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Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs

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Information about Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs

Profile image of Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Genealogist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Salmon
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/23/1948
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Genealogist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Salmon
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/23/1948
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

African American genealogist Anthony Preston “Tony” Burroughs was born on November 23, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois. Burroughs can trace his ancestors seven generations on his mother’s (Mary E. G. Burroughs) side of the family. His father, Elmer Burroughs, is the son of Asa Morris Burroughs, who was president of the Cook County Bar Association in 1928. Burroughs attended A.O. Sexton and Ambrose E. Burnside Elementary Schools; Frank L. Gillespie Upper Grade Center and graduated from Harlan High School in 1966. At Southern Illinois University, Burroughs, an African American Studies major, joined the Black Student Union. He met Alex Haley in 1969 and was influenced by, Roots. During the early 1970s, Burroughs studied at the Center for Black Education in Washington, D.C. and Malcolm X Liberation University in Greensboro, North Carolina. Burroughs served as a staff member of Our House Community School in Milwaukee.

On Thanksgiving Day of 1975, Burroughs started tracing his own family tree and joined the Chicago Genealogical Society. In 1977, Burroughs attended a three-week genealogy institute sponsored by the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where he was mentored by pioneer black archivist, James Dent Walker (1928-1993). Meanwhile, Burroughs worked as both a physical education teacher at Francis W. Parker School and a commodities trader. Genealogy became Burroughs’ full-time occupation in 1990 when he started teaching it at Chicago State University. Burroughs, a graduate of the National Institute of Genealogical Research in Washington, D.C. and the Institute of Genealogy and History at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, was elected president of the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago in 1991.

Burroughs has been quoted and featured in periodicals like Time; People; the New York Times; the Wall Street Journal; the Chicago Defender; and the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1996, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Genealogical Society and co-authored the African-American Genealogical Sourcebook in 1995 and Black Roots in 2001. Lecturing widely in the United States and Canada, Burroughs made his television debut in the PBS series Ancestors in 1997, and six episodes of the sequel in 2000. In 2005, Burroughs assumed the role of lead investigator for the BBC production of The Real Family of Jesus for the Discovery Channel, which took him to three continents.

Serving on the boards of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies, among others, Burroughs makes Chicago his home.

Burroughs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 19, 2005.

