Black Genealogy

African American Genealogy records are much more difficult to find due to the scant nature of record keeping for blacks prior to the Civil War. We have modeled this section much like we have for Native Americans, whose research can also be hampered by the available records. The links below provide an accurate reflection of what African American genealogy is available online.

Conducting successful African American genealogical research can be a challenging adventure. In recent years, the challenge has been lessened and the adventure heightened by the growing body of publications relating to this ethnic group. Special-interest groups and genealogical societies nationwide are publishing key guides, new bibliographies, and important how-to books. Before delving into published sources, however, it is always important to pause long enough to organize one’s own personal papers and review standard research methodology.

Searching for African American families involves two distinct research approaches. These approaches correspond to the distinct change in the legal status of African Americans in the United States before and after the Civil War. Genealogical techniques used to track slave families before the war are necessarily quite different than those used for white or free African Americans; however, research conducted on African Americans after the war usually involves the same types of records as those used for whites.

Tobacco
Copy of 1670 painting from Virginia showing African slaves working on a tobacco plantation.

African American Genealogy Records by State

Please note some states are omitted due to lack of online information

African American Cemetery Records by State

Following states have a large online collection of African American Cemeteries

African American Census Records by State

Following states have a large online collection of African American Census Records

Slave Owners by State

Following states have a large online listing for Slave owners

Online African American Books

  • Slave Narrative of Lunsford Lane
    Slave Narrative of Lunsford Lane – Embracing an account of his early life, the redemption by purchase of himself and family from slavery, and his banishment from the place of his birth for the crime of wearing a colored skin.
  • The Fugitive Blacksmith
    The Fugitive Blacksmith: Events in the history of James W. C. Pennington, Pastor of a Presbyterian Church, New York, formerly a slave in the State of Maryland, United States. The principal portion of the ‘Tract,’ as Mr. Pennington modestly styles his book, consists of an autobiography of his early life as a slave, and of his escape from bondage, and final settlement in New York as a Presbyterian Minister. His adventures and hair breadth escapes invest the narrative with startling interest, and excite the deepest sympathies of the reader.
  • History of Liberia
    This paper claims to be scarcely more than a brief sketch. It is an abridgment of a History of Liberia in much greater detail, presented as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University.
  • History of Black Soldiers in the Spanish American War
    History of Black Soldiers in the Spanish American War: The troops of the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and the 24th and 25th Infantry served with distinction on the battlefields of Las Guasimas, El Caney, and San Juan Hill. In four months of fighting the Spanish under these adverse conditions, the Buffalo Soldiers were described as “most gallant and soldierly.” This is their story
  • Great Riots of New York 1712-1873
    A History of all the Great Riots of New York from 1712 to 1873. Includes histories of the Black Riots, Draft Riots, Flour Riot, Stamp-Act Riot, Abolition Riots, Dead Rabbits’ Riot, Astor Place Riots, Spring Election Riots, Doctors’ Riot, and the Orange Riots.
  • A Century of Black Migration
    A century of Black migration (or the Great Migration) details how Blacks in the United States have struggled under adverse circumstances to flee from the bondage of the South in quest of lands offering Freedom and opportunity.
  • The Fugitive Slave Law
    The Fugitive Slave Law was enacted by Congress in September, 1850. It declared that all runaway slaves were, upon capture, to be returned to their masters. In effect, encouraging local officials to “kidnap” suspected slaves, detain them, and transport them back to Southern States and their “owners”. This collection provides a synopsis of the act itself, and specific, named examples of it’s effect on Blacks living in the North.

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Slave Narrative of Margaret Nickens of Hannibal, Missouri

Margaret Nickens, now living at 1644 Broadway, Hannibal, Missouri, was born in slavory on the farm of Pleasant McCann about six miles from Paris in Moares County, Miscouri. She was a daughter of Geerge Merrison and wife, slaves of Pleasant McCann. The following is her story as she told it.

Slave Narrative of Henry Dant of Hannibal, Missouri

Henry Dant, now living with his daughter on Davis Street in Hannibal, was born in slavery on the farm of Judge Daniel Kendrick, south of Monroe City in Ralls County. He is about one hundred and five years old, in possession of all his faculties and is able to move around the house. He seemed to have only hazy recollections, and it was difficult to keep him from wandering from the subject. The following is the story that he told.

1860 Free Inhabitants Creek Nation Page 1

1860 Census West of Arkansas – Creek Nation

Free Inhabitants in “The Creek Nation” in the County “West of the” State of “Akansas” enumerated on the “16th” day of “August” 1860. While the census lists “free inhabitants” it is obvious that the list contains names of Native Americans, both of the Creek and Seminole tribes, and probably others. The “free inhabitants” is likely indicative that the family had given up their rights as Indians in treaties previous to 1860, drifted away from the tribe, or were never fully integrated. The black (B) and mulatto (M) status may indicate only the fact of the color of their skin, or whether one had a white ancestors, they may still be Native American.

Old Slave

Slave Narrative of Maria S. Clemments (Clements)

Slave Narrative of Maria S. Clements of DeValls Bluff, Arkansas. Maria was born in Lincoln County, Georgia and was the slave of Frances Sutton there. At the time of the interview, Maria was approximately 85-90 years old.

Baltimore Maryland Directory for 1799 title page

Baltimore Maryland City Directories 1799-1946

This page lists 109 free digitized directories found online for the city of Baltimore Maryland covering the years of 1799-1946 (incomplete). Directories can provide such information on an individual such as their employment and address during the year issued. They may also indicate whether they were renting or residing with somebody else at the time.

Split View of Cindy Henderson's Ancestry

Cindy Henderson’s DNA Results

My mother is of Irish/German and Italian ancestry. Her father is a 1st generation Italian, the family is from Abruzzo Italy. The colonial line, her