June 18th: Exploring Your African American Genealogy

On Sunday, June 18th, AAHGS Nashville is participating in a series of events hosted at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage as part of their Juneteenth Celebrations.

Join us at 2 pm as we present a 1-hour genealogy workshop, followed by individual consultations from 3-5pm.  If you have already started your genealogy research, come with as much prepared information as you have as that will help us offer you more specific help and advice.

Use the button below to register.  We look forward to seeing you there!



Sunday’s Obituary: Nettie Langston Napier

James and Nettie Napier langston3
James C. & Nettie (Langston) Napier

From the September 29, 1938, issue of the Tennesseean.  Nettie Langston Napier was the daughter of John Mercer Langston and Caroline Wall Langston.  Caroline’s family will be discussed in our upcoming June 3rd meeting – Passing for White: Researching the Invisible Color Line (see meeting details).  Be sure to join us to learn more!

Colored Death Notices: NAPIER

Died Tuesday, September 27, 1938, at 10:25pm at a local infirmary, Mrs. Nettie Langston Napier, wife of James C. Napier, one of Nashville’s leading citizens.  Mrs. Napier was the daughter of John Mercer Langston, member of the 51st and 52nd Congresses of the United States from the Louisa County District of the State of Virginia.  For the past 60 years, during her entire married life, she has been active in the religious, civic, and social movements in this city.  Her friends are legion and they grieve and sorrow with her aged husband.  She leaves two nephews, John Mercer Langston of St. Louis, Mo., Carroll Napier Langston, of Chicago, Ill., and a grand-nephew, Carroll Napier Langston, Jr., a graduate of Oberlin and now a law student at the University of Michigan; two nieces, Nettie Langton Lee and Nettie Langston Harlan of Washington, D.C.  She also leaves a nephew, Dr. J.A. Napier, a dentist of Nashville, and his sisters, Mrs. Ida Napier Lawson of Hartford, Conn., Mrs. Willie Napier Gomez of Havana, Cuba, and Miss G. Beatrice Napier of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Funeral services will be held Friday, September 30, 1938, at 2pm at Howard Congregational Church, the following ministers officiating: Dr. Thomas Elsa Jones, Rev. Richard Ewing, Rev. Henry Allen Boyd, and Rev. W.S. Ellington, and others.  Active pallbearers: Dr. J.A. Napier, Messrs. C.N. Langston, E.L. Price, A.G. Price, M.G. Ferguson, L.S. Headen, Prof. C.E. Van Horne, and N.S. Holiday.  Honorary pallbearers: All members of the Board of Directors of the Citizens Savings Bank & Trust Company and trustees and directors of the Y.M.C.A.  W.H. McGavock in charge.


A Day of Discovery

Yesterday, the LDS Family History Center in Franklin, TN hosted a wonderful day of genealogy presentations as part of their Family Discovery Day Event!

Franklin Family History Center

The day began with a welcome and introduction by Murray Johns, a member of the Franklin TN stake presidency.  After his introduction, the day was divided into 3 segments, each offering multiple tracks of genealogy & family history instruction and education.

Murray Johns welcomes participants

Example topics included – understanding why Mormons do genealogy research, using DNA for understanding ethnic origins, leveraging deed books & non-population schedules, getting started on FamilySearch.org and using Family Search Family Tree, breaking brick walls & military research for African American genealogy, writing your personal and family history story, using cemetery and grave records for research, and more!

a sampling of the day’s activities

Representatives from local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Williamson County African American Heritage Society, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society, and the Friends of Tennessee State Library & Archives, were also available to provide information.  AAHGS Nashville also represented and shared information about our organization too.

Our chapter president, Chajuan, begins the process of transferring her family tree into FamilySearch Family Tree
AAHGS member Taneya with Tina Jones of the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County

The Family History Center plans to conduct another Family Discovery Day next year, so keep an eye out for future announcements.  We also include regional happenings on our Calendar, so be sure to check that list from time to time for upcoming events.

Many thanks to the Franklin Family History Center for a wonderful day of learning and education!

Researching African-American Family History & Genealogy Workshop


AAHGS Nashville invites you to join us February 11th, 2017 from 1-4pm at the Nashville Public Library to learn strategies and tips for researching your family history. 

