African American Archives and Libraries
|African American Genealogy Wiki Topics|
National Repositories[edit | edit source]
Allen County Public Library[edit | edit source]
Family History Library[edit | edit source]
- They have federal and state censuses showing where African Americans lived, vital records, biographies, cemeteries, church records, Freedman's Bank, Freedmen's Bureau, court records, directories, genealogy, local histories, land and property (may include lists of free Blacks and slaves, bills of sale), manumissions, maps, military records, newspapers, obituaries, periodicals, probate records (may list slaves freed or bequeathed), slavery and bondage, and societies. Holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) records.
Library of Congress[edit | edit source]
- See the tutorial at the FamilySearch Learning Center on "African American Genealogical Research at the Library of Congress". The Library of Congress "Local History and Genealogy Reading Room" has moved to the main reading room, but services are unchanged. They are part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, and collections of manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, and published material, strong in North American (including African Americans), British Isles, and German sources.
National Archives I[edit | edit source]
National Archives and Records Administration (Archives I)
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
E-mail: National Archives and Records Administration inquiry form
Website: National Archives
- Nationwide censuses, pre-WWI military service and pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources (including African Americans) , prisons, and federal employees. The National Archives Building in Washington, DC (Archives I), houses textual and microfilm records relating to genealogy, American Indians, pre-World War II military and naval-maritime matters, the New Deal, the District of Columbia, the Federal courts, and Congress.
National Archives Regional Branches[edit | edit source]
- There are 2 main branches, 11 regional branches, 16 records centers, 2 personnel records centers, and 15 presidential libraries nationwide, as well as "affiliated archives." Each regional branch has copies of key records in Washington, as well as their own regional records. For example, the Atlanta Regional Branch for the Southern States region preserves records of Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Movement, and African American history.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center[edit | edit source]
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
50 East Freedom Way
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Telephone: 513-333-7500 or toll free 877-648-4838
E-mail: Contact Us form
Website: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is more a museum (few original manuscripts) than an archive. However, it has a family history center for research help and Ancestry.com access on the Internet. They tell the history of the guides, safe houses, and transportation network used to smuggle runaway enslaved African Americans out of the slave states to freedom in the North before the American Civil War. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center reveals stories about freedom’s heroes: the men, women and children who challenge inequities to pursue greater freedom for their brothers and sisters.
Regional Repositories[edit | edit source]
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute[edit | edit source]
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
520 Sixteenth Street North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Telephone: 205-328-9696 ext. 203
Telephone toll free: 1-866-328-9696
Website: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
- Papers of civil rights activist leaders (ministers, organizers, judges, politicians, newspaper editors, educators), school desegregation, 500 desegregation oral history interviews, 1,260 Jim Crow era oral histories, vertical files, TV documentaries, and legal cases collection.
Black Archives of Mid-America[edit | edit source]
- By appointment only. Resources regarding the social and cultural experience of African Americans in the Kansas City metropolitan area and in the surrounding region. This includes oral histories, valuable rare books, and a reference collection, personal papers, records of civil and health service organizations, schools, churches, political organizations, sports groups, and clubs and other voluntary associations.
Duke University Perkins Library[edit | edit source]
Duke University Perkins Library
Franklin Research Center
Durham, North Carolina 27708-0185
Website: John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture
- Largest manuscript collection in the South, including newspapers, county records, Bibles, and journals. They also have many census records originally at the National Archives.
- Nannie M. Trilley, and Noma Lee Goodwin, Guide to the Manuscript Collections in the Duke University Library (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1947). At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Film 899894; Book 975.6 B5d ser. 27–28. This guide lists about 8,000 names of individuals, families, and historical subjects, and it is indexed.
- John Hope Franklin Research Center collects, and preserves published and unpublished primary sources for understanding the history and culture of Africa and people of the African Diaspora in the Americas. The Franklin Center is part of the Rubenstein Special Collections Library on the 3rd floor of the Perkins Library.
Family History Centers[edit | edit source]
Family History Centers (FHCs) have premium online services for genealogists for free and offer research suggestions. These microfilms include a good collection of African American records including censuses, vital records, cemeteries, church records, biographies, Freedman's Bank, Freedmen's Bureau, funeral homes, military records, oral history, probate records, slavery and bondage records, and the Southern Claims Commission records.
There are more than 4,700 FHCs in 134 countries. There is no cost to visit a Family History Center or Family History Library. They are open to anyone with an interest in genealogical research. They are operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click on Find a family history center to locate the the center nearest you.
Each center has unique hours of operation, and may have changed from the hours posted on our site. It is a good idea to call the center for their scheduled hours before you visit.
Godfrey Memorial Library[edit | edit source]
- Their collection features digital copies of six African American newspapers in the 1800s. The overall collection is national in scope with many online records in addition to its physical collection. They compiled the American Genealogical and Biographical Index (AGBI) including many African American biographies and autobiographies. This library is an excellent genealogical facility including many New England town records, guidebooks, indexes, biographies, and genealogies.
John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library[edit | edit source]
John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library at Colonial Williamsburg
PO Box 1776
313 First Street
Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776
Website: John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library
- Emphasis is on the history of colonial British America, the American Revolution, and the early United States with books, manuscripts, images, Civil War materials, family Bibles, and databases for research in the political and economic life of the thirteen colonies, the new republic, and African American studies.
Kalamazoo College Black History Mobile Museum[edit | edit source]
Kalamazoo College Black History 101 Mobile Museum
1200 Academy Street
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49006
Website: Facebook: Black History 101 Mobile Museum History Museum
- Prominent artifacts include documents signed by Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Booker T. Washington, Fredrick Douglas, Dorothy Height, Elijah Muhammad, Ralph Bunche, Coretta Scott King, Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, and Angela Davis.
