Genealogy books

Best Ancestry Sites for African Genealogy

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Ten years ago, tracing one’s ancestry was an activity associated with bored and possibly elderly people who had nothing but time and tons of photo albums in their hands. In recent years, it seems like everyone has started talking about ancestry companies like 23andMe and People started giving 23andMe reviews as holiday gifts. Every comedian has a joke about what their 23andMe results found. There are many reasons why we hypothesize that people are showing increased interest in figuring out where they came from. Maybe all the losses associated with the pandemic have made people want to connect with more family — to get a sense of closeness when we all feel so far apart.

No matter why they do it, one thing is certain: people are tracing their ancestry by the millions. Literally. CNBC reported in 2019 that 26 million people had shared their DNA with ancestry societies. People want to know where they come from. There’s just one problem: genetics has always been a white affair. In reality, Technology Review reported on the fact that many of these companies only work on those of European descent. Furthermore, says that due to the large number of black families separated during slavery, tracing one’s lineage becomes even more complicated for black people. This is a major problem, but one that several companies are looking to solve. Below are ancestry companies that can help the black community trace their African ancestry.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Project

When emancipation resulted in the freedom of nearly 4 million slaves, the Freedman’s Bureau became a resource for those transitioning to freedom. The organization also registered the names of black Americans for the very first time. These records form the basis of The Freedman’s Bureau project, which aims to connect black Americans to their Civil War-era ancestors. Their database has over 5 billion searchable names and allows you to create a family tree using photographs and records you collect from relatives you know and what already exists in the database. . Then you can share the results with other family members to bond even more.

African American Historical and Genealogical Society

The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving African-American history and helping Americans of African descent learn how to complete the genealogical process. It offers an interactive online guide for beginners and several useful resources to start your search. It also provides charts to record what you find, such as ancestral charts to create a family tree and search extraction forms to record details of historical documents. The society has local chapters across the country so you can become a member and connect with others in the black community by tracing their ancestry and exchanging resources.

The American Slavery Digital Library

For countless reasons, millions of black Americans disappeared before and during the Civil War, their names never appearing in official records to help trace their ancestors. The American Slavery Digital Library exists to help individuals find family members who may have fallen through the cracks and are not searchable by more conventional methods. It contains records such as slave deeds, records of slave trade voyages and announcements of runaway slaves to help piece together the mystery of missing ancestors. Users can filter their search by document type, name, location, and keyword. is a comprehensive database containing records of people, places, and events involved in the slave trade and the pre-Civil War era. It not only helps users find their enslaved ancestors, but also the African ancestors of those individuals with records dating back to the 15th century. The database has been populated by scholars, educators and historians and now offers information on over 600,000 people and 5 million data points. Their search tools are incredibly immersive. You can search for a person not only by the usual descriptors such as gender and age, but also by role types such as “captured person”, “sold person” or “missing person”, as well as ethnodescriptors and profession.

African American Museum International Center for Family History

The International African American Museum Center for Family History is a rich resource of various documents and records to help you trace your lineage. You can search obituaries, marriage records, Bible records, pension records and more, plus an extensive photo library. Designed to be a collaborative program, the site also allows users to upload their own photographs to contribute to the growing library of resources that could help others find their family members. The Found tab on FamilySearch offers more useful records like voter registrations, census forms, birth indexes, and death certificates where you can see thousands of handwritten names.

Access to genealogy

Access Genealogy is not specifically for those tracing their African ancestry, but it does have a section of the site dedicated to that. It allows you to search census records by state, African American cemetery records by state, slave owners by state, and African American genealogy records by state. He also provides a list of books on African-American history detailing events that may provide additional insight into the trace of his ancestry.