Mark your calendar

In honor of Black History Month, Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home will co-sponsor a workshop to help you find your African American ancestors at the Rome-Floyd County Library from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, February 2 in the Coosa Room.

Sponsored in-part by both the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Theta Omicron Omega Chapter and the Rome-Floyd County Library, the workshop will feature a presentation by Emma Davis Hamilton, a genealogist who specializes in African American ancestry, particularly when searching for enslaved relatives owned by Native Americans.

When learning about history, many researchers are surprised to discover that many Native Americans were slaveholders.

For the Cherokee, the use of African slaves for large-scale labor emerged after the United States became its own nation. In general, slaveholding in the Cherokee Nation was limited to a wealthy minority of Cherokees, including Major Ridge.

On the Chieftains property, Major Ridge owned a 210-acre plantation with between 15 and 30 slaves tending the fields and house. The property also included three slave cabins.

Finding enslaved ancestors is a challenge for many African American researchers, a challenge often met by professional researchers like Emma Davis Hamilton. Ms. Hamilton is a native of Florida with 25 years of experience as a genealogy and history researcher.

She is the past president and a charter member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Metro Atlanta Chapter and a board member of the Georgia Genealogical Society and the Friends of the Georgia Archives.

Hamilton is also a member of the National Genealogical Society; the South Carolina Genealogical Society and the Florida Genealogical Society.

Workshop participants will learn about Native American slaveholding from Chieftains Executive Director Heather Shores, receive guidance, resources and exercises to unlock their African American ancestry, and discover the wide selection of genealogical resources available to the public in the Heritage Room of the Rome-Floyd County Library.

The February 2 workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

To make your reservation or for more information, please contact the museum at (706) 291-9494 or via email at by Jan. 30.