Research Black Family History State by State
Local archives and libraries are great resources for African-American genealogy research.
Massachusetts Archives. Records: 1754 slave census and early-19th-century applications and registers of state-issued passports and applications for Southern travel (1842-1845, 1862).
Minnesota Historical Society Library: Research Services. Records: No African-American section, but there are searchable birth and death indexes and curricula and books pertaining to black Minnesota history.
Missouri State Archives: Missouri's African American History. Records: Guide to African American History.
New Jersey Department of State, Division of Archives & Records Management: State Archives. No African-American page. Records: New Jersey State Archives Searchable Databases include the Index to Death Records, June 1878-June 1887; World War I Casualties; Marriage Records, 1665-1799; Index to Marriages, 1848-1878; and Civil War vouchers.
New York State Archives: African American link. Records: Slavery, military service, state institutions, performing arts, political radicalism, human rights and education.
Ohio State Archives and Libraries. Records: Search page for Ohio births, marriages and deaths.
The Archives/Library of the Ohio Historical Society, which is the State Archives of Ohio. It has the African-American Experience in Ohio digital collection. Records: Manuscript collections, newspaper articles, serials, photographs and pamphlets.
Pennsylvania State Archives: Guide to African American Resources. Records: List of records and publications.
South Carolina Department of Archives and History: Books About African American History, available at the Archives and Gift Center Gift Shop; and African American Historic Places in South Carolina (pdf).
Tennessee State Library and Archives: African American Genealogical Resources @ TSLA. Records: Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen's Bureau); Freedman's Savings & Trust Company Index to Deposit Ledgers; Civil War Colored Confederate Pension Applications; and manumission records. The archives will email records out of state for a fee.
Resources for African American Genealogical Research (pdf). List of records available at the Library of Virginia.
Karin D. Berry is a newspaper journalist and freelance writer who has been researching her family history since 1988. Her articles, book reviews and op-ed articles have been published in Essence, Black Enterprise, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Macon Telegraph, the Baltimore Sun, the Evening Sun, Emerge and the Philadelphia Daily News.