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.

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

Search Military Records - Fold3

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.

Recent Black Genealogy

Our recent posts of black genealogy

Slave Narrative of Lewis Mundy of Hannibal, Missouri

Mundy, Lewis West Center Street Hannibal, Missouri Marion County, Missouri Lewis Mundy, now living on West Center Street, Hannibal, Missouri, was born in slavery on the farm of John Wright, five miles north of La Belle, Lewis County, Missouri. He has lived there for over thirty years, and has a…
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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.
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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…
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Slave Narrative of Clay Smith of Hannibal, Missouri

Clay (Carrie) Smith, now living at 612 Butler Street, Hannibal, Missouri, was born in slavery shortly before the Civil War on the farm of Joe Maupin about five miles west of Hannibal. Her present residence on Butler Street is part of the way up the hill overlooking Mark Twain Avenue…
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Slave Narrative of William Black of Hannibal, Missouri

Black, William 919 South Arch Street Hannibal, Missouri Marion County, Missouri William Black of 919 South Arch Street, Hannibal, Missouri, is one of the few ex-slaves living in Marion County. He is now about eighty-five years old, and has lived his entire life in Marion, Monroe, and Ralls Counties. The following…
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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.…
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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.
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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…
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Cleveland County North Carolina Colored Apprentices

A list of Colored Apprentices that have been indentured in the County Court of Cleveland County since May 1866 Underage children who were not or could not be supported by their parents or were orphans were apprenticed by Freedmen’s Bureau officials to persons who would be responsible for their upbringing…
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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 mother who is partially Irish/German was from Roane, TN. Her (grandmother) father’s family is from Old Fort McDowell NC. They moved to the Tennessee area.…
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