After five wonderful, fun years of helping African Americans find their ancestry on The Root, we are looking forward to carrying on the work of the Tracing Your Roots column through an ongoing collaboration with AmericanAncestors.org by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Our new column will appear on …
Records reveal a proud legacy in Mississippi, yet data shows why we should not be all that surprised.
Sometimes, following the paper trail left by a close relative of the person you’re tracing will yield better results.
Silence shrouded information about a family’s past, and those who could provide answers are deceased. Fortunately, there’s a paper trail.
Families intertwine and seemingly pass back and forth over the color line, complicating efforts to trace their origins.
Needing answers after a family was torn asunder by fatal acts of domestic violence.
A white mother and black daughter encounter the genealogical “brick wall” so many people face while researching African-American families during slavery.
Family lore about a great-grandparent’s interracial relationship lines up with clues in census records.
A message board posting listing “freedmen” kin raises questions.
The debate over Confederate monuments inspires one woman to find the descendants of people her memorialized ancestor enslaved.
Finding Virginia forebears who lived uncertain lives in the shadow of the Nat Turner rebellion.
Here’s how to approach an unrecognized or illegible notation, as well as missing information, in a record.
Differing surnames and living arrangements complicate the search for the parents of an ancestor born during Reconstruction in North Carolina.
An ancestor identified as black reportedly spoke a language of the Creek people. The family’s paper trail reflects the complicated history of the American West.
The largest manumission case in U.S. history led to a unique community in Virginia.
On the trail of a great-great-grandfather from Louisiana who farmed in Texas at the height of Jim Crow.
Michigan State University will receive nearly $1.5 million to create a new online database that will allow folks to navigate the records of millions of enslaved people and their descendants, a boon for historians and African Americans who are interested in knowing more about their ancestry.
A town lost to history and a family fracture are among the factors complicating a search for ancestors.
A reader wants to know if and how the black and white branches of his family connected during slavery.
A find in the 1860 census catches a reader by surprise, and points to a possible heritage that is subject to debate.