Researching African American ancestry is challenging for even the most experienced researcher. The Lowcountry Southeast presents additional challenges because of its long and complicated history. Here, we present a resource guide to online, video and print materials to help you get started or keep your family research moving forward!

Research Methods and Getting Started: Online Resources

Tony Burroughs Blog Entry on AC360: Why Tracing Our African Roots is So Difficult

Afrigeneas Beginner’s Guide to African American Genealogy: by Dee Parmer Woodtor, author of Finding a Place Called Home: An African-American Guide to Genealogy and Historical Identity (Random House, 1999): The absolute, definitive online guide to African American genealogy!

Building Blocks of African American Genealogy: from, written by Tony Burroughs

The African Roots Channel at many very useful videos on African and African American genealogy research

Oral History Step by Step: from, learn about interviewing family members and others who may know your family’s history 

African American Genealogy Examiner: follow Michael Hait here. Michael is developing a series of articles on genealogy basics, such as What is the Genealogical Proof Standard?, A Reasonably Exhaustive Search and Anatomy of the 1910 Census

African American Genealogy Research: by Melvin J. Collier, author of From Mississippi to Africa (2008, Heritage Books) 

African-American Genealogy Basics, presented by Jack Simpson from the Newberry Library in Chicago: free online course in African American genealogy (scroll to the bottom of the page)

History Detectives Video: African American Genealogy Tips: Tukufu talks about the challenges of conducting African American genealogical research and uses examples from the show 

Research Methods and Getting Started: Forums

Slave Research Forum on Afrigeneas: moderated by David Paterson

Research Methods: Books

Black Roots: A Beginners Guide To Tracing The African American Family Tree by Tony Burroughs (2001, Simon and Schuster) excerpt in the Afrigeneas Book Store at

Listening For Our Past: A Lay Guide To African American Oral History Interviewing by Hasker Nelson Jr.

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

Black Genesis: A resource Guide Book for African-American Genealogy by James M. Rose and Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG

A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage

Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom (2003, Betterway Books)


Genealogists’ Guide to Documentation and Citing Sources – Emily Anne Croom has developed this free e-book to assist you in citing sources and documenting your research findings.

General African American Genealogy Resources

Afrigeneas : The absolute mothership of African American genealogy: forums, mailing lists, research tutorials, document database 

The USF Africana Heritage Project : Rediscovering records of African American genealogy and history, extensive document database 

African Roots Podcast: by Angela Y. Walton-Raji 

Doll’s Genealogy Site: by Doll Hargrove: extensive document collection, historical information, blog and more 

US African American Griots: USGenWeb special project: document database and more

Cyndi’s List: The definitive collection of Internet genealogy links

Linkpendium: Astoundingly exhaustive county and state-level links

Christine’s Genealogy Website | Who are your people?: Directories of searchable databases, extensive transcriptions, new historical documents coming online here daily

WeRelate: The World’s Largest Genealogy Wiki: Customized for African American Genealogy

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database: information on almost 35,000 voyages of ships involved in the Atlantic slave trade

African DNA: Paternal and Maternal DNA testing

African American Military History: comprehensive site with resources on African Americans’ service in all major wars

Lowcountry Southeast African American Genealogy Resources (SC, GA and FL)

Lowcountry Africana: free website dedicated to African American genealogy and history in SC, GA and FL. Searchable document database

Lowcountry Africana Digital Library: more than two thousand primary documents for SC, GA and FL

Gullah Roots by Wevonneda Minis: Gullah Roots is the collective term for family history projects of Wevonneda Minis, who writes Kinship, the genealogy column of the Post and Courier, daily newspaper, in Charleston, S.C. 

Sankofa-Gen Wiki: community-created wiki database of plantations and the slave trade

African American Cemeteries Online: by B.J. Smothers of Afrigeneas, includes extensive cemetery transcriptions for the Lowcountry Southeast

Christine’s Genealogy Website | Who are your people?: Directories of searchable databases, extensive transcriptions relevant to the Lowcountry, new historical documents coming online here daily

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System: search for ancestors who served in the U.S. Colored Troops

The Freedmen’s Bureau Online: Transcriptions of Freedmen’s Bureau records for several states, from Christine’s Genealogy Website. Extsensive transcriptions for Lowcountry FL, GA and SC. A must for your Lowcountry research toolkit

