American Genealogical Society, Inc. (CAAGS)
The Foundation, the Journey and the
James Dent Walker, Edgar Love and Lonnie Bunch, realizing the
need for African-American genealogists in Los Angeles to network with one
another, began organizing a society which would provide a vehicle for Black
genealogiss to trace their roots. They were encouraged by the acting director
of the California African-American Museum to form a society associated with
the museum. We were associated with the museum for two years.
The first organizational meeting took place on 23 March 1986
at the California African-American Museum, located in Exposition Park, Los
Angeles, California. The California African-American Genealogical Society,
Inc., hereafter known as CAAGS was the first society on the West Coast formed
specifically to research the genealogies of slave descendants.
The charter members of the society were L. R. Bunkley,
Frankye Charles, Marianna Cushine, Alva H. Griffith, Zelda A. Grubbs,
Jamesetta C. Hammons, Loveen D. Harris, Brenda Heavens, Ronald W. Higgins,
George B. Jenkins, Herbert W. Laffoon, Edgar F. Love, Zakiyah Munir-Ahmad,
Dorie Russell, William Russell, Mrs. Wendell H. Scott, Nettie Simons, Oscar L.
Sims, Betty Jean Smith, Ozieal F. Smith, Carol L. Thomas, Doris L. Williams
and Gerald L. Wilson. With James Dent Walker and Edgar Love together as the
driving force, members learned the skills of research and documentation from
Past Presidents, in the order of their presidency were: Edgar
Love, Jamesetta C. Hammons, Robert Taylor, Vernon Robinson, Mark Greenfield,
Ronald W. Higgins, Kwame Welsh, Ronald Baptiste and Majorie Sholes-Higgins.
We have a diverse membership of over 100 members researching
almost every state as well as Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. We have
sponsored: research tours to Salt Lake City and the National Archives (both
regional and national) as well as seminars, workshops and educational
Our community involvement has included the African-American
West Coast Summit, Black Family Reunion, Discover Your Roots, and the Gene
Autry Museum Conferences. CAAGS has been represented at many genealogical
conferences such as The Afro-American Historical Genealogical Society (AAHGS),
Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), Gentech, Jamboree, National
Genealogical Societies (NGS), the San Diego Family History Fair, and the
LDS Discover Your Roots conferences.
Our "Show and Tell" meetings are legendary. CAAGS Writers'
Group has begun to produce manuscripts and stories documenting their family
histories. Many are already published authors.
CAAGS' publications include: Beginning Genealogy, Los Angeles
Township 1850-1880, Los Angeles Township 1900, Surname Directory 1995, and soon
to come Members Ancestral Charts.
The California African-American Genealogy Society was featured
on the PBS Ancestors Series episode on African-American Research.
CAAGS' sixth president, Ronald Higgins, was instrumental in
encouraging and setting up new African-American genealogical societies in
Oakland, California, San Diego, California, Orange County California, and Las
Vegas, Nevada . Our Society strives to encourage all African-Americans to
begin reclaiming their heritage.
Our President, Ronald Higgins, on behalf of the
whole society, welcomes all to join us at our regular meetings which are held
from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, every third Saturday (except June and August). For more information contact
Jamesetta Hammons at 323-636-8947.
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