992, after the death of her remaining grandparents. She has done research in many states, even taking a trip overseas in search of her Portuguese ancestry. In 2006, she became involved in DNA, and was recruited as the Project Co-administrator for the Azores DNA project. She runs five DNA projects and manages mailing lists involving Portuguese-Azorean genealogy.
Cheri lectures now not only on Portuguese and DNA topics, but a host of other topics including software programs and Find-A-Grave.
“Ante-bellum African American Naming Practices” (Reconstruction to 1900’s)
Born in Arkansas during World War II and growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Charles began researching his personal genealogy in December, 1990. Not having the extensive family oral history possessed by Alex Haley, Charles, nevertheless, became motivated to begin tracing his roots after reading a book written by a woman who had traced her roots back into the 1700s in North Carolina. Dorothy Spruill Redford was motivated by Alex Haley’s “Roots” and ultimately organized a one-day Reunion of the descendants of slaves of The Somerset Plantation and 3,000 people came. Her book, “The Somerset Homecoming” provided the motivation for Charles to believe that he could trace his ancestors back into the slavery era. The following December, he began his quest to walk on the land where each of his slave ancestors lived at the outbreak of the Civil War.
His efforts have led him to discover African American ancestors in the Cherokee Tribe, and African American slave ancestors in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. As a result of his personal research and the knowledge he’s gained in the process, he has conducted monthly workshops on Cherokee genealogy and African American genealogy at the Family History Library in Los Angeles for more than fifteen years. In addition, he has been a featured speaker on various aspects of African American and Native American genealogical and historical research at several genealogical and historical societies in Southern California including the U.S. National Archives at Laguna-Niguel.
He has a degree in Engineering from UCLA, and when not researching his family tree, he is an independent management consultant.
He has a daughter, three grandsons and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, for over forty-five years.