‘Closer Look’ guests discuss the process of tracing one’s family history

From left to right: Althea Sumpter, a researcher and scholar, and Georgia State University professor Elizabeth West were guests on Thursday’s edition of “Closer Look.” (Photos courtesy Althea Sumpter and Elizabeth West)

Thursday’s special edition of “Closer Look with Rose Scott” is a themed show that focuses on genealogy, with Rose speaking with multiple guests about discovering one’s roots and tracing family history.

First, Althea Sumpter, a researcher and scholar who focuses on ethnographic documentation and cultural preservation of the Southern story in the United States, talks with Rose about her decades-long work in documenting and studying the Gullah Geechee culture. Sumpter talks about her journey of researching her family’s history and finding an 1830s slave pass. She also explains the importance of starting with the elders in your family to trace your family’s history.

We then revisit Rose’s conversation with Tammy Ozier, president of the Atlanta chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. The National Archives and Records Administration released the 1950 Census records in 2022.  Ozier discusses the data and explains how people can get started on researching their family history.

Lastly, Georgia State University professor Elizabeth West tells the story of an ancestor  Francis Sistrunk in her new book “Finding Francis One Family’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom.” West talks with Rose about Sistrunk’s journey from enslavement into forced migration across several Southern states.