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28 June 2012

July Membership Meeting – More than Three-Fifths: Myths and Truths About Slavery and African American Identity

Nicka Smith
Saturday, July 14, 2012
1:00 p.m.

California Genealogical Society Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, CA 94612

Tim Cox is our Events Committee chair and he works hard to schedule talks that are relevant and of broad interest to our members. Sometimes he gets lucky and things happen in the world that make for a particularly timely talk.

Genealogy rock-star Megan Smolenyak has been involved in a bit of controversy since the release of Rachel L. Swarns' new book, American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. You can read Megan's response, Does Accuracy in History Matter? published in The Huffington Post.

Director Nicka Smith will be our July membership meeting speaker and her talk will be a "big picture" look at the elements common to the ancestry of Michelle Obama and other descendants of slaves. The history of the “peculiar institution” of slavery in the United States is complex. Learn about the myths, truths, and in-betweens that existed during a major part of U.S. history and how the use of DNA is creating a new family history for multitudes of Americans.

Nicka Smith’s interest in genealogy began at an early age when she became intrigued with a family tree that was prepared by her first cousin once removed. In 1999, she decided to continue his efforts and update his work which led to the formation of AtlasFamily.Org, and its affiliate websites. For eleven years, Nicka has lead the Atlas research team in tracing the lineage of nine generations across more than twenty-two states and four countries. She lectures and mentors both young and old on genealogical search techniques and serves as the chair of the Outreach and Education Committee for the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC). Smith has worked for Kaiser Permanente for the past eleven years in various roles, most recently, as project and communications coordinator. She is also a professional photographer whose work can be seen at

Nicka is the Project Manager for the successful Youth Ancestral ProjectSmith joined the CGS board of directors in January of this year. She will be teaching a workshop on genealogy and youth at the International Black Genealogy Summit which will be held in Salt Lake City October 18-20, 2012.

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library