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LibGuide: African American Genealogy Research

African American family history research presents unique challenges due to the history of slavery, migration, and limited access to records. This LibGuide aims to provide resources, tools, and guidance to aid researchers in tracing their African American ancestry.

Genealogy Resources:

  1. FamilySearch: Offers a wide range of genealogical records, including census data, vital records, and historical documents. Utilize the African American Genealogy research page for specific guidance and resources.
  2. Ancestry.com: Provides access to billions of historical records, including census records, slave schedules, and military records. Ancestry’s African American Family History research guide offers specialized resources and collections.
  3. AfriGeneas: An online community dedicated to African American genealogy, offering forums, research guides, databases, and surname resources.
  4. Slave Voyages: A database documenting the Transatlantic Slave Trade, allowing researchers to trace enslaved ancestors’ journeys.

Genetic Genealogy Tools and Resources:

  1. 23andMe: Offers DNA testing kits and provides ancestry composition, DNA matches, and genetic genealogy tools to trace African ancestry.
  2. AncestryDNA: Provides DNA testing kits and access to a large DNA database, enabling users to connect with genetic relatives and trace African American heritage.
  3. FamilyTreeDNA: Offers DNA testing kits and specialized projects for African American genetic genealogy research, such as the African Ancestry Project.
  4. African Ancestry: A company specializing in tracing African lineage through DNA testing and offering specific ancestry-related services.

Places to Search:

  1. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA): Houses a vast collection of historical records, including census data, military records, and Freedmen’s Bureau records.
  2. Library of Congress: Provides access to historical newspapers, manuscripts, maps, and other resources relevant to African American genealogy research.
  3. UK National Archives: Contains extensive records related to the British Empire, including colonial and slavery records.
  4. British Library: Offers access to a wide range of historical documents, newspapers, and manuscripts relevant to African American genealogy research.
  5. GU Slavery Archives: Provides access to records related to slavery and the slave trade, including plantation records and correspondence.
  6. Dawes Rolls: Contains enrollment records of individuals from the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole) in the United States.
  7. Freedmen’s Bureau Records: Offers access to records created by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, including marriage records, labor contracts, and educational records.


  1. Legacy Family Tree: Genealogy software offering robust features for organizing and documenting family history research, including options for tracking African American ancestry.
  2. RootsMagic: Another comprehensive genealogy software with tools for tracking African American lineage, organizing research, and generating reports.

Tracing African American family history requires perseverance, creativity, and access to diverse resources. By utilizing the tools, resources, and guidance provided in this LibGuide, researchers can embark on a meaningful journey to uncover their African American ancestry and connect with their heritage.