Heritage Consulting Genealogy Research Services receives numerous requests to trace African-American family history, and for good reason. We have a highly qualified research specialist in this area. She has many years of experience in the field. She served the committee that prepared Michelle Obama’s family history, given to her as a VIP gift from the Family History Library a few years ago. In fact, she headed that committee!
Researching African-American ancestors can be challenging for several reasons. About ten percent of the African-Americans in the Civil War era were free citizens, not slaves. During the slavery era, persons of color usually had a given name only. Names were modified after slavery ended, and surnames were adopted. Only about fifteen percent took the surname of their former owner. Oral traditions handed down through the generations are very important in providing the basis from which research should proceed.
Many Blacks were missed in the federal censuses. About one-fourth of all citizens in southern states were omitted from the 1870 federal census, and this percentage is even higher for African-Americans.
Our researcher knows the particular records of the times that can be used to link the generations together. She is proficient with the Freedman’s Bank and Freedman’s Bureau records, as well as other databases and printed collections. There are some unique circumstances that must be kept in mind in this area of research specialty. Heritage Consulting is prepared to link the generations together with our very competent African-American research specialist.