New England Historic Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]
New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007
Telephone: 617-536-5740; Library 617-226-1231
- Best overall collection for New England vital records and probates, and excellent collection for Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and Europe. The manuscript collection for members-only has diaries, letters, account books, business papers, church and town records, sermons, maps, wills, deeds, unpublished town and family genealogies, photos, and papers of the region's best genealogists since 1850.  
Newberry Library[edit | edit source]
- The Newberry is a private, non-circulating library free and open to the public. It is a research library for humanities and social sciences with 1.5 million books, 5 million manuscript pages, and 500,000 maps. This includes good African American, American Indian, railroad archives, Chicago history, and cartography collections.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture[edit | edit source]
Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture
A Unit of the New York Public Library
515 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10037
Website: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
- The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture located in Harlem, New York, is a research unit of The New York Public Library system. It focuses exclusively on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. It accomplishes this through art, artifacts, research and reference collections, manuscripts, archives, rare books, photos, moving images, sound recordings, educational programs, and digital collections.
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum[edit | edit source]
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
1901 Fort Place SE
Washington, D.C. 20020
Website: Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
- The Anacostia Museum Branch Library has over 5,000 books, and close to 100 periodical titles in various formats. It collects materials relating to the preservation of family and community history through education, advocacy, and documentation. Primary focus is on east of the Potomac River communities. Their new focus is community museology, urban communities, issues that impact urban communities, and the people who reside in urban communities.
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Libraries[edit | edit source]
- Wilson Special Collections Library
200 South Road Wilson Library (Campus PO Box #3948)
UNC Chapel Hill, NC 27515-8890
- Davis Library
208 Raleigh Street (Campus PO Box #3916)
UNC Chapel Hill, NC 27599
E-mail: E-mail a Question form
Website: UNC Chapel Hill Libraries
- Wilson Special Collections Library is home to: the famed Southern Historical Collection with strengths in plantation records, slavery, the Civil War, Civil Rights, communities, family, race relations, and religious communities; the North Carolina Collection of published works on North Carolina and its people and biographical index; the Rare Book Collection; the Southern Folklife Collection; the Manuscript Department collection of personal papers, letters, and diaries of early North Carolina residents; and the Map Department.
- Davis Library has humanities, and foreign language materials, maps, a federal documents depository, and microforms.
University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center[edit | edit source]
University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center
647 Williams Hall
255 S 36th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6305
Website: The Africa Center Home
- The African Studies Center coordinates course offerings in anthropology, demography, economics, history, language, literature, politics, religion, and sociology. The Van Pelt Library holds most of the African collection. For more details see African Collection at Penn.
University of Pittsburgh Hillman Library[edit | edit source]
University of Pittsburgh Hillman Library
3960 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
Website: University of Pittsburgh Library System African American Collection
- The library houses material on the African Americans, Africans, and Caribbean cultures in the following disciplines: Arts, Education, History, Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Sociology, Sports, and Religion.
International African American Museum[edit | edit source]
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Center for Family History
113 Calhoun Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Various State Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]
See also the state "Archives and Libraries" wiki articles (links below) for descriptions of repositories with further African American material in each respective state.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- American Samoa
- District of Columbia
- Guam Genealogy
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Puerto Rico
- Virgin Islands
Guides[edit | edit source]
- Tony Burroughs, Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree (New York: Fireside Book, ©2001). At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL book 973 D27bt 2001.
- Dee Parmer Woodtor, Finding a Place Called Home: An African-American Guide to Genealogy and Historical Identity (New York: Random House, ©1999). At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL book 973 F2wd.
References[edit | edit source]
- Allen County Public Library in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 28 April 2010).
- Genealogy Center in Allen County Public Library (accessed 28 April 2010).
- Genealogy Center Collections in Genealogy Center (accessed 27 February 2015).
- The Collections in Local History and Genealogy Reading Room in The Library of Congress (accessed 8 January 2014).
- Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
- National Archives at Atlanta in National Archives (accessed 30 May 2016).
- Enabling Freedom in National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (accessed 30 May 2016).
- BCRI Archives Collections Guide in Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (accessed 30 May 2016).
- Resources in Black Archives of Mid-America (accessed 30 May 2016).
- William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 85. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
- John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture in Duke University Libraries (accessed 30 May 2016).
- Introduction to Family History Centers in Family History Research Wiki (accessed 29 February 2016).
- "African American Records" in INTERNET Genealogy (June/July 2008): 85.
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 25.
- John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library in Colonial Williamsburg (accessed 7 January 2014).
- Facebook Timeline photo in Black History 101 Mobile Museum History Museum (accessed 30 May 2016).
- "New England Historic Genealogical Society" in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_Historic_Genealogical_Society (accessed 30 August 2010).
- Using the NEHGS Library in American Ancestors" (accessed 21 September 2015).
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 5, 57, and 59.
- Wikipedia Contributors, "Newberry Library" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newberry_Library (accessed 29 October 2010).
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York Public Library (accessed 30 May 2016).
- Anacostia Community Museum Library in Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum (accessed 30 May 2016).
- About the Southern Historical Coillection in UNC Chapel Hill Libraries (accessed 11 February 2014).
- Family History and Genealogy Resources in the North Carolina Collection in UNC Chapel Hill Libraries (accessed 11 February 2014).
- Davis Library in Libraries and Hours in UNC Chapel Hill Libraries (accessed 11 February 2013).
- African Collection at Penn in Penn Libraries (accessed 30 May 2016).
- African American Collection in University of Pittsburgh Library System (accessed 30 May 2016).