Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County
Contact Information[edit | edit source]
Description of Collections[edit | edit source]
AAHA is headquartered in The Plains, Virginia and is open to the general public, schools and other organizations interested in local history and tracing their family and community records. AAHA is an organization designed for the purpose of teaching a complete and accurate history of the United States by including the influences of African Americans, Native Americans of both North and South America, and European Americans.
The AAHA, with its reams of historical records, offers a treasure trove for a genealogist looking for Fauquier County ties. AAHA records begin in 1759, the year Fauquier County was established. Documentation covers Fauquier County history, but some records for nearby Prince William, Culpeper, Warren and Rappahannock counties are available as well.
Although records are available at the Fauquier County Courthouse, they are not keyword searchable. The AAHA records are indexed and searchable.
Available Searchable Databases[edit | edit source]
African American Marriages 1853 - 1939
Born Free & Emancipated 1759 - 1853
Services[edit | edit source]
Online Library, Archives, and Databases[edit | edit source]
AAHA is delighted to share our online library and archives catalog. The collections include works of art, historical photographs, clothing, ceremonial items, rare books, everyday objects, documents, oral histories, and memorabilia, records will be added on a regular basis.
Resource Library for Genealogy and Local History[edit | edit source]
The Genealogy Resource Room houses books, manuscripts, archives and abstracts for documenting the African presence in Fauquier County. It is utilized the mostly by visitors with an interest in genealogy and local history.
Auditorium[edit | edit source]
The Auditorium’s 2,276 square feet allows successful programs, workshops, seminars and serves as a meeting facility for family and community gatherings. Audio-visual equipment is available. The Auditorium is located on the lower level of the AAHA and is not handicap-accessible.
Museum[edit | edit source]
The Museum’s static exhibits are a timeline of American/Virginian history with highlights of Fauquier’s African American presence and contributions. The Museum is available for school or community tours, but it is located on the lower level of the AAHA and is not handicap-accessible.
Photographs, copies of newspaper clippings, posters and early letters portray the realities of enslaved African Americans in the 1700s and 1800s. Artifacts and other documentation tell the story of the people and communities of the 1900s. Sometimes visitors to the museum will come across photographs of their ancestors. Family connections are discovered here.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. School groups, church groups and senior citizen groups are welcome. Call ahead (540-253-7488) to arrange a tour.
Historical Photos[edit | edit source]
The AAHA has hundreds of photographs, sorted, catalogued and available to provide a visual history of the black residents of Fauquier County. A sampling of the images may be viewed on the AAHA website but many more may be found at the museum. Norma Logan, collections expert, can help you find photos of a specific person, school, church or business. Call her at 540-253-7488, Tuesday or Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Or email at info@AAHAfauquier.org.
Staff Experts[edit | edit source]
Sometimes visitors want to dig deeper into the archives of the AAHA to uncover history that can’t be found in photographs. Those who are looking for details of their own families can find clues in the document archives and databases maintained by the AAHA. Records of marriages, deaths, church membership, military service and property ownership may be found, as well as criminal and other court records. Those looking for documentation about their homes or other historic properties may find what they are looking for. The AAHA staff are experts in these genealogy records of the region and are happy to help those looking for their roots.
History[edit | edit source]
In the late 1980s, Karen Hughes White and Karen King Lavore began researching their family lines. As they got knee deep in geneology, their friendship blossomed as they shared their common interest. They tracked down documents, sources… anything to shed light on the lives of those who came before. They sought to join the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, but they would have had to start a local chapter, as well as pay national dues, which would have been difficult for many of the local Black residents of Fauquier County. So with the support of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and their network, Karen Hughes White and her co-founder Karen King Lavore decided to start their own organization, the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County.
Both Karens started doing exhibits, giving talks around Fauquier County. They abstracted Free Negro Registers, started files on the information that they were collecting. It wasn't long before their work was being noticed. They got a call from Plains Redevelopment, asking them if they wanted to share a site with Marshall Heritage (another local historical entity focused on the legacy of John Marshall). That plan fell through, but in the fall of 1996, Plains Redevelopment offered AAHA a different space at no cost. On June 14, 1997 AAHA was opened. The grand opening was well attended, including entities like Marshall Heritage. Black residents who had been worried about a potential backlash felt relieved to see the integrated support. Members of Fauquier’s Black communities contributed photos, artifacts and family stories to AAHA and embraced AAHA as a museum charged with their stories, histories and collections. The AAHA now serves as an invaluable resource for those researching their own family history or the history of the region. The 4,269 square foot museum on the lower level is home to 1,634 artifacts detailing the rich history of Fauquier County’s Black residents. It provides an interactive experience for school and community groups. The AAHA’s 2276 sq. feet auditorium hosts special events — a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday for instance, or a family celebration, recognizing a family line.
The AAHA is an invaluable resource for individuals, churches, real estate researchers and other historical associations whose missions match that of the AAHA.
Tips for Your Visit[edit | edit source]
The museum is currently not wheelchair accessible.
Guides[edit | edit source]