Exploring the Freedmen’s Bureau – An Interview with Shelley Viola Murphy

By Family Tree Editors

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In this episode, Shelley Viola Murphy highlights the Freedmen’s Bureau and its accessibility for genealogical research. Also: find out what resources made the 2022 Best Genealogy Websites list and learn how one TikTok user is using the platform to explore cemeteries and uncover stories from the past.

This episode is brought to you by Remembering a Life.

Remembering the lives of people we love begins with sharing stories about the moments that meant the most to us. Whether we hold a meaningful funeral or memorial service, create a beautiful piece of art in their memory, or acknowledge special days like birthdays and anniversaries, capturing and honoring special memories helps us keep our loved ones close. Visit for more ideas and inspiration. 

Ep. 162: June 2022

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In this episode:

Tree Talk (01:48)

Family Tree Magazine New Media editor Rachel Fountain joins Lisa to talk about her new article on how to archive the photos memories and genealogical details you and others have shared on social media. 

Read “Saving Face(Book)” by Rachel Christian in the July / August 2022 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Join the conversation – Follow Family Tree Magazine:

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Sign up for Our Free Genealogy Newsletter: 

The Genealogy Insider email newsletter includes a digest of articles, including one or two free articles in each newsletter. Daily and weekly options. 

Feature: Freedmen’s Bureau Records (05:41)

Shelley Viola Murphy, Descendent Project Researcher for the University of Virginia, highlights the historical significance and genealogical richness of the Freedmen’s Bureau and explains how it makes finding enslaved ancestors more accessible than ever.

Get the records:

Learn more about Descendants of Enslaved Communities at the University of Virginia:

Read “Let Freedom Ring” by Shelley Viola Murphy in the May/June 2022 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Freedmen’s Bureau records are more accessible now than ever, online at sites like and FamilySearch. Learn what you can uncover in them.

Podcast Sponsor: Remembering a Life (17:04)

Gail Marquardt, Vice President of Consumer Engagement at the National Funeral Directors Association, is here to showcase the many resources that Remembering a Life offers to make navigating the weightiness of grief more manageable. Also find guidance for memorializing loved ones with reverence, compassion and grace.

Best Genealogy Websites (20:59)

Author David Fryxell has rolled out a Hollywood-style red carpet for what he calls “the Blockbuster 101 Best Genealogy Websites.” He joins Lisa to share some of the biggest stars.

Websites mentioned: 

The Newspaper Navigator at Chronicling America

Read “Walk of Fame” in the July / August 2022 issue of Family Tree Magazine and “101 Best Genealogy Websites of 2022” on the website.

With so many genealogy websites available for your family history quest, how do you know which sites are the best? Leave it to our genealogy experts!

Family History Home: Genealogy on TikTok (30:06)

The video-sharing app TikTok is mostly known for dance and stunt-related videos and is popular among teens and young adults. 35-year-old Caitlin Abrams shares how she amassed over 2 million followers on the social media app talking about dead people in cemeteries. 

Follow Caitlin:

Manic Pixie Mom at TikTok:

Stoned in New England on Instagram:

Read Tales from the Dead in the Stories to Tell column in the May/June 2022 issue of Family Tree Magazine.  

Related article: 9 Things You Can Learn About Your Ancestors From the Cemetery

Seeing the gravestone and viewing records in the cemetery office may yield ancestry information you won’t find in an online database of burials. Here are nine things you can learn.

Editor’s Desk (39:30)

Magazine editor Andrew Koch gives us an insider look at the July / August 2022 issue of Family Tree Magazine. 

Listen to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems podcast available at her website, and all major podcasting services, or download the Genealogy Gems Podcast app. 

Lisa Louise Cooke
Lisa Louise Cooke