Char McCargo Bah is a native of Alexandria, Virginia, who has done
genealogical research for more than eighteen (18) years. She earned bachelors
and associates degrees in Urban Studies and African and African American
History and currently works as a policy writer at a federal agency. She has
published articles in several magazines, newspapers and genealogical
journals; she has written two family booklets; she has written one family
telephone directory; and she has authored, edited, and distributed her family
newsletter, "The Roots of Halifax," since 1991. She has currently published
an article in the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society's Fall
2000 Journal titled "Uncovering Post and Pre Civil War Slave Ancestral
Surname Changes in Virginia Part 2 of Part 2 of Virginia and Alabama."
Mrs. Bah has identified and documented more than 2 dozen slave owners in
Virginia. She is researching over 92 surnames including collateral lines.
Many of her collateral family lines have proven to also be direct family
lines connecting as far back as pre-civil war times. Her family began to
migrate from Virginia at the time of the World Wars. Until that time they
remained in Halifax County, Virginia and neighboring counties including some
of the counties in North Carolina which border Halifax County, Virginia.While
in Virginia, her family continued to marry the same pool of relatives that
their ancestors married. Many of her enslaved ancestors married into the same
families as their slave owners and many of them married the neighbors of
their slave owners. Many of her families lived near or on the same property
as their former slaveowners until the World Wars began.
Char has done numerous television interviews regarding her genealogical
research techniques and discoveries; she has appeared as a lecturer and
teacher. She is an active member of several genealgical societies, including
the District of Columbia Genealogical Society, and is an Executive Board
Member and genealogist for the Alexandria Friends of the Freedman Cemetery.
She has been a volunteer genealogist at the Alexandria Black History Resource
Center for six years . She assisted in obtaining two state grants for
genealogical projects and recently completed a documentary of her family
research for the Ellis Island Museum in New York City. She is currently
working with another genealogist on several projects which will be announced
in the very near future.