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A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors

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A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your AfricanAmerican Ancestors

By Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom

Tracing one's African-American ancestry can be uniquely challenging. This guide helps overcome the obstacles and pitfalls of specialized research by offering a proven, three-part approach.

Part One covers post-Civil War era to present, showing readers how to access and utilize sources ranging from ...

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Overview

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your AfricanAmerican Ancestors

By Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom

Tracing one's African-American ancestry can be uniquely challenging. This guide helps overcome the obstacles and pitfalls of specialized research by offering a proven, three-part approach.

Part One covers post-Civil War era to present, showing readers how to access and utilize sources ranging from census records and vital documents to oral histories. Part Two provides comprehensive coverage of pre-Civil War experience research. Since this is where many genealogists find the most difficulty, the authors carefully demonstrate how to use information compiled in part one to find pre-Civil War documents, such as slave records.

Part Three offers detailed case studies of three African-American families and how these research tactics helped them trace their ancestors. Throughout, readers will find forms, examples, outlines, maps and other aids that will help them save time and document their research accurately.

Franklin Carter Smith works at the Houston Public Library and is a Doctor of Jurisprudence. He has been an avid family historian since 1977, when he began tracing his slave ancestry. He also has been published in Family Tree Magazine. He lives in Houston, Texas.

Emily Anne Croom is the renowned author of several best-selling books, including Unpuzzling Your Past, and The Sleuth Book for Genealogists. She lives in Bellaire, Texas.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558706057
  • Publisher: F+W Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Series: Discovering your Ancestors Ser.
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 11.08 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword v
1 In the Beginning 1
Basic Principles of Genealogy
Two Basic Charts
Tips for Success
Creating a Knowledge Base
Consult the Elders
Family Gatherings, Reunions, and Funerals
2 Census Records 15
About Census Records
Where to Find Census Records
Using Census Records
Indexes and Soundex
A Case Study: The Search for Ancestors of Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Blount) Armstead
3 Federal Sources 34
Social Security Records
Military Records
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands
Freedman's Savings and Trust Company
Federal Land Records
NUCMC
Southern Claims Commission
4 State, County, and Local Sources 61
State Records
County Records
Local Records
Combining Records: The Case of William Collins
Research Guides to the States
5 Special Situations 86
"Free Negroes" Before the Civil War
Manumission Records
Free Black Registers
Census Records
Guardianship Records
Tax Rolls
State Records
Land Records
Urban Free Blacks Before 1865
Native American Connections
Immigrants
For Further Reading: Free Persons of Color Before 1865
6 What's in a Name? 106
Given Names
Surnames
A Case Study: One Crossley Family
The Next Steps
7 Location, Location, Location 118
1870 Families in the North or West
1870 Families in the South
1860 Census Schedules
Using Land Records
Miscellaneous Records
On Location: A Study of Thomas Bowen
8 The Other Family 129
Studying the Slaveholder Candidate
The Other Family: A Family Profile
Case Study: Caldonia (Short) Hilson
9 The Search for Ancestors in Slaveholder Documents 145
The Slave as Chattel Property
The Records
Legal and Public Domain Records
Deeds and Property Records
Estate Documents
Court Records
Business and Personal Records
Other Resources
10 Case Study: The Issue of Mixed Race 163
The Search for Henry Dotson
The Post-Civil War Search
The Pre-Civil War Search
William Dotson, The Slaveholder
William Dotson, The Father
11 Case Study: A Story of Triumph and Tragedy 177
The First Steps: Tracking Back to 1870
The Search for a Cluster in 1870
The Search for the Slaveholder
Focus on Pre-Civil War Documents
Epilogue
12 Case Study: All in the Neighborhood 187
Post-Civil War Research: Identifying Archie's Family
The 1870 Community
Pre-Civil War Research: Identifying the Slaveholder(s)
A Candidate Family to Study
The Parent Generation
Appendix A Free and Slaveholding States and Territories in 1861 201
Appendix B Federal Census, 1790-1930 208
Which Census Reports ...?
First Federal Census Available for Each State
Appendix C State Archives 211
Appendix D National Archives and Regional Branches 218
Appendix E Blank Forms 221
Endnotes 227
Bibliography 243
Index 245
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