Haley Family Tree
Version 1: AlexHaleyFamilyTree
Discovering Your Own Roots…Your Own Family Tree
Record numbers of people today are researching their family origins. This popular interest in genealogy – the recording of ancestors from some descendant – is attributed to the late author Alex Haley, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning family saga, Roots, spurred a genealogy research movement, earning him recognition as the “father of popular genealogy.”
“For all of us today to know who we are.” -Alex Haley, father of the popular genealogy movement
Haley’s self-acknowledged obsession with verifying his genealogy back to its African origins presented an incredible challenge and opportunity:
A challenge…because, as an African American, Haley’s early ancestors were enslaved, and slaves were not identified by name on early Census counts. Moreover, to find any information at all about slaves, you need to identify the owners. Most records that may exist were kept by the individual owners. Some owners kept better records than others. Some records survive – many do not. Furthermore, America’s slavery system sought to obliterate a slave’s “personhood,” particularly any memory link to an African homeland: native language, religion, and culture were either erased or went underground. Indeed, Haley was fortunate that his grandmother and her ancestors preserved a strong oral tradition with references to people and places.
An opportunity…because Haley’s 1976 best-selling book Roots and 1977 Emmy award-winning Roots television mini-series galvanized many African Americans to seek out and celebrate their own origins – and to re-visit a troublesome slavery past and their connection to Africa. More importantly, Haley’s work resonated with people of all ethnic backgrounds, motivating millions to explore their own roots. That exploration continues today – as evidenced by the growing number of websites and books about genealogy, and the increased efforts of Americans to preserve and restore their past history.
Recommended Resource Sites
Whether you are just beginning to research some of the branches on your family tree, or whether you have been doing family research for years, we recommend the following on-line web sites as some of the best free resource tools available for conducting your search.
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors
Ellis Island On-Line
Interment Cemetery Transcription Library
Internet Sources for Transcribed Passenger Records & Indexes
The USGenWeb Project
African American Cemeteries Online
African Americans: Free
AfriGeneas African American Ancestored Genealogy
Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy
Firstmom’s Native American Genealogy Resources
The Freedmen’s Bureau Online
Portuguese Ancestry (Portugal, Cape Verde, Azores)