Tony Burroughs at the Indiana Historical Society

The Indiana Historical Society will offer a one-time class with internationally-known genealogist Tony Burroughs called "The Six Phases of African-American Genealogy" on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to noon. The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, home of the IHS and its Indiana Experience, is located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

After decades of practice, Burroughs has identified six distinct phases of research he considers to be the building blocks of African-American genealogy research. Since researchers do not get very far by just entering family names in Google, they must understand what types of records to seek out first, as well as the obstacles and complexities of African-American research.

Recognizing the challenges of African-American research and establishing strong building blocks will lead to successes that can be built upon. This program illustrates an overview of these phases, pointing out methods and sources for each, and progresses from beginning to more advanced research.

Burroughs taught genealogy at Chicago State University for 15 years. He is the author of "Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree" and has consulted on genealogies for Rev. Al Sharpton (connecting his ancestors to those of the late U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond), Oprah Winfrey, "African American Lives 2" on PBS and "The Real Family of Jesus" on the Discovery Channel. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Genealogical Society and is a fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association.

Cost for the class is $10 for the general public or $8 for IHS members. Admission to the Indiana Experience on May 21 is complimentary for class attendees, who are also invited to an afternoon screening of the new WFYI documentary Freedom Riders in the Basile Theater at 1:30 p.m. Participants are eligible to earn two general Library Education Units (LEUs).

For more information on IHS programs, or to register for the class, call (317) 232-1882 or visit

The Indiana Rail Road Company is the official 2011 sponsor of the IHS.