After a 1-hour presentation we will have one-on-one consultation sessions to provide individualized advice. 

The afternoon is sponsored by Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage as part of their Black History Month outreach events.  

The event is free and open to the public – tickets can be obtained by registering below.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Find-A-Grave Community Days at Historic Greenwood Cemetery



The weekend of October 7-9th, Find-A-Grave is hosting their 3rd annual Community Days! All around the world volunteers will visit cemeteries to take pictures and try and fulfill open photo requests.

AAHGS Nashville is organizing a meetup at Nashville’s historic African American Greenwood Cemetery.  Join us there from 9am-12pm on Saturday, October 8th to participate in the event!

If you plan to come, let us know by filling out this short form.  Let’s see how many photos we can take – hope to see you there!

October 1st Monthly Meeting: Guest Speaker – Patricia Lockett

AAHGS Nashville is pleased to have Patricia Lockett as our guest speaker for the October Monthly Meeting. The topic of her talk is “What do we Know about Cuba and the Cuban People.

Please join us Saturday, October 1st at 9:30am at the Civil Rights Room in the Nashville Public Library. If you are able to join us, please RSVP.


Ms. Lockett has traveled to Cuba several times over the past ten years and plans to share what she has learned in her interactions with other Americans who have spent time in the country and are advocates for lifting the embargo.  There is much positive about Cuba to include its health care system and their educational system. In her presentation Ms. Lockett will describe these two systems and talk about their positive health outcomes. Cuba has a free education system and free health care and Ms. Lockett will speak briefly about how these work.

Patricia Lockett is a retired social worker, a graduate of Tennessee State University, with a masters degree from the University of Tennessee.  She worked for the state of Tennessee for a number of years and retired as Assistant Commissioner for the Social Services program. She later taught at Western Kentucky University in their undergraduate program, taught at Tennessee State University, and briefly taught at the University of Tennessee’s School of Social Work. Ms. Lockett has volunteered at the maximum security prison for men and the Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement program and currently works closely with the Room in the Inn program for homeless women during the winter months at her church.

After the meeting, we welcome you to spend time working on your own family history research; books will be available to aid you. If you are able to join us, please register to let us know you’re coming. The meeting is open to the public and we look forward to seeing you there!

June 4th Monthly Meeting: Guest Speaker – Dr. Learotha Williams Jr.

AAHGS Nashville is pleased to have Dr. Learotha Williams Jr. as our guest speaker for the June Montly Meeting. The topic of his talk is “I’ve Got One More River to Cross: Middle Tennessee and African American Memory

Please join us Saturday, June 4th at 9:30am at the Civil Rights Room in the Nashville Public Library.  If you are able to join us, please RSVP.

lea-williamsDr. Learotha Williams, Jr. is a native of Tallahassee, Florida, where he earned his Ph.D. in History in 2003, from Florida State University.  He worked for two years in the public sector as a Historic Sites Specialist in the National Register section of Florida’s Division of Historical Resources.  In 2004, he accepted a position as an assistant professor of History at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia, where he taught courses exploring Slavery and Emancipation in the Georgia Lowcountry and Historic Preservation.  In 2006, he became program coordinator for its African American Studies program.  While in Savannah, he continued his engagement in the public sector, serving from 2007-2009 as a trustee of the Historic Savannah Foundation.

He is currently a professor of African American and Public History at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee where his current research interests include slavery and emancipation in Tennessee, 19th and 20th Century African American Intellectual History, and Public History.  At Tennessee State University, he serves as the director of the North Nashville Heritage Project, an effort initiated in 2009 for the purpose of exploring, chronicling, and analyzing the history of North Nashville as viewed through the eyes of its residents.

He has written works that explore the lives of 19th century African American politicians, African American education during the post-Civil War period, and the challenges faced by black presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities during the Civil Rights Movement. He is currently revising a biography tentatively titled, On Jordan’s Stormy Banks:  The Life and Times of Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, Florida’s First Black Secretary of State, 1828-1874, for the University of Arkansas Press and co-editing a book entitled A People’s Guide to Nashville for the University of California Press.

After the meeting, we welcome you to spend time working on your own family history research; books will be available to aid you. If you are able to join us, please register to let us know you’re coming. The meeting is open to the public and we look forward to seeing you there!