Black History MonthFinding Your Black Roots - 29 Ways in 29 Days
Finding Your Black Roots: 29 Ways in 29 Days
Black History Month 2020 is the first major project in our newly-formed partnership with FamilySearch. The theme for this first collaboration is “Finding Your Black Roots: 29 Ways in 29 Days.” Each day in February, FamilySearch will launch or feature a searchable collection that is especially helpful for African American genealogy research.
The IAAM Center for Family History will blog about each day’s featured collection. In each post, we’ll introduce that day’s featured collection, show you what’s in the collection and suggest next steps if you find an ancestor there. Then, we’ll take a deep dive into researching from a specific example document from that collection.
Be sure to bookmark this page so you won’t miss a single post from Finding Your Black Roots: 29 Ways in 29 Days!
Black History Month Posts
You can look for your ancestors who were born in Orleans Parish, Louisiana between 1819 and 1906 in the record collection Louisiana, Orleans Parish, Birth Records, 1819-1906.
Today’s featured collection is the Florida State Census, 1885. This searchable collection contains population, agriculture, manufacture and mortality schedules for a special federal census for Florida made in 1885. The census was taken at the request of the federal government, and with the federal government’s assistance. All Florida counties are represented except Alacuhua, Clay, Columbia and Nassau.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is South Carolina, State and Territorial Censuses, 1753–1920. This searchable collection consists of several state and local census records for South Carolina, including City Council of Georgetown census, 1920; South Carolina state censuses, 1829-1875; Union County census, 1869; City Council of Aiken census, 1868; and Village of Edgefield census, 1891.
This collection contains voting registers for the North Carolina counties Orange, Beaufort and Chatham for the years 1868-1898. This searchable database includes images taken from microfilm of original records held at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. For a detailed look at this collection, please see the collection’s Learn More page.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is US, Florida — Voter Registration Records, 1867–1905 . The collection consists of voter registration records for Hernando, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. John, Sumpter, Suwannee, Taylor, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties for years 1867-1905.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is US, Texas–Voter Registration, 1867-1869. This collection can be especially helpful for African American genealogy because the records were made prior to 1870, and can help you tighten up your ancestor’s timeline between 1865 and the 1870 U.S. Census.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Louisiana, Orleans and St. Tammany Parish, Voter Registration Records, 1867-1905. Early voter registration records can help you locate your ancestor in records made before the 1870 U.S. Census. Voter registration records can also help you fill the twenty year gap between the 1880 U.S. Census and the 1900 U.S. Census (most of the 1890 U.S. Census was destroyed by fire).
This searchable collection with images contains marriage certificates, marriage licenses, monthly reports of marriages and other proofs of marriages compiled by the Freedmen’s Bureau between 1861 through 1872. The records are part of National Archives Record Group 105, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.
Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts highlighting new or important research collections at FamilySearch! We will be posting a highlighted collection every day during February. For each collection, we’ll give you a general overview of the collection and what information it contains, show you a sample image from the collection and offer some hints for researching from the highlighted collection.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1860.This searchable collection includes an index and images of slave schedules listing the names of slaveholders and the age and gender of those they enslaved in 1860. The 1860 Census Slave Schedules were made at the same time the 1860 Census was made. With very few exceptions, the slave schedules list only the name of the slaveholder. The schedules are arranged by enumeration district, just as the 1860 U.S. Census was arranged, and information reported was for the official census enumeration date of June 1, 1860.
Today’s featured collection is Georgia, County Delayed Birth and Death Records, 1870-1960. This collection contains delayed birth records gathered from probate courts in multiple counties in Georgia for the years 1870 – 1960. Document images are available for most counties in the collection.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is US, Texas, Harrison County–Delayed Birth Records, 1860-1933. This collection contains delayed birth records for Harrison County, Texas for the years 1860-1933. Some of the pages are damaged and some of the title boards are incorrectly labeled. The original records are housed at the Harrison County Courthouse in Marshall, Texas.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934.
This is a searchable collection with images. The collection contains images of the National Archives’ carded name index to pension files for veterans who served in the military between 1861 and 1916 and applied for a military pension. These records are part of the National Archives record group RG 15, Records of the Veterans Administration and were taken from the National Archives microfilm publication T288. To learn more about the records in this microfilm publication, you can access the descriptive pamphlet here.
Descriptive Recruitment Lists of Volunteers for the United States Colored Troops for the State of Missouri,1863-1865 : NARA, RG94, M1894
This collection consists of descriptive lists for black volunteers recruited for the army from the State of Missouri, 1863-1865. The original records, held at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland consist of 55 descriptive recruitment books and 3 bound indexes. The records are part of the records of the Colored Troops Division, 1863-1865 within Record Group (RG) 94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917 and were taken from the National Archives microfilm publication M1894. For more information about these records, please see the descriptive pamphlet prepared by the National Archives.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Alabama State Census, 1866.This searchable collection is an index of the 1866 state census from Alabama. Originals schedules are held at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The census was created to determine how many representatives would be sent to Congress for the state of Alabama.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957. These records are lists of black and white students prepared by the counties and school districts for the years 1850-1892, 1908 to 1957 to determine each county’s education funding needs. The early records include only the names of students and the school attended. More recent records added the age of the child and a parent or guardian’s name. School records can be a viable substitute for birth records and can bridge the gaps between U.S. Census years. To learn more about these records, please visit the collection’s Learn More page.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. This collection was built from a database provided by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and is a name index to Army Serial Number Enlistment Card Records, which covers the years 1938-1946, excluding officers, in the United States Army including the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and the Enlisted Reserve Corps. This index, which is not complete, covers about nine million men and women. The collection’s Learn More page notes that the collection may contain scanning errors.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987. This searchable collection contains an index and images of death certificates from the Virginia State Department of Health. Certificate images are provided courtesy of Ancestry.com. To learn more about this record set, please view the collection’s Learn More page.
