ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 1990-10 > 0655177140
From: Barbara Goodson <>
Subject: Re: Researching Black American Lines
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 90 20:39:00 CDT
In regard to the request for information on researching black ancestors,
and the following response:
> Slaves were enumerated in the census in special schedules, since they
>counted for represention (remember the 3/5 Compromise?). I've only glimpsed one
>of these schedules out of curiosity a few years ago so I don't know much about
>them other than that they exist. They should be available through the usual
>census microfilm sources. I think the particular one I saw was one mistakenly
>sent by the LDS through one of their local libraries.
Slave schedules were taken in 1850 and 1860 along with the regular
censuses of free persons, but unless a person has a very good idea of who
and what they are looking for, they will be of limited use. For each owner
is given a list containing the sex, age and color of each slave -- my
experience with slave censuses in Central Alabama has been that very
few individuals are listed by name, and then only by a first name or nickname.
County probate and deed records often list slaves by name; an excellent
source of information are plantation owner's journals -- some of these
can be found in state archives. For free blacks (in both the North and
South) one will have an easier time since they were listed in the regular
free census, etc.
There are several books on black genealogy, including:
Black Genealogy by Charles L. Blockson and Ron Fry, 1977.
Black Genealogy: How to Begin by James Dent Walker, 1977.
How and Where to Research Your Ethnic-American Cultural Heritage (a
series of pamphlets with #1 on Black Americans) by Robert D. Reed.
The above are available on loan to National Genealogical Society members
from the NGS Library (NGS, 4527 Seventeenth St N, Arlington, VA 22207-2399).
You may also be able to find them elsewhere.
The National Archives has published "A Guide to Documents in the National
Archives for Negro Studies" which is supposed to cover black history in
the U. S., West Indies and Latin America.
Jeane Eddy Westin, in her book "Finding Your Roots" states that the major
library for black family history is:
Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, 103 West 135th St.,
New York, NY 10030.
The book was written in 1977 and I do not know if the above address is
Hope this will help to get you started.