African American Records. This training will familiarize you with some of the HBLL Family History Library’s resources to help patrons who are searching for African American ancestors. Beginning the Search. First, write down what the family knows about their ancestors.
This training will familiarize you with some of the HBLL Family History Library’s resources to help patrons who are searching for African American ancestors.
and state records …..
and then look at records
specifically for African Americans.
Census Records Homestead Records
Military Records Social Security Death Index
Cemetery Records City Directories
Church Records Court Records
Land Records Probate Records
School Records Vital Records
Search local histories for each town, county, and state where the ancestor lived.
An excellent guide that carefully explains how to search for an African American ancestor is African American Genealogical Sourcebook, E184.A1x5, on our Religion & Family History reference shelf .
The Utah African American Genealogical Society will be a great organization to affiliate with. Their contact address is: AAHGS-Utah, P.O. Box 17914, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117-7914.
See the FHL U.S. Military Records Research Outline on Table 4B
Be sure to check the many African American transition records available at Ancestry.com (Ancestry.com/aahistory) and Family History Library Catalog > Subject heading.
The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, popularly known as the Freedman's Bank, was incorporated by Congress on March 3, 1865 by an act signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The purpose of the company was to create an institution where former slaves and their dependents could place and save their money.
Because of mismanagement, abuse, fraud, and other economic factors, the Freedman's Bank failed in 1874, leaving tens of thousands of its depositors in economic ruin. While the failure of the Freedman's Bank was tragic and left many African Americans with feelings of distrust of the American banking system, the records created by the bank are a rich source of documentation for black family research for the period immediately following the American Civil War.
What makes these records so important are the thousands of signature cards that contain personal data about the individual depositors. In addition to the names and ages of depositors, the files can contain their places of birth, residence, and occupations; names of parents, spouses, children, brothers, and sisters; and in some cases, the names of former slave owners.
Twenty-nine of the original thirty-seven branches of the bank had records that have survived and been microfilmed. You may access these records at ancestry.com/aahistory. The BYU Family History Library has many of the films (#928571-91).
Correctly identifying ancestors in slave records is difficult. Even professional researchers are successful about only 50 percent of the time.
First, the slave owner must be identified and then his records studied for clues to a slave family.
Keep in mind that only about 15 percent of former slaves took their last slave owner’s surname. Some took the surname of people they admired, such as Lincoln or Washington, and some took a surname they had been using for many years without the knowledge of the slave owner.
Study the BLUE BINDER, “African American Records,” #45 for help and tips in identifying a slave owner.
Federal Census Schedules
Federal Census Mortality Schedules
Land and Property Records
Probate, Estate, Chancery Court Records
Plantation Records (Account Log Books)
and search after their kindred dead,
we will need to know HOW to help them search.
Hopefully, we now
have a better idea
where to start!