List of Useful Resources for African American Research
- 1 African American Genealogy
- 2 Biographical Resources
- 3 Census Records
- 4 Free Negro Registers
- 5 Freedman's Bank
- 6 Freedmen's Bureau
- 7 Genealogies, Family Histories, and Novels
- 8 Guides to Black Federal Records
- 9 Historical Sources
- 10 Journals
- 11 Military
- 12 Names
- 13 Runaways
- 14 Slavery
- 15 Southern Claims Commission
- 16 Internet Resources
- 17 African American Genealogy Web Databases
- 18 African American Manuscript Collections
- 19 Articles
- 20 WPA Slave Narratives
- 21 Miscellaneous African American Websites
- 22 External Links
African American Genealogy
Burroughs, Tony. Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree. New York: Fireside Division of Simon and Schuster, 2001.
Byers, Paula, ed. African-American Genealogical Sourcebook. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1995.
Croom, Emily Anne, and Franklin Carter Smith. Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African American Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage. Cincinnati: Betterway Publications, 2002.
Linder, Bill. Black Genealogy: Basic Steps to Research. Technical Leaflet 135. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1981.
Thackery, David. Tracking Your African American Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide. Orem, Utah: Ancestry, 2001.
Witcher, Curt B. African American Genealogy: A Bibliography and Guide to Sources. Fort Wayne, Ind.: Round Tower Books, 2000.
Woodtor, Dee Palmer. Finding a Place Called Home: A Guide to African American Genealogy and Historical Identity. New York: Random House, 1999.
Burkett, Randall K., Nancy Hall Burkett, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., eds. Black Biographical Dictionaries 1790-1950. Alexandria, Va.: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991.
---. Black Biography 1790-1950: A Cumulative Index. Alexandria, Va.: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991.
Cheatham, Belzora. Funeral Programs/Obituaries of 579 African Americans. N.p.: Belzora Cheatham, 1998. Available at Atlanta, Texas Public Library, 920.02 CHE.
Lawson, Sandra K. Generations Past: A Select List of Sources for Afro-American Genealogical Research. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1988. (Update on the Web: Connor, Paul. African American Family Histories and Related Works in the Library of Congress, Research Guide No. 34., Washington 1998 http://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/bib_guid/aframer.)
Logan, Rayford W., and Michael R. Winston. Dictionary of American Negro Biography. New York: W. W. Norton, 1982.
Who's Who Among African Americans. Detroit: Gale Research Co. and other publishers, 1996-present.
Who's Who Among Black Americans. Detroit: Gale Research Co. and other publishers, 1977-1995.
Who's Who in Colored America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women. Vols. 1-7. New York: Who's Who in Colored America Corp. and various publishers, 1927-1950.
African American in the 1870 Census. CD-ROM. Salt Lake: Heritage Quest, 2001.
Burroughs, Tony. "Finding African Americans on the 1870 Census." Heritage Quest Magazine 91 (January/February 2001): 50-56.
Cheatham, Belzora. "1850 Bowie County Slave Census Schedules, Part 1." Frontiers Freedmen's Journal 3, no. 2 (Fall 1994/Winter 1995): 15-36.
---. "1850 Bowie County Slave Census Schedules, Part 2." Frontiers Freedmen's Journal 4, no. 1 (Winter/Spring 1996): 5-10.
---. Slaves and Slave Owners of Bowie County Texas in 1850: 1850 Bowie County Slave Census with information from the 1850 free census. N.p.: Belzora Cheatham, 1996.
Donne, Carmen R. Federal Census Schedules, 1850-80: Primary Sources of Historical Research, Reference Information Paper No. 67. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1973.
Free Negro Registers
Sweig, Donald. Registrations of Free Negroes Commencing September Court 1822. Fairfax, Va.: Fairfax County History Commission, 1977.
Turpin, Joan. Register of Black, Mulatto and Poor Persons in Four Ohio Counties, 1791-1861. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1985.
Brewer, Charles. "Do You Trust That Freedman's Bank?" Presentation at 2003 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, 3-6 September 2003, tape FGS2003T91.
Burroughs, Tony. "Records Specific to African Americans-The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company." In African-American Genealogical Sourcebook, edited by Paula Byers, 57-67. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1995.
Freedman's Bank Records. CD-ROM. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2001.
Hardy, Linell. Abstract of Account Information of Freedman's Savings and Trust, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1866-1869. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1999.
