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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2006
Genealogy Project of the Sapelo Island


The Genealogy Project is a committee of the Sapelo Island Cultural & Revitalization Society Inc. The Project is responsible for researching and recording family history on Sapelo Island, Ga. The committee's research is based on a 1980 genealogical study of Sapelo Island's African-American families. That study, done by Mae Ruth Green and sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, identified the descendants of 44 black families living on the island in the 1800s.

The Genealogy Project is seeking volunteers from each of those 44 families to assist with research, interviews and archiving. A series of group discussions and workshops will be held on the island for Sapelo Island descendants and anyone else interested in learning more about family history.

While the Genealogy Project will be based on the island at the Hog Hammock Public Library, discussions also will be held online via e-mail.

If you are an island descendant interested in participating on this committee or if you'd like to serve as a volunteer researcher, call Michele Nicole Johnson at (912) 485-2197 or send a note to


March 18 - Genealogy Workshop: 10 a.m.-noon.
Learn the basics about researching your family tree. It's a workshop for everyone interested in family history, but there will be an emphasis on slave records, oral history and other circumstances pertaining to African-American genealogy. The presenters are Joyce Burns, manager of the Georgia Local and Family History Department of the Atlanta-Fulton Library System, and Monica Hackney, president of the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.

Reservations are required for ALL attendees. Call (912) 485-2197 by March 15. The workshop is being presented by SICARS' Genealogy Project and is sponsored by the Three Rivers Regional Library System ( The workshop also will be presented at the Brunswick-Glynn Public Library in Brunswick (call (912) 267-1212), and the Ida Hilton Library in Darien (call (912) 437-2124).

More about our presenters:
Joyce Burns grew up in Clarksville,Va., and was educated in the Mecklenburg County Public School System where she also taught school for several years. Burns received her degree in History and Government from Virginia Union University and MLS from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta).

She began her career at Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library, Tampa, Fla. Later, she joined the staff of the Atlanta Public Library in 1978, now the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. She is presently manager of the Georgia Local and Family History Department

Burns frequently attends genealogical conferences and workshops for  librarians working with genealogists. She enhances her technological and research skills and meets nationally known genealogists.

During her tenure, she has organized and partnered with other departments and organizations to host programs on Genealogy and Georgia History. Among the programs she has organized are, "Black Roots: The Basics and Beyond" with internationally known genealogist Tony Burroughs in February 2001; "Atlanta Black History Day 2003"; "Gather your Roots," with the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints Family History Center; "From Africa to America: Trace Your DNA, Find your Roots 2004," with geneticist, Rick Kittles and co-founder Gina Page of African Ancestry, Inc.

Recently, Burns hosted the Terry-Johnson Family Reunion in Fairburn, Ga., for her Virginia Clan's family members from five states.

Monica Hackney co-founded the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society ( in 2000. She served as the co-president of the start-up chapter and continued her leadership role as the chapter's first vice president from 2000-2001.

Hackney completed a second term as AAHGS Atlanta vice president in 2005 and now serves as chapter president.

Hackney's vision for AAHGS Metro Atlanta, as stated on the organization's Web site, includes the development of a genealogy conference to bring African-American researchers throughout the region to Atlanta for networking and education.

The national chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society is based in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit its Web site at


Michele Nicole Johnson
(formerly Nicole Johnson McGill)
The Sapelo Island Cultural & Revitalization Society Inc.
P.O. Box 6
Sapelo Island, GA 31327
Phone: (912) 485-2197
Fax: (912) 485-2263

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