Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Tony Burroughs

If you are ever stranded anywhere with Tony Burroughs prepare to laugh so hard your sides will hurt. I found this out in an airport. Who other than Tony could make a delayed flight a form of entertainment? Tony’s quick wit is one thing that endears him to genealogists all over. A third generation Chicagoan and professional genealogist, Tony has taught genealogy at Chicago State University for fifteen years. His first solo book, Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree, was number one on Essence magazine's best seller list and is in its third printing.
Read More About Tony Burroughs


At the NGS conference Tony will present Don’t Get Burned: Getting Around the Chicago Fire of 1871, a look at records that survived the Chicago Fire; Six Phases of African American Genealogy Research, an overview of the building blocks and complexities of African American genealogical research; and Researching Pullman Porters: Railroad Records for African Americans, a review of repositories and records of the Pullman Company, the largest private employer of African Americans at the turn of the century.

Tony will appear on national television this week and next. He says, "PBS television is doing a four part series on African American genealogy for Black History Month. It is called African American Lives and is hosted by Henry Louis Gates. It traces the family histories of seven prominent African Americans (Quincy Jones, Mae Jamison, Whoopie Goldberg and others). The first two hours will air Wednesday, February 1st and the second two hours will air Wednesday, February 8th.” Tony was interviewed for the program. More information can be found on the PBS website http://www.pbs.org/previews/africanamericanlives/ and WNET's website http://www.pbs.org/wnet/aalives/.

Tony’s accomplishments as a genealogist are impressive. He wrote a chapter in The Experts Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do, and was one of three co-authors of the African American Genealogical Sourcebook. He was a featured genealogy expert in six episodes of the PBS television series, Ancestors 2, and was the African American Genealogy expert in the original PBS Ancestors. Tony traveled three continents as the genealogist in search of Jesus’ family in the 2005 BBC documentary, The Real Family of Jesus.

His research on the Underground Railroad in 2001 enabled the Kimsey Crossing home in Tamarora, Illinois to be recognized by the National Park Service's Network to Freedom. Tony’s testimony before Congress in 2000 helped preserve 135 year old Freedmen's Bureau records. He has received many honors, served on several national and regional boards, and has been interviewed for radio, television, and publications.

Tony authored the African American Genealogy chapter in the revised edition of The Source, which will be out this year.

Despite his busy schedule, Tony has managed to trace two family lines back seven generations. His genealogical research has qualified him for lineage society membership in the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Pioneer Families of New Mexico, and First Families of the Twin Territories.

To learn more about Tony, visit his website at http://www.tonyburroughs.com/.

Be sure to catch Tony’s television appearances on February 1st and 8th!

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