County Birth Registers, 1881-1930 are now available online at FamilySearch.org for those who are researching Alabama ancestors. The records come from multiple county probate judges in Alabama.
Search for your South Carolina ancestor’s death between 1915 and 1965 in the collection South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965.
Alabama Death and Burials, 1881-1952 is an index of records that may have appeared in previously recorded International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections. The records are not complete for any particular time period, place or region. It is strongly recommended that you verify any records you find with original documentation. See Legacy Collections. For more information on this record set, please see the collection’s Learn More page.
If your ancestor supposedly moved to New York City and died before 1950, you can search to see if you find your ancestor’s death in this location showing you proof that he or she migrated. The records represent the five boroughs of New York City. Each borough covers a different time period.
With Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994, you can determine when you ancestor migrated to Illinois. The record set covers the years 1878 to 1939 and 1955 to 1994. This record is an index that tells you the age of your ancestor and the date and place where he or she died. You will learn where he or she was born. If this is given, it can help to identify that you have the right person.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915.
You can search Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915 for your ancestor to see if it reveals that he or she moved from someplace else during the Great Migration. This collection is made of several types of records.
How wonderful to have this primary resource for your ancestor. These birth registers give the names of their parents. So, you do not to need to rely on the death record of your ancestor as the main source for this information. 1901-1926 is rather late, and most would consider the information would be known by descendants. If you consider that enslavement ended only in 1865, many of these records represent the first generation or second generation born outside of enslavement. South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-1926 can assist many African Americans who are unsure about the parentage of their ancestor born between 1901 and 1926.
Today’s featured collection is North Carolina, Wake County, Death Records, 1900-1909.
Today’s featured collection is Oklahoma School Records 1895 – 1936. This particular collection holds school census records as well as rosters for the counties that existed before and after Oklahoma statehood, which occurred in 1907. This collection is significant because it reflects the two territories: Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. After 1907, the new state of Oklahoma is reflected with all of the new counties. For more about this collection one can visit the Family Search website to Learn More about this collection.
The first bit of advice we give to everyone who’s thinking of starting their ancestor research is “Find the person in your family who collects the funeral programs.” Why? Because Homegoing programs celebrate a person’s life within their circle of loved ones, and most every loved one is mentioned in the funeral program.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Tennessee, Shelby County, Memphis, Board of Health Death Records, 1848-1913. This collection is searchable.
Did You Know?
FamilySearch has millions of FREE resources for your genealogy research. On the FamilySearch website, you can:
- Access billions of free historical records
- Access the FamilySearch Wiki, which contains thousands of how-to research articles
- Read more than 400,000 digitized family history books
- Share family photographs, stories and memories
- Build and maintain your family tree
Scroll down the page to learn how to access the many free genealogy resources on FamilySearch!
Image: Robert Smalls’ Grandchildren, 1898, Beaufort, SC, Contributed by Michael Boulware Moore.
Finding Free Records on FamilySearch
There are billions of free records awaiting you on FamilySearch. We have created two blog posts that will show you step by step how to access all of the digital records on FamilySearch.
There are record collections for every state in the United States. Some record collections are searchable, while others are available for you to browse the images in the collection, but are not searchable.
Our article Find Millions of Free FamilySearch Records for Your Area of Research Interest will guide you step by step through accessing all of FamilySearch’s record collections.
There are also digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch Catalog you can access to view the microfilms frame by frame, just as you would in a library, but these are available 24/7 for you to access from home.
Our Article Has FamilySearch Digitized the Records You Need? Here’s How to Check will guide you step by step through accessing millions of records in digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch Catalog.
FamilySearch is adding millions of new records every year, so you should check back often for fresh records for your area of research interest.
The FamilySearch Wiki is your go-to resource for research guides and a great starting point for learning more about African American genealogy in your area of research interest.
Our article Has Your Genealogy Research Stalled? Check the FamilySearch Wiki for Fresh Ideas will give you an overview of the many research guides available on the FamilySearch Wiki.
The FamilySearch Learning Center offers on demand videos on a variety of research topics, records and locations. In our article The FamilySearch Learning Center: Free Research Tutorial Videos, we’ve hand picked some videos that may be of special interest for African American genealogy.
The FamilySearch Wiki and Learning Center
The FamilySearch Digital Library: Read Thousands of Digitized Family History Books
Did you know? The FamilySearch Digital Library is the largest genealogical library in the world, offering you access to digitized books from libraries all over the world. World renowned research libraries such as the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) Genealogy Center, the BYU Family History Library and the St. Louis County Library have contributed books from their collections to be digitized by FamilySearch.
A search for “African American genealogy” in the FamilySearch Digitial Library yields more than 40 thousand search results. Start exploring these resources today!