Resource offers genealogy assistance, especially in researching black families

Family reunions always left Joe Kennedy with questions.

The Shadyside resident took his boyhood curiosities a step further by starting a nonprofit that seeks to fill gaps in family trees, particularly those in the black community.

Riverbends Inc., a genealogical research firm, received its incorporation license in October.

Popular for-profit websites — such as and — have capitalized on people’s fascination with retracing heritage and unearthing long-lost relatives. Sometimes they fall short for black customers because of the scarcity of records for slave ancestors and slavery-era blacks who were born free or emancipated.

Most genealogical services charge up to a few hundred dollars per year. Riverbends’ basic resources are free, but customers have to do the work themselves by scanning and posting documentation that can be shared and researched against other databases.
Read more at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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