Holverstott, Lyle J., Maxcy R. Dickson, and J. Eric Maddox, comps. Preliminary Checklist of Records of the Division of Insolvent National Banks of the Bureau of the Comptroller of the Currency, 1865-1945. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1946.
Nesbary, Nettie, et al. An Index to the Signatures of Deposits of the Mississippi Freedman's Savings and Loan Bank, 1865-1869 for the State of Mississippi: Columbia, Natchez and Vicksburg. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1997. Also available as CD-ROM #1263, with images. Heritage Books, 1999.
Osthaus, Carl R. Freedmen, Philanthropy, and Fraud: A History of the Freedman's Savings Bank. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976.
Rathbun, Charles. Names from Huntsville, Alabama, 1865-1869, as Recorded in Registers of Signatures of Depositors in the Huntsville Branch Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, Accounts 1-385. Littleton, Colo.: Rathbun, 1986.
Reaves, Bill. North Carolina Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Records. Raleigh: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1992.
Washington, Reginald. "The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company and African American Genealogical Research." Prologue 29 (Summer 1997): 170-81.
Burroughs, Tony. "Records Specific to African Americans-The Freedmen's Bureau." In African-American Genealogical Sourcebook, edited by Paula Byers, 68-91. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1995.
Everly, Elaine. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Washington Headquarters (Record Group 105). Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record Service, 1973.
Everly, Elaine, and Willna Pacheli. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Field Offices of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (Record Group 105). Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record Service, 1973.
Lawson, Jacqueline A. An Index of African Americans Identified in Selected Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1995.
Nordmann, Christopher A. "Jumping Over the Broomstick: Resources for Documenting Slave Marriages." National Genealogical Society Quarterly 91 (September 2003): 196-216.
Genealogies, Family Histories, and Novels
Haizlip, Shirlee Taylor. The Sweeter the Juice: A Family Memoir in Black and White. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.
Johnson, Michael P., and James L. Roark. Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984.
Jupiter, Del E. "Agustina and the Kelkers: A Spanish West Florida Line." National Genealogical Society Quarterly 80 (December 1992): 265-79.
Jupiter, Del Alexa Egan. Agustina of Spanish West Florida and Her Descendants: With Related Families of Egan, Kelker, Palmer, and Taylor. Franklin, N.C.: Genealogy Publishing Service, 1994.
Madden, T. O. We Were Always Free: The Maddens of Culpepper County, Virginia, a 200-Year Family History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1992.
Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Isle of Canes: A Historical Novel. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004.
Redford, Dorothy Spruill. Somerset Homecoming: Recovering a Lost Heritage. New York: Doubleday, 1988.
Ruffin, C. Bernard. "In Search of the Unappreciated Past: The Ruffin-Cornick Family of Virginia." National Genealogical Society Quarterly 81 (June 1993): 126-38.
Tademy, Lalita. Cane River. New York: Warner Books, 2002.
Taulbert, Clifton. Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored. Tulsa, Okla.: Council Oak Books, 1989.
Guides to Black Federal Records
Black Studies: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1984.
Eales, Anne Bruner, and Robert M. Kvasnicka, eds. Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2000.
Washington, Reginald. Black Family Research: Records of Post-Civil War Federal Agencies at the National Archives. Reference information paper 180. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2003.
Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998.
---. Slaves without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.
Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: Harper and Row, 1988.
Franklin, John Hope, and Alfred A. Moss. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans. 8th ed. New York: Knopf Co., 2000.
Gutman, Herbert. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925. New York: Vintage Books, 1976.
Koger, Larry. Black Slave Owners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co., 1985.
Litwack, Leon F. North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961.
Watson, Alan D. African Americans in Early North Carolina: A Documentary History. Raleigh: North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 2005.
Burroughs, Tony. "A Lazy Man's Way to Research." National Genealogical Society Newsletter 22 (May/June 1996): 66-67.
Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society Quarterly. Published by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 73086, Washington, D.C. 20056-3086. 1980-present.
Periodical Source Index (PERSI). Fort Wayne, Ind.: Allen County Public Library Foundation, 1847-1985 and 1986-present, annual. Indexes genealogical periodicals from 1847 to the present and has surname index. Updates on CD-ROM and the Web at Ancestry.com. Updates are also available on Heritage Quest online.
Walker, Barbara D. Index to the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society Quarterly: Issues of 1980-1990. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1992.
