Tracing African-American Enslaved Peoples & Families: 10 Free books to get you started

Photo: Maria Weems escapes on the Underground Railroad – 1872 Engraving

The Underground Railroad Collection – New York Public Library Digital Collections

Tracing African-American enslaved people in your family tree can be more difficult due to lack of records or knowing where to look for records. Here is a free book list of helpful resources from the Internet Archive.

You can borrow them and read for free you after you create a free account. Click the links below.

  1. The African-American Family’s Guide to Tracing Our Roots: Healing, Understanding & Restoring Our Families by Roland C. Barksdale Hall – 2005 – Covers many topics like “How to begin”, tracing slave ancestors & looking for free people.

2. Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy by James M. Rose & Alice Eicholz – 2003 (2nd Edition) – Covers overview and survey of states.

3. A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors : How to find and record your unique heritage by Franklin Carter Smith & Emily Anne Croom – 2003 – Covers census and state and local records and archives.

4. Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African-American Family Family Tree by Tony Burrows – 2001 – Includes case histories, illustrations and photos of documents, tips and forms/worksheets.

5. Finding a Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity by Dee Woodter – 1999 – Covers historical overview, Caribbean ancestry, Native American ancestry, records, reconstructing families.

6. Finding Your People: An African-American Guide to Discovering Your Roots by Sandra Lee Jamison – 1999 – Covers lineage and pedigree documents, census and other records, surnames, family reunions.

7. Finding Oprah’s Roots: Finding Your Own by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – 2007 – Host of the PBS TV show “Finding Your Roots” gives tips and guidance on finding African-American heritage.

8. Roots Recovered! The How To Guide for for tracing African-American and West Indian roots back to Africa and going there for free or on a shoestring budget by James E. White & Jean-Gontran Quenum – 2004 – More of a travel guide but contains good information on DNA groups and source information on researching African-American roots.

9. African American Genealogy: A Bibliography and Guide to Sources by Curt Bryan Witcher – 2000 – Guide to sources by State.

10. Family Pride: The Complete Guide to Tracing African-American Genealogy by Donna Beasley – 1997 – Covers how to begin, oral history, resources and writing about your history.


Preserving Pioneer History: Cemeteries in Nebraska

We have a big problem in Nebraska with our old pioneer cemeteries. Farming continues to encroach on abandoned cemeteries and when those cemeteries are on private property farmers will often destroy the cemeteries. Our cemeteries are protected under state laws, however, only about half of the cemeteries were on the state registry in 2017. An…


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