Tony Burroughs is a professional genealogist and author. He recently wrote an article for the Anderson Cooper blog, AC360, that appears on CNN:
Many African Americans have longed to know their African roots, especially because our language and heritage have been destroyed by colonizers.
Historians have long documented that large numbers of Blacks were brought from different areas in Africa to what is now the United States. But in genealogy research, researchers have to prove the identity of specific individuals, and then document and prove relationships of them to their ancestors.
Genealogical proof is similar to that required in a probate court where relatives of the deceased have to be identified in order to distribute assets of the deceased. But the Board for Certification of Genealogists actually has a higher standard of proof for genealogy than a probate court.
There are several challenges to connect one’s ancestral genealogy back to Africa.
The full story is available at http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2009/07/17/why-re-tracing-our-african-roots-is-so-difficult.