African American Genealogy Group Web Project

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Born out of the response from Black Americans clamoring for genealogical support, after the release of the motion picture “Roots,” the African American Genealogy Group has been dedicated to helping African Americans in the Philadelphia & the Tri-State area search for their ancestors and family members for over 30 years. In response to the enthusiasm, AAGG is a 501(c)3 organization that provides genealogical instruction and research support through its highly engaged membership and holds monthly meetings for the general public to learn and be inspired to find their hidden ancestors in history.

African American Genealogy Group
September 2019
Wordpress, Illustrator, Photoshop, XD

The original website crashed in 2018 and the organization created a Wix website to act as a placeholder. The organization was in need of a website that allowed the members to register for AAGG-sponsored events and access protected information, and to provide information to visitors and potential members to learn about genealogy at one of the organization’s regular monthly meetings.


We set out to poll the membership to find out how the AAGG website could best serve them on an individual level. Online renewal of membership fees and the ability to learn the surnames of fellow members was a priority for many members hoping to find long-lost family members. We knew it was important to align with the organization’s core mission of helping people with their genealogical research, so it was crucial to provide an area for beginning researchers and visitors to find information, resources, and tools to get them started researching.


FORM+FACET suggested a dual approach which featured a mainly visitor-focused website that allows visitors and guests to register to attend a free, monthly meeting, and provides information to individuals seeking to learn about genealogy. A second password-protected members-only area was proposed to provide the membership with member-only event information, a Surname database, and other specific resources available to members in a secure space. This new solution also centralized the membership information and took the 30-year organization into the digital revolution by allowing for seamless online member registration, renewal, and payment process.


Due to the timing of the project, pre-pandemic, the steps the organization took to modernize their administrative and financial tasks left them well-positioned once lockdown went into effect. With a primarily 65+, senior member population, all of the formerly in-person activities were able to smoothly transition to virtual events. The tech strategy implemented allowed the organization to pivot, flourish and grow its membership base, organically from March 2020. Since the inception of the new website, membership has grown 20%, and the members have discovered AAGG through SEO optimization, coordinated event promotion, and accessible website design.


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