Whether you’re interested in your ancestors’ lives or curious about your African ethnicity, Ancestry® can help you uncover the names, places, and details that connect you to your family’s unique story.
Given the profound effects of slavery and the Civil War on the Black community, African American
family history research can pose unique challenges as you follow your family into the 19th century.
But that doesn't mean you won't find your ancestors.
First things first, create a free family tree on Ancestry®. Start by asking your family members to share memories, details, and documents—then just follow the prompts and fill in the blanks.
The 1940 U.S. Federal Census on Ancestry® is a wonderful, free resource that reveals names, occupations, birthplaces, and more for anyone who was living in America at that time.
And when you’re ready for a deeper dive, explore our
African American Family History Research Guide.
The Freedmen's Bureau collection now offers a path to uncover more about your African American ancestors before 1870. Discover details about their lives just after the Civil War, like where they settled and how they made a living.Learn more
This set of more than 1 million records from 1724-1916 provides unique insight into the lives of Black people who were enslaved, and then legally free, in the Danish West Indies.Search now
Ancestry® regularly adds new records and collections to our library—which could mean even more family discoveries for you in the near future.
Find out how your ancestors helped to shape this nation.
More than 350,000 Black Americans fought for our country in WW1. Roughly 20 years later, two and a half million Black people registered and one million served in WWII. African Americans have a distinguished history serving in our armed forces.
Search Military records
The Great Migration was a mass movement of approximately six million Southern Black people to the North and West between 1910 and 1970. This migration fueled the economic growth of our auto industry, manufacturing jobs, and the expansion of our railroads.
Search U.S. City Directories
The U.S. Census has been taken every ten years from 1790 to today, and these records can hold significant details about your ancestors’ lives. You can find personal information like names of household members, birthplaces, occupations, and more.
Search Census and Voter Lists
Discover your origins from over 1100 regions around the world—including 12 distinct regions across Africa and over 90 African American and Afro-Caribbean communities. By connecting you to the places your ancestors once lived, AncestryDNA® can help you grow your family tree and provide a more complete picture of your past.