African American family reunion program @ TR branch

Ocean County Library hosted African American Family Reunions, History & Genealogy Workshop Day at the Tom River branch Saturday March 24th.  The program was cosponsored by the TR Branch Friends and the TR branch of the NAACP. 

Special guests included Dr. Ione Vargus from Temple University speaking on African American Family Reunions and Shamele Jordan, expert genealogist and contributor to PBS’s Oprah’s Roots.  Amanda Edwards, president of the NJ Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society also attended and shared news of her organization. 

Library staff Dawn Heyson,  Meagan Denigris and Colleen Goode presented programs and gave a tour of Wheeler Room. 

The Ocean County Historical Society and the Ocean County Genealogical Society had information tables at the event.  

Attendees came from Bayville, Manchester, Toms River, Middletown and Camden County.  

Among the attendees comments:

“It was wonderful!  I know how to research my ancestors and I met some very interesting people.”

“Found this interesting!  A “10”!”

“How wonderful it is to always be informed about history – least we not forget where we have come from and where we are journeying!”

“Thank you for an excellent program! The speakers provided a wealth of information.  Print resources were plentiful and the program was well-paced.”

An unexpected attendee was John Shaw from the NJ State Archives who said Shamele’s presentations were the best genealogical presentations he ever attended!  Everyone enjoyed the day, learned a tremendous amount, made news friends and all said they would be back at the library to continue their genealogy research.  Thanks to everyone that made the day a success.

To view a slideshow of the photographs on our Flickr account go to


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