Nearly 500 people recently gathered for the inaugural Canadian Black History Summit held in a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The free conference, held April 16, 2016, was co-hosted by the nonprofit FamilySearch International (the genealogical arm of the Church) and the Ontario Black History Society.
Dr. Bryan Walls, summit keynote speaker (left), and Elder Weatherford T. Clayton, General Authority Seventy (right), discuss topics presented at the summit.
The inaugural event provided an opportunity for participants to connect with experts on black genealogy and history, specifically the Freedmen’s Bureau Project.
Attendees study the many displays of the Underground Railroad and national black historic sites, along with those provided by FamilySearch, at the Canadian Black History Summit.
The Freedmen’s Bureau Project is a family history initiative to help both black Canadians and black Americans reconnect with their Civil War–era ancestors, focusing on the records of former U.S. slaves who were given citizenship. Thousands of volunteers are indexing or typing information from the Freedmen’s Bureau records to make them searchable in an online database. To date, the project is 78 percent complete.