Slave Narrative

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Census

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Church Records

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Cooper County Slave Schedules

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Help at Ancestry

The Challenge of African American Research
Conducting successful African American genealogical research can be a challenging adventure. In recent years, the challenge has been lessened and the adventure heightened by the growing body of publications relating to this ethnic group. Special-interest groups and genealogical societies nationwide are publishing key guides, new bibliographies, and important how-to books. Before delving into published sources, however, it is always important to pause long enough to organize one’s own personal papers and review standard research methodology.

African American Research, Part 1
African American Research, Part 2
African American Research, Part 3: Case Studies
Searching for African American families involves two distinct research approaches. These approaches correspond to the distinct change in the legal status of African Americans in the United States before and after the Civil War. Genealogical techniques used to track slave families before the war are necessarily quite different than those used for white or free African Americans; however, research conducted on African Americans after the war usually involves the same types of records as those used for whites.

African American Genealogy Program at Indiana Historical Society
Internationally known genealogist Tony Burroughs will present a lecture titled “Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree” at the Indiana Historical Society on February 10, from 1–4 p.m. The program, cosponsored by the IHS and the Indiana African American Genealogy Group, will discuss conducting African American family history research. IHS Program Archivist Wilma Gibbs will present a discussion on research resources available at the IHS and other repositories.

Finding Your African American Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide
Few areas of American genealogy pose as much challenge as the search for African American ancestry prior to the Civil War. Notwithstanding the inherent difficulties, there are few areas that contain as much unrealized potential. Despite great strides within the last two decades, the basic outlines of the field are only now being clarified. While the difficulties of African American genealogical research are not to be discounted, these difficulties are not always insurmountable.

Celebrating African American Family History
February is Black History Month in the United States. If you have Black American ancestry, you might want to begin tracing your family tree this month while many museums and archives have special exhibits to mark the month.