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Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs

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.

Accession Number

A2005.166

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/19/2005 |and| 8/11/2005 |and| 10/12/2005

Last Name

Burroughs

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Preston

Occupation
Schools

John M. Harlan Community Academy High School

Austin O. Sexton Elementary School

Burnside Elementary Scholastic Academy

Frank L. Gillespie Technology Magnet Cluster School

Southern Illinois University

Malcolm X Liberation University

First Name

Anthony "Tony"

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BUR12

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Ralph G. Moore

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/23/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Genealogist Anthony "Tony" Preston Burroughs (1948 - ) specialized in the tracing of African American family histories. He taught at Chicago State University.

Employment

General Motors Corporation

Chicago Mercantile Exchange

Francis W. Parker School

Hunt-Wesson Foods

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL

http://www.rgma.com/index.php?option=com_content |and| view=article |and| id=115 |and| Itemid=172

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

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