JPL Logo
My Library Account

"How Do I...?"

Ask a Librarian logo

Subject Guides

African-American Genealogy Resources

U.S. Federal Censuses | Pre-Civil War Era (Before 1860) | Military Resources | Slavery Resources
Court Records | Census Records | Land Records | Cemetery Records | County Records
Guide Resources | Reconstruction Resources | Vital & Related Records | Web Online Resources

United States Federal Censuses:

1870 – 1930 Federal Censuses (formats)

  • Microfilm (for selected states – see census guide on webpage)
  • Ancestry Library Edition (online)

Pre-Civil War Era (Before 1860)

Title:List of Free Black Heads of Families in the First Census of the United States, 1790
Call Number: GEN 929.373 N552l
* Provides a list of the head of household’s name, number of persons in the household and county of residence*

Editor: George P. Rawick
Title:The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography. Volume 17, Florida Narrative
Call Number: GEN 305.5670973 A512 vols. 6 & 17
* Contains transcriptions of interviews conducted by the WPA with former slaves and relatives. The Library also owns the volume for Alabama*

Author: Ancestry Library Edition
Title: Slave Narratives
Call Number: Available online at Ancestry Library Edition
* Contains over 20,000 pages of type-scripted interviews with more than 3,500 former slaves, collected over a ten-year period by the WPA, Federal Writer´s Project*

Author: U.S. Federal Census
Title: 1850 & 1860 Slave Census Schedules
Call Number: Microfilm and Ancestry Library Edition
* Entries include owner’s name and a listing of slaves by age and gender. Slave names are not included*

Military Resources

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

Author: Greene, Robert Ewell
Title: Black courage, 1775-1783: Documentation of Black Participation in the American Revolution
Call Number: GEN 973.346 G811b

Compiled by: Newman, Debra L.
Title: List of Black servicemen compiled from the War Department collection of Revolutionary War records
Call Number: GEN 973.34 N552l

Civil War (1861-1865)

Author: Gladstone, William A.
Title: United States colored troops, 1863-1867
Call Number: GEN 973.7415 G543u

Author: Callum, Agnes Kane
Title: Colored volunteers of Maryland: bounty records of 9th Regiment, United States Colored Troops, 1863-1866
Call Number: GEN 973.7415 C163c

Compiled/Edited by: Gourdin, J. Raymond
Title: 104th Infantry Regiment, USCT: colored Civil War soldiers from South Carolina
Call Number: GEN 929.3757 G714o

Additional Resources:

American Wars (Revolutionary/Civil/WWI)

Edited by: Frank N. Schubert
Title: On the trail of the buffalo soldier: biographies of African Americans in the U.S. Army, 1866-1917
Call Number: GEN 355.0092273 O58
* Contains an alphabetical index of soldiers*

Author: Moebs, Thomas Truxtun
Title: Black soldiers - Black sailors - Black ink: research guide on African-Americans in U.S. military history, 1526-1900
Call Number: GEN 016.9730496 M693b


Blacks in the U.S. Armed Forces vols. 1-13
Call Number: AFR 355.008966 B627
* Contains researched documentation of African Americans in the Armed Forces*


Transcribed/Indexed by: Wynne, Frances Holloway
Title: Register of free Negroes and also of dower slaves, Brunswick County, Virginia, 1803-1850
Call Number: GEN 929.3755575 W933r

Compiled by: Helen Cox Tregillis
Title: River roads to freedom: fugitive slave notices and sheriff notices found in Illinois sources
Call Number: GEN 929.3773 T786r

Author: Byrd, William L.
Title: In full force and virtue: North Carolina emancipation records, 1713-1860
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 B995i

Author: Dill, Harry F.
Title: Some slaveholders and their slaves: Union Parish, Louisiana, 1839-1865
Call Number: GEN 929.376389 D578s
* Contains abstracts of slave deeds and abstracts of succession*

Author: U.S. Federal Census
Title: 1850 & 1860 Slave Census Schedule
Call Number: Ancestry Library Edition
* contains information by the name of the slave owner; entries include owner’s name and a listing of slaves by age and gender; slave names are not included*


Papers of the American Slave Trade- 20 Reels
Call Number: AFR 306.3620973 P214

Port of New Orleans, LA Inward Bound Slave Manifests, 1807-1860 – 12 Reels
Call Number: AFR 929.376335 U58

Port of New Orleans, LA Outward Bound Slave Manifests, 1812-1860 – 12 Reels
Call Number: AFR 929.376335 U58o

Slave Narratives – 11 Reels
Call Number: AFR 306.362. S631
* Contains stories by former slaves from various states*


Author: Duval County Court Records
Title: Court Records
Call Number: Microfilm
* Probate records include wills and inventories. Local county records such as wills and inventories often include the slave’s name, age, gender, skills and value*
See also "County Courts Records & web page for Duval, Clay, and St. Johns counties *

Author: Houston, William R. M.
Title: Colonial residents of Virginia's Eastern Shore: whose ages were proved before court officials of Accomack and Northampton counties
Call Number: GEN 929.375515 H843c