Bamman, Gale Williams. "African-Americans Impressed for Service on the Nashville and North Western Railroad, October 1863." National Genealogical Society Quarterly 80, no. 3 (September 1992): 204-10.
Brewer, Charles C. "African American Sailors and the Unvexing of the Mississippi River." Prologue 30 (Winter 1998): 278-86.
Burroughs, Tony. "Researching Buffalo Soldiers for Genealogical and Historical Links." Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society 14 (Summer 1995): 136-51.
Dyer, Frederick H. Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Reprint, Dayton, Ohio: Morningside, 1978.
Ernest, John E. "African-Americans in the American Revolution." FORUM 16 (Fall 2004): 3, 9-19.
Greene, Robert Ewell, ed. Black Courage 1775-1783: Documentation of Black Participation in the American Revolution. Washington, D.C.: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1984.
Helsley, Alexia Jones. South Carolina's African American Confederate Pensioners, 1923-1925. Columbia: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1998.
Hewett, Janet B., ed. The Roster of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865: United States Colored Troops. Vols. 4-5. Wilmington, N.C.: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1997.
Hodges, Graham Russell, ed. The Black Loyalist Directory. New York: Garland Publishing in Association with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996.
Matchette, Robert B., et al. "War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records." In Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, vol. 1. NARA record group 93. An online version is available at http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/093.html.
Moebs, Thomas Truxtun, comp. Black Soldiers, Black Sailors, Black Ink: Research Guide on African-Americans in U. S. Military History, 1526-1900. Chesapeake Bay, Va.: Moebs Publishing Co., 1994.
Moss, Jaunita Patience. The Forgotten Black Soldiers in White Regiments During the Civil War. Westminster, Md.: Willow Bend Books, 2004.
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War. Washington, D.C.: National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, 2001. Revision forthcoming.
National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Minority Military Service-Rhode Island 1775-1783. Washington, D.C.: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1988.
Newman, Debra L., comp. List of Black Servicemen Compiled from the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records. Special List 36. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1974.
Reidy, Joseph P. "The African-American Sailors' Project: The Hidden History of the Civil War." Cultural Resource Management 20, no. 2 (1997): 31-33, 43.
Schubert, Irene, and Frank N. Schubert. On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II: New and Revised Biographies of African-Americans in the U.S. Army, 1866-1917. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2004.
Valuska, David L. The African Americans in the Union Navy, 1861-1865. New York: Garland Publishing, 1993.
Index to Personal Names in the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections 1959-1984. Alexandria, Va.: Chadwyk-Healey, 1988.
Thackery, David T. "Crossing the Divide: A Census Study of Slaves Before and After Freedom." Origins (newsletter of the Dr. William M. Scholl Center for Family and Community History and the Local and Family History Section at the Newberry Library) 1, no. 2 (March 1989): 1-7.
Franklin, John Hope, and Loren Schweninger. Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Hawbaker, Gary T. Runaways, Rascals, and Rogues: Missing Spouses, Servants and Slaves. Abstracts from Lancaster County Pennsylvania Newspapers. Hershey, Penn.: the author, 1987.
Headley, Robert K. Genealogical Abstracts from the 18th Century Virginia Newspapers. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987.
Smith, Billy G., and Richard Wojtowicz. Blacks Who Stole Themselves: Advertisements for Runaways in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1790. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1989.
Tregillis, Helen Cox. River Roads to Freedom: Fugitive Slave Notices and Sheriff Notices Found in Illinois Sources. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1988.
Windley, Lathan A. Runaway Slave Advertisements: A Documentary History from the 1730s to 1790. 4 vols. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1983.
Austin, Jeannette Holland. Index to Georgia Wills. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1985.
Burroughs, Tony. "Records Specific to African Americans-Slave Oral History." In African-American Genealogical Sourcebook, edited by Paula Byers, 47-57. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1995.
Cerny, Johni. "Black Ancestral Research." In The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, 1st ed., edited by Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1984.
Cooper, Jean L. A Genealogical Index to the Guides of the Microfilm Edition of Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution Through the Civil War. Bloomington, Ind.: First Books, 2003.
Johnston, Hugh Buckner, Jr. "Some Bible and Other Family Records." North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal 7 (November 1981).
Miller, Randall M., and John D. Smith, ed. Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1988; Praeger, 1997.
