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Step into History with Us

The Front Porch Community

Free Access for a Limited Time

Join Our Community of Genealogy Enthusiasts

The Front Porch welcomes anyone with interests in Coastal Georgia genealogy from an African American perspective. Given that the Black experience is so intimately tied to the history and movement of the Planter Class, you’ll also find information regarding their families and genealogies as appropriate.

There’s never been a better time to dig up your Coastal Georgia roots and grow your family tree. It’s fulfilling if you’re willing to reach out, share, and collaborate with the numerous researchers who are producing quality, well documented, fact-based research, and oral family histories.

What The Membership Includes:

Access to community forums, newsletters, and genealogy tips.

Early access to courses and presentations.

Opportunities for mentorship and collaboration.

Access to the FPG Regional & National Tree

Access to the Trees of FPG Griots

Access to Genetic Genealogy Support & Cluster Analysis

Access to Exclusive Presentations

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an antique photo of Savannah GA in the 1900s-front porch genealogist
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A Sneak Peek into Our Community

Get a taste of what The Front Porch Genealogist community offers. Below are select videos showcasing our engaging content and vibrant discussions. Remember, this is just the beginning – sign up for exclusive articles, in-depth resources, and access to a network of fellow genealogy enthusiasts.

From Enslavement to Freedom: The Saga of Butler Island (Part II)

From Enslavement to Freedom: The Saga of Butler Island (Part II)

In Part II of "From Enslavement to Freedom: The Saga of Butler Island," presented via Facebook Live on March 4, 2021, Terri Ward, the Front Porch Genealogist, shares her extensive research covering the experiences of the former Bondsmen and their descendants of the Butler Island plantation near Darien, McIntosh County, Georgia. She shares their role in building a solid coastal community that embraced its independence, and forged a way forward with faith, education, political activism, and their labor. Viewers will recognize the newly acquired surnames carried by those formerly enslaved and sold from Butler Island and discover how they became tied to other McIntosh County kinship groups to grow and extend their clans. Part I presenters Brian Sheffey ( and Tiffany Young (the Geechee Griot) joined moderator Michele Nicole Johnson and chat coordinator Adolphus Armstrong in a Q&A session at the end. Presentation co-sponsored by UJIMA Genealogy of Coastal Georgia (@ujimagen on Facebook) and Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society (@coastalgagensociety on Facebook). (See the Part I presentation at: Timestamps: 0:02:15 Start of Presentation (Terri Ward) 0:14:55 Butler Island Descendants: The Community Activists & The Community Builders 0:15:37 The 1899 Darien Insurrection 0:24:23 Family, Associates & Neighbors (FANs) 0:27:35 Butler Island Descendants & the Community Core: Faith, Labor, Politics, Education 0:31:32 Thomas Baker & His Records 0:39:00 Pictures Are Worth a Thousand Words 0:43:39 Ushering in the New - After Slavery 0:44:48 Individual Stories 1:02:55 Accomplishments of the Black Representatives of McIntosh County 1867-1901 1:05:44 Leading Lights in Education 1:10:16 Anna Ellison Butler Alexander, America's First African American Deaconess of the Episcopal Church 1:13:42 Individual Stories 1:30:33 A Community of Kin 1:40:50 By the Turn of the Century 1:43:31 How to Find Former Butler Slaves 1:48:19 Butler Island Chroniclers 1:51:53 The Tom Pate-Pat Sommers Feud Clues 1:53:24 Keep a Research Log 1:54:07 The Low Country DNA Project 1:55:16 Summary 1:58:01 Black History MonthTies to McIntosh County 1:59:55 Back to James Baldwin 2:01:42 End of Presentation (Terri Ward) 2:01:43 Question & Answer session with Michele Johnson, Brian Sheffey, Tiffany Young, and Adolphus Armstrong 2:33:37 Closing Remarks by Michele Johnson, including list of sponsors

Your Membership Also Includes:

Surname Index and County Origins: An exclusive database with key family names and historical connections

Guests on the Front Porch: Exclusive interviews with historians and genealogists.

FPG Favorite Links: A curated list of useful archives, societies, and genealogy resources.

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Exciting Future Awaits: Our Upcoming Membership Plans

In the near future, The Front Porch Genealogist will offer a range of membership plans, designed to cater to every level of genealogical interest and expertise. From exclusive resources and personalized support to advanced research tools and community features, each plan will be tailored to enhance your genealogical journey. Stay tuned for detailed announcements on our various tiers, which will include options for both passionate hobbyists and serious researchers. Join now for free and be the first to know when our new plans roll out!