Black Loyalists: Our History, Our People: Hundreds of Lowcountry African Americans evacuated the Lowcountry with British troops after the American Revolution and migrated to Nova Scotia. Follow their trails here 

Digital Library of American Slavery: abstracts of court and legislative petitions related to slavery, many SC, GA and FL records here

Slavery Era Insurance Registry: records of slavery-era insurance policies on enslaved people, many SC, GA and FL records listed

The Large Slaveholder Project: Essential starting point for identifying slaveholders by state

Documenting the American South: from the University of North Carolina, an extensive collection of digitized manuscripts and plantation journals, many Lowcountry resources fully digitized

Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements: The more than 2,900 transcriptions of Revolutionary War Pension Statements here contain a wealth of information about slaveholders and enslaved people in Georgia, The Carolinas and Virginia. Anyone may contribute transcriptions to this all-volunteer effort.

Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware: by leading authority Paul Heinegg

South Carolina African American Genealogy Resources

South Carolina – African American History and Resources at a world of resources for African American history and genealogy in SC

Lowcountry Plantations by Johnie Rivers: extensive database on plantations of the SC Lowcountry

South Carolina City Directories – Online

Charleston 1851, Charleston 1852, Charleston 1882, Charleston 1888

Census of the City of Charleston, South Carolina: for the Year 1861: full-text online at Google Books. Many free African Americans are listed in this Census.

African Passages: The Ashley River Corridor, Charleston, SC: from UNESCO, this site is a multimedia journey through the African American history of rice plantations along the Ashley River in Charleston, SC.

Grimke-Drayton: by Bill Grimke-Drayton, descendant of the Drayton family of Drayton Hall and Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC. Bill’s website and work unite descendants of plantation owners and descendants of those who worked on plantations.

Gullah Galz Ink: by Ramona La Roche, author of Black America Series: Georgetown County, SC (2000, Arcadia Publishers). Preview this book online at Google Books!

Georgia African American Genealogy Resources

Vanishing Georgia: incredible online collection of primary materials related to Lowcountry GA history, a must-visit if your research includes GA!

Our Georgia Roots: Digging-up our Georgia lineage one Ancestor at a time!

African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library: more than 1,000 funeral programs, most from Augusta

Wilkes County Inventories (1853-1869) I: from Luckie Daniels and Our Georgia Roots

Wilkes County Inventories (1853-1869) II: from Luckie Daniels and Our Georgia Roots 

Camden County Georgia Deeds, 1786-1881: is an extraordinary complete abstraction of Camden County deeds which name African Americans, from 1786-1881, transcribed and shared by Tara Fields, from her website, The Crypt. 

Doll’s Genealogy Site: by Doll Hargrove: extensive document collection and historical information for Macon County, GA

Georgia City Directories – Online:

Savannah, 1888

Georgia Cemetery & Volunteer List 

Georgia Manumission Statute – 1851

Georgia State Archives

Georgia | Camden Co. – The Crypt: Camden County deed records, marriage records, census information, family histories, works by other researchers and, cemetery records (10,000 burials and counting).

Georgia’s Virtual Vault

Greene County Heritage: A rich multimedia collection on Greene County, GA history: biographies, music and other sound recordings, images, timelines. A beautiful and fascinating site! 

Florida African American Genealogy Resources

Publication of Archival Library and Museum Materials (PALMM):

Jacksonville City Directories, 1867-1925: Online images at the Jacksonville Public Library

Florida Memory Collection – from the State Library and Archives of Florida: collection of primary materials on Florida history and heritage

Florida History Online: an incredible compendium of resources and documents on the early history of Florida. Extensive materials on African American history in Florida

Rebellion: John Horse and the Black Seminoles, First Back Rebels to Beat American Slavery: by J.B. Bird of the University of Texas

Looking for Angola: The Search for a Maroon Community on Florida’s Southwest Coast: Learn about the history of Angola, one of the last maroon communities in Florida

Lowcountry Archives and Repositories

The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture

South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina  

South Carolina Department of Archives and History Searchable Online Index:

Charleston County Public Library: The South Carolina Room houses a non-circulating collection of books, maps, microfilm, and other research materials.

South Carolina Historical Society

Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections, Duke University

University of North Carolina Special Collections

Charleston Library Society

Georgia Historical Society

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