Int’l African-American Museum’s New Genealogy Research Center Will Help Black People Trace Their Roots

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Sticking to its mission of encouraging visitors to trace their family history, the International African-American Museum in Charleston, S.C., announced the launch of a new genealogical research center on Tuesday, July 18.

The IAAM Center for Family History is touted as a “a one of a kind, unprecedented research center with a special focus on African-American genealogy,” the museum’s website says. It is set to include troves of archival material and records to aid genealogists and historians in helping patrons discover their ancestral heritage.

“What we’re trying to achieve is two-fold: [First,] we want to provide resources for discovering, honoring and telling your family history,” Toni Carrier, genealogist and project lead for the center, told the Charleston City Paper. “The second thing that we want to do is community archiving [and] community collecting, because we have the power and the resources within our own communities and the documents and oral history to preserve our community and family history.”

“Our community-collecting programs are going to be quite extensive,” Carrier added

Besides housing historical records and archives, the center will also provide original research and even DNA testing.

The IAAM isn’t slated to open its doors until 2020, but prospective visitors can access the center’s website to search available marriage records, photos and other documents.

Michael Moore, president and CEO of the IAAM, told local station Live 5 News that the museum is halfway through with its fundraising campaign and developers are slated to break ground on construction next year.

“For African-Americans, it can be a significant challenge in studying and researching and finding their sort of family history,” Moore said. “We’ve got the expertise, the resources, the databases, the technology to help people do that.”

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