Tuesday the International African American Museum (IAAM) announced the launch of its Center for Family History – an innovative national genealogy research center dedicated solely to celebrating and researching African American ancestry. The center will engage in genealogy education, original research, community archiving, public outreach, and collections. It will also assist with DNA testing.
The Center for Family History is the International African American Museum’s first program launch. It will engage visitors online now at www.iaamuseum.org, and in one of the most prominent gallery spaces in the museum.
The IAAM is scheduled to open in late 2019 or early 2020 and will be located on the former Gadsden’s Wharf – the site where almost half of all enslaved Africans first arrived in America via the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The museum will be a source of rich history and will likely become a place of pilgrimage for African Americans from around the country who will come to pay homage to their ancestors – engaging in the sacred site where they arrived.
“Many African Americans can only trace their lineage back a few generations. Discovering anything before that has proven to be challenging, if not impossible for most,” said Michael Boulware Moore, IAAM President/CEO. “While the IAAM, in total, will paint a broader picture of African American history, the Center for Family History will help individuals discover their own personal strands of that history. It promises to be an extremely powerful place that will change lives forever!”
The center is being developed by Toni Carrier – a nationally recognized genealogist, and founder of Lowcountry Africana. Toni conducted research on Michelle Obama’s ancestry for Obama for America – actually tracing her paternal ancestor’s arrival to the site of the IAAM museum as well. The center will also be staffed by a team of experienced genealogists and historians to digitize records, present online research tutorials, and produce scholarly articles. Additionally, Carrier’s team will be fully equipped to assist visitors with selecting and ordering a DNA test, interpreting the results, and using online DNA matching resources to help visitors get the most from DNA testing.
“I’m honored and humbled to be able to lead this project at the International African American Museum,” said Carrier. “The Center for Family History not only strives to assist families with learning where their journey started – we also plan to help better prepare families to discover, honor and preserve their history for future generations. The IAAM Center for Family History is solely dedicated to African American genealogy and that makes it a one-of-a-kind, unprecedented research center.”