Find Ancestors in Fold3’s Free Black History Records in February

By Allison Dolan

In honor of African-American History Month this month, genealogy website Fold3 is offering free access to its Black History Collection of records through the end of February. That includes:

  • Washington, DC court slave and emancipation records
  • South Carolina estate inventories and bills of sale (1732-1872)
  • US Colored Troops Civil War service records
  • Southern Claims Commission records (read about this collections’ contents here)
  • War Department Military Intelligence Division records on “Negro subversion”

… and more titles. You’ll need to set up a free Fold3 registration to take advantage of this offer. Start searching the free African-American genealogy records on Fold3 here.

If you’re researching black ancestors, you’ll find helpful websites listed on A few of my favorite guide we’ve printed in Family Tree Magazine for researching African-American roots include:

  • The African-American Great Migration, which helps you locate ancestors who were part of the mass population shift from the rural South to Northern cities from 1910 to 1940
  • Slave Ancestors Research Guide, which offers a strategy and resources for discovering enslaved African-Americans
  • Using Black Newspapers, a guide to finding and researching ancestors in historical newspapers that were published primarily for an African-American audience

Watching a show like PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” can be helpful because you see what records might exist for your ancestors. Here’s a link to our post about the season premiere.