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5 Tips for Researching Your African-American Ancestry

Photograph of the congregation at First Colored Baptist Church in Covington. Courtesy of the collection of Ted Harris and available online at Kenton County Public Library's Faces and Places Historic Northern Kentucky Photograph Database. February is Black History Month, and a good time to focus on researching your African-American ancestry. We've put together a list of 5 tips to help you get started researching your African-American family history. Talk to living family members and write down what you know. Ask for names, birth and death dates, burial locations, obituaries, photographs or anything else that may help you with your research. There are lots of free genealogy forms online, like family charts and group sheets. Visit CyndisList, Ancestry, and Mid-Continent Public Library for free, downloadable charts and group sheets. Visit any branch of the Kenton County Public Library and use our databases! Popular genealogy databases include: Ancestry.com (free inside any branch of the Kenton County Public Library), FamilySearch.org, and the Chicago Defender (African-American newspaper with coverage from 1909-1975). Start with the 1940 United States Census and work your way back. Follow your direct ancestors through the U.S. censuses. If you have trouble finding ancestors in censuses, follow their siblings – you might find a connection to the next generation more easily by searching for their siblings. Getting past the 1870 & 1860 censuses can be difficult, but looking at the families who lived around your ancestors may provide you with clues. Former slaves often did not move far away after emancipation. If you think your ancestors were slaves, look at the white families living nearby your ancestors in the 1870 census. Then, look at those families in the 1860 census to learn if they were slave-holders. You [...]

Love in Faces and Places

There is plenty of love in our Faces and Places Photograph Archive. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share some of the love and Valentine’s Day inspired photographs in our online archive. Anniversaries –Faces and Places contains many Silver, and Golden Wedding Anniversary photographs like this one of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Smith of Park Hills on May 5th, 1974. Engagements- It was very popular in the 1960s and 70s for women to publish an engagement photograph in the local newspaper. Pictured is Judith Ann Stephens of Union, on June 3, 1965 who was engaged to Richard Lee Hammitt. You can search for engagement announcements in our Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index. Weddings- A lot of happy couples on their wedding day can be found by searching Faces and Places. I especially enjoy this August 2, 1981 wedding of Helen Buschard 75, to Charlie Williams, 81. Buschard is wheeled down the aisle by Robert Williams (Lakeside Place Administrator) who gave her away at the ceremony. Sweet Shops- Chocolates, candy, cakes and pies are all popular tokens of love on Valentine's Day. Faces and Places has photographs of local sweet and candy shops, like this picture of Katherine Hartmann. Hartmann was the owner of Lily's Candies at 9th and Madison, and she is ready for for the Valentine's Day rush on February 12, 1982. Also, we've added local sweet shops to our Historypin account!  These are just a few of the images of love and Valentine's Day we found in Faces and Places. What is your favorite love inspired picture in the Faces and Places collection? Have you found a relatives engagement, anniversary or wedding photograph? Tell us in the comments below! Written by Cierra Earl - Library Associate in the Local [...]

Thanksgiving Preparation

So the whole family is coming for dinner and you want things to be perfect - the food, the music, the decor... everything. Where to begin? Don't worry, the Kenton County Public Library has you covered! 1. The Menu! You should finalize your Thanksgiving menu about one week in advance. So shoot for a final menu on Thursday, Nov. 21. My Thanksgiving menu is set with traditional items like turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes, gravy, dinner rolls and stuffing followed by pumpkin and apple pie. But I like to liven things up a bit each year by picking a new stuffing or cranberry sauce recipe or even something new all together from one of the thousands of cookbooks that can be found at the library. This year I will glance through Thanksgiving: how to cook it well by Sam Sifton, 2012, The pioneer woman cooks : a year of holidays : 140 step-by-step recipes for simple sumptuous celebrations by Ree Drummond, 2013 and Fine Cooking Thanksgiving cookbook: recipes for turkey and all the trimmings by editors of Fine cooking magazine, 2012 for new ideas. 2. The Online Entertainment! You don't want your guests bored prior to dinner, dozing off after dinner or dreaming about Black Friday shopping so liven the place up with free music and movies. Freegal and Hoopla are always available on the library's website, even when the library is closed. They don't have waiting lists or holds either! All you need is an Internet connection and a Kenton County Public Library Card. You can download three free songs per week from Freegal so start stocking up now! Your music doesn't have to be Thanksgiving themed. Just something fun and upbeat. The top downloaded songs at the Library are currently Walk [...]