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African American Family History Resources Compiled by FamilySearch

FamilySearch and the FamilySearch Research Wiki

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands

The Freedmen’s Bureau website

Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau
Locate the field office closest to where your ancestors lived and access films online at
Includes a searchable database of all indexed records of the Freedmen’s Bureau and Freedman’s Bank 

Freedman’s Bank Records
These records were created between 1865-1874. Bank signature cards or registers can contain names, ages, birthplaces, residences, employers, family members, former enslavers and plantations, and other information.

Library of Congress

African American Family Histories and Related Works
183 books that cover topics ranging from abolitionists, American Loyalists, and revolutionaries to masters and slaves, freedmen, Civil War soldiers, and Cherokee Indians.

Voices Remembering Slavery: Freed People Tell Their Stories
Surviving voice recordings from formerly enslaved persons

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938
Collections of experiences of formerly enslaved persons as told in their own words

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Find what newspapers existed at the time and place your ancestors lived. Many newspapers are digitized and available to view for free.

Other Research Resources

University of North Carolina’s Documenting the American South
Large collection of North American slave narratives. All are digitized and available to view for free. Vary from a few pages in length to hundreds of pages.

Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade
Growing collection documenting slave ships and their passengers, records of enslaved persons, and slave traders.

Saving Slave Houses
Photographs and drawings of former slave houses and enslaved persons. Includes sections for genealogy, education, and preservation.

Accessible Archives
Subscription database containing African American newspapers and information about life and history in the nineteenth century.

Black Press Research Collective (BPRC)
The BPRC is dedicated to generating digital scholarship and archiving the Black Press to preserve the significance of the historical and contemporary role of black newspapers in Africa and the African diasporas.

Readex’s African American Newspapers, 1827-1998
Subscription website available at many public libraries. Contains African American newspapers from 1827-1998.

Free website with multiple collections of African American genealogy records.

Access Genealogy
Directs researchers to free United States genealogy resources online. Includes sources for birth records, death records, marriage records, census records, tax records, church records, court records, military records, historical newspapers, cemeteries, and ethnic records. Also provides some historical details about different times and people in America’s history.