Author: Provine, Dorothy S.
Title: Index to District of Columbia wills, 1801-1920
Call Number: GEN 929.3753 P969i
* Entries are arranged alphabetically by name of the person making the will and the year the will was filed. Although most of the wills are by middle & upper-class whites, there is a significant amount of blacks listed as well*

Author: Provine, Dorothy S.
Title: Index to District of Columbia wills, 1921- 1950
Call Number: GEN 929.3753 P969i
* Entries give the name of the testators and the year the will was probated or filed*

Abstracted by: Patton, Juanita M.
Title: Land, slaves, and other courthouse transactions, 1808-1863: abstracts of Sumner County, Tennessee
Call Number: GEN 929.376847 P322l

Author: Wiltshire, Betty Couch
Title: Carroll County, Mississippi estate records: 1840-1869 with freedman apprenticeships
Call Number: GEN 929.3762633 W756c


Compiled by: Newman, Debra L.
Title: List of free Black heads of families in the first census of the United States, 1790
Call Number: GEN 929.373 N552l

Author: Carothers, Bettie Stirling.
Title: 1776 census of Maryland
Call Number: GEN 929.3 3752 C293s, 1776

Author: Eichholz, Alice
Title: Free Black heads of household in the New York State federal census, 1790-1830
Call Number: GEN 929.3747 E34f, 1981a
* An alphabetical index of heads of African American households*


Compiled by: Partlow, Thomas E.
Title: Wilson County, Tennessee trust deeds, 1828-1868
Call Number: GEN 929.376854 P273w
* Deals with the buying & selling of slaves in Wilson County. Slaves were included as part of real and personal property, such as mortgages.*

Abstracted by: Motes, Margaret Peckham
Title: Blacks found in the deeds of Laurens & Newberry counties, SC, 1785 to 1827
Call Number: GEN 929.37573 M917b



For Duval County Cemetery Records are located in the genealogy 929.375912 call number area.

Title: African-American burials in the Old City Cemetery, Jacksonville, FL.
Call Number: GEN 929.375912 A258

Compiled by: The Genealogical Committee of Georgia Historical Society
Title: Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia
Call Number: GEN 929.3758724 L378 v.1
* Lists both black and white deceased buried in Laural Grove Cemetery, with slaves listed with the names of their owners*

Compiled by: Ferguson, Jon R.
Title: Mt. Zion AME Cemetery #1 Black, Mt. Zion Baptist Cemetery Black, Mt. Zion Cemetery, Black a.k.a. Lone Star Cemetery, New Mt. Zion Holiness Church : Jacksonville, Duval County
Call Number: GEN 929.375912 F352m

Compiled by: Howard & Ferguson
Title: Old Evergreen Cemetery, Palm Springs Cemetery (Black), Parrish Cemetery: Jacksonville, Duval County Florida.
Also known as "Old Duval Colored Cemetery – aka – Freedman’s Cemetery
Call Number: GEN 929.375912 F352o

Compiled by: Ferguson, Jon R.
Title: Smith Cemetery, St. Nicholas Cemetery predominately [sic] black, St. Nicholas Cemetery/white: Jacksonville, Duval County Florida
Call Number: GEN 929.375912 F352s

Compiled by: Carey, Mary Frances
Title: Tombstone inscriptions of upper Accomack County, Virginia
Call Number: GEN 929.375516 C275t
* Contains a section of African American tombstones inscription in Accomack County. Entries are listed alphabetically by last name.*


Author: Boyd-Rush, Dorothy A.
Title: Register of free Blacks, Rockingham County, Virginia, 1807-1859
Call Number: GEN 929.3 B789r

Author: Meyer, Mary Keysor.
Title: Free Blacks in Harford, Somerset, and Talbot counties, Maryland, 1832
Call Number: GEN 929.3752 M613f, 1991a

Abstracted/Indexed by: Author, Provine, Dorothy S.
Title: Alexandria County, Virginia: free negro registers, 1797-1861
Call Number: GEN 929.3755295 P969a

Author: Clayton, Ralph.
Title: Free Blacks of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, 1850
Call Number: GEN 929.375255 C622f

Author: Byrd, William L.
Title: North Carolina slaves and free persons of color: Iredell County
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 B995ni

Author: Byrd, William L.
Title: North Carolina slaves and free persons of color: Hyde and Beaufort counties
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 B995nh

Author: Byrd, William L.
Title: North Carolina slaves and free persons of color: Chowan County
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 B995nc v.1

Author: Byrd, William L.
Title: North Carolina slaves and free persons of color: Mecklenburg, Gaston, and Union counties
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 B995nm

Author: Byrd, William L.
Title: North Carolina slaves and free persons of color: Stokes and Yadkin counties
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 B995ns

Author: Byrd, William L.
Title: North Carolina slaves and free persons of color: Burke, Lincoln, and Rowan counties
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 B995nb


Edited by: Paula K. Byers
Title: African American genealogical sourcebook
Call Number: GEN 929.108996073 A258

Author: Rose, James M.
Title: Black genesis: a resource book for African-American genealogy
Call Number: 929.108996 R796b, 2003

Transcribed/Index by: Susan Hawkes Cook
Title: The Black loyalist directory: African Americans in exile after the American Revolution
Call Number: GEN 973.0496073 B627

Author: Heinegg, Paul
Title: Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina from the colonial period to about 1820
Call Number: GEN 929.375 H468f 2005 vols.1-2


Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention for Colored People
Call Number: AFR 325.273 N277P (1 reel)


Freedmen Records:

Created by the War Department in 1865, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing and medicine.

