Friday, February 10, 2017

Birmingham African American Genealogy Group Hosting Black Heritage Fair at Central Library on February 11

What: 18th Annual Black Heritage and Genealogy Fair
When: Saturday, February 11, 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
Details: Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Free and open to the public. Door prizes will be given away.

Thanks to research at the Birmingham Public Library and membership in the Birmingham African American Genealogy group, Philip Owens of Talladega has been able to gain knowledge of his family ancestry.

The Black Heritage Fair will feature African dance and music, African art, exhibits on youth in genealogy, booths displaying how to research black history back to slavery days, vendors, and more. This year’s theme is “Crisis in Black Education,” featuring guest speaker Jackie Smith, a member of the Jefferson County Board of Education.

The Black Heritage Fair is among several events the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting in celebration of Black History Month across the city in February. For a listing of library events, go to

John Lanier Jr., a longtime member of the Birmingham African American Genealogy Group, said the organization helped him gain knowledge of his ancestors back to the late 1800s. Philip Owens of Talladega said he too has benefited from attending its monthly meetings at the Central Library. Owens said BPL’s Southern History Department has been a big help in guiding him through the difficulties of uncovering information on black ancestors dating back to slavery.

“I find the Birmingham Public Library to be one of the better genealogy research centers in the country,” Owens said. “Another plus about the Southern History Department is that they have genealogy classes to assist you in your genealogy research.”

The Black Heritage and Genealogy Fair schedule is as follows: African Exhibits & History Video, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by the Black Heritage Fair Program from 1:00-3:30 p.m. The program includes “Crisis in Black Education” keynote address by Jackie Smith, African dance, African Music, Youth in Genealogy African art, vendors, and more.

For more information about the Birmingham African American Genealogy Group, contact John Lanier Jr. at 205-533-3502, or e-mail or Follow the organization on Facebook at Birmingham African American Genealogy Group or online at You can also follow BAAGG’s blog at

The Birmingham African American Genealogy Group meets monthly, with most sessions except for special events taking place on Sundays from 3:00-5:30 p.m. at the Central Library.

The Birmingham African American Genealogy Group’s remaining 2017 class schedule:
March 12 – Essentials of Genealogy, 3:00-5:30 p.m., Central Library.
April 9 – Alabama’s B-Centennial Celebration and BAAGG’s 20th Year Anniversary in 2019
May 21 – Introduction to Case Studies 1 & 2, 3:00-5:30 p.m., Central Library.
June 11 - Virtual trip to Alabama Department of Archives and History, 3:00-5:30 p.m., Central Library
July 9 – Youth in Genealogy, 3:00-5:30 p.m.. Central Library.
August 13 – Introduction to Railroad Retirement Records, 3:00-5:30 p.m., Central Library.
September 10 – BAAGG visit to LDS Center in Vestavia Hills at the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church
October 8 – Convict Leasing and Parke Papers, 3:00-5:30 p.m., Central Library.
November 12 – Introduction to the digital library and digital scanning services at Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department, 3:00-5:30 p.m., Central Library
December 10 – BAAGG Holiday Social and Awards (time and place to be determined)

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