Genealogy experts discuss black history research at conference

Margarette Stewart, buried in Conroe Community Cemetery on 10th Street, was a member of the Daughters of Tabor. More is wanted on the early black fraternal organization.

On May 14, all sat in rapt attention for about eight hours as aficionados of black history and culture listened and chatted with famous authorities on their subject. Conroe’s Lone Star Convention Center served as host as part of major sponsors, the Montgomery County Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc. and the City of Conroe Arts and Culture Program.

Four experts in their field, Sharon Gillins, Shamele Jordan, Timothy Pinnick and Cindy Cheney formed the focal point of the event. Gillin’s two scintillating presentations were “Your Roots Await!” Black Family Basics” and “Navigating Freedmen’s Bureau Records: Strategies for Research Success”. Jordan, in turn, presented “Genealogy Era by Era: 100 years of Records” and “Telling your Family Story: Unarthing, Organizing, and Sharing”. Finally, Pinnick walked us through a dynamic personal experience featuring “Building a Community’s Genealogy: Process, Actions Taken, and Recommendations,” while Cheney touched on the new Family Search website pages on the Restoration Project. of the Conroe Community Cemetery.

As the program developed, enthusiasm flooded the hall as speakers periodically stopped to answer questions and comments from the audience. A comprehensive lesson on matrices from the field of genealogy stirred the imagination of the multiracial assembly.

Not only were these offers a distinct treat for ticket holders, but they also received a beautiful booklet. Within its approximately 87 pages are invaluable columns relating to the field of black genealogy. Among these are articles on getting started in genealogy, questions to ask when beginning your study, and lists of resources on general and Montgomery County history, including past and current Black-owned businesses.

The acknowledgments in the booklet read like a true “Who’s Who” of our city and county. For example, the City of Conroe provided an arts and culture grant for the project while there are articles about “Conroe Community Cemetery” in an article by Jon Edens and John Meredith. Also among the features are data on the “Tamina Community Development Corporation” as well as black churches in our area, while a multiracial aspect resides in a list of oral histories at the Heritage Museum of Montgomery County.

Also featured is the Montgomery County History Task Force, including a fascinating article by Task Force Director Ann Meador on the International Order of “Knights and Daughters of the Tabor.”

In addition to the city’s arts and culture program, hats off to the Montgomery County Genealogical and Historical Society team, continuing the great tradition of this group dating back to a pioneering black history program with the support of the Lone Star College in 2006, featuring national cheering personalities.

Dr. Robin Montgomery is a Montgomery County native, historian, retired professor, author and columnist for The Courier