African American Goals:  1: Get Started   2: Record Sources   3: Library and Other Resources   4: Slavery Resources   5: Break through Barriers   6: Get Help  


African American

Explore African American research.


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Goal 1: Get started with African American research.


Choices:

A. Learn the basics of African American research.

  1. Here is an overview of African American genealogy on FamilySearch.
    FS—African American Genealogy
  2. Use these tips for getting started with African American genealogy.
    Enoch Pratt Library
  3. Get an introduction to research.
    AC—Resources for African American Genealogy—34:12

    FS—Beginning African American Research—6 pgs.
  4. Learn about the building blocks of African American genealogy.
    GC—Building Blocks of African American Genealogy
  5. Get an overview of the steps to follow in your research.
    AB—African American Family History, Step by Step
  6. Visit the African American home page on the Ancestry site.
  7. Explore the Black Genealogy page on the AccessGenealogy.com site.

B. Use effective tips and techniques in African American research.

  1. Watch this video for some quick tips on research.
    AC—Quick Tips—14:00
  2. Learn how to avoid common misconceptions about African American research in this video.
    5 Lies about African American Genealogy—5:42
  3. In this video, learn to avoid common traps in African American research (scroll down to find the video).
    AC—Avoiding Traps in Research—59:00
  4. Learn more about researching African American ancestry.
    AC—Tips for Finding African American Ancestry
  5. Here are tips for researching African American genealogy, including a free eBook download.
    FTM—6 Keys to Success




Goal 2: Explore African American record sources.


Choices:

A. Learn how find record sources for African American ancestors.

  1. Explore the Quick Guide to African American Records on Family Search.
    FS—Quick Guide to African American Records
  2. Read the first part of the article to learn about resources for Afro-American research.
    GC—Resources for Ethnic Genealogy
  3. Learn about free African Americans in North Carolina and Virginia.
    GC—Free African Americans in North Carolina and Virginia
  4. Learn about finding records for other free blacks in America.
    AC—Researching Free Blacks
  5. Explore the African American Online Genealogy Toolbox in this video.
    African American Online Genealogy Toolbox

B. Explore cemetery, obituary, and probate records.

  1. Learn about African American cemeteries.
    FS—African American Cemeteries
  2. Learn about obituaries for African Americans.
    FS—African American Obituaries
  3. Learn how to find obituaries for African Americans.
    GC—Obituaries for African Americans
  4. Get an overview of probate records in this FamilySearch Wiki article.
    FS: African American Probate Records
  5. Learn about the value of probate records in research.
    AC: Why Probate Records Are a Gold Mine

C. Explore newspaper records for African Americans.

  1. Learn about African American ancestors in newspapers.
    FS: African American Newspapers
  2. Find your African American ancestors in newspapers.
    AC: The Great Migration, Part 3
  3. Explore African American newspaper resources on the Ancestor Hunt site.

D. Explore other record types for African Americans.

  1. Learn about vital records for African Americans.
    FS—African American Vital Records
  2. Learn about African Americans in United States Census records.
    FS—African American Census
  3. Learn about military records for African Americans.
    FS—African American Military Records
  4. Explore military records and city directories.
    AC: The Great Migration, Part 2



Goal 3: Explore library and other resources for African American research.


Choices:

A. Learn about resources in various libraries and archives.

  1. Watch this video for resources at the NEHGS (New England Historical Genealogical Society).
    AA—African American Resources at NEHGS
  2. Watch this video for resources at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
    FS—Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library—22:40
  3. Watch this video for resources at the Library of Congress.
    FS—Library of Congress
  4. Study the Black Family Research paper from NARA (National Archives).
    Black Family Research, Post-Civil War
  5. Learn about a variety of African American research resources in a special edition of Prologue magazine online.
    Prologue Magazine, Special Edition

B. Explore the AfriGeneas website for record resources.

  1. Explore census records on the site.
  2. Explore death records on the site.
  3. Explore marriage records on the site.

C. Learn about other resources for research.

  1. Follow the Great Migration of African Americans from the southern U.S. northward.
    AC: The Great Migration, Part 1
  2. Learn about the African American migration experience.
  3. Learn about African American history in the western U.S.
    FS—African American History in the Trans Mississippi West—35:18
  4. Explore Internet resources for African American research in this video.
    FS—Best Internet Resources for African American Genealogy—14:58
  5. Explore the African American Lives website for interviews and resources.
  6. Explore Christine's Genealogy Website for a variety of resources.



Goal 4: Explore slavery resources for your African American ancestors.


Choices:

A. Learn about the basic records that document slaves.

  1. Get an introduction to researching slavery records.
    AC—Researching Slavery
    | FS—Finding the Slave Generation
  2. Learn about databases that document genealogy of slaves.
    AB—Great Databases for Slave Genealogy
  3. Explore the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database on the SlaveVoyages.org site.
  4. Read this article to learn about U.S. military records for African Americans.
    AC—Military Records in African American Research
  5. Explore the AfriGeneas slave record collection.
  6. Explore slave biographies in the Atlantic Database Network slave record collection.
  7. Learn about the 1860 and 1850 Slave Schedules.
    FS Wiki—U.S. Census Slave Schedules
  8. Learn about tracing slaveholdings in families.
    FS—Tracing Slaveholdings in Families, Part 1—28:03
    | FS—Tracing Slaveholdings in Families, Part 2—21:26

B. Learn about the Freedmen's Bank and Freedmen's Bureau.

2017-08-23
  1. Read these articles for an introduction to the Freedmen's Bank, a government savings institution where Civil War soldiers and former slaves could invest money.
    AC—Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company
    | AC—Strike it Rich with Freedman’s Bank Records
  2. Read the article and watch the video for an introduction to the Freedmen's Bureau, a government services institution that assisted freed people and refugees after the Civil War.
    AC—Freedmen's Bureau

    FS—Getting Started with the Freedmen's Bureau—3:41
  3. Learn about Freedmen's Bureau records online.
    FS—Freedmen's Bureau Records Online—2:47
    |
    FS—Getting Started with the Freedmen's Bureau—3:41
  4. Go to the Search Records page on FamilySearch and enter "Freedmen's" in the Find a Collection search box to access various Freedmen's Bureau record collections.
  5. Participate in the Freedman's Bureau indexing project for African American freed slaves.

C. Learn about the National Underground Railroad.

  1. Watch this video for background on the Underground Railroad.
    FS—The Underground Railroad—2:26
  2. Explore the Freedom Center site for the National Underground Railroad.



Goal 5: Break through barriers in your African American research.


Choices:

A. Learn about African American research challenges and breakthroughs.

  1. Learn about challenges you may face in researching your African American ancestors.
    AC—Research Challenges—23:00
  2. Use the RootsWeb message boards to read or post questions about African American research.




B. Trace your slave ancestors before the Civil War.

  1. Watch this video for ideas on finding slave ancestry before the U.S. Civil War.
    FS—Finding the Slave Generation—18:00
  2. Learn how to break through the research "wall" of finding ancestors before 1870.
    AC—African American 1870 Wall—30:009span>
  3. Learn about using plantation records to do African American research.
    AC—African American Research Using Plantation Records—5 pgs.



Goal 6: Get Help

Choices:

A. Use Facebook pages to get answers to your questions.

  1. Visit the African American Genealogy Forum on Facebook.
  2. Visit the African American Genealogy Community on Facebook.
  3. See the Genealogy on Facebook list of Facebook groups dedicated to helping with research for African Americans.