Welcome to the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society – Willie Lee Gay – H-Towners Freedmen’s Bureau Indexing Project. Congress established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands – or the Freedmen’s Bureau, as it was also known – on March 3, 1865. Operating under the direction of the United States War Department, the Bureau supervised, organized, and managed all matters relating to refugees, former slaves, and lands abandoned or seized during or immediately after the Civil War. The bureau was involved in a wide range of activities, but one of its major purposes was to help slaves reunite with family members and become self-sufficient. One invaluable result of the activities of the Freedmen’s Bureau is the rich repository of records that were created and collected during its administration. This project contains a wide variety of records such as letters, registers, marriage records, monthly reports, school records, rosters, circulars, special orders, and so on. From 1865 to 1872, the bureau opened schools, managed hospitals, rationed food and clothing and even solemnized marriages.
Before you can become a volunteer indexer for this project, you will need to download the indexing software by visiting FamilySearch.org/indexing/get-started-indexer. During the registration process, when asked for a group, please select –The H-Towners Group. If you’re interested in helping with this project and need more information, please e-mail Project Chair, Jesse Williams.
Funeral Program Project
The purpose of the Funeral Program project is to collect African-American funeral programs for family researchers. The funeral programs will be donated to the African-American Library at the Gregory School where they are digitized, indexed, and made available online. Funeral programs provide valuable information such as place of interment, birth date and birthplace of the deceased, parents’ names, names of relatives living and deceased and much more. A donation box is available at every AAHGS, Willie Gay H-Town meeting for collecting funeral programs. We accept originals and/or copies. If you have donations or questions about this project, please email Project Chair, Melrita Taylor.
Olivewood Cemetery Project
The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society-Willie Lee Gay–H-Town Chapter has adopted Olivewood Cemetery as its primary Texas Cemetery Project (TCP). In the not so distant past, the Descendents of Olivewood filed an application for Historic Texas Cemetery Designation.The cemetery, located in the old Chaneyville area is the oldest black burial ground in Houston. Established around 1870 by black Methodists, it was also known by the names of Hollow Wood and Hollywood. Many 19th century influential African Americans were buried in the cemetery such as Reverend Elias Dibble, first minister of Trinity United Methodist Church; Reverend Wade H. Logan, also a minister of the church; James Kyle, a blacksmith; and Richard Brock, a city alderman just to name a few.
The Chapter collaborated with the Descendents of Olivewood to help with bi-monthly cleanups that are scheduled for the second and fourth Saturday. Because the majority of the cemetery is covered with heavy underbrush, more volunteers are needed to help with the cleanups. Volunteers should bring hoes, rakes, pruning shears, hand saws, shovels, garden trowels, wheelbarrows, sunscreen and insect repellant. They should also wear long sleeves and pants, closed-toed shoes, gloves, and hats. Volunteers may also want to bring a sack lunch and bottled water. There are no restrooms on the site.
Companies and organizations can offer their services by offering volunteers and/or donating equipment such previously listed. If you are interested in helping with this project and for directions to the cemetery, please e-mail TCP Chair Debra B. Sloan.
To facilitate the project, we are grateful to Trevia Wooster Beverly for allowing the Chapter to post an abstract of African American Cemeteries from her book, At Rest: A Historical Directory of Harris County, Texas, Cemeteries (1822-2001) Including Burial Customs and Other Interesting Facts, With a Listing of Past and Present Communities, Funeral Home and Monument Companies.
The AAHGS-Willie Lee Gay-H-Town Chapter firmly upholds the integrity of intellectual property. As such, we request that appropriate credit is given to the author with reference to this work. Click here to view the abstract (MS Word or Adobe pdf).
Visual History Project
Initially, the Visual History Project (VHP) began with the partnership between the H-Town and Family Time Capsules in January 2005. However, circumstances beyond each parties control resulted in an unfinished business. At our April 2006 chapter meeting, the membership resolved that it was in its best interest to proceed forward with this very important endeavor. Hence, H-Town accepted the challenge of taking on the task to preserve the images, stories, and histories of chapter members utilizing multi-media technology. This project will combine members’ family or living histories with photographs and documents into a single streamlined, coherent medium that is easily available to people nationwide and globally. DVDs will be produced primarily from information gathered in interviews, which will be completed with audio, music, and supporting images.
To ensure the success of this project, membership participation is paramount. The Visual History Project Committee (VHPC) will exercise oversight of the project, coordinating on-camera interviews. Each participant will be given a maximum of 120 minutes for his/her interview. Interviewees may schedule more than one interview session if necessary. For more information, contact the project Co-Chairs Mrs. Elise Harmon or Mr.Karim T. Aldridge-Rand.
Veteran’s History Project
AAHGS – Willie Lee Gay – H-Town Chapter has chosen to participate in the Veterans’ History Project (VHP). The United States Congress authorized the Veterans’ History Project in October 2000. The legislation calls upon the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to collect and preserve audio and video-taped oral histories, along with documentary materials such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and home movies, of America’s war veterans and those who served in support of them. The VHP is especially interested in veterans who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Wars. The project also wants interviews of those veterans who served between the various wars as well. For more information, contact the VHP Chair Ms. Marilyn Lawson.