See how Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs' interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the history of slavery in the United States
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the history of freedmen
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his maternal family's roots in Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his maternal grandmother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his maternal great-grandparents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his maternal great-grandfather's incarceration
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his maternal grandfather's ancestry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his maternal great-grandfather's roots in South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his mother's life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his experiences of discrimination in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers segregation in the Chicago Public Schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the first civil rights protest against the Chicago Public Schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the history of Oliver H. Perry Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his ancestors' service in the Civil War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls learning about his Gullah ancestry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the history of African Americans in Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his father's family history, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his father's family history, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his paternal great-grandfather's ancestry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the difficulty of finding student records from Spelman College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his paternal grandfather's brother
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his father's career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his homes in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the holidays
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his community in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his early experiences of religion
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the entertainment of his youth
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Parkway Community House in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about Margaret Burroughs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his interest in sports
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his early education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the community near John Marshall Harlan High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers competing on the track team, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers competing on the track team, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his college aspirations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers playing the trumpet
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls working at Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his decision to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his experiences at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his coursework and activities at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the sports teams at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his involvement with the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his involvement with the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his introduction to African American studies
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his early exposure to civil rights activism
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs' interview, session 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the 1968 Democratic National Convention
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Black Peoples Topographical Research Center, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Black Peoples Topographical Research Center, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his Boy Scout troop's dress inspections
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about his first pair of blue jeans
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Poor People's Campaign
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the development of his political consciousness
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Black American Studies Program at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers speakers at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls Alex Haley's visit to Southern Illinois University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about misleading family histories
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls Alex Haley's visit to Southern Illinois University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his decision to leave Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Center for Black Education in Washington, D.C., pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Center for Black Education in Washington, D.C., pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his friend's practice of polygamy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls looking for work in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his role at the Illinois Department of Personnel
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers Malcolm X Liberation University in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his experiences at Malcolm X Liberation University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his experiences at Malcolm X Liberation University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his move to Lansing, Michigan
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his work at the General Motors Corporation
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the promotion process at the General Motors Corporation
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his decision to leave the General Motors Corporation
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls becoming a sales representative for Hunt Wesson Foods, Inc.
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his work for Hunt Wesson Foods, Inc.
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his road trip to California, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his road trip to California, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his experiences in California
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the book 'Think and Grow Rich'
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his career in physical education
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the start of his interest in genealogy
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers learning about his family history
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the claims to Native American ancestry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his ancestors' U.S. military service
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the claims to Native American ancestry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the social utility of Native American ancestry
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about slave narrative collections
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the griot tradition, pt. 1
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talk about the griot tradition, pt. 2
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the reliability of oral histories
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the Pequot tribe
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his early genealogical research
  • Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Slating of Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs' interview, session 3
  • Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the National Institute on Genealogical Research
  • Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the mentorship of James Dent Walker
  • Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about genealogist James Dent Walker, pt. 1
  • Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about Alex Haley's 'Roots: The Saga of an American Family'
  • Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes lessons that he learned from James Dent Walker
  • Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about genealogist James Dent Walker, pt. 2
  • Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his early research at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about Delores "Dee" Parmer Woodtor's genealogical research
  • Tape: 13 Story: 10 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the development of his manuscript
  • Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers his search for a publisher
  • Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his first book, 'Underground Chicago'
  • Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs remembers the publication of 'Black Roots'
  • Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his career at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
  • Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls returning to genealogical research
  • Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his academic career
  • Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the Afro American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago, Inc.
  • Tape: 14 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about Dorothy Spruill Redford
  • Tape: 14 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the speakers at the Afro American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago, Inc., pt. 1
  • Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls the speakers at the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago, Inc., pt. 2
  • Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the genealogy profession, pt. 1
  • Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the genealogy profession, pt. 2
  • Tape: 15 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his early speaking engagements
  • Tape: 15 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his international speaking engagements
  • Tape: 15 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his appearances on PBS
  • Tape: 15 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his work on 'The Real Family of Jesus,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 15 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his work on 'The Real Family of Jesus,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 15 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the research on Jesus Christ's siblings
  • Tape: 16 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his findings on the origins of African American surnames, pt. 1
  • Tape: 16 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his study of slave naming practices
  • Tape: 16 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his findings on the origins of African American surnames, pt. 2
  • Tape: 16 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the resources for surname identification
  • Tape: 16 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the Nettie Rule, pt. 1
  • Tape: 16 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about the Nettie Rule, pt. 2
  • Tape: 16 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his research on contraband camps
  • Tape: 17 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the neighborhood theory of genealogy
  • Tape: 17 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls discovering the will that freed his maternal ancestor
  • Tape: 17 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his research on David Truman, pt. 1
  • Tape: 17 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his research on David Truman, pt. 2
  • Tape: 17 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the Soundex coding system
  • Tape: 17 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his search for the original Soundex instructions, pt. 1
  • Tape: 17 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs recalls his search for the original Soundex instructions, pt. 2
  • Tape: 17 Story: 8 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his efforts to republish the Soundex instructions
  • Tape: 17 Story: 9 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 18 Story: 1 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 18 Story: 2 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 18 Story: 3 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs talks about DNA technology
  • Tape: 18 Story: 4 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the limitations of DNA evidence, pt. 1
  • Tape: 18 Story: 5 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes the limitations of DNA evidence, pt. 2
  • Tape: 18 Story: 6 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes his family
  • Tape: 18 Story: 7 - Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs describes how he would like to be remembered