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 About.com, written by Tony Burroughs
The African Roots Channel at RootsTelevision.com: many very useful videos on African and African American genealogy research
Oral History Step by Step: from About.com, 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 Amazon.com
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 SciWay.net: 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:
Georgia Cemetery & Volunteer List
Georgia Manumission Statute – 1851
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).
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: http://www.archivesindex.sc.gov/onlinearchives/Search.aspx?br=1
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