Celebrate the Black history in you.

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.

You can start your journey with a grandparent’s name.

Grandparent

A step-by-step guide to uncovering your family history.

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.

Step 1: Family Tree

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.

Step 2: 1940 Census

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.

Step 3: Work Backwards

Next you’ll want to start working backward through time. Take what you’ve learned and apply it to some of our other record collections—obituaries, marriage records, city directories—from the ‘30s, ‘20s, and beyond.

And when you’re ready for a deeper dive, explore our
African American Family History Research Guide.

Discover new and updated collections, for free.

Black history is American history.

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

We've heard some amazing stories.

AncestryDNA® provides a detailed
view of your African ethnicity.

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.

Learn more

Ready to uncover your family story?

Start your 14-day free trial