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


Author: Smith, Franklin Carter, Emily Anne Croom
Publication Date: 2003
Reprint Date: 2008
Pages: 250 pp.


How do you approach the unique challenges of African-American genealogy? How can you make the most of your research time and effort? Join expert genealogists Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom to explore successful strategies for getting started and moving beyond the basics.

Using examples, illustrations, and case studies, A Genealogist’s
Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors
shows you how to

  • Gather and preserve your family’s special oral
    and social history
  • Research census records, especially the important
    1870 census
  • Use African-American-specific sources, including
    the Freedmen’s Bureau and Freedman’s Bank
  • Work with and evaluate county and federal

This book is unique because it includes methods for successful research in slavery-era records as well as strategies to help you identify your ancestors’ slaveholder and slaveholding family. Case studies from various states and time periods tell the stories of real families whose lives were recorded in public records that you too can use. Discovering your family history can be a powerful experience that also allows you to create a special legacy for your loved ones.

“One of the most challenging aspects of American research is tracing black ancestors during and beyond slavehood. Smith and Croom offer practical, easy-to-follow guidance using sound genealogical research techniques. But more importantly, they offer hope for a difficult era in genealogical research.”–Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG, author of You Can Write Your Family History.

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