Alexandria Library, Special Collections: Guide to African-American Resources: Genealogy


Books   ||   Electronic Resources   ||   Internet Resources

African American Genealogical Sourcebook.   New York: Gale Research, 1995. Overview of resources and institutions useful for African-American genealogy. Includes a section on resources, such as Freedman's Bank records and WPA slave narratives, unique to black genealogy research. Also includes listings of repositories and organizations with useful resources. 929.1 Afr

Burroughs, Tony.   Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001. A how-to guide for beginning African-American genealogical research for 20th-century ancestors. Burroughs takes the reader through each necessary step, explaining in detail what sources are available, what information they contain, and where to find them. Includes a section on Internet resources. 929.1089 Bur

Heinegg, Paul.   Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina from the Colonial Period to About 1820. vols. 1 and 2. 4th ed. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield Publishing, 2001. Genealogies of free blacks who lived in three Southern states. The introduction contains an overview of the development of slavery. 929.2 Hei

Johnson, Anne E. and Cooper, Adam Merton.   A Student's Guide to African American Genealogy. New York: Oryx Press, 1996. Brief, basic guide aimed at young people. Provides an overview of African-American history to put the difficulties of African-American genealogy in context. Gives tips on doing research, as well as contact information for various organizations that will be helpful. 929.1089 Joh

Neimeyer, David E.   Freedman's Savings & Trust Company: Depositor Signature Card Entries for Washington, D.C. 1865-1868. Westminster, Maryland: Willow Bend Books, 2000. Provides information given by members of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, which was set up in 1865 for newly-freed slaves. When becoming a member of the bank, the applicant had to submit detailed biographical information, which often included names of family members, former owners, place of birth, current address, occupation, and a physical description. See also Neimeyer's volumes that cover the years 1870 and 1871; all volumes can be found under the call number 929.3 Washington D.C. Nei.

Provine, Dorothy S.   District of Columbia Free Negro Registers 1821-1861. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1996. 2 vols. Abstracts of entries from the Free Negro Registers of Washington, D.C., which gave biographical and physical information about free blacks living in the city. 929.3 Washington D.C. Pro

Sluby, Paul E., Sr., and Wormley, Stanton.   Blacks in the Marriage Records of the District of Columbia Dec. 23, 1811-Jun. 16, 1870. Washington, D.C.: Columbian Harmony Society, 1988. 2 vols. Abstracts of information from Washington, D.C. marriage records. Entries are organized alphabetically and can be found under the name of the bride or the name of the groom. 929.3 Washington D.C. Slu

________.   Records of the Columbian Harmony Cemetery, Washington D.C. Washington, D.C.: Columbian Harmony Society, 1993-1996. 7 vols. Interment records for the Columbian Harmony Cemetery, which was founded by free blacks in the District of Columbia. The records cover the years 1831-1959. Most of the volumes consist of reproductions of the original records, which provided information about the date and cause of death, age and residence of the person buried, and the location of the grave. 929.5 Washington D.C. Slu

Smith, Gloria L.   Black Americana at Mount Vernon: Genealogy Techniques for Slave Group Research. Tucson, Arizona: G. L. Smith, 1984. Gives a history of the Washington family and their residences, assembling information about slaves held by George and Martha Washington and their families. Includes names of slaves and information about their manumission, when known. 929.1 Smi

Streets, David H.   Slave Genealogy: A Research Guide with Case Studies. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1986. Describes resources to be used for finding information about slaves who did not live on large plantations. Includes three case studies and a bibliography. 929.1 Str


Electronic Resources
Freedman's Bank Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2000. Approximately 480,000 names are included in this database, which includes records from the Freedman's Bank from 1864-1871. Contains records from 29 branches of the bank nationwide. CD-ROM


Internet Resources
This site is dedicated to African-American genealogy and has message boards, a mailing list, and a group of online resources, including a guide for beginners, a bookstore, and a library which contains links to articles, chat transcripts and some vital records.

Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc.
Home page of the national organization, with links to regional associations. Includes details about the society's journal, annual conference, and activities, with information on how to become a member.

Black Studies on Microfilm
This guide from the National Archives and Records Administration describes groups of federal records that provide information about the history of African-Americans in the United States. Includes instructions for ordering relevant reels of microfilm. NARA's web site also has a selection of articles from their journal, Prologue, which relate to black genealogy. Click here and scroll down to the section labeled African-American Research.

Cyndi's List - African-American
A huge list of resources from one of the most comprehensive genealogy sites on the Internet. Includes links for such topics as military records, software and publications, researchers specializing in African-American genealogy, and slavery.

Genealogy Resources on the Internet - African-Ancestored Mailing Lists
Descriptions of over 70 listservs dedicated to African-American genealogy, with instructions on how to subscribe to each one.


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