== Benefits of Oral history ==
While the use of oral history falls outside the mainstream of genealogical research, African American oral history plays a vital part in African American genealogical research. With fewer ways to document African American ancestors going back in time, oral history or documented narratives can be used to extract important facts which may give clues or point to existing historical documentation.
Even though the researcher may not find oral history on an ancestor, oral history may exist for an ancestor's contemporary who may have mentioned:
*former slave owner*neighbors or family members*names of churches
*whereabouts before slavery
Small clues can open up avenues of research that did not exist
previous, and even a study of the history of the slave owning family can lead to other topics to research or historical records that actually document an ancestor. The slave narratives compiled by the Works Project Administration (WPA) between 1936-1938 consist of 2,300 first person accounts of people formerly enslaved. A study of the interviewees who were from an ancestor's locality can shed further light on the life of an ancestor and can identify other research avenues based on people, places, and events mentioned in the interview. This article will help to identify respositories containing collections of oral history or narratives.