Michele N. Johnson, Author: “Sapelo Islands Hog Hammock”

"I have had the pleasure of working with Terri Ward on several genealogy projects, and every experience with her has demonstrated how meticulous and thorough she is as a researcher. At the same time, she is a creative, thoughtful, and professional communicator who knows how to present her findings in ways that are informative and accessible to a broad audience. She is the full package. She is the real deal.”


  • How will my Front Porch Membership work?
    A Front Porch Genealogist Membership offers several levels of research support and services to fulfill specific research needs. As a member, you'll gain access to a supportive community of fellow genealogy enthusiasts, exclusive content, Q&A sessions, coaching and mentoring. Whether you’re a Porch Sitter, a Root Tender, a Torch Tender, or a Lineage Liberator, a Front Porch Genealogist membership caters to your research needs, aiding you to find your folks, and uncover the stories that shape your identity and past.
  • How does your coaching process work?
    My coaching process is designed to be personalized and comprehensive. We begin by assessing your current genealogical knowledge, research challenges, and goals. Through one-on-one sessions, I'll guide you in developing effective research strategies, leveraging DNA testing, and utilizing historical analysis to uncover your Coastal Georgia roots. We'll also explore storytelling techniques to breathe life into your family history. Together, we'll embark on a transformative journey to discover and preserve your ancestral legacy.
  • What makes your coaching style unique and effective?
    My coaching style is rooted in a deep passion for genealogy and a commitment to RIGHTING the RECORD, as well as WRITING the RECORD. What sets me apart is my extensive knowledge of Coastal Georgia history, combined with a cultural perspective gained from my background in foreign language and Latin American studies. This unique blend allows me to approach research with a fresh and insightful lens, leading to breakthroughs and empowering my clients to unearth hidden family connections and stories.
  • Who is an ideal candidate for your genealogical coaching services?
    Anyone with an interest in uncovering their family's history and tying their journey to the broader arc of Coastal Georgia history is an ideal candidate for my coaching services. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned researcher, my guidance is tailored to meet your specific needs. Aspiring genealogists, family historians, and DNA testers seeking to explore their African American heritage in Coastal Georgia will find great value in working with me.
  • What kind of transformation can a client expect from your coaching?
    Through my coaching, clients can expect a profound transformation in their genealogical journey. They will gain a newfound understanding of their family's roots and history, connect with ancestors in meaningful ways, and develop a sense of pride in their heritage. As they explore and tell their family stories, they'll experience healing, a stronger sense of identity, and a renewed purpose in preserving their ancestral legacy for future generations.
  • Can you share a success story that demonstrates your coaching impact?
    Certainly! One of my clients, Mary, had hit a brick wall in her genealogical research, unsure of how to proceed. Through our coaching sessions, I helped Mary employ advanced research techniques and utilize DNA testing to unlock vital clues. Together, we traced her lineage back to her previously unknown African American ancestors who were pioneers in Coastal Georgia. The joy and connection Mary felt when discovering her family's history were truly transformative, motivating her to continue uncovering even more stories from her past.
  • Why should someone unsure about coaching decide to work with you?
    As The Front Porch Genealogist, I offer more than just coaching; I offer a genuine and caring partnership in your genealogical journey. My dedication to RIGHTING the RECORD, alongside the value I place on cultural perspectives, makes my approach both impactful and empowering. I'm committed to walking beside you, sharing my expertise, and guiding you step-by-step toward discovering your ancestors and embracing your family's unique history.
  • What value do you bring to partnerships and collaborations?
    I bring a wealth of knowledge, passion, and a collaborative spirit to partnerships and collaborations. Whether it's working with fellow researchers, historians, or organizations, I contribute a deep understanding of Coastal Georgia genealogy, a vast library of case studies, and a network of valuable resources. My dedication to preserving history and fostering inclusivity in genealogy ensures that collaborations are enriched by diverse perspectives and shared expertise.
  • Why should someone invite you for a speaking engagement or a podcast guest spot?
    As a seasoned storyteller, researcher, and chronicler of Coastal Georgia history, I bring an engaging and insightful presence to any speaking engagement or podcast guest spot. Sharing my journey as The Front Porch Genealogist, I can inspire audiences with the transformative power of genealogy and the significance of embracing our shared heritage. My passion for RIGHTING the RECORD and uncovering hidden histories will undoubtedly captivate and enlighten listeners, making for a memorable and impactful experience.

Say Their Names, Honor Their Stories

Let's embark on your genealogical adventure together. Are you ready to find  your folks? Join today!

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