African-American Genealogy Books, Groups & Other Resources

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African-American Genealogy Websites

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Family Tree Magazine‘s 101 Best Websites Winner 2016

This site from the Center for Geographical Analysis at Harvard not only visualizes contemporary data but offers historical overlays and geographical data tracking the slave trade.

African-American Cemeteries Online

Online database of African-American cemeteries, categorized by state. Many include transcribed tombstones.

African Ancestry

Information and updates about a DNA-based test developed by Howard University researchers to help African-Americans trace their African ancestry.

The African-American Genealogy Ring

A hub listing more than 20 websites as additional resources for African genealogists. According to the site, “If you are of African descent and have a website that contains information regarding our ancestors, you are welcome to join this Web Ring.”

The African-American Mosaic

Selections from the Library of Congress’ resource guide for the study of black history and culture, covering colonization, abolition, migrations and the 1930s Works Progress Administration.

Family Tree Magazine‘s 101 Best Websites Winner 2010, 2014

Finding data on African-Americans prior to the 1870 census (“The Wall,” as researchers call it) can be difficult, but this site proves it’s not impossible. Information within tax records, diaries, plantation records and data on runaway slaves that may be helpful is indexed by last name, state and year. In addition to a wealth of how-to tips and message boards, AfriGeneas also offers census records, slave data, an index of 50,168 surnames and a collection of 16,338 death records.

African Voices

A lavishly designed, deep and interactive online exhibit by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Weave through the extensive set of streaming timelines, tour historical sites, meet individuals and see their works.

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy 1719-1820
Family Tree Magazine‘s 101 Best Websites Winner 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015

The fruits of 15 years of work by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, this gorgeous site employs powerful search tools to comb through data on 100,000 Louisiana slaves. African-American Collection

An Index to the Freedom Records of Prince George’s County Maryland, 1808-1869

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writer’s Project, 1936-1938

Christine’s Genealogy Web Site

Digital Library on American Slavery
Family Tree Magazine‘s 101 Best Websites Winner 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016

This resource from the library of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro searches information culled from thousands of slavery-related county court and legislative petitions, wills, estate inventories and civil suits, filed in 15 states and the District of Columbia from 1775 to 1867. More than 150,000 individuals are named in the documents, including 80,000 slaves and 8,000 free people of color.

Documenting the American South: North American Slave Narratives
Family Tree Magazine‘s 101 Best Websites Winner 2010, 2014, 2015

This rich site from the University of North Carolina is especially strong on the African-American experience, including such collections as The Church in the Southern Black Community, Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, and North American Slave Narratives. Black History Collection

Free African Americans of Virginia,  North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware

The Freedmen’s Bureau Online

The Freedmen’s Bureau Project

The Geography of Slavery in Virginia

Index to Parish Court Slave Emancipation Petitions, 1814-1843, Orleans Parish, Louisiana

Lowcountry Africana
Family Tree Magazine‘s 101 Best Websites Winner 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016

This site focuses on records that document the heritage of African-Americans in the historic rice-growing areas of South Carolina, Georgia and northeastern Florida, home to the distinctive Gullah/Geechee culture. Records include those of the wealthy Drayton family, which owned several plantations, plus Freedmen’s Bureau and Freedman’s Bank papers.

Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau
Family Tree Magazine‘s 101 Best Websites Winner 2015, 2016

This handsome site can help you research African-American ancestors after the Civil War. Created by experts Toni Carrier and Angela Walton-Raji, it has an interactive map of field offices of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. When you click on a field office, a popup shows you the relevant National Archives microfilm numbers plus information about digitized records (if any) at

The National Archives’ Guide to African-American Genealogical Resources

Slave Voyages: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – Downloads
Family Tree Magazine‘s 101 Best Websites Winner 2015

These databases describe more than 35,000 slave voyages, with the African names of 91,491 individuals taken from captured slave ships or from African trading sites.

Texas Slavery Project

Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names
Family Tree Magazine’s 101 Best Websites Winner 2016

This database from the Virginia Historical Society lets you search or browse for slaves who lived in Virginia. You even can click on a map location to view documents, such as sale records, related to slaves held there.

Summaries written by David A. Fryxell and Diane Haddad

African-American Genealogy Articles and Podcasts from Family Tree Magazine

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African-American Genealogy Social Media Groups

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Association for the Study of African American Life and History


Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society



Facebook Group

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture


The Association of African American Museums (AAAM)


Slave Societies Digital Archive


Our Black Ancestry

Private Facebook Group

Low Country Africana


The IAAM Center for Family History




Midwest African American Genealogy Institute

Facebook Group

Authors/Influencers on Twitter

Angela Y. Walton-Raji
Kenyatta D. Berry
Renate Sanders
Nicka Sewell-Smith
Melvin Collier
Dr. Shelly Murphy (aka familytreegirl)

African-American Genealogy Books

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African American Genealogical Research: How to Trace Your Family History by Paul R. Begley, Alexia J. Helsley and Steven D. Tuttle

African American Genealogical Sourcebook edited by Pamela K. Byers

African American Genealogy: A Bibliography and Guide to Sources by Curt Bryan Witcher

Afro-Americana, 1553-1906 by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan

Bibliographic Checklist of African-American Newspapers by Barbara K. Henritze

Black Names in America: Origins and Usage by Newbell Niles Puckett

Black Roots: A Beginners Guide To Tracing The African-American Family Tree by Tony Burroughs

Black Genealogy by Charles L. Blockson and Ron Fry

Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy by James M. Rose and Alice Eichholz

Cane River by Lalita Tademy

A Comprehensive Name Index for the American Slave by Howard E. Potts

Courthouse Research for Family Historians by Christine Rose

Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor by William B. Gould IV

Family Pride: The Complete Guide to Tracing African-American Genealogy by Donna Beasley

Finding a Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity by Dee Parmer Woodtor

Finding Your African-American Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide by David T. Thackery

The First Emancipator: Slavery, Religion, and the Quiet Revolution of Robert Carter by Andrew Levy

From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss Jr.

A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors by Emily Anne Croom and Franklin Carter Smith

A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Immigrant & Ethnic Ancestors by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

Genealogy at a Glance: African American History by Michael Hait

Generations Past: A Selected List of Sources for Afro-American Genealogical Research by Sandra M. Lawson

How To Trace Your African-American Roots: Discovering Your Unique History by Barbara Howell

In Black and White edited by Mary Mace Spradling

A Legal History of Slavery in the United States by Robert B. Shaw

Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America by Ira Berlin

Slave Ancestral Research: It’s Something Else by Mary L. Jackson Fears

Slave Genealogy: A Research Guide with Case Studies by David H. Streets

Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball

Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860 by Thomas D. Morris (University of North Carolina Press)

A Student’s Guide to African American Genealogy by Anne Johnson

Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

Your Guide to the Federal Census by Kathleen W. Hinckley

African-American Genealogy Organizations, Archives and Research Centers

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Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society

Library and Archives Canada: Black History in Canada

International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry

Moorland Spingarn Research Center, Howard University

The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society

African-American Genealogy Group of the Miami Valley of Ohio

African-American Genealogy Group of Philadelphia

National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center

National Register of Historic Places: African American History Month

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Versions of this information appeared in the February 2001 and January/February 2015 issues of Family Tree Magazine.