Abstracted by: Reaves, Bill
Title: North Carolina Freedman's Savings & Trust Company records
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 N864
* Contains entries of African American bank depositors. It provides useful information, such as, physical characteristics, family information, and age*

Author: United States. National Archives and Records Administration
Title: Records of the field offices for the state of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1863-1872.
Call Number: GEN 016.973714 U58Zr

Compiled by: Walker, Alice O.
Title: Registers of signatures of depositors in the Augusta, Georgia, Branch of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company
Call Number: GEN 929.375864 W177r v. 1

Extracted/Compiled by: Kambourian, Elizabeth Cann
Title: The Freedmen's Bureau in Virginia: names of destitute freedmen dependent upon the government in the military districts of Virginia
Call Number: GEN 929.3755 K15f

Compiled by: Provine, Dorothy S.
Title: District of Columbia free Negro registers, 1821-1861 vols. 1-2
Call Number: GEN 929.3753 P969d
* An index of manumission records*

Author: Page, Jo Ann Curls
Title: Index to the Cherokee freedmen enrollment cards of the Dawes Commission, 1901-1906
Call Number: GEN 929.3089975 P132i
* Cherokee freedmen were African Americans slaves of the Cherokee Indians. At least one parent was African American. It lists the names of each family member, their age, and the relationship to the head of the household*

Author: Lawson, Jacqueline A.
Title: An index of African Americans identified in selected records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned
Call Number: GEN 929.308996 L425i


Freedman’s Aid Society Records (Series 1-10), 1866-1932
Call Number: AFR 371.829 F855 (12 reels)

Indexes to Deposit Ledgers in Branches of the Freedman's Savings & Trust, 1865-1874
Call Number: GEN 929.3 I38 (5 reels)

Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman's Savings & Trust, 1865-1874
Call Number: GEN 929.3 F853r (27 reels)

Field Office Records (Florida only)


Freedmen’s Bureau Online

Southern Claims Commission

The Southern Claims Commission was established in 1871 to review the claims of Southerners who had "furnished stores and supplies for the use of U.S. Army" during the Civil War. Testimonies include a wealth of personal data including names and ages of former slaves, their places of residence, names of slave owners, plantation conditions, wills and probate matters, slave manumissions, slave ownership of property, slave and free black entrepreneurship, conditions of free blacks, and a great deal more on what it was like to live as an African American during slavery and the post-slavery period.

Title: Southern Loyalists in the Civil War: the Southern Claims Commission
Call Number: GEN 929.375 M657s

Title: Civil War Claims in the South: an Index of Civil War Damage Claims Filed Before the Southern Claims Commission, 1871-1880
Call Number: GEN 929.375 M657c


Edited by: Morales, Leslie Anderson
Title: Virginia slave births index, 1853-1865
Call Number: GEN 929.3755 V817 v.1
* Index contains names of slave owners, infant’s name, mother’s name, date of birth, and the place of birth*

Compiled by: Munson, Barry
Title: Afro-American death notices from eastern North Carolina newspapers, 1859-1935
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 M969a

Compiled by: Munson, Barry
Title: Afro-American death notices from eastern North Carolina newspapers, 1860-1948
Call Number: GEN 929.3756 M969a

Copied by: Ackerman Hawkey(for Bergen Co.His.Soc...from original manuscript, December-January 1923)
Title: Book of black birth in Bergen County, N.J. between 1804 and 1844 as recorded in the Bergen County Clerk's Office at Hackensack.
Call Number: GEN 929.374921 B724

Compiled by: Turner, Freda R.
Title: Henry County, Georgia, 1821-1894: marriage, colored/freedman record of sales, inventory, and wills
Call Number: GEN 929.3758435 T946h


Ancestry Library Edition Database
(Accessible onsite via JPL homepage
This resource contains links to many databases and online records. Resources range from the United States Federal Censuses, war records, immigration Records, vital records, directories, and the list goes on.

Voyages: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
This database records the slave trade between 1500s and 1800s. It may be searched using several variables within the database, such as trips made, ship names, ports arrived, and slave information. It may be somewhat difficult to trace your personal slave heritage with this source. The reason being is that African names are used prior to the captives being given slave names.

"AfriGeneas is a site devoted to African American genealogy, to researching African Ancestry in the Americas in particular and to genealogical research and resources in general. It is also an African Ancestry research community featuring the AfriGeneas mail list, the AfriGeneas message boards and daily and weekly genealogy chats."

Documenting the American South
This website uses a variety of formats to provide access to documents, such as books, diaries, posters, artifacts, and interviews regarding life in the South. From an African American perspective, it contains various types of information, such as narratives, church records, and so on.