Mitchell, Thornton W. North Carolina Wills: A Testator Index 1665-1900. Rev. Ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992.
Murphy, William L. Genealogical Abstracts: Duplin County Wills, 1730-1860. Rose Hill, N.C.: Duplin County, Historical Society, 1982.
Murray, Joyce Martin. Deed Abstracts of Warren County, Kentucky, 1812-1821. Dallas: Murray, 1986.
The Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Va. from 1653 to 1812. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Society, 1988.
Potts, Howard E. A Comprehensive Name Index to the American Slave. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997.
Rawick, George P. The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography. Westport Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972. Supplement, Series 1, 1977. Supplement, Series 2, 1979. (See Potts for indexes).
Rogers, Ellen, and Diane, comps. Estill County, Kentucky, Circuit Court Records, 1:3, 7, 2:240. Irvine, Kent.: the compilers, 1984.
Schreiner-Yantis, Nettie, and Virginia Love. The 1787 Census of Virginia. Springfield, Va.: Genealogical Books in Print, 1987.
Sistler, Byron and Barbara. Index to Tennessee Wills & Administrations, 1779-1861. Nashville: Sistler, 1990.
Slave Bills of Sale Project. Atlanta, Ga.: African-American Family History Association, 1986.
Stampp, Kenneth. Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War. Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1985.
Torrence, Clayton. Virginia Wills and Administrations, 1632-1800: An Index. Richmond, Va.: National Society of Colonial Dames of America, 1930.
Wiltshire, Betty Couch. Mississippi Index of Wills. Bowie, Md.: Heritage, 1989.
Wingo, Elizabeth N., and W. Bruce, comps. Norfolk County, Virginia Tithables 1730-1750. Norfolk, Va.: the compilers, 1979.
Wingo, Elizabeth N., and W. Bruce, comps. Norfolk County, Virginia Tithables 1751-1765. Norfolk, Va.: the compilers, 1981.
Southern Claims Commission
Larson, Sarah. "Records of the Southern Claims Commission." Prologue (1980): 207-18.
Mills, Gary B. Civil War Claims in the South: An Index of Civil War Damage Claims Filed Before the Southern Claims Commission, 1871-1880. Laguna Hills, Calif.: Aegean Park Press, 1980.
---. Southern Loyalists in the Civil War. 1994. Reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004.
Washington, Reginald. "The Southern Claims Commission: A Source for African American Roots." Prologue (Winter 1995): 374-82.
African American Genealogy Web Databases
African American Cemeteries Online-headstone readings
Black Biographies-library subscription
Large Slaveholders of 1860 and African American Surname Matches from 1870 by Tom Blake, 2001-2003
African American Family Histories and Related Works in the Library of Congress, Research Guide No. 34 by Paul Connor, Washington, 1998 (an update of Lawson, Sandra K. Generations Past: A Select List of Sources for Afro-American Genealogical Research. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1988)
Louisiana Databases for the Study of Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy, 1699-1860. by Gwendolyn Midlow Hall
A Partial List of African Americans Lynched in the United States Since 1859; 100 Years of Lynching] by Ralph Ginzburg, Black Classic Press; Lynching in the New South, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of Illinois Press
Slavery Era Insurance Registry
Insurance policies from the slavery era (pre-1865) were discovered in the archives of several insurance companies and the California legislature has published the names of slaves who were insured and the slave-owner who purchased the policy. The information for about 600 slaves includes county of residence (primarily counties in Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia) and may include the occupation for which they were insured. In some cases, the age and or death date for the slave is provided. A policy number and the insuring company are cited and copies of policies, ledgers, and documents that discuss slave insurance be examined at the Department of Insurance public viewing rooms and certain libraries.
African American Manuscript Collections
Washington, Reginald. "The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company and African American Genealogical Research." Prologue 29, no. 2 (Summer 1997).
Burroughs, Tony. "Obituaries for African Americans." Family Tree Maker On-line.
WPA Slave Narratives
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938-Library of Congress-American Memory (Original narratives sent to the Library of Congress, "A Folk History of Slavery." Does not include all WPA narratives in "The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography," edited by George P. Rawick)
North American Slave Narratives-Beginnings to 1920-narratives (and many biographies) of fugitive and former slaves published in broadsides, pamphlets, or book form in English up to 1920, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Miscellaneous African American Websites
Freedmen and Southern Society Project-sample documents